Tuesday, June 06, 2006

PHP Designer 2006

For a long time I am programming/writing PHP scripts and it is important for me what kind of software I am using. I started with simple text editors on Amiga OS, but when I moved to Linux I really liked Bluefish. Nevertheless, I want to present a freeware PHP Editor, which is very powerful and works with Windows 98/2000/NT/XP - PHP Designer 2006, there is older 2005 version and of course the first version released in 2003 about which there is no point to discuss anymore.

PHP Designer is a powerful freeware PHP IDE often used for writing PHP, but you also can use it for reading, writing and editing HTML, CSS, XML, SQL, Javascript, Visual Basic and so on.. Professionals and Novice users can use it without any problems, it is made that users would feel more comfortable and would create, edit, analyze, optimize and publish different PHP applications much faster - All in one program. PHP Designer 2006 has various features for PHP developers: very nice syntax highlighting for PHP, HTML, CSS, XML, JS, VB, JAVA, C#, different SQL and of course Multi, which highlights most of the formats in one file, I only had problems with XML inside PHP scripts; very nice File Browser; Tabs, for fast change between files they are saved using sessions; built-in FTP, that you could automatically upload files to your server; it can use your php.exe interpretor, with which you can test, debug, execute PHP scripts; great panel for classes functions and includes - very useful if you have a lot of classes and functions and includes in one file; built-in PHP Manual; built-in tools and hints which makes your job easier; support for Windows, Unix, Mac formats; different managers such as ToDo Manager, Project Manager and etc. But one of the most important features is built-in functions which you can use for your applications; full PHP library. Don't forget, that you have a lot of Options to choose from and can customize a lot, but personally I almost prefer the default, I only changed several things from time I installed it.

However, there are some things which I don't really prefer, it is a quite simple debugger, which is using IE engine and shows the result of php.exe, I hope in further versions of PHP Designer more features will be taken from Zend Studio. Personally, its not a problem for me, because I have installed WAMP on my computer (Windows Apache MySQL PHP)and I can easily test my scripts in a browser. Another thing why people don't choose this program is because of its speed when changing between tabs, it is quite slow, even though PHP Designer is very stable and doesn't use a lot of resources from your computer, but I got used to the speed and it is not a problem for me anymore. In addition, I would like to see more options on session saving, something like in the Internet browser Opera.

I can add that this software application was written by Michael Pham from Denmark, he is currently 22 years old student (he was born on February 1983) He has experience with Delphi, Java, C / Linux, PHP, HTML, CSS and SQL.. He started with simple HTML editor when he was about 15-16 years old. He saw a lot of perspectives on the Internet and by little help from others he started PHP Designer the second time, his dream is to make PHP Designer the best free PHP IDE environment,but he does confess that he didn't get rich out of it. Furthermore, he needs to do his studies, his jobs and also look after his family so he can't stay full-time on PHP Designer, but nonetheless he is chap!

More about PHP Designer 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Free Pascal

I must admit, that often I am using Free Pascal to compile my written programs, so I thought that it would be a great idea to write something about it. I really don't like Borland Turbo Pascal, which we need to use in School and as I know on the Information Technology Exam we will be using Free Pascal, so I don't see anything logical here.. Personally, for me Pascal programming language is quite poor, it is old and not comfortable, but quite easy to learn that we could understand the basics of programming, but currently, when we have so much programming languages such as Java, VB, C# that aren't alike to the best C, C++ and Assembly, but .. (Microsoft is Shit, don't use C sharp and DirectX) .. if you want to make your code multi-platform.

To get back to the Topic, Free Pascal (aka FPK Pascal) is an 32 and 64 bit professional Compiler, what is great, that it is available for different processors, like Intel x86, Amd64/x86 64, PowerPC, Sparc. The 1.0 Version, which is discontinued supports the old m68k CPU and works on Amiga Classic Computer, BeOS, SunOS, QNX and the current stable version is targeted for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X/Darwin, Mac OS classic, DOS, Win32, OS/2, Netware (libc and classic), Solaris, SkyOS and MorphOS - which is Amiga Related Operating System. Current Stable version is 2.0.2, but you can use the developer versions, which you can call beta. Free Pascal has a lot of features, as I know, when Borland announced that Turbo Pascal will be discontinued (Delphi appeared) one Student wrote his own Pascal Compiler which had excellent support for TB 7.0 code and later his personal project grew to a big one as we see Today. New versions support Delphi features as well as Delphi (classes, rtti, exceptions, ansistrings, widestrings, interfaces) Moreover, it supports MacPascal to assist Apple computer users. Lets don't forget that Free Pascal support function overloading, operator overloading, global properties and similar features. Lets remember that Free Pascal is Open Source Software which you can download free from SF.

More about Free Pascal

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Audioscrobbler Plugin

It was a quite long time I was writing at this Blog, I was quite busy with other stuff, but today I thought it will be useful for you to know about the Audioscobbler plugin for your media players such as Quintessential Player and similar. Audioscrobbler system is a database, which tracks the music you are listening to and exactly stores everything into the database from your sent metadata and creates statistics about your music. It is stable and you will not see it, because everything works in the background, unless you configured something differently or some error appeared about which you will be notified. Even you should be interested to what you are listening, to see your favourite song, album or band. Furthermore, from your statistics you can get recommendation to related bands and music of your taste.

You can install Audioscrobbler plugin for your favourite Media Player, as I know Audioscrobbler is supported for these Players: Winamp, Quintessential Media Player, iTunes, Windows Media Player, Yahoo! Music Engine, Yahoo! LaunchCast, Foobar2000, QCD, J. River Media Center, AlbumPlayer and MP3Toys by installing an extra plugin, which you can download free from Last.fm website. Every name of the song and other meta data are sent to Audioscrobbler server and are added to your profile, to get your own profile you just need to register with last.fm and in your player enable the plugin with your username and password. From this database, you can do a lot if you have the knowledge, you can use this data as a text file or xml data.

