DDD Perth 2019

On Saturday I went to my second DDD Perth conference. This is an annual one-day event that seems to bill itself as being something different from the usual tech conference and to be more accessible to people who might not normally go to these things. Which, I reckon, is pretty great; it feels like a more friendly place (even though I am the sort of person who usually goes to these sorts of things). There is something of a corporate vibe, though, which sort of mars the ‘community’ aspect — although that’s where the low price of the tickets comes from, so I shouldn’t complain!

The welcome to country was done by Nick Abraham, who gave an interesting talk. I liked the lists that he rattled off the names of families he’s part of and places they’re from.

All of the presentations that I went to were interesting, but the two that have stuck with me were about CSS Grid (Amy Kapernick), and WebAuthn (Ben Lowry). I want to experiment with both in my personal projects. Don’t suppose I’ll do so, though. (Too many fun things to explore; not enough time.)

I’m very glad that the Perth developer community is able to support this sort of event these days.

Personal Relationship Manager

Monica allows people to keep track of everything that’s important about their friends and family. Like the activities done with them. When you last called someone. What you talked about. It will help you remember the name and the age of the kids. It can also remind you to call someone you haven’t talked to in a while.

It’s nice to see a new PHP app that (maybe?) still targets shared hosting as a realistic thing.

Will be interested to check it out.

New MediaWiki extension: AutoCategoriseUploads

New MediaWiki extension: AutoCategoriseUploads. It “automatically adds categories to new file uploads based on keyword metadata found in the file. The following metadata types are supported: XMP (many file types, including JPG, PNG, PDF, etc.); ITCP (JPG); ID3 (MP3)”.

Unfortunately there’s no code yet in the repository, so there’s nothing to test. Sounds interesting though.

PhpFlickr 4.1.0

I’ve just tagged version 4.1.0 of my new fork of the PhpFlickr package. It introduces oauth support, and hopefully improves the documentation of the user authentication process. This release deprecates some old behaviour, but I hope it doesn’t break any. Bug reports are welcome!

There are some parts that are still not converted to the new request flow, but I’ll get to them next.

Tabulate updated to not require REST API plugin

I’ve removed Tabulate’s dependency on the REST API plugin, because that’s now been moved in to core WordPress. (Actually, that happened rather a while ago, but I’m slack and haven’t been paying enough attention to Tabulate this year; other things going on!)

I hope to get back to adding file-field support to Tabulate sometime soon. That’d be a useful addition for me. Also, the whole situation with Reports needs sorting out: better documentation, easier to use, support for embedding in posts and as sidebar wigets, that sort of thing.

Jazz and the MediaWiki package

And rain, I mustn’t forget the rain. I’m worrying about the roof, although far less than I used to (it’s a different roof). The jazz is the radio; it’s on.

But the main point this morning is exploring the mediawiki-lts package maintained by Legoktm. I’ve been meaning to look at it for a while, and switch my (non-playground) wikis over to it, but there’s never enough time. Not that there’s enough time now, but I’m just trying to get it running locally for two wikis (yes, the smallest possible farm).

So, in simple steps, I first added the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:legoktm/mediawiki-lts

This created /etc/apt/sources.list.d/legoktm-ubuntu-mediawiki-lts-xenial.list. Then I updated the package info:

sudo apt-get update

And installed the package:

sudo apt install mediawiki

At this point, the installation prompt for MediaWiki 1.27.3 was available at http://localhost/mediawiki/ (which luckily doesn’t conflict with anything I already had locally) and I stepped through the installer, creating a new database and DB user via phpMyAdmin as I went, and answering all the questions appropriately. (It’s actually been a while since I last saw the installer properly.) The only tricky thing I found was that it asks for the “Directory for deleted files” but not for the actual directory for all files — because I want the files to be stored in a particular place and not in /usr/share/mediawiki/images/, especially as I want there to be two different wikis that don’t share files.

