News

October 17, 2005

Last week I started work at Sony London, as a senior programmer, working on… well I’m not sure if I am allowed to say, so I’d better not risk it.

So far I’m enjoying every minute of it, although getting into the office at 9am every morning is a bit of a shock to my system!

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I’ve just finished a spell of contracting back at Sports Interactive, and I’d just like to say cheers to everyone there for making me very welcome once again.

It was scary how easily I fitted back in (and even scarier that I’m sure there were things in the fridge that have been there since I left last year).

The place is still completely bonkers in many ways, and I could feel myself getting dragged back into the arguments about coding that caused me to resign in the first place, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it - hard not to with such a nice bunch of people.

Football Manager 2006 is looking good too…

Next week I start The New Job(TM). Call me superstitious, but after the Dublin experience I think I’ll wait until I’m actually there before saying anything more…

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September 14, 2005

Things have been a bit quiet at Chaos towers recently.

This is mostly due to the fact that I’ve been back at Sports Interactive doing some contracting - basically helping them to hammer out a few bugs for the next version of Football Manager.

I’ll be there for a few more weeks, and then off on another exciting adventure… more details to follow shortly.

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August 17, 2005

I’ve updated my Autolink Drupal module to version 1.3.

The only change with this version is that it now works properly with Drupal 4.6. See the Autolink project page for more details.

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August 06, 2005

Following my site being hacked, I’ve finally been spurred into updating to the latest version of Drupal. Please let me know if you spot any problems.

I suspect that the reason that I was hacked was that I was still running a version of 4.5 which had a security hole in it. This in turn was because I had been putting off the upgrade as it wasn’t reversible and looked like it might require performing some SQL updates. I think that the difficulty of installing and upgrading Drupal are one of its major weaknesses. It often involves backing up, manually downloading items, running scripts, issuing SQL commands, moving files around, all of which can be quite daunting. I’m very capable of doing such things, but the more steps there are, the more it looks like something might go wrong - so you start thinking that you will have to have enough time available to recover from any catastrophic cock-ups, and hence you put it off for another day…

It should be possible to automate most if not all of this process. Installation really ought to be a case of clicking one icon or running one shell script. Creation of databases could and should be automatic, or performed in a wizard on the actual site that it being installed.

New versions of Drupal ought to be detected automatically, and there ought to be an option on the admin page of a site to allow you to perform an update. This update should be performed safely - making a complete backup of all data first - without the administrator having to perform a backup themselves.

Installing updates and custom modules ought to be possible from within Drupal itself, in the same way that Eclipse - for example - has a built in update mechanism. The admin page ought to display a list of all of the items that are available on drupal.org, and there should be support for downloading and installing them from within Drupal. When a new module is enabled, it ought to perform any SQL creation/updating that it needs to do, without the user having to do anything themselves.

All of this wouldn’t be rocket science - the technology mostly exists already, it’s just a question of people taking the time to package things up nicely.

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