This Site & Me
I'm a technologist, mobile specialist, experienced software developer, author, public speaker & an SAP employee. My thoughts, ideas, rants, comments & most of the code you'll find here are my own. Feel free to use any of this, but be sure to identify the source.
Topics You'll Find Here
This site contains content on a bunch of different topics including Mobile, Mobile Development, IBM Lotus Domino and other topics that strike my fancy. I've written a couple of mobile development books, so mobile and mobile development tend to dominate.
- Category: Mobile Development
- Published on Thursday, 19 September 2013 08:08
Today I launched the web site for my upcoming book called Apache Cordova 3 Programming; you can find the site at www.cordovaprogramming.com. The book is written but still going through the editing process. stay tuned.
- Category: Mobile Development
- Published on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 17:00
A few minutes after finishing my 4th book, I received an email from the editor at the View (www.eview.com) letting me know that they’d published an anthology of their mobile development articles called Mastering Mobile for Notes/Domino. The book is essentially a collection of 22 articles and 16 of them are mine, so 72.73% of the ‘chapters’ are my work. You can find information about the anthology at The View. If you order a copy, please tell them you heard about it here!
I didn’t do a page calculation to figure out exactly how much of the book is my writing, but I’m still going to count this as a book I’ve ‘written’ a part of.
Over the years, I wrote 20 articles for the view and 18 of them were on mobile development. During that time, I usually wrote something here about the articles and many readers reached out to me for access to the article content. Since I don’t own the content, I couldn’t make any of it available. Now however, even non-subscribers have access to the content. So, if you’ve wanted to read some of my mobile development articles for IBM Lotus Domino, you can access most of them through this anthology.
- Category: Mobile Development
- Published on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 17:39
Last week I put the finishing touches on Apache Cordova 3 Programming, my 4th book. The Cordova team recently released version 3 of the popular open source mobile development framework and this should be the first book on the topic.
The book is essentially a rewrite of the first half of PhoneGap Essentials. The Cordova tooling changed dramatically after PhoneGap Essentials was published, so the first half of that older book was pretty out of date. The first chapter is essentially the same, while the rest of the book focuses primarily on the tooling, but the last 100 pages cover the Cordova APIs, creating plugins and the end to end development process. It’s complete coverage of the topic, but simply doesn’t go into the APIs in as much detail as PhoneGap Essentials did.
I’m pretty excited about the book; it’s about 300 pages and should be out in electronic version pretty soon and available as a printed book before Christmas. I will post an update on the site as soon as it’s available from my publisher at www.informit.com and amazon.com. Right now the book's web site is not operational, but I will fix that by the end of the week.
I really want to do an update on the second half of PhoneGap Essentials, so I’m having a discussion with my publisher about that as well. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know how this progresses.
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Published on Monday, 26 August 2013 10:52
I wrote a few weeks back about some shipping problems Amazon seems to be having. It's gotten worse, I recently ordered a CD from No-Man, a side project of Steven Wilson. I received the disc last week, but Amazon thinks they're getting ready to ship it any minute now as shown in the figure below:
I'm not sure what to do. Do I cancel the order? No, can't do that as it would be unethical. Do I let them ship it to me again? No, that would be wasteful and, if I try to refuse it or return it, they'll probably credit me back again. Ugh.
I could try to contact them, to tell them it's shown as not shipping yet but I already have the item, but they're online help isn't setup for that scenario.
I'm going to have to submit a support ticket, but why is it my responsibility?
- Category: Content Management Systems
- Published on Sunday, 25 August 2013 17:56
I’ve started work on the web site for my upcoming book, Apache Cordova Programming.
For my BlackBerry Development Fundamentals, I created the site using Joomla. For PhoneGap Essentials, I wanted to learn Drupal, so I used it to build the book’s web site. For my What Now? The Essential Guide for New Soccer Referees, I used the Concrete 5 CMS. Since I've used a different CMS for each book's web site, it would be cool to continue the tradition, but no other CMS has caught my eye. I wanted to try to use Xoops for something, but that one seems to have withered on the vine.
Drupal is very powerful, but a little hard to work with. You have great power in what you can do with a site, but I found it to be pretty slow and cumbersome. Unfortunately, for the type of site I wanted to build for PhoneGap Essentials, Drupal was a great choice as the very powerful Content Creation Kit (CCK) was moved into the core of Drupal beginning with Drupal 7. The CCK allowed me to easily define custom fields for my different content types and render and sort by those fields in views. It was pretty cool and I was able to quickly do what I wanted with the site – customizing the Chapters (http://www.phonegapessentials.com/chapters.html) and Errata (http://www.phonegapessentials.com/errata.html) views on the site.
