Tim’s Weblog Tim's Weblog
Tim Strehle’s links and thoughts on Web apps, managing software development and Digital Asset Management, since 2002.

A Logic File System

Lambda the Ultimate USENIX2003: "We would like to "cd /lib" and descend into the "directory" that contains only library files, grouped into subdirectories "root", "usr", "local". We would like to "cd /bin|/sbin" and get to the root of the "filesystem tree" that contains only executable files (again, grouped into "subdirectories"). We may even do "cd !src" to get the view of the filesystem without any source files. The Logical File System described in this talk (LISFS for short, not to be confused with the Log File system) can accomplish all that -- now. The prototype implementation is fully functional and reasonably fast. An ls-benchmark shows hardly any performance overhead of far more expressive filesystem queries."

He's referring to Logical Information Systems.

Fri, 25 Jul 2003 14:17:00 +0000

Tablet PC

A very nice and personal weblog on using the Tablet PC.

What Is New has lots of practical information on Tablet PCs...

Fri, 25 Jul 2003 12:19:24 +0000

Sheet music on the Tablet PC

Incremental Blogger: "I finally convinced Bryan to play hooky today and see what would happen if he tried to sight-read a fiddle tune off of my NEC LitePad Tablet PC. We downloaded some music in PDF format off the Internet, and tried using a mouse sitting on the floor as a "footswitch" for turning pages."

Fri, 25 Jul 2003 12:15:48 +0000

MouseOver DHTML example

Tim Bray: "At work, we've been putting a lot of time into what used to be called 'Dynamic HTML', i.e. making web pages more dynamic and lively with a variety of Javascript techniques. There's this one design pattern that keeps turning up, and for those who aren't already JS hacks, it may be worth stealing. Illustrated with pretty pictures.

Below are nine thumbnails of some of the more-downloaded pictures from ongoing. (Actually, all the most-downloaded are screen shots, yer a bunch of hopeless geeks, but I digress). Wave your mouse around over them; in any reasonably-modern browser the date and title of the essay the picture's attached to should appear below."

Fri, 25 Jul 2003 12:05:33 +0000

Document formatting: PHP? XSLT? CSS?

It suddenly clicks: What I always disliked about XSLT was the idea of having to maintain a complex HTML layout in a rather ugly XML file. PHP embedded in HTML is so much nicer to read than HTML embedded in XSL.

But if it's really possible to keep the HTML file extremely plain and simple and do all the fancy layout in CSS (csszengarden.com), then XSL might not be so bad after all...

Fri, 25 Jul 2003 11:43:08 +0000


Krysalis: "Transform XML documents into XHTML with PHP and XSL

For a web applications programmer who has to develop complex enterprise level applications, web services or multi language dynamic websites (Content Management Systems), Krysalis is a development platform that improves the Apache/PHP framework by separating the application logic from the presentation layer, using open standards as XML/XSL/SOAP. Unlike any other application servers and frameworks, our platform is an open source solution for productive web development."

Wed, 23 Jul 2003 08:28:52 +0000

Møllerheimen Gallery

Nice pictures from Peder's home Møllerheimen in Norway...

Wed, 23 Jul 2003 06:21:43 +0000

PHP is not a fanclub anymore

Sterling Hughes: "I was talking [...] with Thies at Linuxtag [...] about the difference between a fanclub and a business. Thies pointed out that PHP was no longer a fanclub, but was very much a business....

In the early days of a system, it is a fanclub. You are all happily hacking away. If you break backwards compatibility, so it goes. You change things, they break, you drink a beer, you fix them and move on. This allows for a lot of cool ideas, and also some very stupid ideas. But its all in good fun; and its all about working together with other like minded people on a project you believe in."

Tue, 22 Jul 2003 11:53:48 +0000

Accesskeys: Unlocking Hidden Navigation

A List Apart: "Assigning accesskeys to menu items adds “Hot-Key” functions to a website, letting frequent users spend less time less time moving and clicking the mouse. This solution, however, has been largely underused because it almost always fails due to two major flaws.

The first problem is that visitors to your website have no way of knowing that you’ve assigned accesskey attributes to your linked elements. Even if they suspect you have, they would have to guess which accesskeys assignments you’ve created. In this article, we’ll look at how to solve this problem, enabling you to clearly but unobtrusively let your visitors know which accesskeys correspond with the links on a page."

Tue, 22 Jul 2003 10:09:40 +0000

Free Red Hat 9 ISOs

Here are the free Red Hat 9 ISO images.

