Netscape is Dead

In a story that pretty much is anticlimatic, the browser wars ended yesterday with the announcement that AOL and Microsoft had agreed to settle their lawsuit and play nice with each other.

While it took longer than expected (by me) for true analysis of the settlement; it was obvious to me from the first story I read.

OK, the whole suit basically arose out of AOL’s (nee Netscape’s) contention that the bundling of IE with Windows was designed to crush Netscape (which, along with a terrible Netscape 4.x release, it did).

The settlement announced yesterday gives AOL seven years of royalty-free access to IE technology.


So this means AOL – a content delivery company, not a technology company – will stick with IE.

In other words, bye bye Netscape.

Ironic. The suit that said MS was crushing Netscape was settled with … AOL & MS effectively crushing Netscape.

What a long, strange trip it was….

More on DB Tools

I just downloaded an eval editon of Pgmanager, a NON open-source project for PostgreSQL. (WAY not open source; $85 for the LITE edition…)

Very nice, very slick, but still does not have the two-pane search/results window. Results replace the search (query).

Crap. WHY???????

And it has all sorts of “tile” options (horizontal, vertical, stepped, tiled….).

Why not a simple two-pane query | result?

MS Query Analyzer has it.

Oracle’s SQL Worksheet (I think that’s its name…) has it.

SQLyog (FREE!!!) has it.

Why not one for PostgreSQL, dammit!!

Other than that — and the price — this is a nice tool.

Time to unistall it….

Me and mySQL

OK, I’ve dumped on mySQL (justifiably, in my mind) frequently in this blog, but today I come to praise it.

Well, not the database per se, but the tools that have evolved around it.

I’ve installed and played with a few mySQL and postgreSQL tools, and I have to say that the mySQL tools kick ass compared to the postgreSQL tools.

In particular, SQLyog is great. It has the three main functionalities that I look for in an Enterprise Manager (a la MS SQL Server) type tool:

  1. Pane with listing of databases, which trees out to tables and then columns. (Much like Windows Explorer, for example)
  2. An integrated – not a child window – pane in the same tool with the database explorer (first point) which allows one to A) enter a query in the top, and B) have the results display in the bottom pane. For those not familiar with Enterprise Manager, think Outlook with the preview pane.
  3. DTS-type tool. While this is considerably different here than in Enterprise Manager, it works for what I really wanted if for: I wanted to be able to replicate a database on one server (my Linux box) to my other mySQL server (Windoze box). The only hitch – and this isn’t at all an issue – is that I had to at least create the database (no tables, just the db) on the target box before I could copy the source over. This worked perfectly in both directions, copying either the schema or schema and data. While there may be issues in the future (such as primary key issues), for a backup solution, this is good. I’m very happy.

I’ve only tried two postgreSQL tools so far, and I’m sure (I hope…) that there are better tools out there, but I find serious limitations in these tools.

In particular, the inability to type a query and then get the results without hiding the query. While I like SQLyog’s three pane thingee (with two of the three query and results), I could easily live with the MS approach: Enterprise Manager for browsing WYSIWYG building, and Query Analyzer for (duh…) queries (top[query] and bottom[results] panes).

But on both postgreSQL tools I tried, it was a small window that you entered the query into, and then clicked either a tab or button run query, at which point the results would replace the query in the window.

That sucks.

Because — success or (esp.) when an error is tossed, it’s nice to see the query and results on one screen, so you can see why the results/error happended.

I’ll have to check out sourceforge to see if there are any better tools, but I don’t know. With the smaller installed base, less tools.

Update 12/31/2003 – I’ve found (with the help of developer lists) Aqua Data Studio. It has a lot of pluses and minuses (written in Java; ugly and slowish), but the biggest plus – for this thread – is that it does handle the three-pane environment I’ve wished for using Postgres. It’s also free, so life is somewhat good…

Notes from (the software) Underground

Well, not really underground. Just some notes in general.

