Code Web Work

ZeppOS Developer Resource

Rob has a nice designers resource page on his web site. Hopefully the ZeppOS Wiki will gain some momentum and become the main destination for documentation.

I was working on a Flash slideshow for an Aloha Media Group project, and I needed to make sure the slideshow background was transparent. I needed to look up the SWFObject code to make that happen, which is:

so.addParam("wmode", "transparent");

I also made sure the to update the slideshow.xml with bgOpacity="0", which I think would have given me the functionality I needed without adding the wmode parameter. I’ll have to test that out.

Travel Work

Hafa Adai!

Just got back from Guam on Sunday. I still think it’s funny that we left Guam on Monday morning, and arrived in Honolulu on Sunday afternoon. Hurrah for time travel!

Guam was nice. Very tropical, and if it wasn’t for the hear and humidity, I would have thought I was still in Hawaii. Everything was really lush and green, the ocean and sky were beautiful and blue, and the people were really friendly.

Because of the hot and humid weather, we spent a lot of time in air-conditioned buildings. It reminded me of being in Vegas, where you wouldn’t want to spend much time outside unless you had to. The first morning we were there I tried to take pictures from the lanai on Jim’s room, but as soon as I stepped outside my camera started sweating and the lens fogged up for a few minutes. But I still managed to take a couple of nice pictures, which I’ll post to Flickr soon.

I still have pictures from Tahoe to post as well! The next couple of weeks are going to be busy with school and a couple of project deadlines looming. So… I probably won’t actually post the photos until near the end of the month.

Keep an eye out for a recap of Tahoe and Guam, sometime in the next couple of weeks!

Play Travel Work

Back from Lake Tahoe

I’m just coming off of almost two weeks up in Lake Tahoe. Nohea and I were up there with Jim timing the Lake Tahoe Marathon and the XTERRA USA Championship races. We had a blast getting to trip around the lake and see everything we missed the first time we were there 4 years ago. I’ll post a more complete recap (with pictures) soon!

Code Web Work

Flash Slideshows in ZeppOS

So I find myself spending a lot of time trying to debug issues with Javascript and Flash when building sites out in ZeppOS. I’m posting this in the hopes that other people might find this useful!

Basically, I use the Flash Nifties XML Slideshow any time I need to do a quick image slideshow. To embed the swf file, I use the included SWFObject javascript for cross-browser compatible flash integration.

Now, the key to pulling this off successfully is to make sure the paths are all correct. Not only do we need to make sure the path to the XML file is good, but we need to make sure the paths to the images inside the XML file are valid as well. Trying to embed slideshow.swf by itself using the built in WYSIWYG editor doesn’t work, because the SWF can’t find the XML file. So, using the editor override method, I drop in the following code:

<script type="text/javascript">
var so = new SWFObject("/_Library/Media/Slideshow/slideshow.swf?file=_library/Media/slideshow/slideshow.xml", "gallery", "400", "300", "6", "#ffffff");

Alternatively, I could use addVariable technique to tell the slideshow where the XML file is (found here):
so.addVariable("file", "xml/images.xml");

However, since there’s only one variable, it’s easy enough to just add it directly to the uri string.

Now that slideshow.swf knows where it’s XML file is, I can test this by changing the bgcolor attribute in the XML file and seeing if it shows up. Once I’m sure the slideshow is reading from the XML file, I need to make sure the file paths to the images are correct. Since Flash reads the directory structure relative to the page it’s being called from (in this case, the root of the web site, index.asp), the path has to look like this:

<image img="_Library/Media/Slideshow/image1.jpg" />
<image img="_Library/Media/Slideshow/image2.jpg" />
<image img="_Library/Media/Slideshow/image3.jpg" />
<image img="_Library/Media/Slideshow/image4.jpg" />

Since ZeppOS is on a Windows platform, the paths are case-insensitive, but I add in capitalization anyway.

And that’s about it. Next time I’ll show a snippet of Javascript that I sometimes add to trick the browser into updating the XML file each time the page loads.

Rants Web Work

Dotster Delivers Epic Fail

Recently I’ve had the displeasure of using the Dotster control panel. One of my clients had her credit card expire, so both her domains and her hosting subscription lapsed. I was called in to get everything back up and running again.

Well getting the domains renewed was a cinch, and took only a few minutes. However, trying to get the hosting back up and running took a week.

*Day 1* – I tried to log into the Dotster Control Panel, only to discover a message that says the panel is down for maintenance. No clue as to when it was expected back up, or how long it had been down.

*Day 2* – Log in to the system, pull up the hosting subscription, and click on the “Renew” button. It basically says that I can’t renew because there’s already an invoice out for the subscription, I’m given a cryptic error message referring to an invoice number that isn’t in my account. Frustrated, I get on the line with their chat tech support. The person on the other end gives me a list of procedures which will result in a renewed hosting subscription. The only problem? One of the steps refers to a link that *doesn’t exist*. Frustrated, I try to get back on the chat line, but I’m foiled by the queue and never get another person on again. I give up for the time being, and send in an email ticket.

*Day 3* – I receive a response to my ticket, and the same steps quoted by the person I chatted with. I respond that one of the steps doesn’t work, and attach a screenshot.

*Day 4* – No response from email support, so I try the chat line again. I explain that the link isn’t there, and the “customer care agent” basically tells me that they don’t support any browsers on the Mac platform. He then dodged all of my questions about which browsers they do support (I’m guessing IE only).

So, basically, if you don’t use Internet Explorer, don’t use Dotster hosting.