Bootstrap

At work I get to update an internal application with Bootstrap. I was already looking into for my own personal development. And am pleased to have the opportunity to work on it while getting paid. I am not a designer and consider myself a CSS hacker. I ‘m not always aware of best practices in CSS (though I am working on it) but I can often figure things out. And joke that I make websites “not ugly”.

All of our applications are internal apps and clients/vendors have to use them. We have no designers and much of our stuff is not pretty.

Since some applications were created to replace paper forms we often tried to make them look as close as possible to the paper form. This is not necessarily attractive.

By removing the assumption that app should look like the paper form and using Bootstrap, I’d call the application  ‘almost pretty’. :-)

In the process I am also cleaning up the JavaScript. We have been using jQuery and jQuery UI and other plugins.  I was the one that introduced jQuery to our group when I was still a novice. As a result, there is a lot of repeated code and even multiple versions of jQuery were included on various pages.  This also result of copy-paste because multiple developers work on it and sometime deadlines make best practices difficult.

I am a firm believer in writing DRY (Do not Repeat Yourself) code and love cleaning things up. Adding front-end validation and replacing ColdFusion’s UI tags with JavaScript/jQuery.

The result is more elegant code, less repeated code, and more consistent code. AND a better looking, performing application.

Handling Email

On of my major concerns about moving to a VPS on Digital Ocean <– affiliate link was how to handle email.  Administering a web server is one thing and probably complicated enough but what about an email server? How do I manage email for all of those domains?

While reviewing information about TuxLite (TuxLite is a free collection of shell scripts for rapid deployment of LAMP and LNMP stacks (Linux, Apache/Nginx, MySQL and PHP) for Debian and Ubuntu), their FAQ page said that running an email server will use too many resources on a VPS.  They suggested using Google Apps, Zoho Mail or Fastmail.

After a little research I decided on Zoho Mail. I am using the free level for each domain I own. If you need more than 5 email accounts on a domain or want to handle multiple domains in a single account it will cost you more than free.

I’ve decided to keep my email accounts simple and just use one for each domain and forward them to my personal gmail address. In gmail then I create a filter that labels the domain they came from.

I’ve had to as for help to get email forwarding working. I am not sure why. But overall it is a much simpler solution that trying to figure out how to manage an email server.

Of course, my VPS will still need to send email, TuxLite configures Postfix for outgoing email.

Screwing up WordPress

OK so I want to reset this blog to be brand new. Too smart for her own good of a webmaster figures it is just faster to go into PHPMYADMIN on the backend and just delete all of the content.. Now this is a multisite install where I have Network Admin privileges (so I can do anything and everything). I am not used to PHPMYADMIN, I use SQL Server in my day to day work, and when I work on MySQL I either use SQLYog or HeidiSQL which all have a very different look and feel than PHPMYADMIN. So I inadvertently deleted some rows from the wp_sitemeta table. Now I could no longer signin as Network Admin. Oops!

Luckily, I recently performed a full backup on my site, which took an hour to extract. Then I took the MySQL backup script, created the database locally and saw that it was the wp_sitemeta table that had the missing rows. Using the backup script for that table I ran that in PHPMYADMIN and restored my Network Admin privileges. Phew! Disaster averted!