VB use is slipping – according to a story, the use of Visual Basic is slipping. While this is not that surprising to me (software has grown up – and passed up VB in many ways), the interesting part is what users are moving toward: 39% who are decreasing VB use will be turning to C#, while only 31% will turn to Java. While C# is a MS product – and right in Visual Studio – it’s still a bit surprising because Java has been around so long, and C# (MS’s answer to Java, essentially) is so new. On the other hand, who are those VB developers? Those using Visual Studio, those MCSE (or whatever it is…) — the Microsofties. So I guess it’s not that surprising…but should alarm Sun a bit… Like ’em or hate ’em, MS does a good job of keeping developers and keeping them happy. When Java was a potential point where MS could lose developers, MS developed their own Java – C#. Keeps the defections down.

The world in two (mebbe three) servers – The May, 2003 Netcraft server survey is out, and no surprises. Apache and MS both way ahead of the pack and essentially flat over the past few months in terms of percentage gain/loss. Apache is the leader by far, but my guess is that higher-volume sites (example: make the number of pages served up by Apache and IIS pretty much equal. Apache runs a lot of small sites (and some really large ones, I know, I know….), and IIS is generally not used unless the company is large enough to have a fair-sized Web site (otherwise why pay all that – whether you need it or not – to MS for licenses etc??). The interesting part to me is the plunge — pretty consistent over the past few years — of Netscape servers. Netscape servers were never high in physical site numbers, but ran large sites (such as, so the pages-served metric worked like the one for IIS today. But the number is soooo small. I think Sun is dying…

Microsoft Project – According to another story, MS is updating its Project tool and moving more (all?) of it onto the Web (in the form of a server, I assume, like Exchange for Outlook integration) so collaboration can be more seamless. Well, file that under DUH!. That’s always been one of my main complaints against MS Project (the other — too frickin’ non-intuitive): There is an owner of the project plan (hopefully…) that makes the updates and then spams everyone on the team with this huge file. And there are too many phone conferences where you can hear people saying: “Was it the one on this e-mail Tuesday??” “no, that one had a mistake, use the Monday 2pm one…” and so on. Obviously, putting the plan on a shared drive is better, but for folks outside the firewall??? This is a tool that cries out to be a Web app, or at least — like Exchange/Outlook — something that can be accessed off a server by a client program.

CSS flak attack – There have been a lot of electrons zipping around the Internet backbone recently carrying information – pro and con – about CSS (see previous blog; May 3, 2003). It’s been a pretty polarized argument, for the most part. There have been some pragmatic reports that I’ve read (links that are lost in some ancient history bin), but for the most part I’ve been seeing a lot of one of the two following points of view:

1) I can’t make CSS (do something). Therefore, CSS sucks. Why use it?

2) You Luddite, just stand on your head, rub your belly, assign a karma:good attribute to [whatever] and it will work unless you have SP4 installed….

Yes, both arguments are silly. But both are valid, to a degree. CSS is the future (like it or not), yet it has serious limitations today for whatever reasons (get over it). Good to have the debate because it needs to be had. Will move things in (hopefully) a constructive direction once the dust settles.

CSS — Glows or Blows?

There is an interesting article and message thread going on at Live Journal — an article by Jamie Zawinsky.

Basically, the article is a rant against CSS (why it doesn’t work as well/like tables/font tags etc) and CSS supporters (“Web designers, and especially blogging web designers, are self-important fuckheads” and “dumbasses” ).

And I guess I fall into the “fuckhead dumbass” category because I like CSS – but I do realize it’s limitations (browser incompatibility; positioning issues and the lack of a true table-like column structure are the big three to me) and get frustrated by it.

A lot of good points are brought up — and some good code/insights shared, but I think some salient points were missing.

