This article refers to the previous incarnation of this website – the current site uses WordPress with very few modifications from standard 3.0 themes.

This website is made with a large amount of Joomla 1.5, a salad of third party Joomla extensions and a lot of secret herbs and spices (custom PHP templates, CSS, etc.). You’ll have to read on to find out what temperature I had to pre-heat the oven to.

OK, I lied. I won’t really talk about oven temperatures or cooking anymore – it’s not really my strong point after all. If you only arrived at this page after being drawn in by the allure of a new cake recipe, I’m sorry – there must be lots of decent cookery websites for you to look for, or you can see the photo of mince (cunningly disguised as rat) on the only page that’s remains from my first website.

The real point of this page is a brief outline of what I used to put this site together. Feel free to ask about any particular aspects and see the about page.

So this is all based on a Joomla 1.5 content management system. This means I can add new pages quickly and make use of the variety of Joomla add-ons so that I don’t need to concern myself with writing yet another web contact form (for example).

Some parts of Joomla have been more customised than others. For example, the contact page is very basic and only superficially modified to make it roughly fit the style of this website. Other areas are more customised, including my own site-wide Joomla template.

Two of Joomla’s key failings are the default reliance on tables for page layout design and the rigid hierarchical content structure. My custom template should have pretty much eliminated all tables from the layout and the Joomla Tags component allows me a much more flexible tagging system which allows each article to be part of more than one “category”.

The site is valid XHTML / CSS at launch. We’ll have to wait and see how well it holds together if user generated content appears – it’s not something I’ve had time to test completely.

New website

I have migrated my Joomla website to WordPress 3.0, using a standard theme becuase I do not currently have time to spend migrating the previous theme to WordPress.

The actual migration process was simple due to the relatively small amount of content on the website: in most cases I just copied and pasted from the old website and set the publish dates and permalinks to match the original Joomla system.

The previous announcement of a “new website” is below for posterity.

Continue reading New website

KeeFox 0.7 Beta released

KeeFox version 0.7 Beta has been released. Please see for more information and opportunities to keep up to date with KeeFox news from now on.

I am very keen to get feedback from a wide range of users on a variety of Windows systems so please take a look if you can spare the time. There are still some known bugs and some missing features (and probably many unknown issues) so please check the issue tracker to see if any issues you encounter have already been reported and then let me know what you think. There are more details and a link to the issue tracker at where you can also subscribe to the RSS news feed for future updates.

I’ll post here when the 1.0 final version is ready but the main source for KeeFox news from now on will be the new official website at

KeePass PLGX build automation

One of KeePass Password Safe’s strengths is the ability to install plugins. This keeps the main application simple and hence (potentially) more secure. Developing plugins for KeePass and installing them has always been pretty straight forward but starting with KeePass 2.09 there is a new plugin format which now means that your plugins will not need to be re-compiled every time a new version of KeePass is released. If enough plugin authors migrate their plugins to this new format then this should gradually remove some of the barriers that discourage users from promptly upgrading to the latest version of KeePass.

This article outlines how I moved my KeeICE plugin to the new format and shows how the PLGX build can be integrated with Visual Studio. (KeeICE is the KeePass plugin that the KeeFox firefox add-on communicates with – a beta release is (still) not far away).

First, check out the documentation and maybe the forum post where the feature was first announced.

I found that they explained the benefits (and small limitations) of the new format and it wasn’t long before I had a PLGX version of my plugin built and loaded into KeePass.

After a variety of changes to my installation routines (so they know to deal with one PLGX file rather than the previous two DLL files) the only remaining challenge was to find a way to package the PLGX quickly. To do this I modified my post-build event so that once Visual Studio has built the plugin DLL, the PLGX creation process happens automatically. This fits in nicely with my existing build process and ensures that I can quickly build a fully packaged Firefox add-on, ready to be shiped onto test virtual machines and the few other PCs I usually have bleeding-edge versions of KeeFox running on.

