JonBlog
Thoughts on website ideas, PHP and other tech topics, plus going car-free

This page is an ideas incubator, where I present a selection of project ideas, mainly for software or websites, that I like the sound of. Some of them will have code attached, some of them will be useful as they are, and some of them are just pipedreams. If you want to collaborate on something, please drop me a line - I've love to get some reflections and feedback.

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Outline

Ideas in this category are just back-of-napkin ideas, and some may always stay that way. I'm publishing them here in case someone wishes to develop them further, though of course their being public may spur me on to do something with them!

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One of the surprising things one can learn from The Electoral Commission’s website is that they don’t have official responsibility for recording local election results. In fact, though there is all sorts of interesting factoids to be mined from that data, it seems there is no public body responsible for making it available. There are […]

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A nice easy project proposal, for Git users. Every Git user who maintains several profiles has run into this problem: an email address used for committing gets used in the wrong context, and the error is only noticed much later, perhaps when local commits are pushed to a remote repo. The solution is easy: run […]

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Stack Overflow is teeming with questions that ask “is the following database code safe from SQL injection?”. This prompts me to think it would be interesting to develop a system that walks users through some examples of SQL injection, in a browser-illustrated way. The user could be challenged to find a set of managed vulnerabilities […]

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I occasionally make use of Rex Swain’s HTTP Viewer to determine whether a site is operational from another location (sometimes a local DNS problem can make a site look down when it is not). This utility is very good, but has not been upgraded much over the years I’ve been using it; it does not […]

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When developing a web application, I’m rather a fan of adding on-screen Post-It style notes, either as a note-to-self, or as a collaboration tool, either to get feedback or to explain what works and what does not. Currently I just add a CSS file and then add a classed div, which pops it to the […]

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Often I’ve come across a piece of SQL which is hopelessly inefficient, and I need to set about optimising it. Since the rules of optimisation are pattern-based, it’d be great if a query could be dumped into a web page (perhaps with a schema to which it refers) and a number of optimisations are suggested. […]

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Spam comments at this blog outnumbers real comments a few hundred to one, and I should think other bloggers have the same experience; for sites that attract a large number of real comments, the spammers sadly lob their link rubbish in the same direction a great deal more. Now, my spam detection system is pretty […]

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I’ve stuck with Firefox over the years, since its plugin support is excellent, as is its available developer tools. I tend to surf with site cookies enabled, but with third party cookies disabled (since I don’t want advert companies to leech off my browsing history). Now, I also set cookies to be deleted until I […]

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One of the things I regularly do is to create a new branch of an existing web project, to work on a new feature. Thus, I might have sites example.com, dev.example.com, and many cases of branchname.dev.example.com. Across all sites, usernames and passwords are likely to be identical, since I’ll usually be using a recent-ish copy […]

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I’ve recently been playing with an Arduino Nano, and I have to say I love it. It takes me back to having various electronic kits for Christmas, and building things with connect-this-to-that wiring diagrams, jumper leads and spring terminals. The Arduino is even better, in fact, since hardware interfacing is made a great deal easier […]

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When purchasing a new product, the consumer these days will often do web-research to make appropriate trade-offs between features, quality, service and cost. However, this can be tricky without expert guidance, since the detail and format of product spec sheets varies substantially from manufacturer, and there is either too much information (customer is swamped with […]

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Having switched to an electric bike and sold the car, it’s fair to say I’m a convert, and happy to promote the cause where I can. One simple thing that the electric bike community could do with in the UK – and perhaps outside of it too – is a zoomable and trivially editable map […]

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Web developers who share ideas will likely be aware of jsFiddle and SQL Fiddle, which are used to demo snippets of JavaScript and SQL respectively. I’d like to see an XML equivalent, in which an XML snippet can be provided, and an XPath query used to select the relevant data. This would be partly an […]

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As a mobile worker (and coffee addict), I’m occasionally popping into a new cafe to work from. It’s nice to have the variety, as well as to try a new coffee. Unfortunately I sometimes buy a drink and a sandwich, only to find that the wifi isn’t actually offering “internet” in the way we should […]