Category Archives: Coding


PHP: Basic Variables

So, you want to write some PHP?  I’m going to go over some basics of PHP in the next few posts.  This first post is going to cover basic variables.

Step #1: You need to define set up your PHP file

PHP is executed out of files that end in ‘.php’ (as you might expect).  You also need to define where, in the file, your PHP code is.  That’s done by prepending your code with ‘<?php’ and appending it with ‘?>’.  Let’s see what that looks like.

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Miwaukee I/O: Get answers to your questions in Milwaukee

This weekend, I attended the 2014 HackMKE Civic Hackathon.  It was held at Bucketworks, in the Grand Avenue.  I came to the hackathon with no real expectations.  I just wanted to see how I could help the community.  I ended up working on a project with Ben Haos, a student at Carroll University.

We were looking at Honolulu Answers, a previous Code for America project.  We figured that Milwaukee could use something like that.  We originally looked at just forking Honolulu Answers but neither of us had any experience with Ruby, so we decided to go a different route.

Milwaukee I/O is a WordPress site, running DW WallPress, DW Question Answer, and WordPress Social Login.  While I worked on setting up the site, Ben worked on building an Android app for it.

What’s next for Milwaukee I/O?  The biggest thing is to get people to actually use it.  Milwaukee I/O has the promise to be a hub life in Milwaukee.

Have any questions, comments, or ideas?  Please, let me know.

Check out Milwaukee I/O


Joe begins to learn Node.js

MilwaukeeJS 03/25/2014 NodeSchool WorkshopLast night, I attended a NodeSchool workshop, put on by the Milwaukee JavaScript User Group.  It took place at Corvisa Services, at Schlitz Park.  It was a bit of fun.  We went over the “Learn You The Node.js For Much Win!” section of the NodeSchool program.

I noticed early on that installing Node.js is easiest if you are running Homebrew.  Once Node is installed, you use NPM to install the NodeSchool lessons (which is easy enough).

The way I installed the lesson was:

npm install -g learnyounode

I had assumed that that would have placed code within my current directory, but it apparently installs it into some sort of global package directory.  The “-g” is signifying “global”.  Once the package is installed, it is executed by running “learnyounode” at the command line.

I have gotten through the first four items within the lesson.  This weekend, I will finish the rest of them.  I like this a lot.  April’s 30-day challenge might involve writing a Node app.


An unofficial Security Now episode explorer

Well, I finished another PhoneGap Build app.  This is another “Joe scratches his own itch” app.  It’s an app that shows the entire Security Now back catalog and lets you browse through the various topics.

This is the final app in my 30 day challenge, so my pace of new development is going to slow a little.  I am planning on iterating each of the 4 apps over the next month, though.


Try the app in your browser

PhoneGap Build Page

GitHub Page

Play Store Page


Security Now Explorer Screenshot #1 Security Now Explorer Screenshot #2 Security Now Explorer Screenshot #3


How do you sign a PhoneGap app?

This is a quick thing.  When you build an app in PhoneGap Build, it asks for a keystore file.  So, how do you get one?  Here is the command for on the mac.

keytool -genkey -v -keystore [Name for the file].keystore -alias [Name for the app] -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 10000

Remember to replace [Name for the file] and [Name for the app].  After that, just follow the prompts.

Happy developing!

PhoneGap Build Keystore File


Killing two birds with one stone: The Network+ Vocabulary App

This week’s phone app is the Network+ Vocabulary App.  I have been taking a Network+ class at the Milwaukee Area Technical College and I figured that writing a study guide for the test, would both net me another app and help me study.

For note, this covers the vocabulary for exam N10-005.


Try it in your browser

PhoneGap Build Page

GitHub Page

Play Store Page


Network+ Vocab SS 1

Network+ Vocab SS 3Network+ Vocab SS 4


The Milwaukee Soup App: An experiment in PhoneGap and Kimono

I have had an idea for a while.  I am a huge fan of a good bowl of soup and when lunch rolls around, I check a half dozen websites for daily soup specials.  I have always wanted a singular place to see what soup is available today.  I have written an app to be that singular resource!

Milwaukee Soup has a fairly basic UI right now and it only tracks two restaurants (The Soup House and Bella Caffe), but I plan to evolve it over time.

So, you might be asking how I managed to query the restaurants, without aid of an API.  I kinda cheated.  I used Kimono to create JSON APIs from the restaurants’ websites.  So far, it seems to be working well.


Try the app in your browser

PhoneGap Build Page

GitHub Page

Play Store Page


Milwaukee Soup Screenshot 1 Milwaukee Soup Screenshot 2 Milwaukee Soup Screenshot 3