Archives – March, 2010

Automatic population of the Word Press Database

Automatic population Word Press Database

See Expression Engine Entities, db structure data import and performance for a the related discussion this was part of.

I illustrated how you can create relatively powerful systems with the simple WordPress database modal by populating the database directly using a back end system driven by a well structure data modal.

You do this by creating navigation using the creation maintenance of categories for navigating the relationship, and at every level you can create automatically generated post representing the deferent entities in the database. While the result will be a very de normalized view of the data and can be impossible to maintain through the word press interface it can easily be done by maintaining the structured back end and updating the word press databse.

It is even possible to allow for two way system buy queering posts that have not been auto generated by the back end system.

While I am not advocating this is the perfect way it is a technique that can be used to develop a powerful front end with very little investment.

It can also be used to publish a system to various different front-ends, so you may have a powerful proprietary web site but may want to support varies other interfaces driven by the same data like Web Press blogs white labeling a subset on your system.

Guy Shneerson

Leave a Comment March 5, 2010

Enterprise Thursday presenting Dr. Aleks Krotoski

Enterprise Thursday presenting Dr. Aleks Krotoski

4th March 2010, Corn Exchange, Brighton

Enterprise Thursdays (Sussex University) presents Big Breaks in the Digital Age” Discover how to make it big in the media world – keynote talk by BBC TV’s “Virtual Revolution” presenter Dr. Aleks Krotoski.

After a great session covering Expression Engines architecture me and Adam made our way back to the corn exchange in Brighton looking forward to Aleks’s talk. I was a bit worried that the place will be over packed but luckily it was just perfect with a nice number of people and enough free chairs, not only we had a sit but food and nice wine was available (with all the excitement of the day I dint have much to eat so spot on).

Aleks or as she amusingly enjoys hearing Dr. Aleks talked about the journey that got her were she is today. Her story telling was great and with out bothering to spell it out Aleks’s story illustrated many of the topics that where illustrated in the Wired Sussex Media Jobs + Skills Fair 2010 earlier session.

The talk was followed by a Questions & Answers session, and the questions asked where surprisingly good (and why not? you say, and right you are I answer) and her answers where inspiring (I am in an over excited mood about technology lately but it really was).

Some of the topics I found especially interesting where

Her view on “leveling technologies” involving emerging markets like China Africa as the internet access sweeps the globe (that’s probably as far from her own words as can be but its how I remember it) I especially found that inspiring as: while I lost hope for society as a whole to rectify the many social injustices it created, I still believe that the internet can provide an opportunity for individuals and on line communities to make more then a symbolic change (So now I am both over pessimistic and over optimistic at the same time).

She also talked about many aspects of social networking ranging from the use of branding, the ability of social networks to create a fake sense of ownership & about how successful social media takes a long term approach.

Aleks Krotoski made a bold and interesting statement about facebook being on its way out. My understanding of this is that she referred to on-line communities as a relatively new concept, and as people get used to it they will expect it to mature and reflect more closely their view of real social networks supporting smaller groups i.e. I don’t have 15,000 friends but I only have 10 close friends maybe a 100 other friends 100 people I know through work and another few hundreds online associations. She didn’t actually say all that, its just my interpretation (so if anyone got it from another angle let me know). The way I see it in the Friend Face of the future it may be incredibly rude to ask a complete stranger for friendship.

Some useful links for Dr. Aleks Krotoski :

Aleks Krotoski

The guardian


Guy Shneerson

Leave a Comment March 5, 2010

Expression Engine Entities, db structure data import and performance

4th March 2010, not far from Corn Exchange, Brighton

I met my mate Adam from and we had an interesting session looking into various aspect of the Expression Engine architecture.

Expression Engine Entities and db structure:

We looked at how its ability to define entities is reflected in the database structure where Expression Engine entities are not created as database entities (DB tables) but instead as record entries in a table, we touched on the possible approaches to a CMS database design touching on issues like advantages of a normalized database with the difficult of creating a CMS that needs to handle an unknown database schema.

Data importing and populating:

We also talked about approaches to populating the Expression Engine MySQL DB from other database and I illustrated the approach to developing a tool that would allow you to import data from normalized databases by interrogating a DB schema. Adam has told me he has had quite a bit of work importing data from people who have given up on Joomla. I pointed out that if Joomla takes the same approach as expression Engine and has no proper normalized architecture it will need a specific implementation of a data import tool.

We also talked about importing data from other sources like web sites and XML and how that can be done using the scripting language I have developed with George Boobyer for blue-bag this language is especially designed for fast visual design of data extraction and transformation for HTML, XML, SOAP and databases.

Adam also showed me his product External Entries allowing EE systems to integrate with none EE MySQL databases


We talked about the database as a possible bottleneck especially one like the Expression Engine that duo to its flat nature is not optimized for performance (please correct me if you think you I am wrong). Adam talked about the various tools/approaches that can be used to cash Expression Engine by converting pages or elements with in them to static HTML using  Apache htaccess files.

We also had a chat of a few other technologies like:

  • Ruby on rails Ruby on Rails (Rails or RoR) as a Web application framework
  • Python
  • Django a high-level Python Web framework
  • Pylons a Ruby, Python and Perl web framework

Hopefully next time we can expend on those more

Look out soon for similar session covering the drupal architecture

Guy Shneerson

3 Comments March 5, 2010


Wired Sussex Media Jobs + Skills Fair 2010

4th March 2010, Corn Exchange, Brighton

The event organized by Wired Sussex In association with the University of Sussex

I went along not expecting much I am a Information System architect and a software developer and this was a media fair but I live in Brighton so I gave it a chance besides I was really looking forward to the evening talk by Dr. Aleks Krotoski.

