Tag Archives: programming


StackOverFlow win!

Yay! I made two achievements on StackOverflow.com with my first two answers there. One, I earned a “Teacher” badge for Active site similar to CSS Zen Garden? And two, I unlocked a few privileges that come with earning points there.

By earning a reputation of 21, I can now participate in meta, got new user restrictions removed (can post images, post more than one hyperlink in a question or answer, post any hyperlinks in my profile, contribute answers to protected questions, ask or answer questions too rapidly), create wiki posts, vote up (this is the privilege for which I actually started answering in the hope to earn enough reputation to vote the good answers up), flag posts, and talk in chat.

So, now that I have started to rock the StackOverflow’s Q&A space for programmers (w00t), you can keep a tab on me there through my StackOverflow profile.

[Me happy at 4:30 am Pakistan time. w00t!]

Developing Facebook Chat: Programming Language and Technologies Used

Facebook Chat looks very simple by design, but if you pry deeper you’ll learn that it’s an impressive engineering and design feat. One must question: how was Facebook Chat, which was to serve over 70 million users when it was built (now serving over 500 million), developed? Which programming language was used to build Facebook Chat? What technologies were put together to bake this web-based chat feature? The primary Facebook chat programming language is Erlang, but that was not the only ingredient. Much more has gone into developing Facebook chat.

Eugene Letuchy, the lead developer of Chat, from Facebook, has put the answers down in a neat presentation that highlights the main aspects of what went into Facebook Chat.

Erlang at Facebook

At the heart of Facebook Chat, and thus the central part of this presentation, is a programming language called Erlang, which is a general-purpose concurrent, garbage-collected programming language and runtime system.

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Who programmed the ENIAC – the first general-purpose computer?

Just came across a very interesting fact about ENIAC (the first general-purpose electronic computer): The ENIAC was programmed by six people … and all of them were women! Yes, you heard that right. All women.

The ENIAC, the world’s first computer, was invented to calculate ballistics trajectories during World War II – a task that until then had been done by hand by a group of 80 female mathematicians. The six women who were chosen to make the ENIAC work toiled six-day weeks during the war, inventing the field of programming as they worked.

That, I must say, is quite a surprising fact (for me at least), especially since the stereotypical notion of women that is thrown around is that they are not good in mathematics and logic, and thus programming.

How to Debug PHP Applications with NetBeans IDE and Xdebug on Windows?

NetBeans logo After having tried many IDEs for PHP development, including Eclipse and Komodo Edit, I have found myself the most comfortable and productive with the excellent NetBeans IDE.

You can start building PHP applications with NetBeans right out-of-the-box by simply downloading NetBeans for PHP (version 6.8 is the latest as of this post). Debugging with it requires an additional download of Xdebug.

Here is a quick and step-by-step guide to quickly start developing and debugging your PHP application projects with NetBeans + Xdebug:

1. Download and install NetBeans IDE for PHP.

2. Download Xdebug (it’s a small DLL library file).

Advice: Among the plethora of download links available on that page, let me tell you that you generally wouldn’t want the ‘non-thread-safe’ version, so ignore that; go for the latest non-beta version. I downloaded 5.2 VC6 (32 bit) of Xdebug 2.0.5.

3. Next you need to make changes to php.ini found in apache\\bin folder (the location of your apache folder may vary depending on your installation, look for it).

Find “[Zend]” section in your php.ini file, which should look like the following:

   1: [Zend]

   2: zend_extension_ts = "E:\\Servers\\xampp\\php\\zendOptimizer\\lib\\ZendExtensionManager.dll"

   3: zend_extension_manager.optimizer_ts = "E:\\Servers\\xampp\\php\\zendOptimizer\\lib\\Optimizer"

   4: zend_optimizer.enable_loader = 0

   5: zend_optimizer.optimization_level=15

   6: ;zend_optimizer.license_path =

   7: ; Local Variables:

   8: ; tab-width: 4

   9: ; End:


Xdebug is not compatible with Zend Optimizer, so comment out lines 2 to 5 (by prefixing the line with a semi-colon), and add the following lines under [Zend] section heading:

   1: [Zend]

   2: zend_extension_ts="E:\\Servers\\php_xdebug\\php_xdebug-2.0.5-5.2.dll"

   3: xdebug.remote_enable=on

   4: xdebug.remote_handler=dbgp

   5: xdebug.remote_host=

   6: xdebug.remote_port=9000


Note: Remember to change the path and filename to match your Xdebug path and version.

4. Restart Apache (if using XAMPP: Open the XAMPP Control Panel and first stop, then start Apache).

5. To verify if Xdebug is configured properly for debugging, create a php file containing this one line:

   1: <?php echo phpinfo() ?>

Save it in your htdocs folder [phpinfo.php], and open it in your browser [http://localhost/phpinfo.php]. If Xdebug is loaded successfully, you should see something like this:

Xdebug info with phpinfo()

That is it! Now you are ready to debug your applications with Xdebug using NetBeans IDE. Simply open your PHP project in NetBeans and press Ctrl + F5 or click Debug project button in NetBeans in the toolbar.

A detailed guide on configuring Xdebug with NetBeans can be found on this wiki: http://wiki.netbeans.org/HowToConfigureXDebug.

Happy coding! :)

Web Frameworks: Which one to learn?

Being in the field of IT (Computer Science), it’s necessary to keep pace with the changing landscape, otherwise you would end up rendering yourself obsolete. It’s no different with web development/programming: The landscape keeps changing, either on the user interface front or the browser side or the website back-end.

As of now, we are moving through the era of web application frameworks. That’s the landscape we are surrounded with. Plenty of frameworks have been built during these years broadly categorized under software frameworks, web application frameworks and JavaScript frameworks (or libraries), and plenty more are being developed.

So better learn one now, before you are rendered obsolete.

I am considering the following frameworks:

image image image image Djangoimage

Read more about the most popular web frameworks that I am considering after the jump.

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