Programming project is eating my lunch

I've been maintaining Radio silence this week because of a project to republish the Chef Moz restaurant database as Dining.Name, a dynamic Web site created with Java and Perl and served with MySQL and PHP.

I started the project with two goals in mind: Getting more experience developing real-world Web applications and promoting Chef Moz, a corner of the Open Directory Project devoted to restaurant listings and reviews. Chef Moz offers its entire database under an open license, but no one appears to be doing anything with it.

I'm beginning to understand why. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome when dealing with 134 megabytes of XML data that isn't well-formed, contains hundreds of illegal characters, and isn't in the UTF-8 character set as described in the documentation. (I was so desperate at one point I turned to Perl, which is my language of last resort.)

I'm hoping the project becomes a useful consumer-friendly interface to Chef Moz, which is designed more for project contributors than hungry diners, as shown in this before and after view. At a minimum, it should give me plenty of fodder for programming articles here on Workbench (and future books).


bad programmer, no cookie for you Roger!!

you used an integer on main page but it seems there are more than INTEGER_MAX restaurants reviewed in the USA, so instead it just shows 65535. use long or something... ;-)

(i found your site while looking for native2ascii comments on google)

I found your site while google searching for the expression "eating my lunch." Why? I just got back from a party at which someone told a story and referred to the term "ate my lunch," where the term seemed to mean something like "took advantage of me." Several (most) of us had never heard the expression...but your site was listed; however, I don't see it here now...maybe you used it a while ago?

See my comment just above. Whoops. Yes, "eating my lunch" is part of the title...but didn't help in my definition.

Is it safe to assume you're given up on the Dining.Name idea? I just tried to muddle through some of the Chef Moz stuff and it really is a mess. I'm trying to find an alternative.

I'm going to revive Dining.Name this year. I brought it offline because of some scaling issues, but I've learned more about how to cache PHP content since then. Chef Moz is a nice idea, but the whole Dmoz network hasn't been getting much love from Netscape/AOL lately.

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