Author: WizOne Solutions

The new WizOneSolutions.com has launched!

I’m happy to announce the launch of the new design for WizOneSolutions.com.

After many months of anticipation, it’s here! There’s quite an interesting story behind this new design, too.

Around the end of summer last year, I asked my good friend Andrew Sepic over at Think Up! Design if he could help me create a better design for WizOneSolutions.com than the one you’ve seen for the last forever. He created what you see now. As time went by, in my spare I gradually put it together, implementing it as a Thematic child theme (thanks ThemeShaper), coding the CSS and ensuring it worked well in all modern browsers (sorry, IE 6). It’s such a relief to finally get this out of the way, and it’s a big step in terms of giving a real picture of what I can do. The old theme had the unfortunate effect of casting my programming skills in a mediocre light. I think this one does them some more justice 🙂

I’m not done yet, of course. I’ll keep improving the site, particularly the Portfolio area, so keep an eye out for more to come over the next few months.

Sincerely,
Kevin

Possible downtime June 15 8 PM-June 16 6 AM

I’m expecting the site to be down during this window of time – I’ll try to put up a maintenance page, but if I don’t get to it, then here’s your explanation.

Ironically, if you don’t visit the site before I post this message, it’ll mean nothing. So I’ll try to switch to the maintenance page.

A little bit about oDesk

So I’ve been working on oDesk, and I’ve been very pleased. This is a very brief post on that. I’ll try to write more in the future.

Let’s break it down – oDesk offers providers that “fit any budget,” and from a freelancer’s point of view that sounds something like, “oDesk lets certain providers offer laughably low rates and get all the work.” Believe me, that’s what I thought. I didn’t think I stood a chance!

But I got to the point where I had to make some money or go back to working full-time, an unsettling thought, and for the provider, oDesk’s motto is, “Verified Work – Guaranteed Payment” for hourly jobs. And it’s true! Whenever I work on hourly jobs, about 11 days after the end of the work week, the money’s in my bank account. I’m in the US, and I can transfer it with EFT for free! This is big – when I take payment with PayPal, I get dinged every time, which I don’t like.

Obviously, from the above statement you can infer that I have successfully gotten a good amount of work and met some awesome clients through oDesk, and once I have the opportunity, I am considering working exclusively or almost-exclusively through oDesk. Anyone who says that all job sites are the same has got to try oDesk. And while you’re at it, if you’re a buyer who needs Drupal development, why not try me? (see Hire Me section to the right :))

Again, the site is oDesk.

(Disclosure: If you sign up through either of the links in this post, I get a (much-appreciated) affiliate commission. But don’t worry – everything in this post is my real experience with oDesk.)

WizOne Solutions: Now based in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County

We’ve moved! Previously based in the Berkeley, California area, I am now based out of the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles. Of course, I serve clients both locally and online, so this is not a major change – but I thought I’d let you know.

By the way, if you’re wondering why I don’t blog much, it’s because I’m busy working on client projects. Once some of those wrap, I’ll have time to improve the look and feel of everything. You should look me up on oDesk if you want to see my portfolio in another light. I am almost done with implementing my new site design, so you may see that at any time.

Nonetheless, contact me at any time!

I’ll write another post when I can. Until then, have a meaningful Easter.

Kevin

Developer musings – should I put them here or on a separate site?

Hi there – a question for you! Answer it in the comments.

I have lots of stuff I could potentially share and that I run into all the time. I’ve been holding off on blogging too much here because I’m not sure if it would fit the page.

I see on other developer’s sites though that they often just combine it all up – portfolio, musings blog, and the works. But I don’t want the site to get too busy either.

Given that the problem of it being too busy is currently non-existent, I might just go this way, because I’m sure a lot of you developer-types reading this have the same questions I do, and when I find out stuff, it would be great to share.

Let me know what you think though, if you want. I’ll weigh in any comments I get.

Thanks,
Kevin

New site theme coming soon!

Hey all,

Just to let you know that, as I’m sure you must wonder upon seeing this site, a new theme is indeed coming. In fact, it’s already been designed and is currently being implemented.

So stay tuned…it’ll be quite nice to look at.

Kevin

VIM: Moving around windows made a little easier (and how to escape without Esc)

This is a quick post with some shortcuts I just implemented in my vimrc file that I just felt compelled to share with the world.

It answers the question, “Are you tired of hitting Ctrl-W to move around windows?” Then do I have the solution for you!

Pop these guys into your vimrc file:

nnoremap <S-C-h> <C-W>h
nnoremap <S-C-j> <C-W>j
nnoremap <S-C-k> <C-W>k
nnoremap <S-C-l> <C-W>l

Save it and reload your files (or source it into one). Voilà! Now you can enjoy single-press window moving by holding down shift and control and using the movement keys (hjkl). You’ll need more maps if you want to use the arrow keys, but in the time it takes you to get to those, you may as well just press Ctrl + W and a movement key!

Speaking of sticking to the home row as much as possible, don’t forget that you can use Ctrl + [ instead of Esc to return to normal mode.

Enjoy!

Kevin

Code merging with VIM

So today I had the chance to learn about vimdiff, VIM’s mode for file comparison and merging. It was a lot better than I expected!

