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My Thoughts on The Ajax Experience

Dear Reader,

As previously described, I’m now at The Ajax Experience. I have to say that I’m very impressed with the professionalism. From the handling of the speakers to the clockwork precision by which each event occurs, it is truly a well run conference.

It’s also a great conference content wise, not because I spoke at it. :) The talks I’ve attended have, for the most part, been very good. There were a couple I sneaked out of because they were not as interesting as I had originally thought. That’s going to happen and shouldn’t be considered a disparaging comment about the conference itself. Overall, the sessions I’ve been to that I’ve stayed in, I’ve really liked. The one I’m in right now, JSON, putting the X in Ajax is has been my favorite so far. (even though he didn’t go near the 90 minute time frame and we were threatened with a severe beating if we didn’t) It’s been a great talk and I’ve learned a lot.

I did meet a couple of cool people. I finally got to meet Dion Almaer of www.ajaxian.com and Tatiana from O’Reilly. (I do hope I spelled your name right.)

The one and ONLY comment I have about The Ajax Experience that is not glowing is that there are no power strips to plug your laptop into. Even though the great company I work for saw fit to get me an extended battery for my T60, it’s still not enough to make it all day. Power strips would have been nice. To end in a compliment though, the WiFi has been great. I think a lot of people tried their best to kill it today downloading FireFox 2.0, but other than that minor glitch it’s been great.

If you get a chance to attend a “The Ajax Experience” conference in the future, make sure you take it. I recommend it for programmers and designers; anyone concerned with UI, either how it looks or how it works. I really appreciate Jay letting me come this time and I hope I get the opportunity to speak in the future.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
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The AJAX Expreience

Dear Reader,


It’s DONE! My presentation for
The AJAX Experience is complete, slides have been emailed and all my code works!

For those just joining us, I’m speaking next week at The AJAX Experience in Boston. I’ll be presenting “My First Mashup”. It’s the little UPS/Googlemaps thingy I talked about earlier. It’s going to be a fun session if nothing else.

When I spoke at FileMaker’s conference, I really sweated it. I was part of the closing keynote. It was easier than I anticipated mainly because there were so many people there. (like 1,500+) When I spoke at php|works in Toronto, I felt unprepared. I had studied the material but it wasn’t a passion of mine so I just didn’t feel like I did a good job.

This time I feel prepared and jazzed. I wanted to write this project last year but just didn’t have time. When my client (SnappDragon, where you should be shopping for all your grills and grill accessories) asked me for a page to track UPS packages, I knew I had to write it.

The session will cover the version I wrote for them (old-school), an intermediate version that uses SJAX (Synchronous) and then finally an AJAX version. The idea is to show developers how they can take an existing old-school idea and turn it into a Web 2.0 idea. (because this stuff is really very easy once you learn the rules.)

if you are going to The AJAX Experience, even if you are not attending my session, make sure you stop by and say hi.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)

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Mashup update

Dear Reader,

Since it was requested, here is a screenshot of the page in action. UPS Package Track

This is a package that came to me recently. Just so you know, packages can be tracked for up to 365 days after delivery. (I guess that’s in case you forgot you got it.)

Anyhow, I’m working on the AJAX version of this. I also implemented caching of the cities and geocodes since most cities don’t move. (Yes, I know, except for Springfield and if that’s the first thing that came to YOUR mind then you really need to stop watching the Simpsons so much) That’s why, if you put in the package ID in the screen shot, it’ll go pretty quick because it only has to ask UPS for the info and the Google geocoding comes from the database. One interesting side effect, as more people use this, I’m planning on building a map that shows things like:

  • Most common city of origin
  • Most common destination city
  • Most used hub city

Things like that. Why? Because I can. (Why is not really important here, this is a hobby!)

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
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New Toy! My first mashup

Dear Reader,

I finally found time to write a mashup. Actually this started out as a project for a customer and this page is just an unbranded version of the one I gave to them.

http://www.calevans.com/trackups.php is the URL. It’s really very simple. You put in a valid UPS package id and it tracks it via UPS’s API and then displays a Google map of where your package is/was.

It was fun to write. I’m still working out some kinks in version 1. Version 2, which is about 50% done is an all AJAX version. Once I get it done I’ll probably write up a quickie article on how I did it. (Like anyone with Google and half a brain can’t figure it out.)

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
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Odds and Ends

Dear Reader,

Yes, I’m still alive and no I’ve not taken to just shoveling up the crap the “devzone”:http://devzone.zend.com/public/view turns down. I’ll return to blogging soon and even to “blogblinging”:https://blog.calevans.com/blog-bling/. But here’s what’s up right now.

The company I was working for is in a bit of a financial pickle. I’ve picked up a short-term contract doing some super-secret cool stuff but it’s not permanent. So if you know of anyone looking for someone to take their development team to the next level, send them my way. “Obligatory link to my resume”:http://www.calevans.com/view.php/page/resume I have a lead on something permanent if this contract goes well but I don’t have a feel for that yet so I don’t want to jinx it.

I’ve been working a lot in “AJAX”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AJAX for the past couple of days using the “YAHOO library”:http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/index.html. I must say that it is an impressive if large piece of code. I’ve been using the “dragdrop”:http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/dragdrop/index.html portion of the code and am really liking what I see. It’s not as ‘user friendly’ as “script.aculo.us”:http://script.aculo.us/ but it’s much more powerful. I started this project in “script.aculo.us”:http://script.aculo.us/ but had to abandon it because I couldn’t get the fine-grain control I needed. Basically, IMHO, “script.aculo.us”:http://script.aculo.us/ is great if you are looking to Web 2.0-erize your site but if you are building a serious application, you are going to need “YAHOO library”:http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/index.html. When I finish I’ll blog togehter a little tutorial about what I learned because a lot of what I’m learning I’m having to learn by reading other people’s code and keep trying different things till something works. (Old-school, cave-man coding)

Someone reported today a problem with “WP-Notable”:http://www.calevans.com/view.php/page/notable and “WordPress 1.5.1”:http://wordpress.org/. I don’t have a 1.5.x blog running anymore so I can’t test it. I know what the problem is but 1.5.1 doesn’t support the function I need to call. So for the moment, if you are running 1.5.x I highly recommend you use one of the other packages that do this. (No, I won’t point you to one, google around, you’ll find them.)

I’m working on my “tagcloud”:http://www.calevans.com/view.php/page/tagcloud project. I’ve decided that it needs a second dimension. Right now size indicates popularity of the topic. (Well, it really depends on how you set your CSS) I also want to be able to imply a second dimension. In the test case I’m working on, I want to confer relative age of the topic. (Very popular but old isn’t interesting, kinda like George Clooney) I’ll be doing this by fading the color as the second dimension.

Anyhow, that is what’s up with Cal. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. Hey, in case you missed the memo, my weekly “Zend Framework Mailinglist”:http://www.zend.com/lists/fw-general/200604/maillist.html Roundups now have their own tag. Check them out “here”:http://devzone.zend.com/public/view/tag/Roundup.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)

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