development

On Developing for Android... or Not

After having jumped into the pool of mobile app development head first (more on that to come), I finally have a little more perspective when it comes to developing for iOS vs. Android.

One of the first things that I did when I started developing an App for iOS is purchase an iPod Touch. There's no way I wanted to be using my iPhone for all my development work, and I needed a device I could acquire quickly, at a low cost (i.e. without a contract), and not worry about battery life, durability, etc.

Plus, I know tons of people with iPod Touches already—most are people who don't want to spend an outrageous amount of money on a 'smartphone' plan with one of the major US carriers, but want a great mobile computing device/PDA/media player.

So, buy the iPod Touch for ~$200, download Xcode, and you're good to go for iOS development. Plus, the whole App Store process, while it's a bit convoluted at times, is very well structured, and offers developers easy avenues towards getting an app from development to sale to success with little effort required.

Of course, as I'm getting nearer and nearer the App's release, I'm hearing calls from all corners of Geekdom, "When you gonna release for Android?!" And the more frequent the cries of distress, the more frequently I look around for ways that I can/should start developing for Android.

Developer Experience on the Mac App Store

This year, one of my resolutions is to become a more experienced programmer—not only in web development (I can hold my own with PHP, server scripting, and web design languages)—and one of the measurable achievements I'd like to accomplish is having apps on the Mac App Store and iOS App Store.

I submitted a new Mac App, Visibility*, on January 9, and was hoping the app might be reviewed quickly so I could experience a few days on the Mac App store soon after its launch. Well, after more than two weeks of waiting, the App is still 'Waiting for Review.'

Following the advice of some other developers on Apple's Developer Forums, I submitted an expedited app review support ticket... and didn't get a response for over a week!

From the response email:

Thanks for your email and feedback. In order to get as many developers into the Mac App Store as possible we are reviewing apps on a first-come first-served basis. The size of any individual app or its fixes do not have an impact on when the app will enter In Review state.

We will get to your application as quickly as possible.

My Simple, but Nerve-Calming, drush Update Workflow

Just posted for my own reference - here's my workflow for updating a D6 (probably also D7) website using drush. Comprehensive information about all drush commands can be found on the http://drush.ws/ website. If you're not yet drinking the drush kool-aid, you need to—if you use a Linux server, of course.

  1. Visit admin/reports/updates page on your site, read through any relevant release notes for required updates (to check if there are special requirements for said update).
  2. $ drush @site pm-updatecode <module1_shortname> <module2_shortname> (add all modules to be updated)
  3. $ drush @site updatedb (updates the site database - update.php)
  4. $ drush @site cc all (clears all caches on the site)

The reason I do this manually, instead of running something like pm-update or pm-updatecode is that I like the granularity and security of doing all the updates discretely—especially when I'm updating a larger site, where I like to know exactly what's happening when I update.

Drupal Development Environment on Mac OS X 10.6 - Multisite Capable

I've begun working a lot more with Drupal multisites, as doing so saves a lot of time in certain situations (usually, when you have a large group of sites that use the same kinds of Drupal modules, but need to have separate databases and front-end information.

One problem I've finally overcome is the use of actual domain host names for development (i.e. typing in dev.example.com instead of localhost to get to a site). This is important when doing multisite work, as it lets you use Drupal's built-in multisite capabilities without having to hack your way around using the http://localhost/ url.

Here's what I did to use dev.example.com to access a dev.example.com multisite in a Drupal installation using MAMP (the dev.example.com folder is located within Drupal's /sites/ folder):

Moved to Drupal. Hello Drupal!

As of today (October 5, 2009), I have moved all the content off the old Lifeisaprayer.com into a new Drupal-based site, in order that I might not have to do so much manual labor in maintaining and updating the site.

This has been a long time coming, as I had the idea to move to a CMS (it was a heat between Drupal (for extensibility) vs. WordPress (for it's ease of use for blogging). But as I didn't know exactly what I wanted this site to become (is it about articles? the blog? photo galleries? what???), I figured Drupal would be the best choice, as I can have a lot more freedom in building out new functionality now. Wordpress is a little limiting if you want to really stretch your site into different directions.

I'm working on the site's theme right now, and probably will be tweaking it over the next few weeks. Please let me know if you have any problems or have suggestions for improvement!

Full Site Buildout: Part 3 - Going Live...

Part 3 of a series: Building out a full Drupal site in a weekend.

Now that my feet are firmly on the ground (and hopefully will stay that way for a time), I have a little time to write about the final stages of the Open Source Catholic website development... even though it's tagged as in 'beta.'

Open Source Catholic Screenshot

On the plane flight home, I was mostly finished creating the theme for the site. I hadn't opened it up in IE 6/7/8 yet, but I knew the main three or four bugs that would crop up, and prepared for them. I decided to write some postings (two articles, two blog posts, and a website review) for the website, as it's never a good idea to try to build momentum for a website on which nothing exists!

Full Site Buildout: Part 2 - Theme Development

Part 2 of a series: Building out a full Drupal site in a weekend.

Well, one plane flight down, and a conference to go, I have the main structure of the theme set up (locally; haven't pushed it out to opensourcecatholic.com yet). I decided to go with Zen 2.x's -dev releases, for the simple fact that it's new and the way the Zen project is moving. There are a few rough areas in the documentation, mostly in the 'Readme' file for installing a subtheme, but I got through everything okay.

This theme, I hope, will make its way onto the fine Drupal.org theme repository; getting a CVS account, I'm sure, will be fun ;-)

Full Site Buildout: Part 1 - Putting the Puzzle Together

Part 1 of a series: Building out a full Drupal site in a weekend.

Before you start building your website, you need to get all the parts of the site together, and have a good plan for what you'll need and how you'll do it. For many organizations, this can be a huge hassle, as you'll have to go through planning meetings, make diagrams, have all kinds of changes, and end up pre-stressed... and that's before you start working on putting the site together!

Luckily, for this website, the requirements are pretty simple: I can do whatever I want. But I can't get started from that point, so I put a few requirements down on paper, then grabbed everything I needed.

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