When I switched to using Ubuntu for my day-to-day local testing (because I need reliable Xdebug, and Windows Vista’s Apache-PHP module just wasn’t cutting it as far as Xdebug stability goes), I was worried I wouldn’t have a good merging tool to go along with it. VIM’s been working great as an IDE (just when I was about to go back to my slower XP image, too!), but I was wondering about this vimdiff thing I’d heard about. I figured today that, since a couple conflicts came up in my Bazaar merge, I’d give vimdiff a whirl.

I ran it like this:

vimdiff file1 file2

and VIM appeared, nicely split into two panes and with all the changes highlighted – just like WinMerge! This was cool so far.

Then I had to figure out how to actually, you know, merge the changes. So I typed :help vimdiff and got the help file.

I scrolled through, and picked up the only 3-4 commands I will probably ever need. And here they are for you. Note that these assume you’re just diffing two files…which is all I’ve ever done, so you probably are…and if not, you’re probably smarter than me anyway. And they’re all used in VIM’s normal mode (the one it starts in, unless you’re a Creamer) unless otherwise mentioned.

VIMDIFF COMMAND #1 – JUMP TO NEXT CHANGE

]c – Jump to the next difference. Equivalent to alt + down in WinMerge.

VIMDIFF COMMAND #2 – JUMP TO PREVIOUS CHANGE

[c – Jump to the previous difference. Equivalent to alt + up in WinMerge.

VIMDIFF COMMAND #3 – MERGE LEFT

do – Copy the current difference’s text from the file on the right to the file on the left. Equivalent to alt + left in WinMerge. (The VIM help said it’s do and not dg because dg is too close to dgg – a smart move on their part, as I enjoy not deleting to the beginning of my buffer. But if you ever wanna do that, hey, now you know how.)

VIMDIFF COMMAND #4 – MERGE RIGHT

dp – Copy the current difference’s text from the file on the left to the file on the right. Equivalent to alt + right in WinMerge.

BONUS VIMDIFF COMMAND – UPDATE THE DIFF DISPLAY

Occasionally, as you’re happily merging away, your vimdiff display may get out of whack for some reason. VIM does a pretty good job of preventing it (hasn’t happened to me yet), but if you want to make sure you’re all good, just type :diffupdate. Then continue merging. (If you’ve been reading the WinMerge shortcut mapping, this one’s equivalent to good ol’ F5.)

Bazaar’s bizarre merge markers finally kinda made sense after merging with vimdiff!

Thanks VIM people. Maybe I will be donating to Uganda soon 🙂

I hope this article was useful. If you’ve got any extra tips, post them in the comments!

And hey, if you’re merging on Windows, WinMerge stands as an awesome tool: http://winmerge.org.

Talk to you soon, and happy merging.

Coding on phone; Vim pays off

Learning more Vim paid off the other day. I edited a couple files on a remote server using my T-Mobile G1 along with the ConnectBot program. The process was, of course, pretty simple.

  1. Start ConnectBot on the G1.
  2. Connect to the server.
  3. cd to the directory containing the file I wanted to edit.
  4. Type vim <name of file>
  5. Edit as usual (remembering that ESC is two trackball presses…that one got me at first)
  6. Save file
  7. Check results on Browser, if desired
  8. Rejoice

Pretty easy! Using an editor with windows, tabs, and syntax coloring on a phone gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Happy Vimming,
Kevin

And then there was VIM – a story of Linux PHP IDE frustration

Yesterday, I hit a crossroads in the life of a Web developer. You see, I’ve been doing my testing on an Ubuntu VM lately. It’s been great because Apache runs PHP faster than it did on my XP VM. (If you ever need a break, fire up XP and load the Drupal modules page on a decently-sized site. You’ll have plenty of break time.)

But I had a dilemma; the IDEs just weren’t as good for PHP as my favorite Windows one (phpDesigner). I wanted to think they were. They had features that indicated that they should have been. But, in terms of actual productivity, they just weren’t – either they were too big, or they lacked good code completion at the right time. I was seriously considering sucking it up and heading back on over to Windows. After all, I figured, at least my databases are still on Linux, right? Maybe it’ll be faster. However, I had to pull my local Bazaar branches off of the Linux VM in preparation for the push to Windows, since there were still some changes (I think) that I might not have wanted to commit to the shared repositories yet.  While I was waiting, I figured I’d make a last-ditch effort to find a suitable IDE/editor my projects. After all, my needs in the end weren’t great – give me a couple nice features like code completion, syntax highlighting, and I’m fine.

So I thought I would try to finally learn VIM. I thought it was just a dinky little editor that wouldn’t be practical to use as my development environment for PHP.

I think I might have made a little miscalculation there. I don’t know where I was, but nobody ever told me VIM had so many great plugins or was so flexible! I can set it up practically however I like. It’s FAST. I can avoid using the mouse. I can get my syntax highlighting, code completion, and so on (a link to VIM for PHP programmers is obligatory here). More than I thought, in fact. And then…I can take it with me. Haven’t tried it yet, but VIM is cross-platform, so, in theory, I should be able to take the contents of my .vim directory with me. And I’m a big fan of DRY (something I do EVERY time I install an IDE for the first time on a computer/VM…).

Right now I’m just alternating between vim and gvim. I might wind up trying Pida or another similar IDE that embeds VIM as its editor.

I really ought to learn how to manipulate windows in VIM properly, though. One day!

I wonder if it’s the destiny of all programmers to eventually use VIM or Emacs? They do call them programmer’s editors…

That’s all for now,
Kevin