SSI and AOL Chat

Well Brian, you just might faint but…

I’m not going to ask for anything today. Instead, I’m going to share two tidbits of info that might prove useful to other weather webmasters out there.

Originally I had planned on doing a total overhaul of my website to convert it into a dynamic database driven ColdFusion (server side processing) website. The idea is to solve two problems. First, replacing entire pages of graphics AND data is time consuming, particularly when your talking about as much graphics and data as my seven page website consumes. Second, if a visitor tries to retrieve the index page just after it’s been deleted to make room for the new one, they get a nasty error message. Even your wonderful effort to modify WD’s FTP app to upload and then rename files on the server fell short on my web hosting service for some reason.

Well, ColdFusion is taking longer to master than I thought, so I’ve made the incremental step of using server side includes to cut down on the amount of data uploaded and to keep most of the page and graphics on the server at all times.

Since the top and left hand side of my pages never change (except the update time) I simply removed the data, renamed them from wx2.html to local2.shtml and added an include tag that would import the data from the now stripped down wx2.html file. Your web host must support SSI, naturally. But it’s amazing how easy this is to do. If anyone would like detailed instructions, just let me know and I’ll flesh out the particulars.

AOL has a free gizmo you can install on your website that allows visitors to initiate a chat with you. It also gives your website it’s own chat room. Lastly, it has a built in “send-to” button for email. Not bad for free. My son dragged me into AOL Instant Messenger. I’m not a big fan of instant messaging, but I’ve found it a very convenient way to communicate with folks. My son can now IM me no matter where he is (usually to ask for money, but that’s ok). So far I haven’t had many folks use the IM feature, but if you stop by my web page here at http://clovisweather.com and have an AOL IM account, please give me a shout.

Will someone check on Brian? I think he’s passed out on his keyboard. :wink:

I’d have to say your website is the greatest example of using WD’s data I have ever seen! Any information you could share about your design would be appreciated. I’m thinking of starting a project to develop a site that would be very similiar to yours… I am hoping to start storing the data in a database, and develop a website that pulls that data dynamically to the page when it is hit rather than having to have the webpage generated by WD… we’ll see how that goes!

Anyhow, great site… and do share :slight_smile:

I am hoping to start storing the data in a database, and develop a website that pulls that data dynamically to the page when it is hit rather than having to have the web page generated by WD.. we'll see how that goes!

I’ve been chewing on this bone for a few weeks now and unfortunately the answer hasn’t presented itself to me fully. Brian gives us a ready made database with the log files, especially if we choose to have comma delimited .csv files saved. Unfortunately this database only contains day, month, year, hour, minute, temperature, humidity, dewpoint, barometer, windspeed, gustspeed, direction, rainlastmin, dailyrain, monthlyrain, yearlyrain, and heatindex information.

It wouldn’t be overly difficult to create a search form to query this database for historical information, but the magic of Brian’s programming is partly the interpretation of this data and the synthesis of new information from it. If you could tune into Brian’s brain waves you’d probably hear an avalanche of formulas and algorithms for adding this to that and then dividing it from thus and such to arrive at something or other. You’d probably also pick up something about cows.

The answer is to let Brian do all the hard work. Actually, he’s already done it, we just have to feed the right questions into his wonderful program. If we create a page of nothing but WD tags separated by commas and feed it into WD, we will get a fully marked-up csv file out the other end. Not terribly unlike how hay is processed by Brian’s cows. This works wonderfully in all of the tests I’ve done so far.

The two big gotchas I’m puzzling over now are; 1) how to identify individual tags in a classless database system (ColdFusion does not require that you declare all your variables but you do have to provide unique ids. That works out to be one unique id per tag, which is a lot.) 2) how to compile this data into a database on the server.
The solution to number one is only a matter of spending more time learning ColdFusion. The answer is out there, I just have to find it. Amazingly, there isn’t any existing application or website that I know of that attempts to handle data this way. Maybe there is a reason. :?

The solution to number two will require that I learn something about MySQL database programming. I’m not overly thrilled by this prospect. My next door neighbor is a former Oracle techno whiz, so I’ll see if I can con… er… convince him to give me some pointers. Perhaps an 802.11G WAP on the back porch, within range of his living room, would be a sufficient bribe? :wink:

If you would like to have a look at all of the code that goes into my web page I’d be happy to zip it up and email all of it to you. I have no problem with sharing anything I know with the rest of you guys. Since I started running WD in 2000 I’ve had a lot of help from Brian and other WD sysops… er… webmasters (I still think sysop was a cooler title).

well, i now have a wd database program working,and i will look at getting it as a mysql database as well…which would be good if you are hosting your own web pages on your own PC…
but the way you are doing it now sounds amazing…
what about even using macromedia flash and the SSL (i.e like VWS weather flash does) (but the problem with macromedia flash is it uses 99% CPU on your PC!)

well, i now have a wd database program working,,,,and i will look at getting it as a mysql database as well.....which would be good if you are hosting your own web pages on your own PC... but the way you are doing it now sounds amazing.... what about even using macromedia flash and the SSL (i.e like VWS weather flash does) (but the problem with macromedia flash is it uses 99% CPU on your PC!)

Wonderful!!! The web hosting service I use has MYSQL support built-in, along with ColdFusion, SSI, SSL, ASP, and the rest of the alphabet.

There are utilities available to automatically convert text into flash. That function is built into Dreamweaver studio MX, but there are countless other shareware programs that will do the same thing. I’d make a list and post it, but I’m packing to leave for vacation tonight. Actually, I’m finishing building a couple of high-end overclocked monster PCs (3.5 Ghz OC’d P4s with 2 Gigs of RAM and 8x graphics cards) for a client, THEN I’m going to pack for vacation. I’ve got plenty of coffee. 8O

I’ll take my laptop with me and try to keep up while on the road.

-Rob