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Sherif Ramadan:
A Software Engineer's Job
August 05, 2014 @ 11:07:54

Sherif Ramadan has a new post to his site today that tries to answer the question "what does a software developer really do?"

As a software engineer I have to learn to see things differently, because my job requires that I solve problems. Though not only is it important that I come up with a solution, but equally important that I can express the solution in code. [...] It is equally important to recognize that not all problems have technical solutions. Some problems are better solved by social solutions.

He talks about the influence that some of the major services have had on the social aspects of our lives and how they're mostly a "convenience to mankind". He suggests that the job of a software engineer has multiple aspects, and not just technical ones. They're required to see things differently, be able to understand the problem well and express the solution in a clear and practical set of code.

The engineer must figure out which problems are worth solving through technology, in order to save people time and money, and defer those which do not to more social means. Let humans do what they do best and computers do what they do best.
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Link: http://sheriframadan.com/2014/08/a-software-engineers-job/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Social Network Authentication Twitter and Facebook
July 21, 2014 @ 11:32:12

The SitePoint PHP blog continues their series of tutorials showing how to authentication your users against various social networks. In the previous post they covered connecting to Google+ and in this latest post they move on to two other popular social networks: Facebook and Twitter.

In the previous parts of this series, we created our initial interfaces, set up our Google+ login functionality and talked about how we can merge our accounts together. In this article, we will integrate Twitter and Facebook within our application. You will see a lot of similarities with the Google+ article, so if you could follow that one easily, you won't have much trouble with this one. If you haven't read that article yet, I suggest you read it first before continuing this article.

He starts off with the Twitter authentication, creating a new "SocialLogin" object type for it and defining the three required properties it needs to connect. Code is included to make the OAuth connection, pass along the callback URL and forward on the user to the Twitter site for approval. Code is also included to store the data about the Twitter user in your application. Next up is Facebook. The connection is very similar to the others with only a slight difference in the data that's required. You can find the full code for the tutorial so far in this Github repository.

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social network authentication tutorial series twitter facebook

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/social-network-authentication-twitter-facebook/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Social Network Authentication Merging Accounts
July 16, 2014 @ 12:19:07

The SitePoint PHP blog continues their series looking at authenticating your application against other social networking services with this new post discussing the merging of accounts. This merging allows you to determine if the same user is using more than one account to log into your system.

If you allow users to sign up through different social networks and perhaps your own registration system, there is a good chance some users will have multiple accounts. How annoying can it be for a user who signed up through Facebook earlier, to come back later and log in through Twitter because he thought he used that one? We can prevent this by letting the user merge manually or try to use an automatic system to try and identify duplicated users.

He tracks the information about the users in two different database tables, one for the user themselves and another representing that user's provider (the social network). He gives an overview of two methods you could use for merging these accounts: either doing it manually by suggesting it to the user or trying to do it automatically based on the data you already have.

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social network authentication tutorial series merge accounts

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/social-network-authentication-merging-accounts/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Social Network Authentication - Setup & Google+
July 15, 2014 @ 11:12:06

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted the first two parts of a "Social Network Authentication" series looking at connecting your application with social network systems. In these first two posts they help you get things set up to connect to the remote systems and create an actual connection to Google+.

Almost every website which contains a log in option, also contains ways to log in through different social networks. In this series of articles, we will take a look at how we can make sure that our visitor can log in through Google+ and eventually other networks like Twitter and Facebook. In the final article, we will have a close look at how we can make sure users don't have different accounts due to the fact that they used different social networks. We will create a framework agnostic package which can easily handle users from different social networks. In this part, we will have a look at our basic setup.

The first tutorial helps you get things all set up and takes the first steps in making the "SocialLogin" package. In the second tutorial they use this package structure to create a Google+ specific instance, making the OAuth connection as simple as calling a method, loading a URL and handling the response.

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social network authentication tutorial series googleplus

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/series/using-social-networks-as-a-login-system/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Becoming a PHP Professional Social aspects of teamwork
December 17, 2013 @ 14:16:31

Bruno Skvorc has posted his latest article in his "Becoming a PHP Professional" series to the SitePoint PHP blog today. This time he talks about the social aspects of teamwork, a look at three things to consider to make working on a team easier regardless of the size.

This article will focus on social aspects of teamwork and initiative, and will serve as an introduction into a more concrete and practical teamwork based article coming soon. t's important to note that when I say teamwork, I don't only mean teams while working for a larger entity - a corporation or company in which you're a minor sub-group. A team is also a group of freelancers working together on a project - either close by, or remotely. Whenever you work with someone in any capacity whatsoever - that's a team. A loose team, but a team nonetheless.

