Welcome to the internet home of web designer, developer, pilot person and Cumbria dweller Dave Sparks.
I’ve been working on a third party API plugin for WordPress that requires a script that auto updates from the API. It consists of pulling a big list of items from the API and checking them against the local site entries, often adding new items or updating existing entries.
The problem was with a number of memory allocation errors with PHP as the script went on, often about half way through the execution. Memory exhausted and Fatal Allowed memory issues popping up. A memory limit change would fix the problem to a point, it would still leave issues though – to work through the full list of items would need a very high PHP memory limit and also what happens if the list gets bigger in future? When 64Mb stops being enough do we simply up it to 128Mb what about when that isn’t enough do we carry on upping it? That still leaves a period where errors are being thrown and updates are missed until it is picked up and the memory limit is upped.
I made sure I called wordpress without themes to reduce a little bit of load and a quick check through to make sure unset() was being used as it should be – I’ll admit my code discipline has been lax in the past with regards to this but as ever we are always learning and making sure that we can improve our techniques. Unsetting things properly to free up the memory is one of those things I now make sure I’m doing rather than just overwriting old variables.
So the script was unsetting as it should and with diligent debugging with php memory usage outputs it became apparent that it was around WordPress functions that the memory usage was going up and not being unset, gradually leading to the errors. Plenty of looking around and eventually I stumbled upon wp_cache_flush and it worked a treat – every time I went around a processing loop or finished a process I called the cache flush and it removed all the stuff WordPress had been storing. I’m sure this wouldn’t be the best fix all for every situation but it’s certainly something to be well aware of.
If you haven’t seen it already Adobe made an announcement yesterday about the future of their Fireworks software. Sadly for those fans of Fireworks it confirms the ever looming spectre that Fireworks is being put to bed and no longer developed.
It does surprise me a little that so many people seem to find this news unexpected, maybe they’ve been ignoring the inevitable? In the last iteration of updates most Adobe products got an updated darker interface, notably Fireworks didn’t, it’s not been looked at favourably for a while – it’s been on life support with Adobe and they’ve pretty much said it’s now do not resuscitate.
My standard contract (based on Andy Clarke‘s contract killer) includes a clause about creating designs for the latest version of current modern browsers and any older versions will get a workable version of the content. I do of course do some more specific catering for a certain browser if needed but generally building something sensibly and providing the correct fallbacks works well enough for clients.
But sometimes they question why I work this way? I find the best way to explain is with the good old movie making analogy – one I touched upon in an old Smashing Magazine article about using CSS3. It works well as it’s something people are more familiar with, even if they don’t watch a lot of films they will know the terminology and ideas you’re explaining.
So how does the moving making analogy go? A little like this. Continue reading
I’ve been a long time Google Reader user and I’ve realised that I’ve never really looked much further. I started using it many moons ago and it’s always worked and done what I want so I’ve never looked at anything else.
But Reader is being killed off by Google in July and many people are predicting a decline in RSS usage because of it, I can’t really see that happening. It most certainly won’t be replaced by social media.
In my last proper post I introduced a couple of resources I recommend to those getting started on the web.
But where do you go from there to keep up to date and continue learning? Apart from browsing these hallowed pages of course.
Here are a few of the resources I regularly use to keep track and reference, I have plenty more in my RSS reader (Google reader! I’ll be looking for an update) but these are the ones I regularly end up visiting and reading from. They offer a variety of levels of interest and difficulties.