Internet Explorer 8 Released


Microsoft has officially released Internet Explorer 8. New features in this release include:

  • Native support for JSON
  • Improved standards support
  • Faster than IE 7
  • Improved developer tools, including (finally) an integrated JavaScript debugger
  • The address bar also functions as a search bar, a la Google Chrome
  • Accelerators: mini-mashups for your browser
  • Web slices allows you to retrieve information from a web page without actively visiting it.
  • Private browsing, similar to Firefox and Chrome
  • The SmartScreen Filter, which helps to protect against malware, phishing, and cross-site scripting.

On the downside IE 8 is the only current browser that fails the Acid 3 test. It is also one of the slowest browsers out there.

Previous coverage on IE 8:

You can download it here, or wait for it to become available via the Windows Update service.

Ruby on Rails 2.3 Released


The Rails team has released version 2.3 of its popular and ground-breaking web application framework for Ruby.


  • Support for Ruby 1.9.1. Caveat: not all the data adapters and plug-ins have moved to Ruby 1.9 yet, so migrator beware.
  • Templates: customize your default Rails skeleton with your favorite set of plug-ins, gems, initializers, etc.
  • Full Rack integration. CGI is now a thing of the (proxied) past.
  • ActiveRecord gets support for nested attributes, nested transactions, batch processing (find_in_batches), dynamic scopes, and more.
  • Action Controller gets smarter rendering, a file rename (application.rb to application_controller.rb), HTTP Digest Authentication Support, more efficient routing, and more.
  • Introduced Rails Metal, a way of bypassing the controller for speed (it is a subset of Rack middleware).
  • Renewed support for Rails Engines allows the sharing of re-usable application components.
  • Support for nested forms.

A full list of all the changes in 2.3.2 (the final version of 2.3) is here.

As usual, you can install via Gems: gem install rails

Chrome 2.0 Beta Released


Google has released the 2.0 beta version of its Webkit-based browser, Chrome. The new release features:

  • 25-35% faster JavaScript performance for Google's V8 engine
  • Form autofill
  • Bookmark sorting
  • Autoscrolling
  • Full-screen mode
  • A new way to drag tabs in order to get a "side by side" view
  • Mouse gestures for resizing windows
  • Limited Greasemonkey support

Like its cousin Safari, the new Chrome browser should also be Acid 3 compliant since it is built using a much more recent version of Webkit (Chrome 1.x is not). You can download the new beta here.

UPDATE: Actually, Chrome 2 (build scores 98/100 on Acid 3. Close, but not yet.

Having Fun with Pligg - Installing

Last time I told you that I was setting up a Pligg site for my new video game site, This is second in a series of posts where I will explain how to get a working customized Pligg site.

To install Pligg you will first need to download the files from The most current release is 1.0.0 RC2. Once you download the .zip file you will need to unzip all of the files into a folder.

To get the rest of the software installed you will just need to follow the below directions, taken from the Pligg readme file.

  1. Create a mysql database. If you are unfamiliar with how to create a mysql database, please contact your web host or search their support site. Please pay careful attention when creating a database and write down your database name, username, password, and host somewhere.
  2. Rename settings.php.default to settings.php. Do the same for /libs/dbconnect.php.default.
  3. Upload the files to your server (please note that your server will need to be running PHP 4.3.0 or higher).
  4. CHMOD 755 the following folders, if they give you errors try 777.
    • /admin/backup/
    • /avatars/groups_uploaded/
    • /avatars/user_uploaded/
    • /cache/
    • /cache/admin_c/
    • /cache/templates_c/
    • /languages/ (And all of the files contained in this folder should be CHMOD 777)
  5. CHMOD 666 the following files
    • /libs/dbconnect.php
    • settings.php
  6. Open /install/index.php in your web browser. If you are reading this document after you uploaded it to your server, click on the install link at the top of the page.
    • Select a language from the list.
    • Fill out your database name, username, password, host, and your desired table prefix.
    • Create an admin account. Please write down the login credentials for future reference.
    • Make sure there are no error messages!
  7. Delete your /install folder.
  8. CHMOD 644 libs/dbconnect.php
  9. Open /index.php
  10. Log in to the admin account using the credentials generated during the install process.
  11. Log in to the admin panel ( /admin ) and you will then be presented with information intruducing you to Pligg.
  12. Configure your Pligg site to your liking. Don't forget to use the Modify Language page to change your site's name.

Once you are done with these steps you'll have a basic Pligg site running. Next time I'll explain how to change the language features and install modules.

Having Fun with Pligg


Pligg is a content management system that has evolved from a Digg clone to a full feature content management system. I've been working on some on-line video games and have been working on a site to host them. After some thought about the site, I decided to use Pligg and to allow users to submit their own game content as well as post my games.

The Pligg install is very easy to get up and running. So, my next few posts will be about the Pligg install and how I will modify the template and add modules to the site.

You can see the site that I've setup at The site is fully functional although I will be adding new features over the next few weeks and will be posting my games soon. So, stay tuned to see how to get your own Pligg site running quickly.

You can learn more about Pligg here.

5 Days of Wicket!


I've been looking into developing Java applications using the Apache Wicket framework. Because of looking into this my Java Guru buddy, Brennan Spies, sent me a link to a good post on getting started with Wicket. I've been looking at it and so far it is Wicket Good (sorry for the lame joke)!

Below is an excerpt from the post.

Our first feature: 5 days of Wicket!

Each day this week will feature a new blog article with an in-depth look at the creation process behind setting up a Java project and implementing the frontend with Apache Wicket. Enjoy.

