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Miscellaneous articles relating to the use and development of Tuskfish CMS.

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Mapping demo: Batemans Bay to Canberra GPS track

A demonstration of Tuskfish's mapping capabilities. This track was recorded on my Garmin Forerunner 245 watch, as I drove back from Batemans Bay on the south coast to Canberra. The map is automatically generated from an exported .kml file of the track, which Google Maps can put bounds around. The tracks are downloadable so others can use them on their own devices if they wish. You can also prepare maps in Google Earth or Google Maps itself.

Tuskfish v2.0.3 released

Tuskfish 2.0.3 brings compatibility with PHP 8.1, so if you want to wring the last few milliseconds of performance out of your site, use this version. New features include support for embedding Youtube videos, a sitemap generation facility, a 'minimum views' preference before displaying the views counter, and a live character counter for the meta description field. Third party libraries have also been updated, including adoption of Bootstrap 5.1.

Tuskfish 2.0 is available and it's shiny

Tuskfish 2 is a rewrite of Tuskfish CMS to adopt a strict model-view-viewmodel (+ controller) architecture. You can think of it as traditional MVC except the view is split into a view and a viewModel to abstract the relationship between the view/model, which improves flexibility and reuse of components. A front end controller and static router has been added to allow custom URL schemes. With the adoption of namespaces, Tuskfish 2 is now a very modern (if small) PHP application.

Planning Tuskfish 2

Just a short note to say Tuskfish 2 is in the works. It's going to be a partial re-write of the back end, but there will be minimal changes on the front end or from a user experience point of view. The database schema will also remain unchanged to allow seamless upgrade. Tuskfish 2 will be designed as a strict MVC architecture to improved separation of concerns, rather than the loose MVC it currently has. Components will be assembled through composition and inheritance will be fully dispensed with.

Github now has unlimited free private repositories

I'm very happy about Github's decision to grant unlimited free private repositories. It's not that I objected to Github charging people for the services they provide, but to qualify for free access you had to make all of your repositories open source and public. The problem with that was that the world is actually better off with some repositories remaining private. Do you really want access to the scratch pad repository I'm using to learn a new language? I think not.

Those awful articles about "the best" / "most popular" programming languages

Sick of low quality clickbait articles about "the best" and " most popular" programming languages? Everyone seems to play this game, even otherwise reputable sites. I suppose they do it because "what language should I learn" is a question that every aspiring programmer has to ask. There's a lot of traffic in it.

Nearly all of these articles are bad, because they are based on irrelevant metrics such as trends in keyword searches, recent Github activity, average salaries or similar. For example, if a lot of people search for "Javascript" clickbait articles often extrapolate this into "popular" and/or "the best", and slap it into a "top 10" list of languages you should learn!

Another round of refactoring

I have one more refactor of Tuskfish planned. The goal is to break down some of the more monolithic methods into smaller logical components that are easier to test. This will not involve adding any new functionality as the core system now does what I want it to do. From here on changes will largely focus on refining the structure, simplifying and clarifying the code to make the project more robust and easier to work with.

Password hash cost calculator

I was playing around with different password hashing algorithms and came across this password hash cost calculator. It's a simple script you can use to measure how long it takes to calculate a given hash on a particular machine. Since web hosting accounts often come with limited resources compared to your local dev box, it's useful for tuning the cost of your hashing algorithm (how many times you iterate the calculation) to keep it at a sane level.

Cleaner code: Tuskfish refactored

Tuskfish has had a substantial internal restructure. Static methods have been removed in favour of dependency injection, and modularity has been added (beginning of course with the content management module). The documentation needs extensive revision, when it's all ready the result will be released as Tuskfish V1.1.

Thoughts on "Clean Code"

I just finished reading Clean Code: A handbook of agile software craftsmanship, by Robert C. Martin. It’s a highly regarded book and contains many useful ideas; I have started refactoring some aspects of Tuskfish based on things I learned from it. This will include improving names, shortening and splitting up some of the larger functions into smaller logical units, replacing magic numbers with named constants and so on.