Tue, 22 Jul 2003 07:44:52 +0000

Installing Oracle 9i on Mac OS X

David Simpson: "I've been an Apple customer since I bought my 128K Macintosh in 1984, and I make my living performing Solaris and Windows system administration in my role as an Oracle DBA. So it's been very exciting for me to see the introduction of Mac OS X and now the availability of Oracle 9i on Mac OS X."

Tue, 22 Jul 2003 07:20:44 +0000

Wiki Everywhere

Dion Almaer: "Wiki is now everywhere. I can have an easy to edit version of my life, and a lovely trail of all that is important. The web has come to an application, and it is EXTREMELY easy to use."

Tue, 22 Jul 2003 06:51:23 +0000

SVG: A Sure Bet

Paul Prescod on XML.com: "Do you want to view a chess transcript without installing a ChessGML viewer? You can do that with SVG. Do you want to visualize the output of a geospatial analysis program? You can do that with SVG. Do you want to visualize different aspects of the London underground? SVG. Want to generate graphics in C#, tweak them in Python and view them in Java's Swing? SVG."

Mon, 21 Jul 2003 07:06:56 +0000

Enterprise IM needs call center features

I'm using Instant Messaging for (second level) tech support more and more, and it's great for this purpose:

Interaction is just so much faster than with e-mail exchange, and it's not dragging my attention as far away from my current work as phone calls do. I can send text, URLs, files...

Two things we're used to having with plain old telephony still seem to be missing, though:

How can I setup an IM account that points to a group of people and connects me to the first one willing to accept a message? (Which would be just the way that help desk phone numbers are working.)

Secondly, how can I put someone through to another IM account when I find out - during the conversation - that there's someone more able to answer the question? I can do this easily with the phone. Well, there is an IM workaround: But inviting someone to a group chat and then leaving the chat is just not as intuitive (or am I just stuck in a telephone perspective?)...

Sat, 19 Jul 2003 12:04:55 +0000

Eclipse and PHP

Screenshots and installation instructions for setting up Eclipse for PHP and XML editing:

Eclipse and WebStudio - The best IDE for PHP ever.

Fri, 18 Jul 2003 08:40:14 +0000


Never used it before, but it might be about time to add this to the Apache/PHP setup:

mod_gzip homepage Tutorial

Fri, 18 Jul 2003 08:13:17 +0000

Dashboard and non-office software

Danny O'Brien: "Ever since I saw the Remembrance Agent , I've wanted something like Dashboard. It just seems to be the right idea for me, and I think for others too. It's what I liked about Lotus Agenda ; it's what I anticipate liking about Chandler."

"One of my big bones with MS stuff is that it always makes me feel like I'm eating out of the trash bins outside a cubicle farm. All of their software is designed to help busy executives plan their lives. Everyone I know uses it to try and write birthday cards and chat with their friends. When people use Microsoft Office they use it anywhere but in an office."

Fri, 18 Jul 2003 07:31:28 +0000

CVS Frontends are getting better finally?

Dion Almaer: "What cool CVS clients do you guys use... and what do you think about the state of version control?"

Fri, 18 Jul 2003 07:23:09 +0000

André Basse : Photos

André's Photo Gallery - there's even some pictures of me:

Thanks André...

Thu, 17 Jul 2003 09:47:48 +0000

css Zen Garden: The Beauty in CSS Design

csszengarden.com is next to incredible - I wouldn't have thought that CSS is so powerful!

"There is clearly a need for CSS to be taken seriously by graphic artists. The Zen Garden aims to excite, inspire, and encourage participation. To begin, view some of the existing designs in the list. Clicking on any one will load the style sheet into this very page. The code remains the same, the only thing that has changed is the external .css file. Yes, really."

Wed, 16 Jul 2003 07:42:52 +0000

Building Web Services the REST Way

Roger L. Costello: "Here are the characteristics of REST:

  • Client-Server: a pull-based interaction style: consuming components pull representations.
  • Stateless: each request from client to server must contain all the information necessary to understand the request, and cannot take advantage of any stored context on the server.
  • Cache: to improve network efficiency responses must be capable of being labeled as cacheable or non-cacheable.
  • Uniform interface: all resources are accessed with a generic interface (e.g., HTTP GET, POST, PUT, DELETE).
  • Named resources - the system is comprised of resources which are named using a URL.
  • Interconnected resource representations - the representations of the resources are interconnected using URLs, thereby enabling a client to progress from one state to another.
  • Layered components - intermediaries, such as proxy servers, cache servers, gateways, etc, can be inserted between clients and resources to support performance, security, etc."
Wed, 16 Jul 2003 04:01:53 +0000

Worse Is Better

Richard P. Gabriel: "The concept known as “worse is better” holds that in software making (and perhaps in other arenas as well) it is better to start with a minimal creation and grow it as needed. Christopher Alexander might call this “piecemeal growth.” This is the story of the evolution of that concept."