Of course, I also want to debug my KeePass plugin from time to time so my post-build script needs to put the actual plugin DLL (and dependancy) into the KeePass plugins directory whenever I am running Visual Studio in the Debug configuration (my debug command is set to load KeePass and Firefox so the plugin and add-on need to be in place by the end of the build process).

I have put the post-build script below in case anyone else finds it useful. You will need to read through it and modify it in a few places to suit your particular plugin and its dependencies (or lack thereof) but it should be almost ready for a quick copy and paste into your Visual Studio configuration. NB: The script assumes that the KeePass plugins directory already exists.

echo POSTBUILDSTEP for $(ProjectName)

set KPDir=C:Program FilesKeePass Password Safe 2
set KPPDir=%KPDir%plugins
set KPPTempDir=%KPPDir%$(ProjectName)

IF NOT "$(ConfigurationName)"=="Debug" Goto :NotDebug
REM In debug mode we want to move the generated DLLs and PDBs to the plugins
REM directory so we can easily set breakpoints, etc.
REM In this case, we don't care if the Firefox add-on has missing or outdated
REM files (they are only used at install time so it won't affect debugging)

REM delete the PLGX from any previous Release build
del /Q "%KPPDir%$(ProjectName).plgx"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
echo Release plgx deleted

REM copy output DLLs to KeePass plugins directory
copy "$(ProjectName).dll" "%KPPDir%$(ProjectName).dll"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
copy "Ice.dll" "%KPPDir%Ice.dll"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
echo Debug DLLs copied to plugins directory

goto BuildEventOK

IF NOT "$(ConfigurationName)"=="Release" Goto :NotRelease
REM In release mode we want to make sure that we are working with the PLGX version.
REM For the KeeFox project we will be in this mode quite a lot (whenever working
REM primarily on the Firefox add-on part of the project rather than KeeICE)

REM delete the DLLs from any previous Debug build
del /Q "%KPPDir%$(ProjectName).dll"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
del /Q "%KPPDir%Ice.dll"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
echo Debug DLLs deleted

REM create temporary directory
rmdir /S /Q "%KPPTempDir%"
mkdir "%KPPTempDir%"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
echo Temporary directory created

REM copy relevant project files to temporary directory
REM (for simple KeePass plugins you may need to
REM copy only *.cs files and .csproj file)
copy "Ice.dll" "%KPPTempDir%Ice.dll"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
copy "$(ProjectDir)*.cs" "%KPPTempDir%"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
copy "$(ProjectDir)$(ProjectName).csproj" "%KPPTempDir%$(ProjectName).csproj"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
mkdir "%KPPTempDir%Properties"
copy "$(ProjectDir)PropertiesAssemblyInfo.cs" "%KPPTempDir%PropertiesAssemblyInfo.cs"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
mkdir "%KPPTempDir%generated"
copy "$(ProjectDir)generatedKeeICE.cs" "%KPPTempDir%generatedKeeICE.cs"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
echo Files copied to temporary directory

REM create the PLGX
"%KPDir%KeePass.exe" --plgx-create "%KPPTempDir%"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
echo PLGX created

REM copy PLGX to Firefox addon folder (for packaging in a .xpi later)
REM copy "%KPPDir%KeeICE.plgx" "$(SolutionDir)Firefox addonKeeFoxdepsKeeICE.plgx"
REM if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
REM echo PLGX copied to Firefox add-on

REM delete the temporary directory and its contents
rmdir /S /Q "%KPPTempDir%"
if errorlevel 1 goto BuildEventFailed
echo Temporary directory deleted

goto BuildEventOK

This is all tested on Visual Studio 2008 on Windows XP SP3 but I have had this page bookmarked for a while in case I come across similar problems on newer versions of Windows. It might be useful if you’re running Vista or 7 and run into any problems copying the files into the KeePass directory (basically, take a sledgehammer to the permissions on the plugins directory).