Welcome to Werstnet.com

Hi, my name is Jeremy Werst, and I'm a web developer working out of Minneapolis, MN.  My specialty is in creating beautiful websites that adhere to modern css and html specifications, specifically working with the concrete5 content management system.

This site is where I post about the things that I create, programming tricks I find, and pretty much everything else that I find interesting. 

Latest Blog Posts:

New laptop cases

Picked up two of these tonight, one for my Macbook Air and one for my Dell XPS-15.

Thule Gauntlet 13"/15" MacBook Sleeve

Think they're going to be pretty great for hauling my computers around on bicycles. Totally waterproof, pretty good impact protection, and actually a design I kind of like. Not a lot of 'cruft' - it's still not just a bit of thick cloth. Most of the other cases you'll find are more like briefcases with a sleeve for a laptop, or a backpack. Way too much bulk for tossing in and out of messenger bags or other large backpacks where you are already carrying a bunch of stuff.

Posted on November 7, 2014

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A visit to NYC

A visit to NYC

I've never really had a chance to travel much, which makes this year pretty unusual. Believe it or not, I had only ever flown once in my life! I've done vacations travelling on bike, or crashing on friend's couches, but those were a lot different. This whole world of hotel rooms and real luggage is completely new.

Posted on October 27, 2014

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Xdebug in Netbeans on the Command Line

Xdebug has become one of the main tools that I use as a php developer.  I just learned how to step through files in NetBeans while running scripts on the command line. 

For my current gig, we have several scripts that need to run that take forever to finish. I'm talking hours. Obviously, doing them through the browser would be impossible, so we use command line php scripts to make sure they can finish completely. Last Friday, I was having issues with one of these, but didn't know why it was erroring out. I could have done a bunch of var_dumps and whatever to try and figure it out, but I wanted to be able to just put a breakpoint in the script and figure out exactly where it was happening in a lot less time. 

Thankfully, the answer was pretty simple and easy to find over on Stack Overflow. The one that I ended up going with was actually the second answer. Here it is if you don't want to bother clicking through:

  1. Start the debugger in the IDE. Take note of the session name in the URL. For me, it was "netbeans-xdebug"
  2. On the command line, enter this: 
    export XDEBUG_CONFIG="idekey=netbeans-xdebug"
  3. Run your PHP file, it will trigger breakpoints in NetBeans just like running from the browser.

That's it. Super simple, but if you're using command line scripts, it's really useful. 

If you want to turn it off again, just enter this. The CLI instance of PHP will stop debugging, but your browser will still be going like normal until you stop that session:

unset XDEBUG_CONFIG 

Hope this helps people! Enjoy!

Posted on September 28, 2014
Categories : programming php NetBeans xdebug command line

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Testing a new social sharing app

Testing a new social sharing app

I spent most of the summer hanging out in Montana, visiting family and going to my 20th high school reunion. That was, um, interesting. Certainly the subject of another, longer blog post. I often go quite awhile between posts, but nearly four months is a bit much.

Really, I should be trying to write shorter posts more often. It's just so much easier to publish something short on a social network instead of logging in here and writing something super long. It's kind of an ongoing issue, there are actually four or five posts that I've started and not finished in my drafts.

Another issue is that I can't really just quickly share content across multiple networks. I don't use twitter hardly at all, since I don't really have the focus to try and filter through the 1000s of posts every hour in my stream. I share a lot on Facebook, but don't typically take the time to open up a tab for Twitter to post it there, too. 

Don't even get me started on LinkedIn. Does anyone really use that? I've gotten some good job leads from it, though, and if I had quality tech content posted there regularly that would probably increase a lot.

How do we get all of these social networks working together?

There's an old joke about how the barber has the worst haircut and the mechanic's car barely runs. It's true for me. I keep telling myself that I'd work on it and never really seem to find the time. But I'm working on doing some upgrades to the Greaserag site and help them make it easier for them to share content across several different social networks. 

Did a lot of digging tonight, and I think that I've found a really great service that is mostly free (some features cost money) that totally fills the need. It's called dlvr.it and it lets you set up queues for your content, subscribe to RSS feeds, use a browser plugin to share scheduled content, control what content is included in the post... You can publish to multiple accounts, and to facebook pages, groups, or profiles. It can auto parse out hashtags, which would be really handy to a lot of people. You can control the scheduling for individual posts, or the frequency of data from an RSS feed, the number of posts per day...

Really, a ton of features.

I just signed up for it tonight, so this is really the first post trying to use it. I'm hoping that the few minutes I spent setting everything up worked well, and that it will show up properly.

Once I've used it for a week or two, I'll try and remember to write a followup. 

Posted on August 23, 2014
Categories : Personal Social Media web services

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UX - Less is often more

UX - Less is often more

There are two different ways to approach code. Generic, fits anything and everything for everyone. Or custom and as easy to use as possible, but just for one client. 

Most of what I do is the latter. An image carousel I've been working on made me think about the dichotomy between these two a lot. The way I build applications for concrete5 seems to be completely at opposite with what most people doing things for the marketplace 

Posted on May 1, 2014
Categories : concrete5 programming php code patterns user experience

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