The event was very much aimed at student coming out of college & University looking for a job (fair enough). I sat in on the Routes into media 1:45 – 3:15 and the advice although dry at time (I couldn’t even go up on stage so no complaints) was good advice focusing mainly on the necessity to be pro active including work experience and relevant on line presence and on approaches to approaching companies.

A quick review:

1:50 I only got at the end of Adam Stafford from fresh egg but his talk seemed to be the most engaging of the loot.

2:00 The Animation and design one was very disappointing because it did not talk about Animation and presented a 10 slide presentation of things to do to get a job.

2:10 The Games session by Ben Hebb Art Director of Zoe mode had a very interesting question and Answer session about the route in for a traditional animation.

2:20 Marketing/PR really didn’t like that one Caraline spent most of the talk emphasizing the importance of spelling and grammar (both of which r my week points) and presentation in a very aggressive way saying she bins CVs on any mistakes. While this may important qualifications I do not like aggression and I believe that all industries rely on celebration of different skills, I am no great marketing guru but I believe that today marketing is highly dependent on many technical skills including understanding of technology and that the ability to understand a product and its relevant attraction to its target audience is high on the list.

2:30 Journalism by the Argus editor Jo Wadsworth was the complete opposite of the previous talk. Surly if marketing is not mainly about writing than journalism is. Well apparently not. When Jo presented the question of what journalism is about? “Writing” was the first answer, which was wrong. According to Jo it is about finding the story (I liked that), she did however run through the all the skills needed and those included law, writing and short hand. Hooray describe the essence and than give them all the facts.

I also walked around the exhibiters and had a nice chat about Drupal with Jeremy Spiller from White Hat Media

I than left the place and met my mate Adam for a great Expression Engine session

Guy Shneerson

Leave a Comment March 5, 2010

Brighton Business resources

The following is a list of resources for business and self employed taken from

sussex university Logo There’s a unique flavour to the University of Sussex that makes studying there a great experience. Their strong reputation for research attracts outstanding academic staff from around the world and provides firm foundations for their teaching excellence. Add to this their proud history for innovative learning approaches and inclusiveness, where everyone is encouraged to make the most of all their talents, and you have a recipe for outstanding success.
Brighton and Hove Council Logo Brighton & Hove City Council recognises the important contribution the Digital Media sector makes to our local economy, and is working to encourage new growth and sustainable digital media
SEMN Logo The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), as the Regional Development Agency for the South East, is responsible for the sustainable economic development and regeneration of the South East of England – the driving force of the UK’s economy.
CIPD The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the professional body for those involved in the management and development of people. The Institute’s mission is to lead in the development and promotion of good practice in the field of the management and development of people, for application both by professional members and by their organisational colleagues; to serve the professional interests of members and to uphold the highest ideals in the management and development of people.
Sussex Enterprise Sussex Enterprise is the chamber of commerce for the county and currently has over 2,000 member businesses. Sussex Enterprise offers a wide range of valuable member benefits that can help save you money, reach new customers and get your voice heard on the issues that matter to your business. Benefits include free networking events, legal helpline, HR advice and legal expenses insurance.
LSC The Learning and Skills Council exists to make England better skilled and more competitive. We have a single goal: to improve the skills of England’s young people and adults to ensure we have a workforce of world-class standard. The LSC is a non-departmental public body which began work in 2001, taking over the roles of the former Further Education Funding Council and Training and Enterprise Councils.
LSC Business Link provides information, advice and support needed to start, maintain and grow a business. It is a government funded service which provides help via its website, business advisers and customer service teams. Business Link’s knowledge of the business support market is unique. Its advisers are experienced in identifying issues and suggesting the right business solutions based on a company’s current and future needs and issues.
SEMN Logo South East Media Network is a business led consortium providing strategic focus for the regions digital content sector, it exists to enable the South East of England’s digital content businesses increase their share of the global market. SEMN provides two way communications between businesses, policy makers and support organisations. It informs local, regional and national strategies and drives improvement in business performance.

Leave a Comment March 4, 2010

Some usfull drupal links The main drupal site Is part of the group of sites. serves the Drupal community by providing a place for groups to organize Drupals gmap Module. The GMap module provides an interface to the Google Maps API within Drupal. an example of using Drupal.gmap Ubercart Ubercart is an e-commerce suite developed for Drupal. Ubercart 1.x livetest: showcasing droople Ubercart

Leave a Comment March 3, 2010

“ARTS for MINDS” goes live

“ARTS for MINDS” goes live featuring Orna Shneerson Pascal’s Art work.

My understanding is that this site is going to focus among other things on the link between are and the mental wellbeing & health.

It is interesting as Ornas work has been purchased by health organisations before

These are early days so keep an eye for developments on the site.

ARTS for MINDS: featuring Orna Shneerson Pascal’s “Tree Of Life” Painting on its home page.

Leave a Comment March 3, 2010

Useful WordPress Plugins

I find the following plugins useful as a set of default plugins for a WordPress installation:

  • ultimate-google-analytics – requires an analytics account (free) and really is the ultimate SEO plugin;
  • google-sitemap-generator – generates a Google Site map (useful with a Google Webmaster Account);
  • platinum-seo-pack – Manages Title tags and meta tags along with loads of other SEO tools;
  • revision-control – controls (limits)  the number f revisions you accumulate;
  • WPTouch – Provides an iPhone interface to your blog.
  • Akismet – Comes with WordPress  – activate it – it works and really stops a lot of comment spam.

I load all of these by default with WordPress installations. The SEO ones really enable you to manage and monitor the visibility of your site and to track traffic.


Leave a Comment March 3, 2010

apple mac software

Some free some not apple mac software/utils, those I’ve paid for were worth it in my opinion:

Continue 1 Comment March 1, 2010


March 2010
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