JavaScript Technology

Clever document.write killer

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Some ad networks and other script-based entities, such as Google Ads, I believe, use JavaScript document.write to write out the content to our web pages. The organizations use this because they want the content embedded in the page at the point where the item is placed, and there isn’t a lot of control where this can happen.

brothercake at SitePoint has come with a way of eliminating the need for document.write, which is to give the script element an identifier and use it as point of reference where to place the content using the proper DOM functions.

It’s something that should have been obvious, but wasn’t until it was pointed out. As one commenter wrote, a real slapping the head moment.

(via Simon Willison)

JavaScript Semantics

Lists of good stuff

I love lists of good stuff:

Danny Ayers, Week of Semantic Web. I hope, I hope, I hope, Danny continues this.

Agile Ajax links several GWT tutorials, all in one post — handy if you’re into the Google Web Toolkit, or want to give it a try.

Graphics/CSS Photography

Photoshop misery

I had been keeping my version of Photoshop current on my Mac, but not my Windows. When I saw an upgrade package at Amazon that would upgrade my Windows 5.0 version to CS2, I decided to get it. A day wasted later, and oddly enough, talking to what sounds like the same people Chuqui talked to, I found that there are certain installers on Windows that just won’t accept the serial number, and the support person at Adobe would have to manually generate one for me. I asked if the same number would work if I needed to re-install the CS2 upgrade, and she said no, I’d have to call in again if I needed to re-install CS2 on my Windows. I would also have to provide my complete purchase history for Photoshop on Windows, including keys for software bought 6 years ago.

For Chugui, the experience began with the mistaken belief that if all you want to use in CS2 is Photoshop, one should be able to just upgrade Photoshop, especially when Adobe sells upgrades for Photoshop. You’d think…

The first one’s job was to tell me that no, in fact I could NOT upgrade a CS2 package to just Photoshop (but, I asked, what about your web site that says I can? I never got a straight answer about that, actually, just told that it wasn’t possible). I finally decided the hell with it and decided I’d wasted enough time — and maybe I might use Dreamweaver here or there — so I went ahead and decided to go to CS3.

That third guy’s job was to let me know that they couldn’t actually just amend my upgrade, I’d have to buy the CS3 upgrade, and then they’d refund me my original upgrade.

Of course, you can imagine what happened when Chuq tried to get a refund.

Adobe believes it has a lock on the graphics and photo editing world with Photoshop, and is using it to force people into buying what they don’t need. I’ve thought about upgrading my CS2 installation on the Mac (never again on Windows), but after listening to some of the problems people have had, have been reluctant to plunk down yet more money. Especially since there’s been so many issues related to upgrading Photoshop, as compared to upgrading the CS ‘suite’.

Now, I do like Lightroom more than Aperture, and I really like Adobe Bridge. I can live without Lightroom, though, and my Adobe Bridge still works. I’m finding that what I have with my current software is more than good enough, so I’m reluctant to do anything at all; just use what I have until forcibly kicked off in some way (probably some incompatible Mac OS upgrade). Frankly, I just can’t keep up with the expense of all these upgrades — especially when I’m maintaining three computers (two Macs and a Windows).

I’m also turning to open source for my needs more frequently. I’ve made the transition to NeoOffice for my Office replacement on the Mac and have never looked back. The software is stable, easy to use, and improves with each release. I also like OpenOffice for Windows, and have had no problems using it with my Windows XP box (I also am holding on upgrading to Vista).

For the new book, instead of putting any time into Photoshop, I decided to cover GIMP and other tools, instead. There is an installer for GIMP for the Mac that works nicely, but instead I installed Darwin/Mac Ports, and then installed both GIMP and UFRaw, the wonderful tool for handling RAW images, using the Ports installation program. Both installations went through without a hitch.

I also installed GIMP and UFRaw on Windows, using the ‘dummies’ installation for the latter and, again, no problems with the installation (though I don’t know if either will work with Vista).


What do I think of the tools? I really like UFRaw, and from what I can see, it handles my Nikon NEF files to a treat. I think I actually prefer it over Adobe’s plug-in, as it seems to manage white space better.

GIMP isn’t as fully featured as Photoshop. It’s not as simple to work with as Photoshop, but much of that could be my unfamiliarity with the tool. It doesn’t have the color support, or the Smart Sharpen filter, nor does it seem to support free transformations. However, the unsharp filter seems to work decently, and I can find most of the transforms I need by looking through the other tools. In addition, GIMP is very much a ‘living’ application, which means new filters, plugins, and versions are continuously being developed.