You can read the full post here.

As of the time of this writing all five post are not finished, but they should all be up there within the next few days.

Learn Photoshop in 24 hours


Have you ever wanted to make one of you applications look better? If you where a designer you would use Photoshop and CSS to make the application look very sweet. Well, over at DesignReviver they have put together a group of good tutorials to help with the Photoshop portion of the equation.

Below is an excerpt from the post.

Tutorial 14:

Digital Illustration Using Birds - Intermediate

Tutorial running time : 90 minutes.

This tutorial is your first step into illustration.

Learn Photoshop in 24 hours

Tutorial 15:

Amazing Photo montages - Intermediate

Tutorial running time : 90 minutes.

This tutorial provides step-by-step guidance on how to make a stunning, dynamic effect that recreates the look of a figure dissolving in water.

Learn Photoshop in 24 hours

Tutorial 16:

War Movie Poster - Advanced

Tutorial running time : 90 minutes.

In this tutorial you will create a great movie poster, using some simple but efficient techniques.

Learn Photoshop in 24 hours

You can read the full post here.

Java Error Resource


If you are a Java developer then you are probably always looking for good resources to correct errors. If you are like me you spend a lot of time using "the worlds greatest debugger" (a.k.a. Google), but it would be good to have an additional good resource that focused on Java errors.

Well, over at idError they have put together a large collection of Java errors and solutions to the errors. Currently, the site focuses on Java, Weblogic and Oracle related errors and more errors and solutions are added all of the time.

Below is what they say about the site.

This site has been started by a group of professional IT consultants with the scope of providing a very simple and fast platform to find Solutions for most of the Java related errors and problems.

The site is absolutely free, and we hope to maintain this for the years to come…

We depend on YOU to submit high quality solutions, but please note that we will review and edit the solutions in order to maintain a consistent quality.

The main question people are asking about this site is WHY they should use it when there are so many other web sites that deal with errors and solutions: most of the solutions presented on this site have been edited it by experienced programmers so you are more likely to find the correct solution to your error on this site, than on any other similar sites!

Please don’t forget to support the site by submitting solutions or comments to the already posted solutions. With your help we hope to establish a new standard of content quality for a FREE web site.

You can go directly to the site here.

Override alert() with a YUI Dialog

We all know that using alert in a finished application is not good design, but we often overlook this for the ease of using alert. Well, over at YUICoder they have put together a good post on replacing alert with a YUI dialog box.

Below is an excerpt from the post.

You know and I know and everyone knows the alert boxes generated by the browsers are OLD-SCHOOL and look like garbage. Well using YUI you can easily change that by just including a little code in you page. Simply add the code below to the bottom of your page just before the end body tag then add the body style to the begining body tag called “yui-skin-sam” and that’s it. Oh and don’t forget to include your YUI Framework base and the additional scripts “container”, “dragdrop” and “animation”. For an example on how to included the YUI Framework and load specific parts check out for a quick start guide for YUI Loader and Yahoo CDN.

AlertDialog = new YAHOO.widget.SimpleDialog("dlg1", {

  width: "200px",


  close: true,
  constraintoviewport: true,
  buttons: [ { text:"close", handler: function(){this.hide();}, isDefault:true }],

                effect: [
                      { effect:YAHOO.widget.ContainerEffect.FADE,duration:0.1 }]


window.alert = function(text) {

You can read the full post here.

While this post was written for the Yahoo! User Interface library, it should be fairly easy to port it to a different framework as the concept is the same. So, now we have no excuse to use the standard alert.

Game Programming Languages - Which one to Learn?


Today I ran across an interesting post about the best language to use for game development. The writer of the post already programs in Java and ActionScript for web game development and this post is about what language is best for desktop game development.

This topic is interesting to me as I used to do a lot of game programming in C++ (I had a few games published before I was 21, so I love the topic). Recently, I have gotten back into game development and will have a couple of web games (written in ActionScript) coming out in the next few months. Once I'm done with these games I'm planning on making a first person shooter style game (probably using C++, but I haven't fully decided), so this post is very useful to me.

Below is an excerpt from the post.

My research so far for a new language/platform so far is here below.

C++/Game Engines(Torgue e.t.c)


  • Potentially cross platform development
  • Multipurpose language (Can develop desktop applications with QT and other UI packages)
  • Mobile game development for Iphone.
  • Plenty of resources and open source game  engines
  • Faster in terms of speed than competitors e.g Java games


  • Steep learning curve with other game engines
  • Relatively complicated to start with
  • Game distribution channel problems incase of indie development

C# (XNA)


  • Relatively easy to learn
  • Windows and Xbox 360 ready deployment
  • possibly cross platform application development with mono (open source port of C#)
  • Web development with Microsoft ASP.NET (Not sure if I want to go in that direction)
  • Possible iPhone development using Unity3d ( (not open source)


  • XNA is locked to the windows platform
  • Decent materials are still very scarce for the XNA platform



  • Relatively easy to learn
  • Plenty of materials
  • Cross platform development
  • Usable for application development both for the web and desktop
  • Used as a scripting language in other gaming platform
  • General purpose scripting language.


  • Fewer game engines (Even lesser documented engines)
  • Could be slower than C++ or C#
  • Distribution channel for indie game development is lacking
  • Virtually no support mobile game development

You can read the full post here.

So, start learning the language of your choice and start making cool games! If you have made any cool games you can let us know about them in the comments or you can write your own post on this blog with your free Ajaxonomy account. If your post is interesting we just might promote it to the home page.

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