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Don’t use underscores in css ids

Today’s reminder from your friendly neighborhood codeslinger is "don’t use underscores in css ids!" You know, those lines _ that programmers like to use instead of spaces in variable names (because you can’t really have spaces in a variable name in most languages). This was an illegal character in the original CSS1 and CSS2 specifications (updated in 2001 to be valid) so setting an id to foo_bar (e.g. <div id="foo_bar">) would be translated by the browser as foo\_bar (e.g. <div id="foo\_bar">), well, some browsers, not all browsers because you know browsers are so consistent in their interpretation and implementation of these so called web standards.

The solution? Instead of underscores, opt for dashes (e.g. <div id="foo-bar">) or camel case (e.g. <div id="FooBar">) but remember that id’s and class names are case-sensitive.

See also.

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jquery challenge of the day

And now for something completely different…

Let’s say you have a table that could have infinite rows. The table has an id but none of the other elements (ie. we won’t be traversing by id). The column to the furthest right of the row has an anchor tag in the for of an <a href> There are no other anchors on that row. What I want to do is when the anchor tag is clicked, have the <a href> text in the row above the clicked on turn bold and only that <a href>. Sample table:

<table id="tbl">
         <th>col 1 label</th>
         <th>col 2 label</th>
         <td>sometext <a class="tt" href="#">link</a></td>
         <td>moretext <a class="tt" href="#">link</a></td>
         <td>differenttext <a class="tt" href="#">link</a></td>
         <td>othertext <a class="tt" href="#">link</a></td>

So, if I click the link in row three, I want the text "link" in row two to become bold. This is using jquery and traversing this is kicking me hard.

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jQuery roadblock

jQuery problem:

<tr><td>one</td><td>two</td><td>three</td><td><a class=”foo” href=””>click me first</a></td></tr>
<tr><td>one</td><td>two</td><td>three</td><td><a class=”bar” href=””>click me second</a></td></tr>

What jQuery would allow me to click on "click me second" and change the color of the text "click me first"?

It’s a little more complicated than that. The real source has a plus image on the first row. Once you click that I use .hide() to make the plus go away. I create the 2nd row which has a minus image and a plus image. If you click the plus image, it disappears and creates a third row. The minus image, should 1st) cause the immediate plus image above it to appear 2) then disappear its own row. All plus images have a class of "addrow" and minus images have a class of "deleterow" I thought prev() would be doing it but I get nothing. Specifically .prev(‘.addrow’).show();

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Magento – Not currently favorite color

Why is debugging and troubleshooting in Magento so difficult? Because of error messages like this:

Notice: Undefined variable: rootNode in C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Eav\Model\Entity\Attribute\Source\Config.php on line 53
#0 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Eav\Model\Entity\Attribute\Source\Config.php(53): mageCoreErrorHandler(8, ‘Undefined varia…’, ‘C:\Domains\exam…’, 53, Array)
#1 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\Block\Widget\Form.php(196): Mage_Eav_Model_Entity_Attribute_Source_Config->getAllOptions(true, true)
#2 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\Block\Customer\Edit\Tab\Account.php(54): Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Widget_Form->_setFieldset(Array, Object(Varien_Data_Form_Element_Fieldset))
#3 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\Block\Customer\Edit\Tabs.php(58): Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Customer_Edit_Tab_Account->initForm()
#4 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(642): Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Customer_Edit_Tabs->_beforeToHtml()
#5 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Text\List.php(43): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->toHtml()
#6 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(643): Mage_Core_Block_Text_List->_toHtml()
#7 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(503): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->toHtml()
#8 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(454): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->_getChildHtml(‘left’, true)
#9 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\design\adminhtml\default\default\template\page.phtml(58): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->getChildHtml(‘left’)
#10 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Template.php(144): include(‘C:\Domains\leoa…’)
#11 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Template.php(176): Mage_Core_Block_Template->fetchView(‘adminhtml\defau…’)
#12 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Template.php(193): Mage_Core_Block_Template->renderView()
#13 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\Block\Template.php(81): Mage_Core_Block_Template->_toHtml()
#14 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(643): Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Template->_toHtml()
#15 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Model\Layout.php(526): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->toHtml()
#16 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Controller\Varien\Action.php(347): Mage_Core_Model_Layout->getOutput()
#17 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\controllers\CustomerController.php(117): Mage_Core_Controller_Varien_Action->renderLayout()
#18 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Controller\Varien\Action.php(376): Mage_Adminhtml_CustomerController->editAction()
#19 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Controller\Varien\Router\Standard.php(248): Mage_Core_Controller_Varien_Action->dispatch(‘edit’)
#20 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Controller\Varien\Front.php(158): Mage_Core_Controller_Varien_Router_Standard->match(Object(Mage_Core_Controller_Request_Http))
#21 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\Mage.php(459): Mage_Core_Controller_Varien_Front->dispatch()
#22 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\index.php(65): Mage::run()
#23 {main}

Yes, it screams "undefined variable" which is rootNode but through Magento’s excellent use of object oriented spaghetti, the error does not in anyway reveal what is truly causing rootNode to be undefined nor where to even begin looking.

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Current Magento Questions – getCustomerFormData

The Magento ecommerce question I am trying to answer right now is what does getCustomerFormData() do?

