YQL – Yahoo! Query Language

YQL - Yahoo! Query Language Logo

The Yahoo! Query Language is an expressive SQL-like language that lets you query, filter, and join data across Web services.

YQL’s possibilities are virtually endless, say you want to get specific Flickr Images containing a defined word in the title, or you want to geo-code some addresses on the fly. YQL makes those tasks extremely easy by just forming a simple query that gathers the data. Output can be switched between JSON and XML, so you can choose whatever fits best for your application.

The best way to go about using a YQL service is as follows:

  • Construct your query using the YQL Console and try out if it gives you the right result.
  • Copy the REST Query URL the console gives you at the bottom and insert it into your web app. There are even examples in the documentation on how to use REST queries in different programming environments.

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Fix Mac Fusion for Snow Leopard

macfuseI use the really great macFUSE to mount several server directories via SSH on my work computer. One programm that makes this process really easy is Macfusion which offers a menu item and a standalone application to configure your mountpoints and mount/unmount them.

macfusionAfter upgrading to Snow Leopard recently Macfusion & macFUSE stopped working, so I was searching for a solution and luckily found one at Racker Hacker – Fix MacFusion on Snow Leopard.

Now I’m happily developing my PHP projects again in Netbeans with my remote dirs mounted via SSH :)

CakePHP – rapid development in PHP

CakePHPLately I’m totally amazed by the beauty that is CakePHP. It’s one of those hyped »rapid webdevelopment frameworks« …and boy, it really enables you to work fast!
At least compared to what I was used to previously in my PHP development.

  • endless procedural code
  • crafting DB queries by hand
  • no MVC
  • no ORM
  • composing my own “frameworks” to encapsulate DB and HTML output
  • simple OO code with no real application structure

…well, you get the spin.

Basically, it meant ugly, unmaintainable code that needed hours of work before there was something to see for the client (or myself) not even talking about being finished.

During the last four days I got myself to sit down and dive into the CakePHP Manual and learn the framework. It was really enlightening and suddenly PHP coding is fun again :)
I was able to put together the whole structure of a new app, I’m working on, just by cleverly planning the DB layout and mapping this structure to the models. From there it was just a few simple commands on the shell to let Cake generate the controllers and views. After deleting the ones I didn’t need, I could immediately start tweaking the business logic and fine tune the views. It’s a really good feeling seeing how fast the development is progressing.

Yesterday I took a quick glimpse at Ruby On Rails, just to see where it all came from. The CakePHP developers claimed to have built their framework like RoR but, oh my god – it is just exactly like RoR. The concept of convention over configuration is perfectly migrated from Ruby to PHP.
I kinda like that, because it means if I know Cake I can quickly and very easily learn Ruby On Rails, just by learning a bit of different Ruby syntax, all the other concepts are already in my head :)

I’m excited to see where it goes from here, it really looks like my productive output could get a serious boost from now on!

LastVenue – toying around with RSS

Out of pure boredom and because I did enough work on my thesis today (…and because there wasn’t anything decent on TV), I decided to distract myself with a little coding. This is what came out:

LastVenue

Just download it, rename the filename ending to .php, configure it by pasting in the last.fm URL of your desired location and upload it to your webserver. You will also have to download SimplePie that takes care of the all the RSS stuff and place it in the same directory as the LastVenue script.
If you want to include it into a PHP script paste in the following:
include('lastVenue.php');

This script pulls all events for a specific venue from last.fm and lists them in a simple, CSS styleable unorderd list. The script is meant to be included into a webpage and thus features none of the other HTML markup to make it into a full document. It basically only echoes out a headline and a few list items.

Oh yea, of course the script is Microformats enabled ;)
Microformats enabled

Note: the AJAX loding functions got skipped, because I’m really tired right now. Maybe they’ll show up in version 2.0 …who knows?

Simple PHP RSS Script

In case anybody needs to quickly publish DB contents as RSS feed, you can now use my SRSSS – Simple RSS Script :)
Nothing sophisticated but should serve a valid RSS 2.0 feed. Just fill in the setup vars on the top, construct your SQL query and make sure you’ve got the right values in the while-loop.

Download here -> SRRS