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Darkademic's Blog

25 blog entries found. Displaying 13–18.

Occam's Razor

As may be indicated by the title, I'm a big fan of Occam's Razor. For anyone who has never heard of it, it's a philosophical principle which states "entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily". Basically; keep things as simple as possible, because the simplest answer is probably the best answer. Although the principle originally applied to scientific and philosophical hypotheses, I strongly believe it is highly applicable to web design and development.

Over the past few years pre-built frameworks and content management systems (such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla) have become very popular and widespread. Essentially these are pre-written libraries of code which are intended to make the development of a website much faster and easier by providing a lot of commonly used website elements and functionality. In the case of CMSs, this means that all the developer has to do is set some configuration options and a website can be made live in 10 minutes.

I've experimented with sever… continue reading

Horribly Coded Sites

As a professional web developer, it's my job to make sure all the websites I make are coded nicely to ensure firstly that everything runs efficiently and bug-free, and secondly that future development will be relatively straightforward. Being a massive perfectionist is pretty useful here because it means I've adopted a very strict coding standard which I use for every project.

Over the past month or so I've been tasked to work on some websites that have been built by other developers in order to improve them, but in the end I decided it would be quicker and more beneficial in the long-term to just completely re-do these websites from scratch because the code was absolutely abysmal.

PHP (the language that I primarily use to make functional websites and which is used on over 20 million websites) is quite relaxed, in that it's very easy to write horrible code which still works. Apparently, even supposedly professional web developers have a tendency to write horrible code, and worse they… continue reading


I decided to redesign my site yet again. The previous design was good but I felt it was too blocky. Here's a list of the main changes:

  • The Flash banner has been done away with - even though I really liked the lightning animations - basically because the filesize was too large even when the images were severely compressed.
  • The Flash latest content panel has been replaced with a jQuery one which works very nicely.
  • The site is now a fair bit wider than before, as I don't think there's any point catering to 800x600 anymore.
  • Players have been added to the music page for streaming the songs (something I'd been meaning to do for ages).
  • My logo has been improved. It wasn't quite rotationally symmetrical before, so that's been fixed and the texture has been made less grungy.
  • General aesthetic changes, adding rounded edges and generally enhancing the layout.

BBCode Parser Class

I've been doing a lot of object-oriented PHP recently, going through my older sites and revamping the code to make it more object-oriented (where it's suitable).

For the past couple of days I've been working on my own BBCode parser class because I have been unable to find a pre-made one which isn't A) over-complicated, massive and therefore slow, B) buggy or C) missing features that I need (or a combination of the above). I looked at around 20 different classes and the majority did not provide methods for converting HTML back into BBCode. The larger, more complicated ones ran very slow when tested and they also tended to try to do more than they were required to (for example stripping out HTML from input and converting special characters; I already have my own class for these things). Additionally, hardly any of them (in fact, none of them) generated XHTML 1.1 valid code, still using tags like <s> and <u> for some unknown reason. They also all used inline styling, which I'm trying to … continue reading


Yes, rejoice as I post the first blog entry in almost a year. I actually started writing a new entry a few times but never got round to finishing them and lost what I'd wrote.

I've been working a lot for my business making websites and doing a ton of admin. One of the most impressive feats was developing a custom accountancy system which calculates our wages, gross/net profit, national insurance contributions, VAT, income tax, expenses etc., which is possibly one of the most complicated applications I've made, particularly because of the way taxation is worked out and due to the tax year ending on the 5th of April rather than the 31st of December. My company's website has been tweaked and tweaked and tweaked and it's more or less completely complete now in terms of what we want it to do and how we want it to look. Of course, more functionality can still be added.

I've been trying my hand at some PHP frameworks including CakePHP, CodeIgniter and Zend, however I'm still largely unconvi… continue reading

[DkR] Movie 2008

This is the latest movie for the Dark Reavers Team Fortress 2 clan. It uses some of the same clips from the previous movie but it is in black and white and features the newest [DkR] theme tune. Enjoy!

The high quality version is available to anyone who wants it; just leave a comment.