Brian & Ann's European Experience

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I am the PHP MASTER!

I'm feeling pretty good about myself. For the longest time I was trying to get the headlines from my blog to show up automatically on my website. I started by figuring out that had a setting that allowed you to publish an RSS feed for your blog.

Then I got stuck.

I have a news ticker Java application on my website, and I emailed the developers asking if there was a way to fit the RSS feed right into the news ticker. I got the typical developer answer: "Yes. But no."

Meaning, "yes, of course it is technically possible, IF you are a web programmer familiar with certain technologies like PHP and if you were you wouldn't be asking me so for YOU the answer is 'no'."

Well I decided to show that guy what was what. I started reading up on PHP. Now I don't know shit about web development languages. I barely understand HTML. But PHP sounded like it could do some pretty cool stuff... if you were a web programmer. Which I wasn't.

So I foundered for a few weeks. Then I got my courage back up, got back on the Internet, and started scrounging for answers. I found a great utility that some great people had written and put up on the internet for free (don't you just love the world we live in) that did exactly what I needed: it took an RSS feed and turned it into PHP.

Great. But I still didn't know what to do with the PHP.

A few hours more digging, some reading on some 'tutorial'-type pages, and I thought I had it. I started copying and pasting other people's code (hey, that's how the Internet works man, don't look at me like that...).

To make a long story short, I got it to work.

And there was much rejoicing.

But then I decided that I didn't like the way the dates were displaying. I mean, who wants to read "2005-05-08T13:45:32Z" right?

And then I got stuck. Apparently that's the format for date the uses. So to change it I would need to know how to manipulate the data in PHP arrays.

And cue exploding head.

So I found a developer's forum, signed up for their discussion board, and posted a message. Within an hour I got two replies. One guy pointed me to an article about how to ask questions on discussion forums and made a cryptic remark about "check out the date() function". Fucking know-it-all developers.

But the second guy, Alan Levine, wrote me a very succinct email telling me what the general theory was, and then (thank God) giving me a suggested piece of code to copy and paste into my existing code.

And therefore, Alan Levine is now my new hero. Thank you Mr. Levine, you are a savior on the order of the Messiah and Maxim magazine.

And now I want everyone to go to and ooh and aah over the fact that yours truly figured out how to get the headlines from his Blog to appear in BOTH the main page AND the Javascript news applet on the right.



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