It is important that your mp3 music metadata would be valid, but because the data is checked, some of your songs might not appear in the database, last.fm listings, it is using the MusicBrainz.org database, which in the future will be even more advanced, it just removes bad songs. If you want to look at an example, here is My Profile.

By the Way, Last.fm together with Audioscrobbler offer much more, an Internet Radio is available as their service, through which you can transmit your own music or listen to other people, maybe even to your friends, who has a similar music taste, you just need to download their radio player and install it, it is light and does not take a lot of resources. Moreover, last.fm is offering a service, with which you can show your stats on your personal website or Blog, you have a lot of choice how they will look, you even can create your own style through the last.fm site, you will be able to use simple html code or javascript to show the recent tracks or anything you choose. In my opinion, I think you already are interested to use Audioscrobbler, so it is time for you to visit their sites.

More about Audioscrobbler

The Developers of Audioscrobbler Site

Monday, March 13, 2006

Quintessential Player

I think that most of you are using your computers to listen to music, now it is very convenient to use mp3 format, of course the audio cd is still popular, but I think with time people will use them less and less, because the market now is full of mp3 players.. Well, you use WinAmp or even worse WMP (Windows Media Player) don't you ? but I really would recommend you to change your player, but personally I don't have anything against WinAmp, but thinking wisely it needs a lot of changes to make, for the performance of this software, the usage of resources and the speed is to big and of course making it more comfortable. That is why I think you need to look at Quintessential Player, else known as QCD.

Quintessential Player is fully skin-able audio player for your desktop, which is using plug-in architecture to make it as simple as possible, but with full of features. You can use the minimal installation or choose a lot of add-ons such as variety of visual effects, library functions, DSP filters, language packs and other plug-ins to make this player more advanced. Quintessential Player is able to play different audio formats: MP3, MP3 Pro, Ogg Vorbis, WAV and even Windows Media. Furthermore, it supports CD ripping, MP3 encoding, CDDB integration and cross-fading. Also Quintessential lets you to listen streaming audio from broadcasting services like Shoutcast and Icecast.

Other players might bring more of your attention, but it would be very hard to beat Quintessential Player for them, its efficiency, stability and flexibility. Very customizable and is made to work with almost all plug-ins. I would like to remind that this application is totally free, but closed code, that is why it beats all the other players. Stylish and fast, very comfortable interface, which you just like after some seconds.. it is more resource friendly and has more features than WinAmp. QCD has a large selection of different skins, which you can use without opening your browser and downloading them, due to it has an integrated skin browser where you can manage your player skins, amazing, isn't it ? The User Interface and menus are not confusing at all, it is very easy to understand everything, you will quickly get used to it, but I know that changing software sometimes is hard, but you will just need to get used after a while and I know you won't want to use anything else again.

Even though QCD isn't updated for quite a while now, it works well with Windows OS, there is no reason to update it, because the developers are working on QMP (Quintessential Media Player) which can do much more, I tried it and I really liked it, it has more of everything I told above, but as only beta version is available, it is not so stable to use it frequently. Sometimes when I am listening to music it quits/freezes.. But I think I will wait with patience until the full stable version of QMP arrives. I encourage you to not get scared of the default skin when you install the player, because there are plenty of them online - easily you can change them. I would like to add, that for your convenience, the usage is really comfortable and much better than WinAmp's, it even has a tray icon through which you can control your music, I don't know, but never listening to music and controling it wasn't so marvelous.

More about Quintessential at their website.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

7-zip File Manager

Often you are needing to archive a lot of files to archives, usually you are using the simple and quite old ZIP format or the quite popular RAR, which is quite slow comparing to the compression ratio. And the software you need to use is not for free and usually cost a lot of money which is not worth your money. 7 Zip File Manager is a free open-source application which supports most of the, almost every format available, but what I miss, is support for LHA and LZX formats, which I need to use quite often. So forget about WinZip, WinRar and others..

7-Zip main features: High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression. As I mentioned 7-Zip is free software distributed under the GNU LGPL. The supported formats for packing and unpacking are 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR, and it only unpacks RAR, CAB, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM and DEB. For Zip and GZip formats 7-Zip provides compression ratio that is 2-10% better than ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip. Currently there is no way to use unACE, because the authors written dll unace.dll works badly and it requires a powerful wrapper to be written, also in the future this application is planning to support ISO format, because now there are a lot of problems with this format, often we use the expensive Nero or the Windows default ISO burner, which burn your compact disks, that it only works on your own computer. Very comfortable and powerful UI (User Interface) and more.. 7-Zip is stable with the Operating Systems Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP and is ported to Linux and FreeBSD too.

To use archives is really good, especially now, when computers are so advanced, in the past I remember I also needed to compress different files, using XPK or PP format, that files would take less space in the floppy disk, now that might sound funny though.. It is very convenient to compress the files, which you rarely used, because it is better for the hard disk - one bigger file is better than lots of small files, especially when stupid Windows OS is reading all the files from inside while browsing. You can archive the files with a password too, so you will have the access to it and no one else. TAR format is really great, it stores all the files into one archive and does not compress them, this is very fast, I personally stored all my installers into one big 2 GB file and when I need something I just open the file like a list with the manager and browse it, copy the file I need and thats all, very fast and comfortable and just because of 7-Zip. Of course, there exist much more similar programs, but this in my opinion is one of the best, but if you still would like to pack using RAR, you will have to use something additionally, but I don't see the point to do it.

More about 7-Zip File Manager