Wed, 16 Jul 2003 03:52:40 +0000

Fairfaxphotos live

Our Australian photo sales website project is now online: fairfaxphotos.com - shop there for great pictures by Australian photographers. It's running on Linux/Apache/Oracle/PHP and based on our Digital Collections DC4 system for storage and retrieval. (I did most of the PHP programming...)

The launch party started at 2:30 am German time...

Wed, 16 Jul 2003 03:30:23 +0000

The Document is the Database

Jon Udell: "When you need to store and display a modest amount of structured or semistructured data, it's tempting to store it directly in an HTML file. I've used this strategy many times; undoubtedly you have too. The advantages and disadvantages of working directly with a presentation format are pretty clear. It's handy that the "database" is a self-contained package that can be updated using any text editor, emailed, read directly from a file system, or served by any web server. But it's awkward to share the work of updating with other people or to isolate and edit parts of the file as it grows. When we convert to a database-backed web application in order to solve these problems, we trade away the convenience of the file-oriented approach. Can we have our cake and eat it too? This month's column explores the idea that a complete web application can be wrapped around an XHTML document, using XSLT for search, insert, and update functions."

Tue, 15 Jul 2003 09:34:25 +0000


"TikiWiki is an open source web application which provides a full Wiki environment, as well as Articles, Sections, User/Group Management (including optinal LDAP interaction), Polls and Quizzes, File and Image Galleries, Forums, Comments on many areas, Weblogs, and much more."

(And it's written in PHP.)

Mon, 14 Jul 2003 09:55:36 +0000

The State of Open Source

Daniel H. Steinberg:

"The night that divides the two days of tutorials from the three-day conference at the fifth annual O'Reilly Open Source Convention is reserved for the States of the Union addresses. Luminaries from the open source communities of Perl, Python, PHP, MySQL, Apache, and Linux each spoke for just under a half hour to present their take on the current state of their technology and where it is headed."

Fri, 11 Jul 2003 13:29:29 +0000


A native MacOS Wiki:

"VoodooPad is a new kind of notepad. It's like having your own personal hypertext library, where you can jot down notes, web addresses, to-do lists... Anything on your mind. VoodooPad automatically links each page together, to form a miniature world wide web, on your desktop! Anybody familiar with the WikiWikiWeb will feel right at home with VoodooPad."

Fri, 11 Jul 2003 09:43:34 +0000


Google News - finally. Seems to be just what I've been waiting for.

Fri, 11 Jul 2003 09:33:15 +0000


OpenGroupware.org's mission: "To create, as a community, the leading open source groupware server to integrate with the leading open source office suite products and all the leading groupware clients running across all major platforms, and to provide access to all functionality and data through open XML-based interfaces and APIs."

It's a formerly commercial software (SKYRIX) written in Objective C by a German company (MDlink)...

Fri, 11 Jul 2003 09:30:06 +0000

Jon Udell: Listening to my server

Strategic Developer: "The first server I connected to the Internet sat on the floor of my office, close enough so I could hear -- and feel -- its response to heavy load. It seems weird to admit that I relied on those sensory cues, but I've talked to enough system administrators to know I'm not alone."

Fri, 11 Jul 2003 08:34:27 +0000

Jon Udell: Wrappers, injectors, and writing tools

Jon Udell: "[...] blog content would be a lot more valuable if it were easier for non-emacs-using civilians to write XHTML. I'm particularly interested in finding ways to relate the style vocabulary of a standard wordprocessor, which is the only kind of granular metadata that people will consistently apply, to an emergent semantic vocabulary in blogspace. But that's a long-term thing."

Fri, 11 Jul 2003 06:17:29 +0000

Gizmodo : The gadgets weblog

"Gizmodo is [...] dedicated to everything related to gadgets, gizmos, and cutting-edge consumer electronics."

(Found it through Infoworld's Chad Dickerson's weblog.)

Thu, 10 Jul 2003 06:08:00 +0000


I'd like to have overLIB popups looking like comic strip bubbles - to display footnotes, explain acronyms, and allow multiple link destinations.

