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alfiejohn (7563)

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Journal of alfiejohn (7563)

Friday May 16, 2008
09:31 PM

Rental Property Website Launched

Well... it's been more than a year now since starting I guess since it is really maintaining itself, time to move on to new projects :)

Written in HTML::Mason. If anyone wants to see the source code, feel free to email me!
Friday June 01, 2007
07:22 AM

A Programmer's Treasure Hunt

Nobody has yet manage to find it. Some were close but others were just way off.

(hint: view page source)
Friday May 18, 2007
09:32 AM becomes

The real estate website market in Australia was just too big to compete in. So I figured (with the help or others) I would focus my energy on somewhere I know would be more accommodating.

It's amazing what focusing on a niche market can do. FreeHouse was online for 3 months and barely got 30+ ads online. After targeting a niche (share housing) i've seen 10x traffic and have 100+ houses within the first month!

I learned a lot from FreeHouse and I hope that the people who downloaded the source code got a chance to really appreciate how HTML::Mason and Class::DBI does things nicely. ( Regardless of some of my sloppy code ;)
I really haven't been fussed with all these new frameworks (e.g. Ruby on Rails, Catalyst) and wanted to push the boundaries of my Perl + Class::DBI + HTML::Mason skills. Share-House was completed in under 3 days. Not bad for non-<insert-hyped-techonology-here> coding... But that's for a future post :)


If you're still looking for the source code to, you can find it here. I will still help out people on getting FreeHouse running on their servers. I'm just an email away.
Friday February 02, 2007
09:25 AM

The Business of Software - Help for the microISV

Over at my use.perl journal where I duplicate this blog, clscott left a really intriguing one-worded, hyperlinked comment - 'Marketing'.

Taking the bait, I jumped on the link and landed at Joel on Software. However it wasn't the entertaining posts that I was accustomed to by Joel on Software. It wasn't even Joel at all. It was a discussion forum with people talking about the art of microISVs.

microISVs are vendors where the project management, marketing, sales, coding, support and coffee is done by a single person. When reading this, I subconsciously paraphrased Homer Simpson. "they were guys like me. Guys like me? I'm a guy like me".

After lurking for a couple of hours and going through the archives I decided the test the waters. First post. Having been bitten on Usenet, Slashdot and Digg, I really didn't get my hopes up for a response.

What a surprise. Instead of hazing, condesendence or annoying flash ads, I got positive feedback, suggestions, links to gurus and even a request to be interviewed!

I would suggest that if your in the same boat and paddling up the proverbial stream, head over to BoS and feel the love.

Alfie John

Friday February 02, 2007

Thursday January 25, 2007
12:35 PM

Why Computer Science doesn't help you at Web 2.0

I've always known I was going to be a programmer. Ever since I was in primary school and made the turtle move in Apple LOGO, I knew that computers were my future.

As I grew up, I spent most of my time trying to learn how to write programs. I tried a lot of languages; BASIC, Pascal, asm, C/C++, VB, through to the esoteric such as PPE and Java.

When I got to University I naturally took up Computer Science. I wasn't the type to hang out at the bars or go to toga parties. I had something cooler to do. Something even more exciting. I read Tanenbaum.

Once the whole web-take-two thing took off, I knew that this was my chance. I wanted a slice of the action. And with my background I thought that I had what it takes to strike it big.

I started reading blogs by Guys who made it big. I started listening to podcasts during my work commute and even started jogging to catch up on any insider tips.

I had all bases covered; the low-level languages, the high-level languages and even the buzzwords.

And so I started Freehouse...

However, having the best programming languages under you belt doesn't matter and knowing the difference between Splay tree and a red-black tree isn't going to help you become the next YouTube.

Yep. I thought it was going to be straight forward. Almost automatic! But I missed out on something very important they never taught us in school:


Alfie John

Monday January 22, 2007
06:43 AM

Open source of

Hey. I too am starting a similar website such as yours, and am curious to know if there is any way we could help each other out.

Thanks, Andre.

Ever since I read The Art of Unix Programming, I fell in love with the ideals of the hacker culture and the Open Source way.

This book started me on a wild journey down the adverturous path of the GNU. It talked about the advantages of using "higher level languages" and that C/C++ wasn't always the answer. This prompted me towards learning Perl. As they say... the rest is history.

The Perl programming language has taught me a lot. Not just about the way I code, but about community. Perl has this great thing called the CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network) that is totally community driven which no other language can even compete with, not even Python and PHP combined.

So when I read the email above I was at first apprehensive. But then it came to me. Instead of just helping Andrew, why not help the community out there who might be learning how to use Perl to build their website or just dipping their feet at Web 2.0.

That's why i've decided to release the entire source code to

Just be nice (this means you Stephen :). It wasn't made for public consumption so there is no documentation or comments. Althought I did try to make it as maintainable as possible.


  • Perl
  • HTML::Mason
  • Class::DBI

Feel free to give me some feedback. If you send me a patch, I might even include it into the site :)

Alfie John

Sunday January 21, 2007
02:32 AM

Thinking about starting your own Web 2.0 website?

I finally launched earlier this week.

After 3 months of coming home from work, eating dinner in front of the computer and going to bed in the wee hours of the night, I was finally finished... my attempt at web 2.0 stardom was ready. is a website where anyone can advertise Australian property online, and in the same vain as other Web 2.0 sites, all for free.

Leading up to the launch I was filled with all kinds of emotion. From excitement, eagerness and happiness through to lots and lots of frustration.

Towards near completion, I found my heart beating faster whenever I even thought of Freehouse finally being online. I was very excited, and couldn't wait to be online. Then finally that day came ...and I felt empty.

They say that the journey is more important than the destination. I didn't want to believe them.

As the next couple of days past, I watched my usage graphs like a hawk. Happy when it spiked, but sad when it was void. But when they flat-lined all together depression slowly sunk in.

People told me I was crazy wanting to start my own website. I think they'll think i'm even more crazy when I tell them I'm looking forward to my next adventure.

So if you're thinking about starting your own Web 2.0 website, don't hesitate! Just keep trying until you succeed. It's a tough ride, but then again so is the 9 to 5.


Tuesday December 26, 2006
11:01 AM

Hello all!

Hi everyone!

During OSDC 2006 (Melbourne, Australia), cog gave a lightning talk encouraging Aussies to blog on use.perl to let the rest of the world know that interesting things are happening Down Under (tm).

"hey, I came here and it all started with a guy posting about his chickens..."

So here I am...

Alfie John