Chat server with node.js

I added the code for a chat server to the GitHub repository. It’s a simple server that someone wanted as an example to load to Azure. The main software is running an express server with on top. Message formats are JSON rather than plain text. The src file for the in the web page is served from the server on the express server. Code is below…

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Using the C# httpServer with raised events

I am writing some applications at the moment which require a lot of data gathering and there are a number of people at the events who want to be able to see this data while it is being collected. I have TCP socket connections for the main data collection and these pass their data to a central server. In order to avoid having to create further clients to access the collected data, I decided to run a small web server as part of the central server and just create web pages to view the data. Other people would then be able to edit and style these pages without any interference from me. As it happens there were no others available, so the users had to put up with my web design.

I made a class based around the MSDN sample and comments, but wanted to extend it in two ways; firstly, I needed to be able serve up the full gamut of binary files for any of the image types in the documents; secondly, I wanted to allow a command to be sent to the hosting application, via an http command. I added an event handler to do this. This would then decouple any application logic from being involved on the web side. I can also use it to report unknown file requests.

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Flash Builder tips from Mike Lively

I came across some of Mike’s videos last week. He’s very easy to listen to and I would recommend listening to these videos if you’re into Flash Builder, objects and classes, away3D etc.

Flash Builder shortcuts is just a quick video for beginners,

Hold Ctrl over a reference, it will be highlighted, click to go to definition
Alt + down arrow, move selected code
Ctrl + Alt + down arrow, duplicate selected code

Mike has done many videos, Java, Flash CS5, Papervision, Mate, SQL Server, PHP, Second Life, Facebook…lots of videos! Currently looking at Flash Builder, SQL Server, Google Apps, Android, mobiles. The videos are well produced and he is easy to follow.

Mentions Christophe Coenraets Android w Burrito on the Adobe Dev Connection site. Android is on my peripheral vision, but the article looks useful nevertheless.

I thought I just promote his channel a little, Thanks Mike; good luck with the non-profit.

FlashCamp, London

I went over to the Barbican to have a chat about what the major aspects of Adobe Max were; a quick update. I wasn’t sure in the end whether to go, but I’m glad that I did. It gave me a reason to have another look at the Flash Builder update that has just arrived. I have been pushing more Flash free web interfaces since having the iPad and using it to develop interfaces with. It just seems so much cleaner than all that code and project set up in Eclipse, but I was also feeling guilty. I had slipped away from the testing and structure that the Eclipse environment gives and slipped into using the odd bit of notebook or textWrangler to update some of the files. I really need to get back to moving to a path of unit testing and one button deployment with rollback.
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iNews web interface

Pete Lane and I had a look at the iNews web interface this week. It’s fairly basic. I think it’s a minimal system to try and give the basic rundown outputs in much the same way as they appear n the iNews system ona PC; very basic, simple and identical to use for a journalist. If we look on the iPad however, the default font is small, the screen is also small, so the user ends up having to scroll around the screen and zoom in to see the text at any sort of useful size.

This image is the same output but styled significantly better. We are now using images to act as buttons to take us up and down the folder hierarchy and we have replaced the fonts to give some sensible sizes for presenters to be able to read while in vision. There are a few areas which mean that we need to do more work on it. The web interface is also used by all our Blackberry and mobile users, so we need to do some browser checking to adjust the styling for each type of user. We also need to test the movement around the folders; it doesn’t give us quite the right links in the interface. The setup in iNews is to allow a web page and a style sheet to be assigned to a particular stream. This web template may have various codes put in there that will then be filled in with links for parent topic etc. THe template is then styled and sent to the iPad. It works quite well, as you can see.

We are busy on the touchscreen work at the moment, but will come back to this. It may be that the SOAP interfaces coming in v3.0 iNews will give us an easier way. As we will be testing this version before Christmas, it might be better to wait until then.

GoogleIO notes from day 1

Last year looked at HTML5; it was gaining popularity. This year there will be more gpu usage, all the api’s will be present in all modern browsers (Microsoft missing?) Browser usage is increasing much faster. Gmail adds two features on top of html5. Can do drag and drop using the File api and get notifications through that api.

MugTug showed an offline version of their darkroom app using local application cache and local storage in html5. Uses javascript and canvas for the gui. have a database of web video content, to allow users to search for content. Now launching which uses canvas, local storage and worker threads to bring a TV compatible version of their tv guide. Brings output from networks to a playlist.

Google think that internet video will be big, which is why they bought On2 and their VP8 codec; it is adaptible to bandwidth issues. They are open sourcing this codec, royalty free.

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C# Web services from an Oracle database

This is another post about web services; previous one did a quick hello world app and talked more about setting up IIS on an internal web server. This one assumes a mapped drive onto the server, to which we shall upload the service apps. I’m using the F: drive in this case. The folder has been created previously. I’m using VS2008. I’m going to create a test web service to bring back XML from an Oracle database. I’ll give an example of both a SQL statement being used and a stored procedure.

The pdf of this page is OracleDBservices
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Hacking the Google App engine with python

Our company had a hack day last week and I thought that I’d have a look at the Google App engine. I was getting used to the management reply of “do you have a budget code?” when asking for a server in the racks, so I thought that I’d experiment with some data in the cloud. I had taken in the story about the Guardian knocking up a quick python web app using Django to notate the MP’s expenses information. I heard tell it took a week so I thought I might get something simple done in a day.
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Google maps and 3D trips

We had a few people from Google to talk about the latest developements and tools, so I thought that I’d just put down a few of the links as a memory aid. I looked at the impressive O3D after the conference and will return to it later, no doubt, but this session was more to do with flights of fancy around Google Earth and the customisation of Google maps.
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Birmingham Flash Camp

Spent a sunny day going on a train trip up to Birmingham for the Flash Camp. I decided that I’d like to listen to Mike Jones talk about components again, with a Flex 4 flavour this time. It was well worth the trip, not just for Mike but there was an interesting bunch of speakers there; a reminder on Away3d and the best demo I’ve seen of the Catalyst workflow. Friendly group up there; I recommend you get to some of the future meetings.

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