He makes three suggestions that can help you figure out how to interact with people both in your immediate team and those outside of it:

  • Knowing your role
  • Giving respect to superiors (to a degree)
  • Don't be afraid to leave
What I'd like you to take away from this part is - don't be a slave of circumstance. Be courteous, professional and honest, but don't be afraid to leave a poisonous environment - it harms you, the people who love and support you, and finally, the project you're working on.
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professional developer series part3 social aspects teamwork

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/becoming-php-professional-social-aspects-teamwork/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Social Network Style Posting with PHP, MongoDB and jQuery - part 2
November 19, 2013 @ 13:55:17

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted the second part of their series about the creation of a simple comment posting social site based on PHP, MongoDB and jQuery. In this second part they build on the structure from part one and add in posting and "liking".

In the previous part of the series, we explained the database architecture, post stream design and application flow required for developing our post mechanism wherein the user will be able to post a status, like/unlike other people's statuses and comment on them. This part of the series will drive you through the coding required to implement these functionalities. We will use the application flow and database structure as discussed in the last article. Don't forget to download the code from the github repo if you'd like to follow along.

First he shows you how to get new posts added to the database, POSTed to the backend PHP script. He also shows how to insert the contents back into the page and pull out the latest posts. Next up is the like/unlike-ing of the posts, handled by a simple submission to another backend script.

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tutorial mongodb social post jquery

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/social-network-style-posting-php-mongodb-jquery-part-2/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Social Network Style Posting with PHP, MongoDB and jQuery - part 1
November 15, 2013 @ 09:09:43

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial posted today kicking off a series about creating a "social network style posting" application that combines PHP, MongoDB and jQuery that feels similar to a nested commenting system you'd see on most social sites.

Post mechanisms similar to Facebook are nowadays very common within any application. The concept of Post-Like-Comment is familiar to everyone who ever used a social network. In this article, we will learn how to create a similar working model wherein the user will be able to post his status, like posts and comment on them. What's more interesting is that after learning things from this article, going forward you will be able to implement a lot of other features on your own.

In this first part of the series they start you off with the base code and introduce you to how the data is stored. They also walk you through how the "stream" part of the code works and the tracking of the current user. From there, there's a brief look at how to pull out the comments and display them to the page.

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social post tutorial mongodb jquery part1 series

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/social-network-style-posting-php-mongodb-jquery-part-1/

Stefan Koopmanschap:
How to Get the Most Out of a Conference
November 01, 2013 @ 12:49:51

Stefan Koopmanschap recently posted a great new article about how you can get the most out of conferences and what they have to offer besides just the sessions.

At the most excellent PHPNW conference, Kat convinced me to deliver the first unconference talk of the day. It took me a while to get the right topic. I ended up with a topic I felt everyone at the conference could use for the rest of the two days that they were there: How to get the most out of a conference. For those that were not there, I want to try and put my unconference talk into a blogpost, so that everyone can use this information for their next conference.

He's broken it down into a few different major topics including the obvious "learn from the best" as well as:

  • Learn and meet the best
  • Find your new colleagues (or new friends)
  • The backchannels
  • Hack away! (at hackathons)

He also makes a great recommendation about providing feedback - not only is it important to the conference to let them know they've done a good job, but also to the speakers to help improve their skills.

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conference advice learn colleagues friends social feedback hackathon involvement

Link: http://leftontheweb.com/blog/2013/10/25/How_to_get_the_most_out_of_a_conference/

PHPMaster.com:
Manage Complexity with the Facade Pattern
June 11, 2013 @ 11:54:25

On PHPMaster.com today a new tutorial has been posted about using the Facade design pattern to help reduce the complexity of your application. It can help interface between other pieces of code an make using them simpler (a "facade" on top of them).

Design patterns are built to standardize solutions for common problems faced in software development. [...] Facade is a design pattern used in almost every web application, but often without knowing. The term "design pattern" creates a mental image of something complex and difficult to understand. Even though this can be true sometimes, the Facade pattern is simple to implementation. Let's see what Facade is and what it does to help us write good code.

A simple example is given to help make the concept of a facade clearer - the process behind borrowing a book. As borrowing and returning a book could involve multiple library types, they use a facade to provide a common interface to all of them. With the concrete example in place, they then move on to the official definition of the pattern and two more "real world" examples: authentication against multiple social networks and working with WordPress meta functions.

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designpattern facade tutorial social network interface

Link: http://phpmaster.com/manage-complexity-with-the-facade-pattern

PHPBuilder.com:
Oauth Authentication for Social Apps in PHP
February 08, 2013 @ 10:27:18

On PHPBuilder.com today there's a tutorial introducing you to OAuth and how to use it in your PHP applications.

Oauth is an open standard for authorization that allows secure authorization from web, mobile and desktop applications. This standard allows a third-party application to gain access to a HTTP service, i.e. it enables users to share their resources from one website with another website without having to give out their credentials (usually username and password). [...] Oauth authorization is carried out in 3 steps: obtain a request token, authorize request token and exchange request token for an access token.

They introduce you to some of the basic concepts behind OAuth and how the process works (complete with a handy graphic). They then show how to use OAuth to connect to the Facebook API, both in Javascript then PHP. This is followed with two other examples referencing popular social sites Twitter and Foursquare, hitting their APIs with simple authentication requests.

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