A selection of posts that originally appeared on some of my older blogs hosted at

Useful SQL Commands


In the late 1990’s I took several professional development courses at a WPI satellite school, which eventually led to my current career track as a web application developer. One of the courses involved an introduction to database theory. At the end of the course the professor passed out a page of useful SQL commands that we would probably have need of at some point in our lives. I’ve held on to it for a long time and have referenced it often. I’ve decided to post it here for two reasons: It’s easier for me to find this way (and I can bookmark it), and someone else might find it useful. The tips were specific to Oracle, but I imagine (I’m not a DBA so don’t take my word for it) that most of these commands, if not all of them, are valid under many modern Db engines.

Useful SQL Commands.pdf

* This post was originally published on December 18, 2006 at

Fascinating argument on the PHP mailing list


This thread from the PHP-DEV mailing list is a bit old now (Nov 2005), but fascinating none the less. When PHP 5.1 was released, an under-tested new “date” object was introduced late in the release candidate cycle. For those of you not familiar with software development, the release candidate cycle is typically where software development is halted and only bug fixes are committed to the source code before a final release. In this case, an entirely new feature was added in the final release candidate with little notice. Not only that, but the new date object itself had only limited functionality and was intended only as a place holder. This probably wouldn’t have been a problem if the new object had a unique name (or if PHP 5 supported object namespaces), but it used the rather generic name of “date”, meaning that any code that any other developer had written previously that relied on a custom “date” object (in fact the popular PEAR library of PHP code includes it’s own “date” object) would break. And since this was done so late in the release candidate cycle, developers had little or no notice that this was happening. All of this is pinned on one developer who is accused of being arrogant several times (and indeed seems so after reading through his responses).

The thread goes on for quite a while (280 posts to be exact); I’m not even at the end yet and I’ve been reading for well over 20 minutes now. Even Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP, weighs in a few times. It’s really a fascinating read at the behind-the-scenes happenings of an open-source project.

* This post was originally published on November 21, 2006 at

URL rewriting for WordPress to B2evolution migrations


I made a rather lengthy post on the b2evolution forums detailing some of the code that I put into place to assist with the migration from WordPress to B2evolution. It doesn’t go into importing posts from one to the other, but rather how to redirect requests for WordPress fancy URLs to a B2evolution post or search page.

* This post was originally published on September 25, 2006 at

Quick points on accessibilty


In a recent post, Bruce Lawson, a member of the Accessibility Task Force and notable funny-guy, gives the following pointers on accessibility:

  • Accessibility is not text-only or a separate “cripples-only” site
  • Disability is more than blindness
  • Accessibility is not an exercise in political correctness; there are demonstrable, measurable advantages in usability for all
  • Accessibility isn’t a purely technical matter; it’s to do with content as well (and is thus also the reponsibility of the non-techy people in the organisation who produce content).

He also points out Legal & General as an example of a corporate web site that is both fashionable and accessible.

In a wonderful display of irony, Bruce’s contribution to the CSS Zen Garden project (a project revolving around beautiful, usable and accessible web site design) had me laughing out loud with a call back to Geocities personal home pages circa 1996. In this case, ugly is only skin deep :)

* This post was originally published on September 15, 2006 at



We’re back online after the data loss. We lost every record from a bunch of databases when our host upgraded. I think I snagged all of the old posts from Google’s cache so I’ll begin back-posting when I have a moment.

Since I would have to reinstall the blog software anyways, I decided to drop Word Press and go with b2Evolution. I’ve been working with the b2Evo community for a project at work and the software is quite nice. It’s still technically in beta release, but the latests versions have some really cool stuff. Plus, since b2evolution supports multiple blogs under one installation I can house Sarah’s blog and mine under the same roof. I’ll be adding some for the kids as well.

And finally – the RSS feed address is changed. You can subscribe to Why, Blog, Why directly or use my new Feedburner URL.

More to come.

* This post was originally published on September 7, 2006 at

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