Category Archives: Application Design

Google’s Pacman Doodle and the New Era of Interactive HTML

For the first time, Google put interactive doodle on the homepage. The doodle is the reinterpretation of the popular Pacman game created back in 1980. The interactive doodle will be on the Google homepage for 48 hours, starting from May 21st to May 22nd, 2010. According to the news released by the company, the doodle was associated with the 30th anniversary of Pacman game which was first launhed to public on May 22nd, 1980.

While you might have enjoyed playing the game, you might also be interested in getting to know why it is now possible to play game on an image. Yep, if you right click on the doodle and save it into a file, you will see an image like one depicted as the following:

Pacman doodle initial picture

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A New Toy Namely Google App Engine Has Arrived

Google seems to love and hate me at the same time. Some moments ago (I forgot the date I filled the application), I submitted application form for testing its App Engine. I was just curious about its cloud computing environment and wondered if the infrastructure they built could properly address some issues common in grid computing or cloud computing architecture. Also, I thought it would also be nice for me, although I’m not exposed to the details of the architectural implementation, to use their infrastructure for research purpose as I’m currently researching on distributed systems.

I received an email from Google containing the approval of my application. No need to explicitly express how radiant I was to receive such notification because it really means something, to be frank. The caveat is, current SDK provided only supports Python programming language, a language I am not so familiar with. I have never spent hefty amount of dedicated time learning Python, to get to know what’s inside and out. Lacking the knowledge can be a taxing obstacle, but let’s just see if I am up to the challenge.

Later, I will provide an article about cloud computing for those who want to know why it’s often said as a promising architecture for future web computation.

In the meantime, if you have ideas about applications to build or good references for Python, just let me know. The comment section is open 😉

Quick Notes On Google Adsense Sidebar Widget for WordPress

Adsense on WordPressIn my earlier post, I contributed my updated version to Google Adsense Sidebar Widget on WordPress based on  previous work by Mike Smullin. I received some comments about errors in implementing the widget. This weekend, as I mentioned earlier, I decided to take further investigation to know the root cause of the malfunction.

I compared two references i could find. The first is right from the dashboard of my Google Adsense publisher account and the later is Google’s documentation for Adsense API. There should be another reference from Mike Smullin’s own work but since he’s now charging for the plugin, I’d better have someone send me the plugin to be analyzed and synchronized with my update.

After reading the documentation and  toying with my account, I’d like to provide some notes regarding google adsense implementation:

1. Google Adsense API

This API provides programmatical way to modify and manage the ads. It uses SOAP web service with available callbacks listed in its published WSDL. The API will enable a user to manage his adsense account without logging in into his Google Adsense account. Instead, the third party application communicates with Google server to update the modification executed by user while utilizing the application.

However, WordPress widget expects simple configuration values for each of the widget. Rearchitecting existing widget to support SOAP communication is a bit out-of-boundary and redundant. I’ll explain this in the subsequent point. Continue reading

Querying XML Documents, Revisiting Existing Languages and Methodologies

XMLThese days in the web 2.0 era, we are using XML extensively. We use xml on our browser, to represent the hypertext. We use xml in our most recent MS Word documents. We use XML in web services. We use XML in our AJAX applications. To the bigger scale, the enterprise, we also use XML in the service oriented architecture implementation.We fall onto XML as our first choice for universal data format. And also databases?

As a plain text data representation, XML should incur extra overhead for the size and processing time. Indexing XML documents is also another issue, not to mention providing relational data on top of XML documents. Building pure XML database is non-trivial, hence we hardly find implementation for such. However, given all the disadvantages of utilizing XML as the database, is it still possible to do basic database functionality for XML documents?

Fortunately, the answer is yes.

I provide a paper containing my survey to existing approaches to querying XML documents and achieving database functionality over XML documents. Although the structure of the paper may be inclined to academic domain, i think it will still be useful for developer who is looking for quick hindsight for such matter.

You can download the paper from the link below:

XML Query Processing and Query Languages: A Survey (3088 downloads )

A Glimpse of Evolving Zend Framework 1.5

Fellow developers may have noted that Zend released their Zend Framework 1.5 (including the 1.5.1 branch) last March. As a person who was away from ZF development milestone for a while (and when i was back i noticed bunches of emails in the mailing list), it’s interesting for me to see the changes made in the framework. I come up with a slideshow presentation which is grabbed from the ZF homepage.

Interesting feature sets from this release are Open ID integration and the availability of Zend_Form. When I was building my application on the beta platform or the first stable release, creating advanced form with complex view was quite a problem. I will delve more into current source code and documentation and see the logic and approach behind this component. It will also be interesting in finding the approach for ajax interaction model. Regarding Open ID, it’s great that it’s finally bundled in the framework. I believe, Open ID will be more widely adopted and Zend has played its role by supporting the technology in its Framework.

Congratulations to all Zend Framework developers. I hope I will start contributing especially on solving the performance issues.