I’m a super big fan of Joomla, and although Drupal would give me the flexibility I needed to make the site I needed, I would really prefer to do it with Joomla. So, I registered a domain, setup a Joomla site (using the latest and greatest version of course) and started looking for a way to get the CCK capabilities I wanted with a Joomla-based web site.
If you search through the Joomla Extension Directory and look at CCK extensions, the JoomlaWorks K2 extension is listed as one of the most popular. I looked around on their web site (http://getk2.org) and it looked like it had everything I needed. I installed it and figured out how to use it fairly quickly although there is absolutely no documentation available for the extension. There are video tutorials, but no documentation at all that I can find. After playing around with it for a while, I was frustrated to find that it really doesn’t provide the capabilities I need. It works (sort of) and it has a pretty cool set of features, but falls down in the critical places where I need it the most.
I was able to add extra fields like Chapter and Page, and built some field groups to group them together. My Chapter content needed the Chapter field, but the Errata article type needed both Chapter and Page. Unfortunately, for some bizarre reason, you can’t have a field in two field groups. Makes no sense to me, but that is the way it works. So, I had to add a Chapter field for the Chapter article type and another Chapter field for the Errata article type. Ugh.
There’s no numeric field type. I can add a bunch of extra fields, but not numeric fields. If you look at the previous paragraph, doesn’t Chapter and Page Number fields imply they’re numeric? Nope, had to create them as text, not numeric fields. Next to useless.
K2 doesn’t seem to support any custom views. Now that I have all of my chapter content entered with my shiny new Chapter field added, I want to create a view that allows me to render articles sorted by chapter number. Nope, can’t do it. Not only can’t you show a custom field in a view, you can’t sort on it either. What’s the sense of allowing me to add additional fields to an article if I can’t use them for anything. And, since I have to use text fields instead of numeric fields, even if I could use them in views, they would still sort as 1, 10, 2, 3 and so on since that’s the way sorting by textual numbers works.
What’s the point?
It seems like they expect you to extend Joomla’s article system in order to create custom views, but that seems like more trouble than it’s worth. I’ve printed out a tutorial on the topic and we’ll see over the next couple of weeks if I can figure it out.
I tried using the Article Manager to force the order of the Chapter articles, but could not make it work any way I tried. The default Joomla article manager allows me to do it, but not K2.
Over the last few months, I’ve posted some questions to the K2 forums. When I’m up there looking around, there’s nobody else but me up there, so it really feels like an unpopular or near death extension.
I’ve posted question on the forums asking how I can create custom views. I’ve asked where the documentation is. I’ve asked why there’s no numeric field type. No response. I did get one response, but the responder used Google Translate to translate my question and the response I got back (translated back into English) was incomprehensible.
It sure feels like K2 is near death. It has great aspirations, but simply doesn’t deliver. Too bad, it looked like a good option for me.
- Category: Mobile Development
- Published on Sunday, 18 August 2013 18:33
OK, so I was registering my daughter for fall Soccer (That’s Football to most of the world) at the local YMCA. The person behind the counter scanned my membership card, so had all of the information she needed to complete the registration except for payment. Actually, that’s not true – they automatically transfer the monthly fee from my checking account, so they even had the information they needed to collect payment as well.
Anyways, knowing they had everything they needed to register my daughter, they still handed me an iPad with an application I needed to use to fill out her registration. Mind you, they scanned my membership card then validated my name, email address, mailing address and more plus identified the child I wanted to register by name – but still needed me to fill out this form on the iPad.
What a bunch of idiots.
Anyway, I’m filling out the form with my daughter’s name and my contact information and one of the fields that I need to fill out is her birth year. I clicked the dropdown and saw that the very first year on the list was 2037. Yep, it’s 2013 and they START the birth year at 2037 and go down from there.
Assuming the sports program starts at 4, it would have to be 2041 before that year would apply.
Did I mention that they’re a bunch of idiots?
I’m not sure, but do you think the developer who built the application could have done a little math and done the following:
MaxValue = Current Year – 80
Min value = CurrentYear + MinimumAgeForSports
This is just another find example of a mobile application developer not thinking as they work on an application.
- Surprise Amazon Shipment
- ChargeCard Smartphone Charger
- Cordova DeviceReady Firing
- Canadian Out of the Office
- Leaving The View
- You can always tell...
- Weird Spamming
- BlackBerry Facebook Application Broken
- What Were They Thinking #13 – VZ Navigator
- The Solution to My Domino Server Configuration Problem