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  07 March 2015 - Conversion PHP 5.5 & MySQL 5 done :: Posted in I am Blog (canceled project)

After a week of rebuilding the PHP code of the I am Blog project, I finally got the job done today

Though all is working as intended again, I did have to change editor. The old SPAW editor I was using is no longer compatible with PHP 5.5 (it was with PHP 5.3 though), but having learned that the author of the SPAW editor has quit programming PHP about 5 years ago, I figured it would not be worth the effort to keep the I am Blog site I'm using (which is hidden for you ) work under PHP 5.3 and wait till my webhost discontinues that version of PHP.

Therefor I went on a search for a new WYSIWYG editor for the I am Blog script. I have tried half a dozen of those, to end up with the Froala editor. This editor has about the same functionality as the SPAW editor has and is free for non-commercial use (pretty important for me ). One of the most important features the Froala editor  has over most other WYSIWYG editors is that I can switch between the output text and the HTML code of the text that I'm writing. This feature is mainly important to me for the YouTube movies I've posted on the Pages from Sages blog, though the Froala editor has a button to do this native. But at least, using the HTML code I can drop stuff there that the editor does not support by buttons.
One thing I did notice about the Froala editor is that it does force HTML5 code. Tags like <center></center> are no longer available and should be handled through the paragraph tags (<p align=center></p>, and I'm sure there are other things I need to get used to in the near future

Having updated the I am Blog script to PHP 5.5 and MySQL 5 I did notice quite an increase in speed. I didn't realize that they'd make such a difference in reading the database (which is where the increased speed comes from), and if I'd have known it before I would have made the upgrade already long ago...

Last but not least, looking at the code of the I am Blog scripts, I found that I could do a lot of stuff with less code. Having added 2 more blogs that run with the script, I had to make quite a couple of if..then..else exceptions, and with a small change in coding I could eliminate all but 2 instances. I will take a look at those later on and see if I can even eliminate those.
And speaking of changing the code. I also bumped into the old calendar I was writing somewhere around 2011 (yes, during my last burn-out). I will pick this one up again andlook at some of the other features I wanted to add as well. But there's no real hurry for me on it though, because I'm busy on the Unity Bubbles project at the moment, which has all proirity...


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  02 March 2015 - Conversion to PHP 5.5 & MySQL 5 :: Posted in I am Blog (canceled project)
Yesterday I've been working my ass off to get the I am Blog project compatible with PHP 5.5 and MySQL 5. This seemed easier than I thought in general and from the looks of it the majority of the code (all?) has been updated already. Now it's time to get started on testing the whole thing and see if the new code indeed is working as expected.

I also found out when updating the server side PHP code for TetraGems (of course in a test environment as well ) has some quirks with the SQL commands. In the past I made one specific command to read the scores of the current player and what I thought was right (in MySQL 4 that is) was not. Now it seems that in MySQL 5 the old MySQL 4 SQL command is no longer valid (giving odd results) and the original SQL command is working again as it should

An other problem I encountered is the editor I'm using to write my blog. I've been using the SPAW editor since 2009 already, but the original author has quit coding PHP. Sadly the Spaw editor is not compatible with PHP 5.5 (and most likely 5.3 either) anymore because of an old OOP technique that's used and a couple of obsolete instructions. I've given it a shot this morning to make the editor compatible with PHP 5.5, only to fail misserably. I won't put any more time in it and will look for an other editor to write the blog entries

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  01 March 2015 - bHosted to phase out PHP 5.2 & MySQL 4 :: Posted in I am Blog (canceled project)
It was something that was bound to happen. bHosted (my webhost) has (finally) sent an announcement that they'll start to phase out the 12-year old PHP 5.2 and MySQL 4 systems in favor of their newer versions PHP 5.3 and 5.5 and MySQL 5.

From the security perspective I think this is a good move, because the newer versions will receive updates, while the older ones won't. But in the past I've had problems to get the I am Blog project to run on PHP 5.3. I have never found any reason why the I am Blog project wouldn't run on PHP 5.3 and thus kept running under PHP 5.2. But now it's time to figure out WHY the I am Blog project won't run on PHP 5.3. I'm even thinking to skip PHP 5.3 all together and make the I am Blog code compatible with PHP 5.5 immediately.

