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Dutch Web Alliance:
Technology Choices
October 13, 2014 @ 09:17:07

On the Dutch Web Alliance blog today Stefan Koopmanschap talks about making technology choices, how flexibility comes into play and suggestions on what to do when things go wrong. He uses some of his own experience (and problems) to illustrate his points.

The amount of times I come into an organization that says any of the above is impossible to keep track of on one hand. Or even two. Most development shops for some reason have decided that they have a single tool that will fit the job. Always. I have to admit the current market is good for developers. There are many projects available, and not enough developers or agencies to work on all of them. [...] But too many times have I encountered projects where the used tool actually was not optimal for the project. I would like to make a case against starting with a full stack from the start. Obviously, this approach does not work for all projects, but too many projects start out small but with a full stack. I'm going to take an old project of mine as an example of how to start out small and not grow until you need to.

He talks about the project first, a transcoding tool that used a third-party service and generate a playlist once the process was complete. He shares some of his thinking about the technology involved (Symfony2 without the full Symfony2 stack) and the decision to go with Cilex. He also talks about database choices (PDO over Doctrine) and how starting with small pieces like this makes it easier to change things in the future (or when a roadblock looms ahead). Then comes the "what went wrong" part of the development - debugging the system without the direct access needed to view the logs. Instead he worked around it, made a simple endpoint to show the logs and output it via Twig templates.

The result of all this work, including changes and extensions, was still a very small and lean application that combined the power of the commandline with a simple but effective web interface. I am sure I could have done a similar thing with Symfony2, but the code would've been overkill. [...] It is important to realize that there is not always a need for full stack frameworks or huge CMS'es like Drupal. Sometimes you need to start small and just let it grow.
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Link: https://dutchweballiance.nl/techblog/technology-choices/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Being a Full Stack Developer
September 23, 2014 @ 10:53:55

In this new post to the SitePoint PHP blog George Fekete shares some thoughts about what it means to be a "full stack developer" and what kinds of technology and skills are involved.

The barrier of entering the web development industry as a web developer is still low, but it's getting increasingly complex. The dynamic nature of the whole industry makes requirements shift often to the most popular and "next best thing" tools and programming languages. Gone are the days when only one programming language or a very specific process was required from a developer. Nowadays programmers must know a range of technologies across multiple platforms in order to do good work.

He starts with his own definition of what the term "full stack developer" means and how it's different from what it meant even just a few years ago (like back in 2000). He breaks up the skills and technology into a few different categories:

  • System administration
  • Web development tools
  • Back-end tech
  • Front-end tech
  • Design (including UX/UI)

Each item on the list includes a bit of context around the topic and a few items that could fit inside it. He ends the post wondering if it's better to be a full stack developer or not. Is being a generalist better than being a pro in a particular technology?

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/full-stack-developer/

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/

ThePHP.cc:
Goodbye LAMP Stack?
August 05, 2014 @ 10:52:11

The PHP.cc has a new post today sharing a video from their own Arne Blankerts that wonders if it's time to say goodbye to the LAMP stack.

The LAMP stack has been the tried and true backbone of the web for almost two decades. Lately though, more and more websites replace Apache HTTPD with nginx and move from just (My)SQL to No(t only)SQL. [...] In my "Goodbye LAMP Stack?" presentation at this year's International PHP Conference - Spring Edition, I gave a hands-on introduction to HHVM, the powerful new runtime for the PHP language, and showed how to get PHP applications to run on it.

The video is embedded in the page but it's a little difficult to read some of the slides so you can always head over to YouTube for a larger version. If you're just interested in the slides, you can find them here.

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Link: http://thephp.cc/viewpoints/blog/2014/08/goodbye-lamp-stack

SitePoint Web Blog:
Code Manifesto Words to Live By
July 28, 2014 @ 12:45:29

The SitePoint Web blog has posted an interesting article sharing something called The Code Manifesto. The "code" referenced here isn't so much related to the actual code developers write as it is the conduct they follow in their relationships with others (on a professional level).

The tech industry has a rather bad reputation. Stories of discrimination, disrespect, sexism and outright mistreatment aren't exactly hard to come by. [...] In an industry ostensibly aimed at helping everyone to reach their potential, it's clear that when it comes to issues of equality and respect, the tech world has a long way to go. Kayla Daniels is one person working to try to change this situation. A North Carolina PHP developer, Kayla is behind The Code Manifesto, a list of values she hopes can be a small step in the right direction.

Among the points made in the manifesto are things like:

  • Discrimination limits us.
  • We are our biggest assets. None of us were born masters of our trade.
  • Respect defines us. Treat others as you wish to be treated.
  • Reactions require grace.

The Manifesto was born out of the frustration felt by Kayla in her work in technology. The six points are designed to help with two main things: respect and equality and contributing to the community...all as equals.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/code-manifesto/

PHP Town Hall:
Episode 25 Girls Aren't Any Different
May 29, 2014 @ 11:29:04

The PHP Town Hall podcast, with hosts Ben Edmunds and Phil Sturgeon, has posted their latest episode - Episode #25: "Girls Aren't Any Different".