I made a typo in my database username in the installation form, and got a “Access denied for user x to database y” error. I hit the browser’s back button, and then the installer’s back buttons, to go back to the relevant page in the installer, fixed the typo and proceeded. It remembered everything correctly, and this time installed the database tables, with only one error. This was “Notice: JobQueueGroup::__destruct: 1 buffered job(s) of type(s) RecentChangesUpdateJob never inserted. in /usr/share/mediawiki/includes/jobqueue/JobQueueGroup.php on line 447”. Didn’t seem to matter.

At the end of the installer, it prompted me to download LocalSettings.php and put it at /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php which I did:

 sudo mv ~/LocalSettings.php /etc/mediawiki/.
 sudo chown root:root /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php
 sudo chmod 644 /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php

And then I had a working wiki at http://localhost/mediawiki/index.php!

Configuring

I wanted a different URL, so edited /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf (in order to not modify the package-provided /etc/mediawiki/mediawiki.conf) to add:

Alias /mywiki /var/lib/mediawiki

And changed the following in LocalSettings.php:

$wgScriptPath = "/mywiki";

The multiple wikis will have to wait until later, as will the backup regime.

Planet Freo not offline

I thought I’d better phrase the title of this post in the negative, seeing as the blasted thing has been more often offline over the last couple of months than it has been online. Even when it’s been online it’s not been working properly. Hurrumph.

Anyway, perhaps now at last we’re on the road to correct operation. The main page and the RSS feed are now back up and working. I’ve switched to a new script (details of which to come soon).

Please let me know if Planet Freo is working okay now for you. Thanks!

Piwigo rocks

I have been using Piwigo for a couple of years (photos.samwilson.id.au), and have been really happy with it. The ability to work with large numbers of photos (uploading lots, and bulk-editing) is what made it a pleasure to use to start with; these are usually the initial tasks one does with this photo-gallery software, and they’re usually where systems are not at their best. Now I’ve got a few thousand photos in it, I’ve gotten the hang of a reasonable workflow, and Piwigo has mostly receeded to the background and just carries on working without issue. I’ve added my albums’ URLs to all sorts of places, including in printed archival descriptions, and feel pretty committed to sticking with Piwigo.

So it was nice to recieve a newsletter from the Piwigo development team, talking about their recent shift of the codebase to GitHub, a new Java desktop synchronisation client, and other things. If one doesn’t actively haunt the forums, it’s hard to remember that Piwigo is still a going concern — but I’m very glad that it is!

Open source software is great, I love using it and contributing to it. But sometimes it goes away. :( Of course, that happens to proprietary apps too, but with FOSS failures I feel sad, because it feels like I’ve personally failed the project (I should’ve been more involved). It’s one of the reasons it’s good to pay for free software. I’m glad Piwigo makes money from their piwigo.com service (well, I assume that’s what keeps the lights on).

Anyway, all I wanted to say was: thanks for Piwigo.

What goes Where on the Web

Every now and then I recap on where and what I store online. Today I do so again, while I’m rather feeling that there should be discrete and specific tools for each of the things.

Firstly there are the self-hosted items:

  1. WordPress for blogging (where photo and file attachments should be customized to the exact use in question, not linked from external sites). Is also my OpenID provider.
  2. Piwigo as the primary location for all photographs.
  3. MoonMoon for feed reading (and, hopefully one day, archiving).
  4. MediaWiki for family history sites that are closed-access.
  5. My personal DokuWiki for things that need to be collaboratively edited.

Then the third-party hosts:

  1. OpenStreetMap for map data (GPX traces) and blogging about map-making.
  2. Wikimedia Commons for media of general interest.
  3. The NLA’s Trove for correcting newspaper texts.
  4. Wikisource as a library.
  5. Twitter (although I’m not really sure why I list this here at all).

Finally, I’m still trying to figure out the best system for:

  1. Public family history research. There’s some discussion about this on Meta.

What web-based software to use

My current favourites, based on the idea that software should be constructed with a specific use in mind (obviously, wikis are an odd exception to this):