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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Monday, 25 June 2007

new website!

Firstly, I'd like to say a heartfelt thank you to all who sent the kind messages of support and commiseration after the unfortunate events of last week. We're still in the midst of drying equipment, and at least a quarter of the carpet in the house has been ripped up, but things are ticking over.

Still, it's given me a chance - as I've hung around for much of the day waiting for people and things to turn up - to have a go at rebuilding my main website, so I can once again inflict my musical monstrosities on the internet!

Trev and I had both been playing with the idea of installing Joomla! another content management system, so I bit the bullet and downloaded it.

It took a while to find a template that I liked - a simple one without too many things I'd want to customize - but eventually I discovered the free FS Nixlogy template from FSTemplates.com, which formed a most acceptable basis for my site.

The most important thing I wanted to do with this site was to make it easier to link to the music. Updating the previous site was a horrendous nuisance, especially if I wanted to include a Flash-based preview, since I had to copy the code from one entry to another, and substitute the appropriate information... all in all a tedious, time-consuming task.

Since Joomla! is based on the Mambo content management system (I believe they were a breakaway group or similar), it has the facility to use things called mambots, which are essentially little PHP scripts that make writing content (as well as search engines and editors) a lot easier.

Adapting a handy example of a simple mambot called rd_addphp.php, and using the excellent MP3 interrogation functions of mphp3 I managed to create my own little mambot called bot_showmp3.php, which takes information passed to it to create a Flash player preview of a 32kbps version, a download link for the full version, length, bitrate, artist and title details, and links to lyrics and technical details, so all I have to type is this:

{showmp3 jamelopoeia:jamelopoeia - Shopping High:33:34}

for each song. OK, so it's not really a marketable proposition, but it does the job. Hopefully if anyone downloads it, they can figure out how to make it work for them!

So anyway, www.mus-ic.co.uk is open for business again - please let me know what you think!

Posted by james at June 25, 2007 11:55 PM

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