View Cells in CakePHP 3 – A quick start!

Wrote about another new feature in CakePHP 3 – View Cells. In a short 4 step how to I explain how to create a Recent Posts Widget

The concept behind View Cells in CakePHP 3 has been around for a very long time. As per the book View cells are small mini-controllers that can invoke view logic and render out templates. Andy Dawson wrote about this in 2007. If I were to to summarise the use of View Cells I would say, “Think Widgets”

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Aasim in MUWCI – finally!

Aasim with his wada mates and wada parents

Aasim had been preparing for this day for almost an year! Finally today he is where he wanted to be – a first year at the Mahindra United World College of India abbriviated to MUWCI by almost everyone.

Several friends expressed concerns about us having to let go of Aasim. Thanks for that. Agreed, last 17 years our world revolved around Aasim. We changed directions when he was born, some even called it a U turn. (No! it was not) This is the day we have aspired for as a family. Nothing can sum up things better for me than what Khalil Gibran has written about parents in his poem “On Children

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

So yes my dear friends we are not just OK with Aasim flying. We are immensely proud and happy to see him fly. Thanks for being so concerned

Twitter bootstrap forms in CakePHP 3

Wrote about how to get Twitter bootstrap forms in CakePHP 3. Twitter bootstrap is probably the most popular of the CSS frameworks, getting to know how to manipulate the CakePHP 3 forms to use it is a useful thing to know.

So what are the thumb rules for using custom templates, Widgets and form helpers? For me

– Only markup changes – change just templates
– Conditional markup, amalgamation of input fields (think datetime inputs) – create widgets
– Additional processing of data, change in defaults like no label, no HTML 5 require checks by default – mess with custom form helper

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Change markup for pagination in CakePHP 3

Wrote about pagination in CakePHP 3 at the SANIsoft blog. Lots of things are changing in CakePHP 3, so decided to write a series about it.

CakePHP 3 introduces an elegant solution to this problem in the form of PaginatorHelper templates. PaginatorHelper templates allow you to easily separate the markup from your code and keep your code DRY. Let us try and use them. In this very short HowTo we will change the Pagination section to look from this

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Lycaon pictus, the African Wild dog.

Lycaon pictus

An endangered species, Lycaon pictus is a canid found only in Africa, especially in savannas and lightly wooded areas. It is variously called the African wild dog, African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, African painted dog, painted wolf, painted hunting dog, spotted dog, or ornate wolf. I had an excellent opportunity to see these magnificent creatures for a long time when we were in Botswana. Spending almost 4 hours with the pack as they went about their business.

I got a whole lot of photos but this particular one of young adults galavanting around after a meal has a dynamic quality which i particularly loved. Unfortunately the species in under a threat due to various reasons. Continue reading Lycaon pictus, the African Wild dog.

Live forever Atul!

Sometime 1998/99: “Sweetheart Mr. Atul Chitnis himself replied to your email. You are going to write a review of GIMP for PCQuest!!”

This was our first contact with Atul, Swati was very unsure as to what will she write but another email from Atul and she was fine. Atul himself had edited the first draft of that review and had said it was good to go!

Atul, in his own words did not hack code – he hacked people. How he did it cannot be explained in words. It was something which was meant to be experienced.

The ITCom 2000: Aasim was 3 years old, could barely talk in Hindi and he would go up to Atul and just look up at him sitting in the corner chair, in turn Atul would look at him equally at loss as to what to talk. Aasim kept returning to him for next 12 years.

2001: An idea before its time – he trusted us to build it. SugarTrade did not take off but that taught us to think big!

He was a demigod for me, who became a friend. His style was brutally honest, no mincing of words but it always made sense if you heard him out. He would hear you out too if you had it in you! I have flamed and trolled Atul publicly at least 3 times but I can confess that on a personal level things never changed.

Atul trusted me, not only as a coder but as a doctor. That was a burden I gladly took upon…. that was the least I could do…

Atul they tell me you are no more!? WTF they are talking about, Yeah your physical self is not there with us anymore – you abused that kit too much for too long, something had to give way but no more? crazy people these – you will live forever Atul!!

Time does not change us….

