Sunday, November 04, 2007

How to modify your hosts file on Windows Vista

The enhanced security on Windows Vista is good, but sometimes even the simplest of tasks become a pain. For eg: I run xampp on my box and have require various virtual hosts - I also setup numerous domains and make an entry for them in my HOSTS file.

I switched to Vista very recently (I bought a new laptop :) and I simply couldn't modify the hosts file. After looking around and figuring how things work on Vista, here are the steps to change your hosts file on Windows Vista.

1) Browse to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories
2) Right click "Notepad" and select "Run as administrator"
3) Click "Continue"
4) Click File -> Open
5) Browse to "C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc"
6) Change the file filter drop down box from "Text Documents (*.txt)" to "All Files (*.*)"
7) Select "hosts" and click "Open"
8) Make the needed changes and close Notepad.
9) Save the file.

That's it you should now be able to add all those domains into your hosts file :)

Also, for people having problem running Eclipse, right click on the eclipse.exe and say "Run as administrator".


Monday, September 24, 2007

Google Analytics on AIR

This one is pretty cool guys.

Nico created a custom google analytics api and used it to build a desktop version of google analytics using AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime).

I just tried it and although it is beta, the experience is amazing - I found it to be much smoother than the online version.

Installation didn't take more than 5 minutes.

It required me to download the AIR first from here:

Then download the google analtyics air file from here:

That's it, you are all set now.

Just enter the required info and even if you have multiple websites/domains mapped with one id, it will suck all of them. You can create as many profiles as you want.

The best part is that the guys at the google camp liked it so much that I think they are now officialy supporting this project.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Bye Prototype, Welcome jQuery

I have been a prototype.js user for almost 1 1/2 years now but for a new project, I was forced to use jquery ( In the beginning, I was too reluctant to give it a shot because of the learning curve and laziness on my part, but I must say once I dived in, I was very impressed with the library, it's documentation, the community, the number of plugins and how easy it was to find all this - something that prototype lacked right from day one (okay now they do have a documentation site, but it just doesn't compare to the jquery website at any level). In no way am I undermining the power of prototype.js (the library that fixed javascript programming :). Just that I am going to be experimenting with jquery now.

One more thing, people often shy away from libraries because of their size, but jquery offers an "official" compressed version of the library that is just 19KB. Prototype too has it's compressed versions but nothing that is official and I always had problems working with unofficial compressed versions.

What's the point of this post? Well, I wanted to write about all the flash work I have been doing, but was just not able to get in the mood to detail that out, so thought will post this for the time being ;)


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Caching with cakePHP

cakePHP has view caching built in which when used cleverly will really speed up your applications.

However, this doesn't work with requestAction.

Let's consider this example:

1. You store all your categories in a database.

2. While displaying your views, you want to pull these categories from the DB.

3. You don't want that every time you display a page, you should pull the categories from DB. Since they are not going to change (till you change them :) it's an unnecessary hit on the DB.

4. You want to load these categories at startup and then just keep pulling the data from the cache rather than the DB.

There can be many ways of doing this, but one of them could be that whenever the category data is first requested, we hit the DB and get the list of categories, then cache them (in a file) and subsequent requests would be served from reading the file (it could be stored in the session too).

So, I decided to give this a shot. cakePHP already has a cache() function that can be used for achieving something like this.

Here is what I came up with:

function __getCategories()
$cache_name = "views".DS."categories-list.php";
$cache_expires = '+24 hours';

$cache_data = cache($cache_name, null, $cache_expires);
if (empty($cache_data))
$list = array_merge(array('categories'=>'All Categories'),
cache($cache_name, serialize($list), $cache_expires);
} else {
$list = unserialize($cache_data);
return $list;

getEnumValues is something I got as a snippet from cakeforge.

function getEnumValues($columnName=null)
if ($columnName==null) { return array(); } //no field specified

//Get the name of the table
$db =& ConnectionManager::getDataSource($this->useDbConfig);
$tableName = $db->fullTableName($this, false);

//Get the values for the specified column
$result = $this->query("SHOW COLUMNS FROM {$tableName} LIKE '{$columnName}'");

//figure out where in the result our Types are
//(this varies between mysql versions)
$types = null;
if ( isset( $result[0]['COLUMNS']['Type'] ) )
$types = $result[0]['COLUMNS']['Type'];
} //MySQL 5
elseif ( isset( $result[0][0]['Type'] ) )
$types = $result[0][0]['Type'];
} //MySQL 4
else {
return array();
} //types return not accounted for

//Get the values
$values = explode("','", preg_replace("/(enum)\('(.+?)'\)/","\\2", $types) );

//explode doesn't do assoc arrays, but cake needs an assoc to assign values
$assoc_values = array();
foreach ( $values as $value ) {
//leave the call to humanize if you want it to look pretty
$assoc_values[$value] = Inflector::humanize($value);

return $assoc_values;

} //end getEnumValues

So, that's it, you can now do the following in your controller:

function test()
$categories = $this->__getCategories();


Monday, February 12, 2007

Update: Inype Editor - New Release

So, the guys at Intype have come out with their next major release - 0.2.1.
This release is pretty cool and has lots of exciting features the 2 most important ones being drag and drop support and the ability to do Undo/Redo.

Here is the feature set for this release -

  • Undo/Redo
  • Reload Bundles — A huge help for bundle creators. Bundles can now be reloaded directly from the Intype UI, there’s no need to restart the whole application.
  • CJK Support — Support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean over-the-spot input methods. I’d like to send a big thanks to Mr. Masahide Morio for teaching me the basics of Japanese.
  • Tab/Space Switch Level 1 — Includes switching between hard and soft tabs (tab chars versus spaces). Conversions and automatic detection are planned for Level 2, that will be released as and update to 0.2.1.
  • Drag/Drop File Support Level 1 — In response to many user requests. Level 1 supports dragging/dropping files to open. More to come with scripting support
  • Editing Features — Move line(s) up and down; Duplicate line(s); Transpose characters; Vertical scrolling with keyboard; New variables for snippets.
It's getting better. Like using it with the cakephp bundle.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Finally a good Editor for windows: Intype

I am sure, like me most people who develop on windows, envy the mac users (among other things :) for the editor they use - TextMate.

Well, Well - it seems like there is a very promising new kid on the block - InType.

Checked it out today and I must say I am very impressed with it.

Although, it's still in it's Alpha (and probably too early to comment on) and lacks some obvious features like undo / redo, it's still very good to do actual coding - especially the XHTML, CSS & Rails support.

Try it out for yourself - download the latest build from here

What's even more interesting is that it's going to have CakePHP support very soon :))


**Update: Seems like the cakePHP bundle has already been written by someone.
Check this out: