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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in Zachary Kessin's Technical Journal's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005
11:24 am
XAB Toolkit version 0.20
I would like to announce version 0.20 of the XAB Toolkit. XAB version 0.20 is a major upgrade to the software and it will automate a large amount of software development in an Ajax database front end. In tests yesterday I was able to create an interface to a database in about 15 minutes with no coding.

Included in version 0.20
* Ability to have multiple detail forms
* Ability to have Foreign key fields shown as a menu or a form or both
* Ability to add, delete or change the order of fields.
* Automatic creation of page navigation
* Smarter including of Javascript code
* Expanding textarea boxes.
* A menu editor

Also a large number of smaller features and bug fixes.

You can Download XAB from the Ajax Wiki

XAB requires PHP version 5.0x and MySQL version 4.1. It also requires Mozilla or Firefox to use.

Cross posted to ajaxengine and zkessin

Current Mood: Excited
Friday, April 1st, 2005
4:23 pm
XAB Toolkit
I have released an initial version of the XAB Toolkit. The XAB Toolkit is a tool to automate the building of Ajax type applications on Mozilla. It can take a MySQL Database definition and create an application around that. The application uses an XML data model to allow the user to define application rules including validation, labels and foreign keys.

Using the Data model XAB can construct about 75% of the PHP and Javascript code to build a database enabled application.

Download The XAB Toolkit
View the XAB Wiki.

This was previously called “xulbuilder” in some posts.

Current Mood: excited
Tuesday, March 15th, 2005
2:24 pm
Mozilla, Javascript, SOAP and PHP
So recently I’ve been working on some new stuff. In recent versions of Mozilla (including Firefox) there is now a SOAP client. This means that a web application can access the server at any time, and not just when the page loads. This means a huge amount of flexibility is now available to the developer in a DHTML application. I have been playing with this for several months and realized that a large amount of the code is very repetitive.

I am working on a application to build these applications. I have a DHTML page which lets you model your application. It pulls table and index definitions from a MySQL database, and then it lets you set up validation rules for each field, set up custom SQL queries (In addition to a number of automatically generated ones), set field labels, and change other things about the data model.

So far I can auto generate
* DHTML Forms
* Javascript glue for the forms
* Javascript to wrap the soap functions into simple javascript methods.
* PHP classes to access a mysql database
* A wrapper to serve the PHP classes up as SOAP.

Still to do

* Data validation
* Unit test frameworks
* Installer scripts for a generated application

For more information see my wiki
I plan to have the code on source forge (project “xulbuilder”) today or tomorrow

Current Mood: Nerdy
Monday, February 28th, 2005
7:31 am
IBM supporting PHP
So it appears that IBM is working on PHP these days. Not sure what this means long term but its probably a good thing. PHP seems to be breaking out everywhere. Here is an article about it.

Current Mood: accomplished
Thursday, February 24th, 2005
11:16 am
Code that writes itself
I have realized that much of the code that I write is rather stock in its format. So I decided to automate it. After all computers are good at automating things. SO I wrote a set of programs in PHP that will take a MySQL table definition and from it create a PHP class to allow access to that table, it will write a row, update one, get one or more rows according to the indexes and delete a row. It will also create the wrappers to expose those classes as SOAP services. From the PHP class it will generate a set of Javascript interface files to access them. So I can take a MySQL table definition and build about 75% of the application in less then a second.

Next steps: Validation of data and Automated unit test creation.

This is very cool.

Current Mood: accomplished
Monday, February 21st, 2005
8:08 am
Of late I have been thinking about building 3 Tier applications with Mozilla, PHP and Mysql. I think there is a lot of potential for application development here. So I have created the MOZ3TIER Wiki. There is not yet much there but I will be working on it over the next few months.

Current Mood: frustrated
Friday, February 18th, 2005
10:53 am
Yesterday was YAPC::Israel::2005,
which was heald at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. It was a very worthwhile event. I saw a lot of people I have met via Jerusalem.pm and at last year’s YAPC. With the minor annoyance of getting lost getting there I would rate the day a very solid success.

My talk on XSLT was well attended, I would guess 25-30 people, I have the slides on my home page and will prepare the examples on sunday if people want them. People seemed to enjoy the talk, several people came up to talk with me about it afterwards. several more asked for the examples, the slides were printed in the book that was given out.

A great talk was “Installing Perl, Python and PHP based applications” given by Elliot Jaffe. Elliot talked about how to bundle applications in the 3 languages for end users which do not assume that the user has the technical knowledge to go to CPAN or the like and get modules, or even that can work if the end user does not have perl etc installed and does not want to run around finding packages. The notes are well worth reading.

Much good networking was done which I am very happy about. I also got a bit of writing done on some of the articles I am working on.

I wonder if I can get to YAPC::NA in Toronto in June. We may be in the USA about then, from NY to Toronto may be a doable.

Cross posted to perl

Current Mood: happy
Thursday, February 17th, 2005
6:14 am
Off to YAPC::Israel
So I’m off to YAPC::Israel (Yet another Perl Confrence) in Hertzaliya. Wish me luck, in part on my talk but mostly on just getting there. I seem to get lost every time I head down to the Tel Aviv/ Gush Dan area. I plan to tremp (hitchhike) down to Kvar Saba or Petah Tikvah and then take the train.
Wednesday, February 16th, 2005
3:57 pm
Better Javascript code quality
I have been thinking about the quality of the Javascript code in some projects I have been working on, and its not very good. So what can be done to improve this?

1) Remember all those things my first year Computer Science professors taught me. Which is to say good programing practice. I have way to much code that has very poor encapsulation, if any at all. I’m thinking to start re-factoring things so that only the first level code accesses the main document’s element via DOM. Everything inside of that uses objects or variables passed by a wrapper function.

2) Start working on unit tests. By doing #1 it will be much easier to write unit tests for javascript under firefox. Yes some real fancy DHTML stuff may be tricky to do but much of the basic application logic, which is the major thing that I am worried about should be just fine.

3) Look for a test framework.

4) Ensure that the SOAP servers that my app requires also have test frameworks.
11:02 am
An introduction to XSLT
Thursday the 17th of February will be the 3rd YAPC::Israel, so I will be giving a talk. To be specific I will be giving An introduction to XSLT. You can view my slides from that link. I will post some examples at some point.

Current Mood: geeky
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