Time does not change us. It just unfolds us. Max Frisch

Time does not change us. It just unfolds us. Max Frisch

Celebrating 19 years of marriage today. Chose to celebrate it in a quiet and relaxed way. We sat and talked for a long long time. The wnet to the garden to plant new seedlings that we had got and trim some of the plants. Evening was a dinner cooked at home with just the us. Nothing dramatic but it was very intimate. I chose the quote by Max Frisch because it fits s in many ways. We have grown so much in past 19 years together but still the core beliefs which got us to be one still remain the same. Things have been elaborated and experienced over the years and that is what I would call unfolding but nothing has really changed. We have matured learnt to look at things in a more empathic ways rather than just sympathetic. It was wonderful doing so together.

The author Max Frisch also fits best because – as stated on his wikipedia page

Max Rudolf Frisch (May 15, 1911 – April 4, 1991) was a Swiss playwright and novelist, regarded as highly representative of German-language literature after World War II. In his creative works Frisch paid particular attention to issues relating to problems of human identity, individuality, responsibility, morality and political commitment. His use of irony is a significant feature of his post-war publications. Frisch was one of the 22 founder members of the Gruppe Olten. He was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1986.

Marriage is indeed about human identity, individuality, responsibility and morality. With this thought we enter into our 20th year of marriage

P.S. Thanks to Shweta for this lovely capture

Revamped NagpurBirds website launched

NagpurBirds website was launched in April 2005 as a support website for birders in Nagpur city. It was based on a modified version of Coppermine Picture gallery, at that time Coppermine served the purpose but with passing of time maintaining the script in sync with the main project become a problem and uploads had to be restricted to Admin only. Year 2012 has seen a surge in birding related activity in Nagpur and there was an urgent need to have a more modern website which was easier to use – the result is the current revamp.

The main features are

  • Rewritten from scratch to satisfy bird gallery needs using CakePHP 2.x and Twitter Bootstrap
  • Deep integration with Facebook as most birders from the city are preferring it as a media of interaction
  • Once logged in the users can upload their own pictures
  • Birding trips can be recorded and shared on Facebook
  • Powerful search features
  • User friendly URL, try or or to understand what it means
  • Admins can invite photos from Facebook users need not upload a new file
  • Tablet friendly site,  mobile site and perhaps an app coming soon
Do explore the site to discover more

Share and you will be rewarded….

30"X40" Canvas print...
30"X40" Canvas print...

Last year on 17th May I got a short message on Flickr. “Are your photos available for purchase. Would love to purchase one of your photo’s”, I replied back with an equally short “which one”. The reply to which was that sender was an artist and woud like to use my Elephant charge as a part of his art work. Since I don’t really sell my photographs and all of them are under a Creative Commons license I granted the permission for use of the photo with a condition that I be sent a picture of the completed work. Instead of a picture, I was promised a canvas print in return. I sent the pictures and after a while forgot all about it till last Friday I got a long tubular package in the post from Adam Scott Rote. Inside was a 30″x40″ canvas print, signed and numbered of the hyper-realistic painting called “Elephant Walk”

The photo does not do justice to the print – take a look here. Yes it is a painting and the canvas print will adorn our living room wall!

The elephant charge - reduex
The elephant charge - reduex

10 years of journaling…

Exactly 10 years ago I wrote my first rather inane journal entry on Live Journal. Seems a very long time ago from one perspective and then not. It is interesting to look at your past 10 years on a single page. The most visually striking thing is perhaps my travails as a photographer from the early days of my first 1 megapixel camera till now. However that is not what I remember the early days for…. I still miss the kind of interaction and discussion which we had on the Live Journal friends page – a Facebook wall just does not cut it but then the rise of social media definitely killed off journaling.

Now I don’t think I can call these writings a journal – it is more of a blog, more of a photoblog, aggregating reactions from people on my pictures, mostly a one way conversation.

The best take away from my journal has been the friends I have made over the years almost all of them I have now met personally. There are friends who I have still not met after 10 years like the Sunshin3girl, in reply to her meme I had written this – A peadiatrician and a forensic expert, how did you become a PHP geek almost 6 years ago. She recently became a mother and both I and Swati were so over joyed that we told the news to each other at the same time… We will meet her some time – YES.

Then there are a few who do not want to be in touch… no reasons I guess people just move on!

The love story of our (mine and Swati) life before the journal days has been interwoven in bits and pieces in the early year writings – putting that in proper timeline with the gaps filled in is a task that needs to be done. I want Aasim to know as much details as possible, right now he thinks he does not need it or does not have the time…

Lets see how that shapes up.

The first picture I ever put on my journal
The first picture I ever put on my journal