How to Set up and Use Your Own (Linux-Based) Development Server in Minutes

A new section of this website is finally complete. It provides instructions on how to set up and use a Trac and SubVersioN (SVN) server. Trac and SVN are incredibly useful tools for software development. In my opinion, these tools are indispensable tools for any software project. Of course there are alternative products available, but these are the ones that I am familiar with, and they are free. Trac is a minimalist software project management too, providing methods of tracking bugs, enhancement requests and overall progress from start to finish. SVN is a source-code version control system that tracks changes made to the source-code.

500 Internal Server Error Courtesy of the Zend Optimizer

Last night I went to log in to the CMS administrator pages for this website in order to add to this website. To my horror, I was greeted with a 500 Internal Server Error. This was quite puzzling since it had worked fine up until that day. For the next several hours, emails flew back and forth between technical support and me, as we collectively searched for a solution. I suspected that they had changed something on the server that resulted in this problem. However, they stated that they had not made any changes for several weeks. The error looked serious, since PHP performed a 48 MiB core dump every time that page was accessed.

Site-Wide Search Now Available

This website now features a search function which can be found in the left column. I have opted to use Google custom search since I have found that Google's search engine often is better at locating information than a website's own search engine. Google's search technology is simply far superior to many of the other search engines provided with various Content Management Systems (CMS). Adding search functionality was relatively easy, although it did require that I create a custom page type for the search results page. The reason for using a custom page type is because the HTML insert functionality in the Silverstripe CMS won't embed the Google search results page code properly; it performs some sort of operation after closing the HTML edit window that destroys it.

Backing Up a MySQL Database (do NOT use phpMyAdmin)

I have always regularly backed up this website, including its database. However, I have discovered that the database backups have been either corrupt or incomplete. This came to my attention when I looked back at the database backups and noticed that they were all less than a few MiB in size (compressed) and the size remained constant. The database itself, however, is approximately 27 MiB. Even taking the compression into account, these files were too small; a test uncompressed  backup (i.e., raw *.sql file) came to 5 MiB. Clearly, something was wrong.

Month in Review - November 2008

Little has happened here over the last month. I have simply had too little time to work on this website. In particular, moving to New Zealand took up a significant amount of time.