Wed, 09 Jul 2003 12:21:00 +0000

PortLAMP: Advanced PHP, Jabber

Daniel Smith's report on "PortLAMP Courses: Monday", including a nice overview of Sterling Hughes' talk on Advanced PHP, and some Jabber comments:

"[Jabber] is also good at detecting the presence of people AND machines (think of a buddy list for an app that can open a connection to a Jabber server, or to you personally)"

Wed, 09 Jul 2003 09:01:00 +0000


It's been years now since I last looked at how to generate PHP API documentation in HTML directly from the sources. I came to use PHPDoc - which worked after some hacks, but wasn't really nice.

Now the right tool for the job seems to be phpDocumentor - must find some time to check this out...

Tue, 08 Jul 2003 10:02:00 +0000

Xopus, The Friendly XML Editor

Commercial software and not available yet, but nice looking!

Mon, 07 Jul 2003 12:47:00 +0000


"CONESYS, the COntent NEtwork SYStem, provides Open Source Software for Peer-to-Peer Content and Knowledge Management."

(Found it on the LinuxTag site.)

Mon, 07 Jul 2003 12:46:00 +0000

Ray Ozzie: Extreme Mobility

Ray Ozzie: "What will it be like to build applications for a world in which mobility is of primary importance? The three principal dimensions that must be considered are usage mobility and infrastructure mobility and participant mobility."

Mon, 07 Jul 2003 08:45:00 +0000

Mozilla Composer

It took me years to figure out that Netscape/Mozilla Composer is actually useful:

I always thought that the "Publish" function required a lot of magic on the server to work, but never bothered to give it a try (and used ssh + vi for even the smallest changes to my website).

But it's really not that hard to support HTTP PUT publishing:

- added "Script PUT /publish/put.php" to my httpd.conf, - wrote a small PHP script reading the name of the edited file from $_SERVER[ 'PATH_INFO' ], then doing what's described in the PHP manual.

Now I'm finally editing my website in WYSIWYG mode, and this has made me think: Since all the published information is going through my PHP code, funny things can be done...

Fri, 04 Jul 2003 13:08:00 +0000

Morphon XML-Editor

Morphon looks similar to XMLSpy, but it's free (and written in Java).

Fri, 04 Jul 2003 08:08:00 +0000

Tim O'Reilly: All Software Should Be Network Aware

Tim O'Reilly: "We ought to be able to have the expectation that all applications, whether local or remote (web) will be set up for two-way interactions. That is, they can be either a source or sink of online data."

Thu, 03 Jul 2003 05:58:00 +0000


"[...] hier können Sie in den Filmen der Wochenschauen kostenfrei recherchieren".


Thu, 03 Jul 2003 05:57:25 +0000

Clay Shirky: A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy

"Let me offer a definition of social software, because it's a term that's still fairly amorphous. My definition is fairly simple: It's software that supports group interaction. I also want to emphasize, although that's a fairly simple definition, how radical that pattern is."


Wed, 02 Jul 2003 13:06:28 +0000


"Spring is an innovative, web-inspired desktop initially for OS X. It's a universal canvas where you interact naturally with singular, visual representations of the people, places, products, etc that define your life!"


Tue, 01 Jul 2003 11:46:35 +0000

Wikis as outliners

Jeff Chan: "[...] I think wikis can learn from outliners. What I would like to see is some form of automated summarization or folding capability which keeps the amount of text per page roughly constant or bounded."

Tue, 01 Jul 2003 11:46:02 +0000

Jon Udell: Voices

"I've been a Wiki (and a Ward Cunningham) fan for years, but I would say that Wiki, too, is suboptimal for the task at hand. Ideally XML, not raw ASCII text, would be the stuff that was written, and refactored, and then mined to produce coherent views. We have no tools that come close to enabling that to happen. Such tools, combining the power of XML with the flexibility of freeform text, and operating on a universal canvas, are what will really drive mainstream adoption of a two-way Web."

"[...] we're not going to have a semantic web until regular people can effectively write it. Weblogs were a major step forward, [...]"

"I've written recently about finishing work. Jean Paoli has dreamed for half his life of bringing XML to the masses, and he well knows that Microsoft's ability to pour resources into usability analysis and finishing work is his best shot at making the dream real."


Tue, 01 Jul 2003 11:08:36 +0000

Sterling Hughes' Weblog


Tue, 01 Jul 2003 05:26:36 +0000

Top Ten Guidelines for Homepage Usability

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20020512.html

Tue, 01 Jul 2003 05:14:48 +0000