So after a
long really long hiatus, I’m kinda back. Sort of. There are so many interesting things going on that it’s hard sometimes to sit down and write about them. But write I must, or else the blog grows old and stale (which it already has, so I need to reverse the trend). With the break finally over, I’m free from:
- 23 hours of class a week
- Hundreds of hours of RA responsibility
- 4 hours of tutoring a week
- Miscellaneous computer work (such as Pre-Med Club)
- And all the other normal college student responsibilities
It was a tough semester, to be sure. But with 5 out of 6 classes reporting, I was still able to keep all A’s… although one of them was very close (and it’s a good story too). Here’s how it came about.
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Happy Seth Day… it’s our third annual Seth extravaganza over at ZetaBoards
Yes I promise to blog more soon. RA Training is insane and leaves no time for blogging.
Over the past month, I've been working to design the new skin for ZetaBoards. It's been one of the best designing experiences I've ever had, for one reason: I have a wonderful designer with whom I'm working. I'm a rather competent coder, but I have little design skill, as far as picking good colors, making sure that elements are logical, and creating graphical components. Nicola changes all that. I can slap up the HTML in 30 minutes flat, and then she adds the styles and graphics that make the difference between a hideous skin and an amazing skin. When I don't have to worry about what my code looks like, I can spend extra time making sure I pull out all the stops in adding as many HTML hooks for skinners as I can possibly cook up. A standards-compliant skin not only looks great in all the browsers, but it ensures that search engines rank sites higher. I predict quite amazing leaps for many sites after the upgrade.
One of my favorite parts of the new skin is its semantic correctness. The emoticon list? It's a list, not a table. The custom profile fields? They're not <span>'d and <div>'d to all ends; they are simple yet elegant definition lists. Table headers aren't just <td>'s with classes applied to them; <th>'s are used where they were intended.
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I finished the soft launch of the ZetaBoards Documentation Project today, and have to say that DokuWiki is hands-down the best wiki software I have ever used, installed, or written with. From MediaWiki to MoinMoin to phpWiki, DokuWiki offers more features, a cleaner setup, and easier use.
I took our new website template and ported it to DokuWiki in a matter of hours. And most of that time was spent redoing part of the header to add more functionality that the website didn’t need. Things worked just by dropping in a few PHP tags here and there. The only other software this easy to skin is WordPress.
There are a few hundred plugins written for DokuWiki, and the syntax is extremely simple should I choose to make more. I picked a couple and installed them on our installation in about 20 minutes. The notes plugin is amazing. The entire codebase is PHP-Doc’d so I can understand what everything does, and make changes where I need them!
The 2005-9 release I was using lacked a little bit on user management, but that’s all been fixed with the 2006-3 release that I just finished upgrading to. I have full control on access permissions, user groups, everything. And the new release also added some great AJAX goodness like an AJAX quicksearch. I also successfully installed aspell to my home directory and now the AJAX spellcheck it features works flawlessly.
There are no databases needed; it’s all flat-file and fast. I can move the directory around and nothing breaks; all that’s needed are some CHMODs. It’s drop-dead simple, gorgeous, well-written, featureful, and fast. How does it get better than this?
If you need a wiki software, this is the one for you.
Today we at InvisionFree are officially launching our new name and identity: ZetaBoards: Free Remotely Hosted Forums
Zeta is the first software to be built from the ground up specifically for hosting in a multi-forum environment. It features page execution times up to 6000 times faster than our old InvisionFree software, and over three hundred new and improved features. From a central resource database that everyone can submit into, to inline moderation and an enhanced PM system… ZetaBoards will allow forums to be easier and more fun.
We’re coming up on five years of operation… here’s to another fifty!