Administrator's blog

When innovation is not real innovation: the WinHelp case.

Microsoft didn't include the WinHelp32 application in Windows Vista. The official reason is its code does not meet Vista standards. Later it has been made available as a separate download (probably to avoid a lot of users complains!), anyway developers "are encouraged to transition their Help experience to an alternative Help file format, such as .chm, .html, or .xml". This is a clear case when innovation is not real innovation, instead is just adding bloated applications where noone needs them. WinHelp has everything one could ask to an help system: loads very fast, is not intrusive, is easy to use yet powerful enough, is easy to develop.

CodeGear: still on the wrong track?

Recently, CodeGear released its first new Windows products, Delphi 2007 for Win32 and Delphi for PHP, after more than one year without anything new. Delphi for PHP is based upon Qadram Qstudio, and, despite it's name, it's not a new PHP personality within the Delphi/BDS IDE (Galileo). It's a separate product with its own IDE, although it was designed after the Delphi IDE.

Proper library deployment in Delphi

In these days I'm starting to move some projects from Delphi 7 to Delphi 2006. Therefore I started to install all the required libraries in Delphi 2006. And I found out that many libraries don't use packages properly. Beyond the runtime/designtime issue, many libraries don't set the options properly to share the same code among different versions of Delphi. Once I was used to keep different copies of each library in each Delphi folders, in a folder named "3rd".

Mercury/32 and the importance of being updated

Some years ago, when spam became intolerable, I looked for a mail server that could be run on Windows at home, and configurable enough to allow blacklists, SpamAssassin and antivirus software to be used. Also, I needed IMAP4 access to access my mailboxes from different machines (at home, at work, on the road) and have them in synch without much hassle - and to avoid to download unneeded or unfiltered spam messages while on a GPRS connection.

Of course Exchange and Domino were out of the question due to their cost and resources needed, while some *nix ports like XMail lacked IMAP support and needed separate applications, and sometimes are a bit too complex to setup.

PHP and the "not my problem" attitude

Recently, I decided to upgrade my personal web server. I'm using Apache, MySQL and PHP on Windows because I am not a web developer, I do not like IIS/MSDE/ASP.NET too much, and I started to use (L)AMP applications before .NET was even born.

I upgraded PHP to version 5.2. First, I tried the new .msi installer. It gave an error without any hint about what went wrong, so I reverted to the old .zip file.

When I started to configure PEAR, I got a bunch of errors. The first thought was "What the heck...!!!????". A quick search on Google revelead it was not a fault of mine. The PEAR release in PHP 5.2 for Windows was broken. Probably, that was the reason the .msi installer failed too - I've selected pear to be installed as well.

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