In AccountController.php and Register.php there is this reference $data = $this->_getSession()->getCustomerFormData(true); and this reference $data = new Varien_Object(Mage::getSingleton(‘customer/session’)->getCustomerFormData(true)); respectively. I’ve searched using grep and within eclipse’s file search but can find no other reference to getCustomerFormData.

I can find no reference to getCustomerFormData other than these two lines of code. So what is this supposed to be accomplishing?

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Magento – Developer Killer

While trying to add some functionality to my client’s Magento ecommerce store, I came across an article that summed up my Magento experience quite well:

Most of us in ecommerce application development have already heard of Magento. Some would call it new ecommerce killer app. I myself stand with that statement for many of reasons. However I would like to call it with one more name, developer killer app. This developer killer is what I literally had in mind. Magento is currently one of the most difficult PHP systems out there a developer could learn and master. [Source, {}activecodeline, What makes Magento so hard to learn (emphasis added)]

I have put so much effort into learning this system that I both never want to touch it again AND must do more Magento development so that this exercise of gaining knowledge does not go to waste.

Today’s links for Magento success:

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Magento References

Relevant to my life right now:

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Magento Actions

The Magento E-commerce system is an exciting open source alternative to systems like OS Commerce. The learning curve isn’t really a curve at all. The learning curve is more like a sheer, glassy. polished mountain face shooting straight up into the heavens. However, plenty of documentation exists, Google overfloweth with links to blog post, and IRC support is available on Freenode #magento (although I believe most questions go to /dev/null so expect to feel a little like you are talking to yourself but like your $200/hr psychologist will explain, sometimes that’s all we need).

As I work through understanding how Magento handles layouts, I struggle to find a simple list of actions and perhaps I’m trying to hard. So far the is this:


Ah! I found a reference! See page 7 of Magento Layout Files Reference (see also same document, different format).

Update: The Magento wiki has this defined under Designing for Magento.

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Maximum length of an email address is 254 characters, not 320

I work in a business of constant learning. Technology is continually evolving and being revised. Somethings are rather constant but, being human, weI tend to develop habits occasionally rooted in wrong assumptions. Perhaps a deadline forced a decision without having time to look up the specification and over time, our mind took that unresearched decision as fact. I’ve made numerous databases over the years based upon just such a wrong assumption. My error has been in the acceptable maximum length of an email address. My number is irrelevant but I am in good company with being incorrect on the length of an email address as many people mistakenly believe it to be 320 characters.

An RFC is a request for comments which "is a memorandum published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) describing methods, behaviors, research, or innovations applicable to the working of the Internet and Internet-connected systems." (Wikipedia) RFCs set the standards that define how the Internet works. RFC3696 and RFC5321 explain that the maximum length of an email address is 254 characters.

There appears to be some confusion over the maximum valid email address size. Most people believe it to be 320 characters (64 characters for the username + 255 characters for the domain + 1 character for the @ symbol). Other sources suggest 129 (64 + 1 + 64) or 384 (128+1+255, assuming the username doubles in length in the future).

This confusion means you should heed the ‘robustness principle’ ("developers should carefully write software that adheres closely to extant RFCs but accept and parse input from peers that might not be consistent with those RFCs." – Wikipedia) when writing software that deals with email addresses. Furthermore, some software may be crippled by naive assumptions, e.g. thinking that 50 characters is adequate (examples). Your 200 character email address may be technically valid but that will not help you if most websites or applications reject it.

The actual maximum email length is currently 254 characters:

"The original version of RFC 3696 did indeed say 320 was the maximum length, but John Klensin (ICANN) subsequently accepted this was wrong."

"This arises from the simple arithmetic of maximum length of a domain (255 characters) + maximum length of a mailbox (64 characters) + the @ symbol = 320 characters. Wrong. This canard is actually documented in the original version of RFC3696. It was corrected in the errata. There’s actually a restriction from RFC5321 on the path element of an SMTP transaction of 256 characters. But this includes angled brackets around the email address, so the maximum length of an email address is 254 characters." – Dominic Sayers

[Source, EPH, Email Address Length FAQ]

Every day I learn something new! (even when I should have known it for a couple of decades)

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Project Done

I just put the wraps on one of my projects. This one was a site scrapper and a site rebuild. Scraping means the site which controls the data did not provide an API or other means to get the data so using PHP, cURL, and AJAX (in this case, jQuery), I retrieved the data, used PHP and regular expressions to parse the data to use only the parts I needed, and CSS to present it correctly. The rebuild was applying a new design, furnished by the client, to the rest of the site. Overall fun, albeit with some speed bumps and hiccups.

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Today’s Work Related Links

I work in an ever changing industry. New techniques, new standards, new languages, new buzzwords are always developing. These changes are why programmers must be constant learners. I learn principles. Specifics of a language simply require a decent reference. I rely heavily upon Delicious as my own personal search engine and reference tool. To date, I have bookmarked 10024 websites. I can spent hours researching a problem and clicking through search engine results to read misinformation or bad links but when I find the resource I need, I bookmark it at Delicious with keywords which will help me find the information easily. The next time I need that info, I can find it in seconds.

Links I have used in my work today: