Skip to main content - A shell script for serving sites

I am experimenting with using a Linux virtual machine as my web development environment of choice. I store the vm on a removable drive so that I can develop from any location, without having to setup a working environment. Previously I had to check out the repositories, setup a local webserver and I had trouble keeping things working, because every configuration change had to be applied in every location. Now it is all centralized and my life is simpler.

The aim is to make working on projects as easy as possible. I have all projects checked out in a folder called /var/sites. They are mostly PHP projects and because of my shared hosting environment they share a single apache configuration. How can I easily serve them? Having seperate virtualhosts for each project would result in me having to make manual changes on every location again, so this was not the way to go.

Instead I created a simple shell script that creates a symbolic link from the Apache's webroot to the project I am working on:

[gallery link="file"]

echo "Available sites:"
ls  /var/sites
echo -n "Type site to serve: "
read site
if [ -z "$site" ]
sudo rm /var/www
sudo ln -s /var/sites/$site /var/www


[Patch] CodeIgniter Helper class patch for Textile

For those that do not follow me on twitter (@pacifika), I've created a patched version of Textile, the html generator alternative to Markdown, to make it easier to use in CodeIgniter projects. I have provided the patch and patched Textile on support forums of both projects.

[Patch] CodeIgniter Helper class patch for classTextile.php · Textpattern CMS Support Forum.

After patching, you can just use Textile like this:

$text = Textile("Dude this is *my* code!");

For more information read the post on the forums!


InstaPlay 1.0

As a hobbyist music producer, I have a lot of samples of sounds. As I have decided to start organising these, I needed a quick way to fire off samples in wav and mp3 format through Windows Explorer.

So I created InstaPlay. This is a simple sound player. To install it simply unzip it in a directory that's in the path, and then associate wav and mp3 files (and whatever else you want to use) with it.  It also has a few features:

  1. Just double click or run a soundfile to hear it play.
  2. Nice speaker icon in system tray while a sound is playing. Double click it to quit InstaPlay and stop playback.
  3. Run  another sound file to switch playback to that instead.

This program will help you categorize more efficiently as you can move the sound that's being played without pesky 'file in use' prompts.

Download Info
Download the latest version (v1.0 - updated 14/oct/2010)


Rewarding feedback

Acquiring feedback on web projects can be harder than you'd think, especially when you're working on internal projects that don't get discussed on outside your organization. By making feedback a fun, easy and rewarding thing to do more people might be encouraged to help us and put in the effort.

I'm sure some of you are in a similar situation: you launch a project and silence follows. Trivial problems might emerge but a there's no general response to the long hours you put in. That makes it much harder to evaluate the project and set a schedule for future developments.

To help with this we've created a UserVoice page. Let's describe it as a digg-like FAQ. People are encouraged to leave a message, can vote on feedback they find important, and always have the full picture of what the development is focused on. Developers act on the consensus and theoretically will work on solving the most urgent issues.

Of course this model will work best when both users and developers care enough to communicate. So Uservoice is engineered to make it trivial to leave a message. It can be easily integrated into an existing site. Some functionality requires a user account, which is a stumbling block. But you can leave feedback without it, which is a bonus. Oh and it doesn't integrate with any bug trackers which is a shame.

Will it work and will there be enough participation? Ask me again in 6 months time. I'm not sure how to make it any easier though.