I would have commented, but you had to create a profile and all that. I don’t care that much – and the world/thread is not going to be a poorer place without my pearls of wisdom…

What was missing:

  • CSS is new; font and table tags are old — If the tables (pun intended) were turned, and TABLE and FONT tags came out after CSS had been around for years…well, I don’t think they would even be used for the most part. Tables for columns, maybe. But why use the FONT tag? It would seem idiotic to assign a million different FONT tags when you can do it with one style, a few lines of CSS code. It’s only because we have been using table/font for year that we are so familiar with them. And like all humans, web developers hate change. CSS is cool is some ways, makes you tear your hair out in others, but it is something new to learn, which many don’t like.
  • CSS is new – While the standard goes back to 1995, I think, it has only really been embraced over the last year or two because the browsers never really caught up until then. So this is new stuff – and there are going to be learning curves for developers and those who develop/support the standards.
  • If it is so bad, why is so widely embraced (now that all browsers sans Netscrape 4.x give pretty good – but not equal – support to the standard)? While the CSS supporters do have more than a few CSS fanatics (fuckheads/dumbasses….) in their numbers, this is even more true for Mac users/supporters. Should we toss out Macs, as well?
  • The thing that kicked off Jeff’s rant was the problem with adding CSS code to make his pages more printable (so white text on lite blue could be read when someone printed them out) – Let’s put this in perspective: Even if this was a difficult problem (it isn’t), it’s not something that is even available in the “old school” of formatting. He’s bitching that CSS sucks because it’s work to make something work that he could never get to work in the non-CSS world (unless you had a separate print version page). Isn’t it worth the effort? Isn’t it cool that it is possible – however currently imperfect the process – to do so?

Second Kick…

OK, I can do the include on my page IF I set the page to a “.shtml” page.

This always annoyed me: If it’s a DOT “asp/jsp/php/cfm” whatever page, the decision has been made. Parse or not to parse (and/or include).

So, for now, I will not have the blogroll on my site (I’ll work on a static one [generated on my side dynamically….] ).

This should be so freakin’ easy…

Kick in the pants….

I’m looking at the entry below – recently posted – and I’m looking at embedded (no, not like the journalists…) text on my site (generated, as it is at this time, from

(No, not PRO yet…*sigh*…. I’d like the functionality and to give Ev some bucks….not in the cards right now…)

OK, I’m writing this friggin’ entry about how I’ve done what Dave/Brian have done in PHP blah blah…

And I have no blogroll on my BLOG THIS site?

Why is that?


  • I haven’t gotten around to it.
  • Who cares who what I read?
  • My current site does not fully support PHP, so I can’t use existing code

Nice excuses, I note……..

I guess I do have to write some sort of tool to make a blogroll (include file) on this site.

Hmm…I like this idea.

Because I’m not certain how to do it…but I’ll figure it out, I’m sure.

That’s the fun part.

Code on….


OK, this started with something Dave Winer wrote, and it got me interested.

I think I have the blogroll solution done for my own tool that I’m building (for fun/learning — not good code…yet…):

And here it is imbedded in the page; the blogroll list is on the bottom right.

I differed from Dave’s design (Bryan Bell’s?) by putting bigger arrows to the right and left instead of stacking them.

I tried out Dave’s solution (which he put online for play; I don’t know if it’s still active), but I had an issue with the close proximity of the arrows. I like his/Brian’s design better than mine, but mine is easier to hit with a mouse. I dunno. I’ll have to play for a bit and see which is better. I guess all I can say is that my initial (first impressions = important) impression of Dave/Brian’s design is that it was difficult to hit the buttons — arrows squeezed in a small space.

Beyond that, testing tells.

PHP solution (against PostgreSQL).

Actually, I’ve had another solution done rather quickly, but it involved too many queries.

The current solution requires only the queries actually necesary to make a change to the database — there are no queries to get “max/count([whatever])” or what have you.

Now that is all handled by array manipulation.

I still don’t think I have it optimized, but this is a step in the right direction.

It looks like I eliminated three queries, which were mostly redundant.

This is a higher level of array work than I have done in the past, but it was a good project. It’s one of the reasons I did this second version.

NOTE: PHP still does not have the best array handling functions. Don’t get me wrong – it has a million functions, but a lot are sorta silly or incomplete.

Example: arrary_shift() — pushes the first element off the beginning of an array.

OK, good start.

But why no way to delete arrary[3] directly? Need to unset and then either: reset() or reset with call to array_values to eliminate pointer.

To me, if there are four elements in an array (0-3), and I want to remove the third element (2), I should be able to do this and have the pointer for the third element set to the former fourth element (3).

Doesn’t work that way now, that I can see.

Learning curve, but I like that….

More tools in my tool belt…