Some pretty pictures

Below are the themes that will be included in the new Integrated Contact Form. Full credits to CSSGlobe and for these templates which I just adapted for use. However, I am sad to announce that I am pausing work on the script as I really need to focus on my studies and eliminate any distractions. But for now, some pretty pictures:

New Integrated Contact Form default theme
The new default theme
(More after the break) Continue reading Some pretty pictures

Modular Development

I am really glad I used modular development for ALS now. It makes it so easy to reuse code from ALS in my Integrated Contact Form. I am currently using the update module (by the way, I just realized the fgetcsv() function requires a length parameter in PHP 4 (optional in PHP 5) – eg. fgetcsv ($fp,256). Refer to here for more details. ) and I do have plans to reuse my CAPTCHA module as well. I should really adopt modular programming as the basis of all my future scripts and projects.

I realized I do make lots of careless mistakes in my coding sometimes. For example – in my CAPTCHA module, I defined the file as a gif in the headers, but I used imagepng() to generate the actual image, so I suppose it’s a png file in a gif container (though I am not perfectly sure).

Anyway, I was basically cleaning up the ICF code in the past few days. It’s really a mess after not having touched it for 2 years (the latest build was 20071011 – meaning it was realized on the 11th Oct 2007). Keep you guys updated.

A quick peek at one of the themes. Sadly, I have to remove support for ALS themes and singular stylesheets (meaning you have to create a theme in order to customize the look) – but the whole thing is a lot more flexible now.
Integrated Contact Form Black Theme

Integrated Contact Form to be updated

It’s being a while since I updated Integrated Contact Form (now at v0.06B) – in fact so long that I can’t seem to remember when was the last time I actually updated the script. As some of my script users would probably know, I am most efficient in writing code during exam periods (don’t ask why) and so I will try to see if I can do an update to the script over the next 2~3 months or so.

For new visitors, Integrated Contact Form is a simple web contact form powered by PHP that is meant to protect your email from spammers. However, what makes it unique is that it offers 2 ways of delivering the message – by storing the message in a MySQL database that can be viewed with the included admin panel and the more conventional way of emailing the message.

I have in mind a major update, pushing the script to its first final version – v1.00, though depending on my workload and study progress, I may release small updates featuring a few improvements. It would be a rather major rewrite of the code though. Here’s a list of what I have in mind right now:

  • CAPTCHA Validation (available as an option). I am still considering whether to use reCAPTCHA or to use my own CAPTCHA module from ALS.
  • Email validation (available as an option). If turned on, the visitor would be sent an email, where they would have to click a confirm link before their email is sent.
  • Prevent too many emails from being sent in a short period of time.
  • Full-fledged Administration panel (for those storing messages in the database). More details below.
  • Greater theme flexibility. I have the intention of including these themes together with the download.
  • Use of API to release Email addresses safely when the system fails (due to a problem with the SMTP port maybe?)
  • And finally, a restructuring of the files – I don’t like the way the files were organized in the previous build

Anyway, let me talk more about the new Administration Panel I have in mind. Currently, while the admin can read and even reply to messages that are stored in the database, the entire platform does not feel very complete. As such, I have plans to create a complete communications platform that does not involve your personal email. Well, this is done by threading (using reference numbers), sending PHP mail() headers and maybe even PHP-IMAP functions (though that is still under consideration). Right now the concept is still in its infancy, but I will keep you guys posted as it is refined.

As usual, you can keep yourself updated via my Twitter (@wuxiaotian) or the RSS feed (dedicated to ICF updates).

A few tweaks to Search

I am making a few tweaks to WordPress’ search feature, which I think is way too underpowered. I am thinking of integrating Google’s Custom Search Engine though their user policy clearly state that I cannot hardcode a link to the results page, which would have made my job a lot easier. If there is really no workaround, I would probably have to hardcode a link to the Google site itself, though that means a loss in advertising revenue for me.

I will keep you guys posted on updates.

UPDATE: This is not related to search, but I have got the contact form online now. You can contact me here.

An update on ALS

I know I promised to get Advanced Login System uploaded soon, but it’s just that I have too much stuff to deal with for the past couple of months. And I have realized that it is quite an uphill task to make ALS available again.

Well, first off, I have to figure out which is the latest version of the script. I keep an archive of previous versions and while I am quite sure that the 20081128 build was the latest stable build that was available for download on my previous site, I seemed to remember some bugs associated with it. And so it would take time for me to test the code, time that I don’t have right now, given my upcoming exams and whatnot.

Secondly, I also have to get the support framework online on this server. That includes getting the update server ready and also providing a bug tracking framework (I am thinking Trac). I am also thinking up of setting up an online store to facilitate the sale of the source code (my previous experiment didn’t work out so well, but I willing to give it a go again).

Lastly, I do have some ideas of a few new features I want to implement in ALS. For example, I am thinking of using reCAPTCHA for the CAPTCHA module. Also, I thought I was a little too paranoid in the development of the final version of ALS v0.03B and I think it would be better to remove the password salt feature. And of course there are a few other ideas that I am still toying with in my mind.

I am going to be honest here: ALS is probably not going to be available until December. But I promise it would be worth the wait as I strive to make it better (especially in terms of the support framework). As usual, you can keep track of development progress through RSS (a feed dedicated to all posts in the ALS category) or my Twitter account. And no, it’s not going to be vaporware.