Moving MangoBlog Database entries to BlogCFC

Ray Camden got asked recently if it is possible to migrate database entries from MangoBlog to BlogCFC.

Ray kindly pointed them to my "Return to BlogCFC" post where I talked about my trials and tribulations of moving from MangoBlog back to BlogCFC.

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A Return to BlogCFC

I decided a while back that I wanted to move from MangoBlog to something simpler. I wanted to get back to writing blogs rather than messing about with the application.

As you can tell from the title of this post and the lovely oranginess of my blog I ended up coming back to BlogCFC.

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Blog Round up 19 Feb 2009

Ack!  I really should keep up with these things.  I've been reading through a couple of new blogs, looking at extJS and playing with Sun's GlassFish as a possible alternate java server for ColdFusion.

Well, Gary Fenton joked that I should change my blog slogan to "I read 100 blogs so YOU don't have to!", now I actually do read 100 blogs! Well 102 to be precise! hmmm make that 103...  No idea why, but Adam Lehman's blog wasn't on my list!

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First Post with Mango Blog

So this is my first post with Mango Blog!

I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.  I like the skin that I've downloaded and used on here as a quick fix and I kinda like the admin interface.  Its... different to what I'm used to, but I'll get used to it.

The one thing that has annoyed me about Mango Blog, and yes I know its a known issues, but it shouldn't be an issue.... code blocks.....  They only sort of work and you have to disable TinyMCE if you want to use them.  bah bloody humbug I say!

In the admin folder you'll find layout.cfm. This is where TinyMCE is initialised.  To the extended_valid_elements add ",code[class]".  This will stop TinyMCE from stripping out the <code></code> tags.  Then add "remove_linebreaks : false," somewhere in the init.  I've inserted it straight after the mode: "exact", entry on mine.  This prevents TinyMCE from stripping out linebreaks, so that your preformatted code doesn't end up all on one line.

 Next time you edit a blog entry, you'll still have to use the HTML button to edit the source code, but at least now you can add code blocks without TinyMCE trashing them.  Hope that helps someone.

 Next job...  Get my LastFM page working again and add something so I can have BlogCFC style text blocks.

BlogCFC User Manager

BlogCFC I have, apparently, been using BlogCFC for 465 days now! I love it! Its great! One of these days I'll put some thing Ray's way from his wish list.

I use BlogCFC myself and I've integrated it into Farcry for Dott and I've also recently set up a copy of BlogCFC for one of the Dott Projects, New Urban Farmers.The New Urban Farmer's Blog is for people who are involved in the project to post their stories and updates as the project progresses. This means that there is potential for a lot of posters/users on one blog.

BlogCFC can quite happily handle multiple users, but there's no way to manage them other than to hack them into the database. I didn't really want to be having to add records to the database everything the Senior Producer on the project needed someone new adding, so I finally got around to writing a user manager component.

It's not massively complicated and I have some ideas for extending it (and BlogCFC) to allow better security for admin, moderator and author functions within the admin, but here's a first draft.

Download the attached rar file and drop the files into the appropriate places on your blog.

You'll need to add the following line to your Application.cfm to load the component.

view plain print about
1<!--- load User --->
2<cfset application.user = createObject("component", "org.camden.blog.users")>

And the next line somewhere in the adminlayout.cfm, so that you can access the page from the admin.

view plain print about
1<li><a href="user.cfm">Users</a></li>

The User manager gives you a list of the users in the database and links through to a form that allows you to edit the user's details.

You'll notice that there's a "Generate Password" tick box. If you clear the password and confirm password input boxes and check this box, a lower case phonetic password will be created for you. At the minute you'll need to go back into the form to see the new password, which is mildly annoying, but it works for the now.

To give credit where credit is due; the password generator is based on a tag written by Fabien Meghazi called aGrPassword, which was apparently inspired a javascript function by Michael Hoffman. The tag was starting to look a little bit old, so I took it apart and put it back together as too cfc methods, but is basically the same code with a new spin on it.

Other things I'm thinking about looking at with this....

  • Allowing management of users for multiple blogs
  • Restricting users to a specific blog
  • Multiple Role types (which I mentioned already)

Any other suggestions?

Anyway, on with work, I hope you find this component useful.

Google Blog Search and pinger

It would seem that yesterday I managed to completely forgot to read all my RSS feeds on Google Reader. No idea how I managed it, but there you go....

In amongst all the articles I had read which included Ray Camden's review of the start of the 3rd season of Lost, which I had to quickly look away from and a classic Dilbert I noticed that not only does Google have a Blog Search engine, but they've just released a pinger api as well!

Is there nothing that Google doesn't/won't index??

At some point I really should update my install of BlogCFC and then have a look at the pingers.