Talking about feminism in tech is always difficult. This episode was quite a heated discussion with Kayla Daniels and Jessica D'Amico discussing their opinions about women-orientated groups such as PHPWomen and Girls Who Code. Kayla wrote an excellent article titled Not a shiny unicorn, in which she made several points. [...] Essentially saying that specialist groups that try to help nurture female involvement can be seen - by some - to be a little patronising, like girls need special help, etc. Also whenever people freakout in the office because there is "a girl" there, things get weird.

While they admit that the session could have been more of a "representative conversation or interesting listening", plenty of points about the topic of feminism in technology-related work are still discussed with some good perspectives on either side. You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page player or by downloading the mp3 (no video for this one, unfortunately).

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phptownhall ep25 female code development technology kayladaniels jessicadamico

Link: http://phptownhall.com/blog/2014/05/28/episode-25-girls-arent-any-different/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Politics Often Hold the Community Back
April 28, 2014 @ 10:20:35

On the SitePoint PHP blog Matthew Setter has posted the latest in the "Can Great Apps Be Written in PHP?" interview series. This time he talks with two other developers - Gary Hockin and Bruno Skvorc, the blog's own editor.

Matthew asks Gary questions about his history with PHP and some of his own "highlights" when it comes to features of the language. They also talk about other languages, frameworks and is how preferred toolset.

In talking with Bruno, he asks similar questions but Bruno's answers deal more with the community around PHP than specific features. They also talk some about deployment testing and his own preferences on how his team works.

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sitepoint interview garyhockin brunoskvorc community technology

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/interview-gary-hocken-matthew-setter/

Beth Tucker Long:
How to Submit a Talk to a Conference
January 03, 2014 @ 09:03:25

If you've ever thought about submitting a topic to speak at a technology conference, but never quite knew how to take those first steps, check out this advice from Beth Tucker Long. It's a list of steps and reminders to follow when thinking about your topics and submitting.

I've been on both sides of the proverbial conference table. I have been the one submitting proposals, hoping against hope that they will pick mine, and I have been on the selection committee, struggling to choose between hundreds of awesome proposals when you only have a few talk slots available. Through these varied experiences, I've learned a few things about what works and what doesn't when submitting a conference proposal.

Her list includes things like:

  • First and foremost, remember to hit spell-check
  • Have someone else read your submission
  • Identify a clear problem that the topic of your talk will help solve
  • Be honest about your topic
  • Share past feedback in the comments or notes section
  • Submit a lot of proposals
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submit talk session technology conference suggestions

Link: http://www.alittleofboth.com/2014/01/how-to-submit-a-talk-to-a-conference

Justin Carmony:
Why You Should Attend a Tech Conference
October 15, 2013 @ 10:43:53

Justin Carmony has a new post today with some reasons you should attend tech conferences including both the social and technical aspects.

Ever since 2006 I had always wanted to go to a technology conference. I'd see titles of talks for ZendCon and think "Wow, that would be cool to learn about!" In 2009, I finally went to the Utah Open Source Conference (now called OpenWest), and I was blown away with all the stuff to learn. Then, in 2011, I shelled out my own money and flew to Chicago for PHP Tek, and it cost me around $3,000 after conference ticket, flights, hotel, & other expenses while at Chicago. It was absolutely awesome, and I walked away extremely grateful that I went.

He gives four main reasons to attend:

  • Learning From the Talks
  • Discovery of New Technologies
  • Rubbing Shoulders with Giants
  • Making Connections with Others

He points out that, with so many more regional conferences popping up, attending these events is even more accessible.

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attend technology conference opinion why reasons

Link: http://www.justincarmony.com/blog/2013/10/15/why-you-should-attend-a-tech-conference/

Engine Yard:
Improving Your Local Tech Group
October 04, 2013 @ 11:28:47

On the Engine Yard blog today PJ Hagerty has a new post sharing some of his suggestions to help improve your local tech-related group and promote growth.

There are hundreds of User Groups across North America and around the world. These groups are primarily socially based or hacker groups who gather regularly to work on group or individual "toy" projects. Most groups will remain small and insular. It's easy to stick with what is familiar and keep recycling the same format every month. Unfortunately, this leads to stagnation and apathy by group members. People will eventually stop showing up and the group will either suffer along or just cease to exist.

He suggests things that are easier when there's more than one person involved in making it a success - things like "diversify responsibilities" and having a "coordinator for outside the group activities", but they're helpful tips. He also points out a few other things to remember - that communication with the group is key, "thinking globally" to get your group involved outside the local scope and getting sponsors involved.

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suggestion improve technology group communication

Link: https://blog.engineyard.com/2013/improving-your-local-tech-group


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