Zmanim RSS Feed in the Works

The Zmanim API currently has 2 sample classes in the output package. One outputs zmanim as an Excel spreadsheet and is currently used in the Zmanim Calendar Generator, the other that is not fully maintained outputs zmanim in a PDF format. I just started work on the third output class. This will generate an RSS feed of zmanim for a given location. I plan on outputting zmanim for the current day and the following week. The API that will be used is ROME. It seems pretty stable and relatively easy to use. The fact that is being developed by Sun developers (it uses the com.sun.syndication package structure) and is open source probably means that it has a chance of actually still being around and supported down the road. Read more on the ROME Wiki.

Hebrew Date Plugin Version 0.9 Released

As pointed out in a comment on the WordPress Hebrew Date Plugin page, there was a PHP function isJewishLeapYear missing from the plugin that caused issues when the month was Adar. I added this to the file and relesed it as version 0.9. I do not have any posts in Adar, so I can’t really test this fix, so please let me know if you run into any problems.

Update WordPress Hebrew Date Plugin Has a New Home!

Zmanim Calendar Generator TODO List

Sunrise CalendarZmanim Calendar Generator to add some user input validation.
Looking at the logs, I noticed that someone generated a calendar with the longitude and latitude of Lakewood, NJ (the default), with just the location label changed to Minneapolis, MN. I don’t know if the user was just testing, or just assumed that I picked up the geocoding information by parsing the location name. This led to the addition of a JavaScript confirm when the location name is changed.
Items on the TODO list are:

  • Use JavaScript to convert the longitude and latitude when the format is changed from decimal to degrees, minutes and seconds
  • Provide links to locate longitude and latitude information
  • Add support for the generation of a standard (not full as is the default now) calendar with a much smaller set of zmanim
  • Implement the generation of PDF calendars
  • Possibly use the Google Maps API to allow the selection of longitude and latitude information

The code for the PDF generation is already in the API but has not been updated in a while and does not work properly. This will also have to be updated for the standard calendar mentioned above.
The way I envision interacting with Google Maps would be to allow the user to center their location in the map, and have those coordinates used for the zmanim calendar. This would have been relatively trivial if they provided geocoding information, by just allowing the user to enter their location as it can be done at Google Maps, but they currently do not provide geocoding information. I haven’t touched their API yet, and although it does not look too complex, it will probably take a while.

Hebrew Year Conversion

There was a request on the Correspondence page of Remy Landau’s Hebrew Calendar Science and Myths site for a utility that generated “Hebrew Year Number Transliteration”. Since I had already developed the code as part of PhpGedView and the hebrew date plugin, I just ported it to JavaScript as a demo.


Year: Include Thousands תשס”ז


Search engine optimization?

Do a Google search for "javadoc api" and amazingly the API Docs page shows up at number 9 (number 10 if you omit the quotes). I somehow doubt that the tweaks last week had this effect. I guess not too many pages have these words in the URL, title and page content. It’s still nice to be in the same list as Sun. Interestingly Sun did not end up in the first place. I found this via the log files when I noticed a referer (not a typo) of the Google search for javadoc api.

Zmanim Pages Updated

The static pages for the Zmanim project have been slightly updated. The main zmanim page has been revamped, an instruction page added and some other minor changes made. One change to the main page has been the addition of the list of types of zmanim that can be calculated. One reason for this change was for search engine optimization. I ran AWStats on the log files for the last month and a half and the following search phrases brought people to the site (listed in order of popularity)
“hebrew date”, “zman krias shema”, “hebrew date php”, “kosher coffee”, “zmanim nassau”, “zman tefilah”, “time of sun in zenith calculate”, “zmanim”, “wordpress hebrew”, “elevation of sun time of day”, “harfenes”, “asia generator”, “date hebrew”, “xsd time format”, “hebrew plugin”, “plag hamincha”, “get calendar java calc”, “zmanim calendar”, “jewish zmanim”, “calendar generator”, “milliseconds xsd time”, “annual calendar generator”, “java calculate start of the day”, “calculating sun zenith angle”, “calendrical spreadsheet”, “calculate mincha gedola”, “milliseconds into minutes”, “sun s zenith”, “javadoc api “, “time formats milliseconds”, “sof zman krias shema”.
The logs also showed that many people who were searching for zmanim related searches never moved beyond the JavaDocs pages that matched their query. The technical nature of the page probably threw them off. The addition of the listing of types of zmanim will hopefully lead many searchers to the main page instead of the JavaDocs page in the future.

New Version of the Hebrew Date Plugin Available

A new version (v0.3.0) of the Hebrew Date Plugin is now available. This fixes the post time formatting issue. The code is crude and relies on the detection of a ‘:’ in the Date String to determine that it is a time and not date. This works well with the default WordPress 1.5 theme (Kubrick). Other themes that use alternate date formatting might not work perfectly with this plugin. It is worth noting that as far as I know, this plugin will only work with WP 1.5. The plugin does not require changes to the theme, and can simply be activated from the Admin plugin screen.