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what I am working on (brain dump)

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:15 am
by uptoeleven
Things I am doing or will be doing soon:

1.) a form editor for CMS
2.) an enhancement to the user (will not alter the user object at all - this will just use the user_id from the user object) object so other information can be stored
3.) some sort of catalogue system
4.) integration of 2&3 with paypal to provide some sort of e-commerce support
5.) some sort of calendar
6.) a different approach to WYSIWYG
7.) a template builder

1.) I was building a form editor for CMS which I have now decided to change track on. It was hideously complex and clunky to use the bits I had made. I have now realised that a more sensible approach is to build a form editor for TinyMCE and then create some sort of form handler for CMS which can take forms and process information on them. Ideally validation will be duplicated so there is both client and server side validation. I am also developing a way to produce a series of these forms such that they have to be run in order (or you get thrown to the last known legal point in the sequence).

I previously helped develop the sequencing bit in a previous job in server-side java so I already have the processes mapped out in my head - must write down :) However I am a newbie to PHP so I don't know all the tricks on how to make my code nice. As a result I predict reams of horrid - sorry in advance.

As my CMS form building module code was not idempotent I developed redirect for the admin side (similar to the redirect for the user side) as otherwise the same form element got added over and over again. This will really help with my proposed template builder so I should submit it to SVN - I need to find out how SVN works :)

2.) User enhancement: I am looking to add some sort of e-commerce functionality so extended user information is required, this will be a module.

3.) Cataloguing: Again, for an e-commerce functionality, so basically there can be stock and possibly even stock levels. I don't want this in the main php-layers menu - it should run in a menu of its own so that catalogue browsing is separate from browsing the site as a whole. Also going to need a basket which is maintained in the session, containing items from the catalogue and associated with the user.

4.) Paypal simply because it is the cheapest to set up. Once I have it working for paypal I can create a generic pay-system hook up and then have adapters for the various merchant systems (paypal, worldpay etc) extend it.

5.) Calendar: Bewbs was working on one but no-one knows where he or his code is - other than "travelling". I am tempted to trawl across the net and find a simple open-source calendar I can steal the code from.

6.) What's easier than WYSIWYG? WYSIWYU - What You See Is What You Upload (just made that up) - as a lot of the prospective WYSIWYG users for my work will essentially be taking word files, pasting them into a massively complex WYSIWYG system (all WYSIWYGs are massively complex I thought I would look to see if there is a project available to work with word processor files in php. If there is I will use it. If there isn't then scrap the idea as I don't have time. But the basic idea is that you write the document (including pictures) in word processor then upload it using a simple upload, part of which involves uploading any attached images. You can then edit it in WYSIWYG of choice but I think this might bypass some interesting behaviour of WYSIWYG systems across the multitude of browsers. I'm not suggesting this as an alternative to using TinyMCE, HTMLText or your own favourite WYSIWYG. This is to make the life of the users potentially easier.

7.) A template builder. This would also encompass applying styles to PHP-layers but extend from that. I am not a graphical designer but I've had to apply many, many designs conjured up by artists and designers to websites. Sometimes they worked very well. Sometimes they failed spectacularly. Sometimes I nearly got fired. But the way it seems to work for me is that there a number of types of element that exist and then you apply design to that type of element.

So there are menus, forms, content and probably a bunch of element types I haven't thought of. They all have borders, delimiters, bullets, backgrounds, padding / margins / spacing, alignment within the element, alignment to the parent enclosing element and alignment / positioning on the page.

The module will be able to define styles - both globally to the template and specifically to the element - copy styles between elements and between designs.

It would be nice to be able to predefine several sets of templates without colours. Then the user can mix and match elements to their requirements and finally colour the whole lot in. Again sequences of forms might be very useful here.

Anyway this should keep me busy for a bit. Or I will just give up with a shrug, who knows?


Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:44 am
by uptoeleven
Laptop dead - all development code was on it, naturally hadn't backed up. Furious.

Afraid I haven't used cpanel before so wouldn't know how to build a tool to integrate with it.

No.6 in my list is not possible, maybe at some point a library will be written that can do this sort of thing. As it is most of the "scripts" that do it are reliant on COM which means platform reliance. I don't have time to work out how to implement this without COM (by reading the Open Office source code and copying the Word filter) so it must wait.

Re: that

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:38 am
by Akrabat
uptoeleven wrote:Laptop dead - all development code was on it, naturally hadn't backed up. Furious.
urgh :(

it's very depressing when that happens.

ok - back up and running

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 5:22 pm
by uptoeleven
sort of back up and running on a substitute laptop. Splashed out on an external firewire h/d so I can at least keep all code in on place (also useful for h/d recording using emagic a6|2m - in my other life)

Wishy - what is the branch I need to checkout to look at the API work you are doing at the moment? It seems crazy for me to develop modules for an API that is going to be extinct. I have got some pretty nutty milestones set for myself for a project that I am hoping to get live. As a result I'd like to help you get the OO API up and running if there is any work left to do on it. I'll be on IRC later on - just have some errands to run.

what I am working on (brain dump)

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 5:29 pm
by Ted

A lot is done (and usable), but here is definatly still stuff to do, though I don't have everything totally planned out yet... I'm mostly converting modules over and finding ways to streamline the API for easier development.