Simplified Captcha

When I first put this blog up before Ray implemented captcha on comments I hardly wrote anything and was (and still am) not greatly linked to, but yet I was inundated with spam! It was ridiculous! I spent more time trashing junk than I did writing anything!
When Ray added Peter Farrell's Captcha and I turned off trackbacks that all went away and I actually started writing stuff even if it is a little sporadic.
I've been asked to simplify the captcha on my comments, so I have. :)I've been meaning to do it for some time, but though pure unadulterated laziness and other more pressing things to be done I just haven't got around to it before now.
To be honest though, I actually like the more complicated captcha and I'm happy to see them on people's blogs. No offense Charlie, but I'm not keen on the very plain captcha that your articles boil it down to, so I've rolled-my-own.
I've reversed the colours from the standard light on dark gradient, to dark text on plain light background. I've removed the ovals and the foreground lines, but left a reduced number of background lines and set their colour to "light".
I did want to increase the font size, but I noticed something strange. In the config xml file you can set the length of the random string. Now I kind of expected this to be a maximum number of characters that would appear, but I noticed that when it was set to 6 I was actually getting up to 7 letters in my captcha and now that its set to 5 I'm getting up to 6 letters. I don't know whether this is the way its supposed to be or if its a bug, but it was kind of annoying when I noticed a letter hanging off the edge of the graphic.
So anyway, I've reduced the number of letters to 5 in the config and increased the font by 5 points, which just about fits 6 letters in. If you happen to be unfortunate enough to get a 6 letter captcha that you can't read the last character of, please accept my apologies and try again, it shouldn't happen very often.
If you like the way my captcha looks, these are the changed config lines:

 

BlogCFC 5.1 upgrade

Its always nice when a software upgrade goes smoothly...

I've just upgraded my blog software from BlogCFC 5.0.x to 5.1.002 and its all gone delightlyfully smooth, especially seeing as I got woken up at 4am to catch a mouse the cat brought in and I didn't get back to sleep after that.I did a bit of comparing using WinMerge between the layout.cfm tag and the style and layout css files, did a few merges where necessary. Compared my blog.ini.cfm with the new one, cleared out all the old stuff that is no longer needed and added in the allowgravatars entry.

I wrote myself a little updater for the the database to add the two new tables and add in the "verified" column to the subscribers table. I've attached it to this post if its of any use to anyone...

I ran my database updater on my live blog, pushed all the updated files up on to the server, then reinited the blog cache and hey presto chango! One updated blog!

I need to take a bit of a look at the new features, but it all looks good to me.

Cheers once again Raymond!

Designs of the time website launched.

I mentioned in my last entry that the new website for Dott 07 was launched on Monday the 3rd of July.

After two months of development time with the able assistance of Farcry and lots of research and text editing and question asking by my collegue and web editor, Claire Capaldi, we got the site up and running late on on Monday.The excellent design was created and cut up into lots of images and tables for us by BlueRiver. I spent a fair amount of time trying to do away with the table and replace it with a pure css/div design, but to no avail. CSS just doesn't cut it for more complex layouts. I asked for some help of the guys on the Scottish CFUG mailing list as well as on the CSS-Discuss list, but never managed to get a consistent display with different browsers and time was rapidly running away from me!

To be fair to CSS, most of the problem lies with the design having multiple panels in multiple columns. If there were only 2 or more columns and those columns were the panels, then it wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately, each of the articles I found on creating panels with corners using css had different issues when ever there were more than one panel on a page - fine if there was only one, but two or more just went "wrong" and went wrong differently on IE and FF.

Part of the wrong-ness I think is down to the way that different browsers interprete the CSS Box model and compute the various widths, as well as with problems of positioning images in the back of divs.

One of the things I'm quite pleased with myself for, is that I managed to integrate Ray Camden's BlogCFC into the farcry architecture. The admin was really simple to do - you can literally drop the admin files into a folder in the custom admin folder under farcry_core and create a custom admin menu for each of the sections in the admin. The front end less so and I'm not entirely happy with some of what I've done so I'm not going to say too much about that at the minute, other than to say that entries are displayed using rules/types and pods are done using dmInclude. You obviously need to mess with the layouts and I changed all the cfmodule references in any of the displays to use cfimport, so that I could have the tags anywhere I liked rather than in relative positions.

You also need to do some funky stuff with the config and the application.cfm, but once its in it actually works pretty well. Anyway - enough about that! I need to write a proper article about it really!

Claire does a splendid job of updating the blog and the home page daily and has also made sure that the purpose of Dott is now much clearer on the website than it has ever been.

The site has had lots of positive feedback so far and there is still a stack of work to be done to the site, as well as the additions that will need to be made as each of public commission and education projects come online, as more Dott events take place and showcases are identified!

Note to self....

When updating blog code from svn make sure you copy the new shiney code up and not a mixture of old stuff, new stuff and your local ini file.

Thanks to Mr Logan who kindly emailed me to tell me I'd broken stuff.. ;oP

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