Wearing dice on my head since 2008 Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart. Randomly amazed.

Software Development

Part 1 of this series is

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here]1

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Creating a WordPress template is harder than I thought. Luckily I’m modifying the default template instead of starting from scratch. The one I’m creating is rather simple but after spending almost 8 hours on it so far, I’m still far away from completing it. I’m guessing the more complicated layouts take more than two weeks of full-time work.

Here’s my current WIP:

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Changes since the last part:

  1. Web design has never been one of my strong points, and it’s something I’d like to improve on.

  2. The Roy on Magic blog has been using the default WordPress Template since forever, and I’ve been trying to find a good WP Template that fits the “Magic the Gathering” theme.

Put the above points together, and I have a new personal project. Just for fun, I’ll log my progress here.

Trust and Evil Programmers

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

Never give out any of your confidential usernames and passwords to programs or services that you do not trust completely. This may be a bit obvious to the more tech-savvy, but everybody has to watch out. Luckily, there are even some programmers who are able to catch the work of evil programmers. Coding Horror has this story about an evil programmer who sold a GMail backup solution that steals your username and password.

I had been planning to do this for a while: it’s my first WordPress Plugin! Over at Roy on Magic, I often have to write out decklists and such, so I wanted to have an autocard feature similar to the one used at MTGSalvation. After a quick five-minute search I couldn’t figure out how they did it, so I just wrote the plugin myself. Actual effort was around 3.5 hours, most of it struggling with PHP and Regular Expressions.

Job Hunting for Programmers

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

No, I’m not job hunting. But other people are, apparently. I got a comment on an old post I made about my job hunting days. Not only that, but the guy IM’d me asking to talk (I put my yahoo id on this site somewhere me). It’s a bit strange, but I figured, why not? What I got from listening to him was that he was just extremely frustrated at how difficult it is to find a good job, so he was looking for people who had gone through similar experiences.

How to Solve Technical Problems

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

One of the qualities that I think make a really good software developer is the ability to solve difficult technical problems. Unless you’re the sort of software developer who just sells the same piece of software over and over again, at some point in time you’ll to need to find out how to implement some feature you’ve never tried before. Or you’ll hit a problem that’s not documented in any official docs and you need that critical functionality.

Announcing PyMTG

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

I couldn’t sleep, so obviously, I had to start a new personal project. PyMTG I was inspired after forum-browsing lead me to look at existing MTG open-source software. I’ve been thinking of starting a true-blue personal software project for a while now, and the idea of PyMTG appeals to me for several reasons: (a) It’s related to one of my current hobbies (b) Allows me to become familiar with a new language (Python)

Rich Internet Applications

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

Most of the time, my work involves mostly run-of-the-mill information management systems. Lately however, I’ve been asked to look into some new tech, and that got me interested in what’s called Rich Internet Applications (RIAs for short). The primary platform for RIAs is Flash, which apparently is already owned by Adobe and Macromedia is no more. Yeah, I never really paid attention to Flash, like most people I assumed it was only for making amusing movies and annoying ads.

My Job, Such As It Is

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

Nice post on Salary Averages Comparison over at the Pinoy Tech Blog. It got me thinking about my own job. I work at a foreign-based software development company that caters to clients outside the country. These days, I work mostly on JSP-based web projects. My starting salary, three and a half years ago, was higher than the average presented in this graph. Obviously, I’m earning a lot more than that now.

Developer Assessment

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

I always have a hard time assessing fellow developers. For one thing, I’m never sure whether it’s fair to apply to other people the same internal standard I have for myself. Some people might say, “of course it’s fair to expect as much from other people as yourself!”, but the fact is that I’m not even sure if I expect too much from myself. I may like to project and arrogant and prideful exterior, but I’m extremely self-critical.

GMail raises the bar for everyone

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

So I was at work, and one of the HK guys asks me if we can have a themed button for the file input control in one of our screens. So, I’m all “alpha geek” and stuff, and I go: “No we can’t. We can’t style the ‘Browse’ button directly, and IE will throw an Access Denied error on submit if we invoke the click() method using Javascript.” But HK guy replies: “Gee, I wonder how GMail does it then.

Users don't know what they want.

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Today’s Dilbert takes the old programming truism to an extreme – “Users don’t know what they want.” Comments Comment by Greg Moreno on 2006-04-24 11:05:17 +0000 As a developer who regularly talks with users, I believe it is our responsibility to help users express what they want. This is not just about writing specs and having them sign it. It is also an issue of expections. Developers sometimes (or oftentimes?

