As part of a wider project (more updates posted shortly) I am working with OpenWeatherMap’s API to obtain current and forecast weather information. This is ultimately going to be displayed on a ‘digital photo frame’ type setup.
OpenWeatherMap API offers results in both XML and JSON format. For my project I have chosen the JSON route, so using the below PHP I am grabbing the weather and outputting strings and an image based on current conditions.
This is very much a work in progress piece of code, and is part of a much larger tutorial which I will be posting up once complete. However, I thought the snippet below may prove useful for visitors just wanting a straight output from OpenWeatherMap.
NB: To use the API’s you’ll need to register for a free API ID, the one in the snippet below is just for example purposes.
The web is home to a plethora of webpage uptime and performance monitoring, all bringing something special to the table. The majority of which also offer a completely free of charge option, so as a webmaster there’s really no excuse to not monitor your website offering. As there are so many services out there, it can be difficult to choose which one to use.
Hopefully on the back of this post, you’ll understand why I decided to go with New Relic for monitoring my servers and sites. New relic is a software analytics company that started out life as an Application Monitoring service back in 2008, founded by Lew Cirne. Headquartered in San Francisco, California with offices in Portland, OR, Seattle, WA and Dublin, Ireland.
Rather then detail all about the New Relic organisation check out this infographic
New Relic is not just your average site monitoring solution, it actually gives you access to full application statistics in real-time. Which can prove invaluable when trying to track down your site/application/servers bottleneck. Not only do you have easy access to site dashboards, allowing a ‘at a glance’ view of your application and servers performance – you also get in depth transaction and cross application tracing facilities. Whats more, as most web developers are busy people, New Relic offers email alerting, meaning you don’t have to (unless you want to) sit and watch the dashboards and reports until there’s an issue. A true ‘setup and forget’ solution for those on the go.
If you’ve checked out the looooong long list of web hosting providers across the planet, you may have noticed there’s nothing much that differs between their offerings; massively competitive pricing models, easily accessible control panels, unlimited space and bandwidth (on some offerings), 24/7 support, 99.99% uptime, super fast servers and many many more…
However, much like any service provider it soon becomes apparent who offers the best customer service, who views you as a small fish in a big pond and those few who view each of their fish as equal sized fish.. Offering unparalleled support and advice no matter how much money you spend with them.
Some of the biggestglobal firms truly offer dreadful customer service support. I won’t start naming them here as without the full context it would be unfair.
At the opposite end of that scale, are those few who go the extra mile.. Those with the correct vision, morels and goals.. The ones who treat each customer in just the same way, regardless of your hosting package or your site’s traffic.
One that has truly stood out the crowd for me, and has stepped up on many occasion over the last 7 years of my blog posting and ‘web development’ career, is one who I make sure I recommend to anyone who asks when they are just starting out or when their hosts are consistently disappointing them.
This company proved to me that my business means a lot to them, and nothing is ever too much to ask. During which time my site has gone from strength to strength and my hosting package has rapidly worked its way up to where it is now.
6 years hosting with them would make you think I must have paid an absolute fortune for such service. Well you couldn’t be further from the truth. Although I am enjoying the benefits of a pro package today, I once was a very small fish in a somewhat large pond. Back in the day when I’d post every few weeks, and the only visitors where my friends and family. At that time I was more than happily using their free hosting offering. Giving me all the power I needed to really get my teeth into web development, allowing me to dabble with many a CMS, forum, e-commerce solution, development language and more.
For all the time I was a small fish in a big pond I never once felt that way, the cPanel made me feel like I had control over every aspect of my personal space.. Sometimes too much control! To which the helpful team came to my rescue to rectify my mistakes. With never a derogatory comment passed!
From there my site has gone from strength to strength and today has 60+ unique hits in a month, from all corners of the globe. Serving up downloads, blog posts, media content and more… Non of which have ever been an issue on my super fast web host.
Since then I have migrated several of my friends sites over to the host, and can often be found plugging them during mind map stages of young entrepreneurs.
Now to put you all out of your misery…. The host who has looked after me since day one, and will continue to do so until something better than the internet comes up, is FreeVirtualServers
I chose FreeVirtualServers on the back of a recommendation from another one of their customers. All I can say is, I am so pleased I did. They’re pricing model is extremely competitive, and where most in the market scrimp and save on the customer friendly side of the business FreeVirtualServers really beat expectations.. Not many hosts would aid getting your site back online over the christmas period, one year FreeVirtualServers did that, just for me… Just for a blog that received few visitors and had little content. All that from their UK-based support centre!
I seriously can’t recommend them enough, and urge you to check them out. Even if you just want to dabble, you’ve nothing to lose with their completely free hosting packages, and for those of you who are more serious about your online presence…. I’d highly recommend you check our their Pro hosting packages.
I see my relationship with FreeVirtualServers and who knows, maybe one day I will be on their reseller package! If you do decide to sign up with them, be sure to mention my name Mike Hudson, and the URL of my blog!
Why put up with the rest, sign up with the best…..
Upon switching to Mac OS X I needed to find a new development studio for my PHP works. I searched high and low and read many tutorials from many forums around the world. However, I have finally settled with NetBeans. NetBeans is an open-source application, which is not only capable of syntax highlighting PHP but Java, C/C++, Groovy, Ruby and many many more. It supports many platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS C and even Solaris.
The latest version (6.7) includes integration with Project Kenai which is a collaborative environment for developers working on open-source projects.
The NetBeans website also contains many hands on tutorials and how-to’s to get you started with the NetBeans environment. Developed by the NetBeans community, it’s becoming an excellent resource. Not only for NetBeans usage but also general developed tips and tricks! They even offer online training courses!
The NetBeans developers promote plugin development and host a portal boasting a massive collection of application plugins.
So, what are you waiting for? Download your NetBeans IDE now!
Hello all, as most of you will know my site runs on the Joomla CMS backend, which has a full time team of developers fixing security issues and bugs etc on a regular basis.. I have recently found a brilliant tool called Joomla Magic Updater. I am shortly going to be using it to upgrade my Joomla install to the latest available release. During the update I expect some downtime on the site. However, it should be kept to a minimum and will hopefully be back online before anyone notices.