Posts tagged: blog

Resources for the Cheap-Ass Game Developer

The following resources are of interest to me, and will be lacking in some areas. I write for myself, and as a side-effect I hope there are others who find my writing helpful as well. I believe knowledge is power so the following resources are geared toward resources to help you become a better game developer, as opposed to “free resources”. With that being said, the following is a list of resources for the enthusiast game developer.

Magazines

Blogs

Tools

  • Ubuntu – Free operating system, a particular flavor of Linux, alternative to Windows or Mac.
  • Eclipse – Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
  • Slick – Java game programming library.

How To: “Blog Roll” in Drupal (6.x)

Recently I was asked to include a link to the South Okanagan Linux Users Group as a favor for them linking to the North Okanagan Linux Users Group, which I help maintain. The NoLUG runs on Drupal, which unlike WordPress (which I use for n3wt0n) does not include a “blog roll” by default. And by blog roll, I mean a collection of links to other similar blogs which is usually featured on every page throughout the site.

SOLUG scratched our back, it’s only fair in return to scratch theirs. So how do you go about creating a blog roll in Drupal? You may think about using an existing module, but that was too much work. Here’s the simple way.

Follow the path:

Home » Administer » Site building » Blocks (Add Block)

And fill in the following fields:

Block description - What the block will be called on the Blocks menu.
Block title - What the block will be called on the actual page.
Block body - The HTML to make up your blog roll.

The block body I used for the NoLUG site was simply an unordered list that makes for easy maintenance.

<ul>
<li><a href="http://clug.ca/" >Calgary LUG</a></li>
<li><a href="http://lug.kamloops.net/" >Kamloops LUG</a></li>
<li><a href="http://solug.org/" >South Okanagan LUG</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vanlug.bc.ca/" >Vancouver LUG</a></li>
</ul>

Now choose whichever configuration options you want to associate with the block. I recommend

Custom visibility settings: Users cannot control whether or not they see this block.
Show block on specific pages: Show on every page except the listed pages. (Leave the listed pages blank)

Make sure you click “Save Block” so your hard work is saved. This will take you back to the Blocks menu.

Scroll to the bottom of the Blocks menu, to the Disabled section. Locate the newly created “Blog Roll” and select either Right or Left Sidebar (or wherever you want to place the block). Click “Save Blocks” and there you have your new Blog Roll.

Laconica with GoDaddy

I may be jumping the gun here a little bit as I’ve only successfully managed to get Laconica talking to the database and have successfully registered my user. If for some reason not everything is up and working 100% then I’ll append a note to the end of this article. In the meantime, you’re probably here because you want to know if it’s possible to get Laconica, the micro-blogging utility that is the basis for which Identi.ca is built upon, working in a GoDaddy hosting account.

Yes you can. Here’s how.

The Laconica README says that Laconica requires that it is the only process using any particular database, so go ahead and create one from your GoDaddy hosting account manager. I’ve chosen MySQL 5.x myself. It’ll take a few minutes while a (presumably) real human sets up the database and permissions for your user. When the technician is done setting up your database then it should, after a page-refresh, show “Open Manager” in the database manager screen.

There’s a particular piece of info you’ll need now, which is the address of the database (different, often-times, for each database you set up). So click the “pencil” icon in the “actions” column. If you hover over the pencil it should say “edit/view details”.

When the page opens you’re looking for the “Host Name” which is something like “pXXmysqlXXX.secureserver.net”. That’s the location of the server holding your database and you’ll need it later on. So make a note of it and let’s carry on.

The next step would be to actually have downloaded the Laconica software. A link to the latest version can usually be found on the http://laconi.ca/trac/ site. Currently it is version 0.6.2 which was released November 18 of 2008.

Download it, extract the archive (the zip, tar, etc) and then open your favorite FTP client and transfer to your webserver (or copy it over via command line FTP). Don’t expect it to work just yet. You need to edit a couple files.

First, find the laconica_0.6.2/config.php.sample wherever you extracted the archive and drop the .sample part of it. Now open up config.php in whatever text editor you prefer and change the following lines:

$config['site']['name'] = 'Just another Laconica microblog';
$config['site']['server'] = 'n3wt0n.com';
$config['site']['path'] = 'micro';

n3wt0n.com becomes whatever your URL is, but don’t include http:// or it’ll screw it up. Or do, and you’ll see for yourself. Also, change “micro” to the name of the directory that Laconica exists in on your server. If you just copied the extracted directory over then it may be called “laconica_0.6.2” but I renamed mine to “micro”.

I also changed

#$config['site']['logfile'] = '/tmp/laconica.log';

to

$config['site']['logfile'] = 'laconica.log';

because I am hoping that the log file will be printed to the site-root (n3wt0n.com/) where I might be able to retrieve it some time, rather than the server’s /tmp/ directory where I cannot reach it. But that’s your call.

Last, but certainly not least, within the config.php file is the “db” configuration. Particular to working in a GoDaddy account, modify the following lines to suit your account.

$config['db']['database'] = 'mysql://DB_NAME:DB_PASSWORD@DB_LOCATION/DB_NAME';
$config['db']['ini_your_db_name'] = $config['db']['DB_NAME'].'/DB_NAME.ini';

Remember that with a GoDaddy account, the MySQL database username is the same as the database name. Thus “DB_NAME” is used for both. Change that to whatever you named your database. DB_LOCATION is that “pXXmysqlXXX.secureserver.net” thing we noted earlier.

Additional note:

mysql://DB_NAME:DB_PASSWORD@DB_LOCATION/DB_NAME

follows the format

mysql://username:password@serverlocation/databasename

That should cover the configuration, but there’s one more file we’ll need to change. Change the name of laconica_0.6.2/classes/laconica.ini to DB_NAME.ini (remember, DB_NAME is replaced with whatever you named your database). It should be noted that you may have to rename laconica.links.ini to DB_NAME.links.ini as well. I just haven’t played around long enough to know.

Another additional note:
Copy htaccess.sample and rename it to .htaccess
Within that file, change “RewriteBase /mublog/” to be “RewriteBase /micro/” where micro is the path to your laconica directory.

Now everything is set up for Laconica to work, all we need now is to import the database! That’s easy, too. Within the GoDaddy Hosting Contol Center, click “Open Manager” for your Laconica database and log in to the PHPMySQLAdmin interface. From the database drop down menu on the left, select the DB_NAME to bring up the database. Now on the right side of the screen click on the “import” tab.

The “Location of the text file” to import is the directory of the extracted Laconica archive/db/laconica.sql

Click “Go” at the bottom right of that screen and now you should be good to go with Laconica on your GoDaddy hosting account. And if it’s not GoDaddy then this was probably an easier task for you.

The best thing you can do for yourself to set up Laconica is to read the Laconica README.

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