Yeah, I haven’t been posting lately. I still have a lot of thoughts running around my head, and often throughout the day I find myself thinking, “I should post an entry about this.” But at the end of the day, I’m tired and I’m exhausted from thinking about two hundred different issues and juggling twenty different priorities, so I don’t post about it. I note it somewhere and sooner or later it becomes irrelevant and I forget why I wanted to post it in the first place.

Random Java Programs

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

So, my brother needed to present 20 java programs for school. He didn’t have to make them himself, he said. Just to print them out and submit them. (What kind of ridiculous compsci teacher asks for hardcopies of source instead of softcopies?) Anyway, I said, sure. I’ll make some, it’ll be easy. After all, trivial programs shouldn’t take me more than 5 minutes each right? It was true, each one didn’t take long.

Sorry about the title. I couldn’t find any succinct way to put it. Anyway, yeah. I’m supposed to be trying to get a phone. People have been harassing me for years about the fact that I don’t have a phone. Since my vacation is already half-wasted already, I figure I’d go online and get some info on what phone I’d buy. Now, bear with me a bit, I’m really stupid when it comes to phones, since I’ve practically never owned one.

HTML/CSS Trickery

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

The whole web developer thing was boring me for a while. But last week I got to help on some preliminary webpage design for one of the projects, so my interest in HTML/CSS/Javascript is a bit tweaked. (Hence the slightly updated stylesheet — try changing font sizes now.) Anyway, here’s some HTML/CSS trickery. I’ll add stuff here as I try them out. If you’re using IE, you wouldn’t appreciate it much.

Yahoo!

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

Some comments on the Yahoo webapps. The next/previous links on top of Yahoo mail messages are confusing. I’m not sure if they take me up or down the mail-list. Gmail is better, since it explicitly says “older” and “newer”; With Yahoo, I’m always wrong when I guess. After some experimenting, I figure it out. “Next” and “Previous” are based on the sort order in the list of messages. Since the default is sorted by date descending (newest first), “Next” corresponds to Yahoo’s “older” by default.

CSS-Based Design

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

A while back, inspired by the CSS Zen Garden, I modified my Blogger template to use entirely CSS-based design. That is, I can know update the layout instantly simply by replacing the stylesheet file used by template (like now!) The new layout uses up a wider screen space, but I think it’s neat. The lighter colors are easier on my tired, computer-strained eyes. Hopefully, this new CSS-based design allows me to do more experimentation and improve my ability to design web UIs.

In Progress, But Sleepy

| Categories: Meta Software Development | Tags: javascript

As it may mention in the page title, I’m currently screwing around with the blogger template, so this blog may look a bit… um… screwy for a while. I’ve been wanting to toy around with Javascript hacks to extend the Blogger template functionality. The first thing I did was add some Javascript that allows you to show/hide individual posts on the page. But actually, I don’t really like it, I’ll remove it later.

Excel problem

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

The Christmas season has been hellacious. Deadlines to catch up with at the start of the next year meant crunch time for most of the past two weeks. So, for my first blog post on my first rest day in a while, I’ll bring home some work. I have a problem with Excel. I’m writing a web app that generates HTML files which are exported to Excel. In most cases, it’s easy, I just follow the template generated by using Excel->File->Save As->HTML

Best Software Essays

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

Joel Spolsky, of Joel on Software, is collecting nominations for the best software related essays of 2004. A lot of them are interesting reads. Reading these essays make me realize that, well, I like being a coder, a programmer and a developer. (These are different things, figure it out :D)

Sinfest!

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

I was bored. And I was going through the Sinfest archives. But then I thought, why should I bother going through these comics manually over the net? I’m a programmer, I’ll make a SinfestDownloader! I’ve left it running for about 4 hours now. There’s a lot of Sinfest strips… around 40MB worth have already been downloaded! I wonder if this violates any sort of copyright? … Update: Done in a little over 4.

That's L33T

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

http://www.pbase.com/images/24017078.original.jpg (Edit 04-Feb-06: This is now a dead link. The image used to hold a google job ad on a billboard that was obviously aimed at developers.)

The First Time I Hated Users

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

Yesterday, at around 6 PM, as I was winding up the day’s work, we received a request from the user that they wanted some maintenance work done on one of the more obscure programs. And they needed it the next day! And we still had to have a meeting (we had originally scheduled the meeting for 3:00PM but had to keep pushing it due to stuff coming up) I wanted to reach out across the internet and slap whoever made the maintenance request on the head.

How’s work you ask? It’s going pretty well actually. Everything’s still easy-peasy for me as I’m undergoing some training and stuff. I’m a bit worried about what happens after the training though, from the looks of it people put in a lot of overtime here. :( The best thing about the job is that I’m learning a lot of stuff. In two weeks I learned SQL, PL/SQL and Delphi. Starting tomorrow I’m gonna be training on Oracle Developer.