KillerSites Blog

Month: August 2006

Java web hosting is still brittle.

August 24, 2006

It has been a couple of years since I moved (from in-house hosting) my Java based web applications to using an outside company.

When I was hosting my little apps from my Windows 2000 server (using Caucho Resin,) on a DSL connection, I never had a problem … probably because it was so small.

Since growing and moving to Tomcat on Linux, I’ve found that Java is not the most stable thing … it is not uncommon for Tomcat to lock up.

Contrast this to my PHP based applications (WordPress for example) and I have yet to experience a problem.


The Java community loves design patterns (they need them with that overly engineered Frankenstein of a language …) so I’m sure they’ll understand this -> Java is heavy, whenever you start a Java process it like putting on 50 pounds – it slows you down.

The Java facade is the claim that Java is a light nimble thing … the JVM that is. It is not anymore. It once was say back in 1997.

I always wondered why Sun (a billion dollar company) could not get Java Applets to work whereas the relatively tiny company Macromedia, could with the Flash player?

… I’m ranting, so sorry.


Funny, when you activate Tomcat to work with a domain on CPANEL, it gives you a warning about how much juice Java swallows up … and warns against enabling too many Java based websites. It doesn’t say jack about PHP …


It seems a contradiction, but I think that’s where it’s at. Java will become (strictly) a technology of the Enterprise (and legacy integration) while nimble languages like PHP and Ruby will be used to create the new innovative software.


PHP and Ruby programmers can (and do) code circles around Java developers. You can’t blame the Java developers: the Titanic couldn’t turn on a dime either!


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Is HTML a scripting language?

August 24, 2006

I’ve seen this confusion come up from time to time – is HTML a scripting language?

Short answer: no.

Yes a nerd detail, but nonetheless, this is something that should be made clear.


HTML is actually a markup language and not a scripting language.

Scripting implies decision making capabilities (the code can actually evaluate and take an action based on what it finds) – PHP, PERL, Ruby, Javascript are examples of scripting languages.

Markup languages create structure for a document … they only describe data. For example:

  • HTML
  • XML

… but you knew that already.


Stefan Mischook

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PHP Video – PHP and Forms

August 13, 2006

PHP video tutorial

I just a released a new video (in a larger format) on forms and PHP at

You can check out the details (and the video) at

Part 2 (coming out soon) we will get into practical PHP code.


Stefan Mischook

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3 Categories of Programming Languages

August 2, 2006

I wrote my first script back in 1996 – some really simple JavaScript that validated HTML forms and presented users with ugly ‘alert’ boxes when errors occurred.

I always wondered why on Windows, ‘alert’ boxes looked so ugly?

… they probably looked good on Macs though.

Since then, I’ve written software for business purposes in perhaps 8-9 languages. Over the years, I’ve come across many ways in which people classify languages:

  • Object Oriented vs. Procedural vs. Prototype
  • Scripting vs. Programming
  • Compiled vs. dynamic

… and many more.

Recently a more practical way of classifying languages has come to my attention – classifying languages by problem-domain or in other words, context.

  • System Languages
  • Architectural Languages
  • Application Languages

I like this list, because it really conveys a sense of practical use for a language. I’ve hammered out the details below:

System Languages

… best used to build operating systems, hardware drivers etc. Fast and gives you low level (close to the core) access to the computer. These languages are used when speed is critical.

These languages include:

  • C
  • C++
  • Assembler

Architectural Languages

… best used to build frameworks that support (make easy) application building. Not as fast (at run-time) as system level languages, but they provide a higher level of abstraction that makes writing software quicker and more productive.

These languages include:

  • Java
  • C#

Application Languages

… best used to build the actual business applications like web shopping carts/stores, connecting to databases and creating the screens for users to interact with the database.

These languages include:

  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • Perl
  • Python

These language all allow for extremely fast development.

Programmers are freed from the low-level details that you have to contend with when working with architectural and system level languages.

The fact that they’re all scripting languages (that don’t need to be compiled,) adds to the ease of use and speed of development.


It makes for an interesting way to look at languages … and our choice of what language(s) to use for a given project.

Stefan Mischook

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Book Review: Web Designer’s Reference

August 2, 2006

This book is a mirror image of the book Web Design with Dreamweaver 8 by the same author – except this book is for hand coders.

A good title for people new to modern web design practices that include:

  • CSS for layouts
  • Semantic code
  • Accessibility in web design

The topics are covered within the context of small usable projects, that can easily be adapted to your own web design work.

Though published in 2005, the material is still relevant and still is a pretty good buy.

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Book Review: Foundation Web Design with Dreamweaver 8

August 2, 2006

Beginners book on using Dreamweaver 8 – but not for beginners to web design.

Web Design with Dreamweaver 8 teaches how to use Dreamweaver to build modern, standards-compliant websites.

This is a great book if you are a web designer (with some experience) ready to take the next step in terms of understanding modern web design methods: as you learn to use Dreamweaver, the author gives concise coverage of various modern web design practices like CSS for layout, semantic web design etc …

Project driven for much of the book, you are guided through a series of common web design task:

  • Styling links with CSS
  • Laying our pages with CSS.
  • Creating and styling forms.

… and much more.

Each project covered, is representative of something you would want to do in the real-world, but not so big to bore the hell out of you …

A good book for anyone who wants to learn how to use Dreamweaver 8.

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Book Review: Web Design in a Nutshell – 3rd edition

August 2, 2006

This book should probably be on any web designers/developers desk.

Web design has changed drastically since this book’s first edition came out … and thankfully Web Design In A Nutshell has been updated accordingly.

As with all of Oreilly’s ‘Nutshell’ books, Web Design In A Nutshell covers each topic in a concise and yet complete manner making it both a great learning title (for people with some web design skills,) and a great reference.

Some of the topics covered:

  • CSS – basics, page layout methods, hacks, tricks etc
  • Accessibility
  • Web graphics

… and so much more.

Besides the core coverage of the material itself, this book is also packed with great references to web sites and other good books on web design.

Get the book.

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