In defense of reinventing wheels

One of the first things a software engineer learns is “don’t reinvent the wheel”. If something is already made, use that instead of writing your own. “Stand on the shoulders of giants, they know what they’re doing better than you”. Writing your own tools and libraries, even when one already exists, is labelled “NIH syndrome” […]

Convert PHP serialized data to Unicode

I recently had to convert a database of a large greek website from single-byte greek to Unicode (UTF-8). One of the problems I faced was the stored PHP serialized data: As PHP stores the length of the data (in bytes) inside the serialized string, the stored serialized strings could not be unserialized after the conversion. […]

rgba.php v1.2: Improved URL syntax, now at Github

I wrote the first version of rgba.php as a complement to an article on RGBA that I posted on Februrary 2009. Many people seemed to like the idea and started using it. With their valuable input, I made many changes and released v.1.1 (1.1.1 shortly after I posted the article due to another little fix) […]

Quickly find the Gravatar that cor­res­ponds to a given email

Today I needed to quickly find the Gravatars that corresponded to a bunch of email addresses for some reason (don’t ask). After a bit of googling and wandering around in Gravatar’s official site and others, I firgured out it’s probably much quicker to write a short PHP script for that myself, than keep looking. Here […]

New version of rgba.php is out!

It’s been a while since I posted my little server-side solution for cross-browser RGBA colors (in a nutshell: native rgba for the cool browsers that support it, a PHP-generated image for those that don’t). For features, advantages, disadvantages etc, go see the original post. In this one I’ll only discuss the new version. So, since […]

CSS3 colors, today (MediaCampAthens session)

Yesterday, I had a session at MediaCampAthens (a BarCamp-style event), regarding CSS3 colors. If you’ve followed my earlier posts tagged with “colors”, my presentation was mostly a sum-up of these. It was my first presentation ever, actually, the first time I talked to an audience for more than 1 minute . This caused some goofs: […]

Bulletproof, cross-browser RGBA backgrounds, today

UPDATE: New version First of all, happy Valentine’s day for yersterday. This is the second part of my “Using CSS3 today” series. This article discusses current RGBA browser support and ways to use RGBA backgrounds in non-supporting browsers. Bonus gift: A PHP script of mine that creates fallback 1-pixel images on the fly that allow […]