Right now I've only been talking about the PHP part, while there will also be a MySQL update. I don't think this won't be too much a problem for the I am Blog project. I have already transferred the database to a MySQL 5 one without any problem. I guess that the queries I'm using in the I am Blog code to get data from the database won't have changed too much.

This means coming weeks I'll be trouble shooting the I am Blog code on the new platforms. Guess it also means that I have to update the local server that I have installed as well. I just hope that the migration to PHP 5.5 and MySQL 5 won't need too much change in code...

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  03 April 2013 - Small fix 0.7.0a :: Posted in I am Blog (canceled project)
Made a small fix where in some cases the page browser was not working for categories in a blog. While at it, I also added the META-tag to the HTML header, allowing the bots to get some keywords for the I am Blog site.

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  29 March 2013 - Version 0.7.0 is live! :: Posted in I am Blog (canceled project)
It has take a while, but finally version 0.7.0 of the I am Blog project is available and is placed on the live servers as well.

Some of the highlights of the changes to the previous version:
  - A lot of extra smilies are added
  - A total of 5 fixes on the category system
  - Included a whole new e-mail verification system and you now have to verify your e-mail address within 24 hours
  - When changing your e-mail address, a notification message is now sent to the old e-mail address
  - Extended the length of the cookie from 1 hour to 2 hours
  - Changed all referrals to the old domain into the new domain (quite a lot BTW )
  - A lot of code hes been setup more efficiently
  - Changed a lot of textual issues and errors
  - Every blog will now show an advertisement from above your 1st post (hey, it's free and I have to pay the bills for hosting )

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  27 March 2013 - E-mail verify up & running :: Posted in I am Blog (canceled project)
Todays addition to the I am Blog project was a big one. I've managed to create a full-proof e-mail verify system that's used for new users as well as for users who have changed their e-mail address.

When you're signing on to I am Blog as a new user, you will receive an automated e-mail with a link to verify the existence of the e-mail address. This link has to be used within 24 hours after it is sent.

When you're an existing used and you change your e-mail address, two automated e-mail messages will be sent. One will be sent to the old e-mail address, telling there's a request to change your e-mail address into the new one. The other will be sent to the new e-mail address, again with a link to verify the existence of the e-mail address and it'll be valid for 24 hours as well.

So far all the verify tests went well, aside from the 24 hour expiration test. This I'll test tomorrow, but from the looks of it and the way I've setup the 24 hour limit I think I'll be okay with it

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  25 March 2013 - Security up-to-date :: Posted in I am Blog (canceled project)
Last week I said I'd be upgrading the encryption level of the eMail and password in the I am Blog database. Taking a closer look at it I found that that isn't needed at all. I am already using the highest level of encryption of the stored password in the database available. The only way to increase the password encryption is by adding some stuff myself, and right now I don't think that's really needed, though I might add it a later on when the need arises...

Then the encryption of the eMail address used. I can be very short on it - NOT GONNA HAPPEN. I hear you wonder why, and it's quite logical. If I encrypt it in a way that it can be decrypted again, a hacker will be able to do the same. I also can't simply use a one-way encryption (hashing), because the eMail address is needed for eMailing the user when comments are posted on their blog and such things.
Then back to the security issue for the eMail address... None there I think. The user can change the eMail address at any time if needed. I can however add a so-called 'account armor' to the I am Blog database, which will be optional (or forced, not sure yet about it). The account armor is a system where IP-addresses used by the user it stored for which they have given permission, which mostly is the PC used to write the blogs with. When the user logs on from a not yet known IP-address, an eMail is sent to the user's registered eMail address, which will include a link (or code) to allow the listed IP-address to be used.

Last but not least (and not mentioned before) are the cookies used for I am Blog. I think I have made those already very secure in the past. I have encrypted those in a way when I created them around 2 years ago, that now when looking into them it took me over an hour to figure out how I did the encryption. I think that if I (as the creator of these cookies) have a hard time figuring out how I did it, a hacker will have an even harder time figuring them out

Of course, one important note about security has to be said. Now I think the security measures are up-to-date, but as time goes by, I have to rethink them to be ahead of potential hackers. Anything that's deemed save now, can be broken tomorrow - just a thought...

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