As for graphics, I was able to immediately create a ‘shiny’ Web 2.0 button, as well as re-implement the reflection technique I had picked up for Photoshop. In other words, it provides all I need for the effects I create.

Shiny Button

You also don’t need a desktop tool. I recently discovered an online graphics tool, FixPicture that can take my Nikon RAW images in NEF format, and allow me to add any number of edits, saving the result to any number of formats.

FixPicture screenshot

I can’t speak for professional photographers and graphic artists, but I can’t help thinking the amateur photographer and web developer/designer who does some graphics, would get all they need from the open source community, rather than having to pay the Adobe tax. Not just GIMP and UFRaw–there are dozens of interesting single and multipurpose tools and utilities that allow us to create all sorts of interesting work; all open, all free except for what you can spare by way of donation.

I’m not adverse to proprietary applications or companies who profit from such, but when a company’s proprietary acts cross over the edge to the predatory, like Adobe’s has with Photoshop, I think it’s time to look elsewhere.


Movin’ on up to PHP5

Recovered from Wayback Machine.

The PHP group has announced end of support for PHP4 and encouraging everyone to move on up to PHP5.

WordPress Matt isn’t happy with PHP5 and believes such a move should happen when PHP6 goes beta. I think the point really is that the PHP group can’t move forward on PHP6, while still trapped in support for PHP4.

I’m actually not unhappy at PHP5, though I do still tend to develop in PHP4 mindset. In Matt’s comments, Michael Moncur wrote:

I think every language reaches a point in its development where it’s “good enough” – and it becomes popular. Advancing the language after that is often a matter strictly for the hardcore programmers and academics, and the versions they create after that point are rarely widely adopted.

I’m not sure what the solution is, but app developers shooting themselves in the foot is unlikely to be it.

Personally I’ve avoided upgrading to PHP5 mostly because PHP4 is “good enough” and runs the apps I need (and the ones I wrote myself). I guess I’ll eventually be dragged into the upgrade kicking and screaming like I was with Apache 2.0. And MySQL 5. And Perl 5 and 6. And…

If you want to talk about the king of slow upgrades, Apache 2.0 is the winner, by far. I never thought much about Perl because I rarely work with it nowadays. However, the MySQL upgrades have been drastically different. Each new version of MySQL brings with it desperately needed and wanted functionality. I think the only hold back on upgrades with this database is how ubiquitous it is, and how hesitant people are with using ‘new’ database releases.

My hosted environment is running PHP5 and MySQL 5, and my main development machine, the last of the Powerbook G4s, runs Apache 2, PHP5, and MySQL 5 (installed via Darwin/Mac Ports). For the most part, I’ve not had any software that required earlier versions of any of these applications. Whatever I work on for my own amusement and interest works for PHP5 and MySQL 5; I don’t test with earlier versions. Good or bad, that’s a choice I made with host and with my own setup (I could run multiple versions for testing, but I don’t choose to). For my contract work, I’ll work in whatever environment I’m given.

The Go PHP5 effort should help make the point that apps need to move forward. Matt may think the site is corny, and that PHP4 being dropped is a no story, and that PHP5 is awful/nasty, but the news release and the site get the point across–like it or not, PHP4 is going away.

Now, if we can only make earlier versions of IE–such as IE 6.x–vanish, I would be happy.


Artists create, developers hack

From the email list associated with the Creative Commons group, I found an interesting thread, where it seems many members of the organization believe that the non-commercial option in the CC licenses should be abolished. As one person wrote, works licensed under cc didn’t really challenged the dominant market paradigm. especially the most of them are licensed under ‘noncommercial’ licence.

There was discussion in the thread about how new models for artists will arise someday, and the use of the non-commercial license is an opening wedge. As example, thread members discussed how the software community now embraces many licenses that provide for free use of software: licenses such as GPL (GNU Public License), which prohibits use of GPL licensed work in new efforts that will not be released GPL; as compared to other licenses such as free-BSD, which allows such. I’m not up for another debate on CC, but I did notice the following from the thread:

it will take a little longer until the success of works under CC-BY and CC-BY-SA will really challenge the dominant market players, but it will happen.

True that this would come sooner if the people wouldn’t need to go through a learning process that NC is not so necessary after all, but even the coding community took a while until they understood the workings of free software (even though they have much less heart and soul attached to their works compared to many artists)

My, aren’t we precious.