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Laravel News:
Habits of Highly Productive Tech Teams
Jan 27, 2017 @ 10:18:22

On the Laravel News site there's an article posted from Sharon Steed covering some habits of highly productive tech teams including topics like trust, meetings and understanding roles.

There’s always a lot of talk about “culture” on tech teams. And that makes sense: managers generally hire people that will fit in well with the group they’ve assembled because they know there’s more to work than just doing the job. Being able to get along with your coworkers, being reliable, and looking the part are also important. A big part of building a solid company culture is about creating an environment which helps your employees be productive. Unfortunately, a lot of what we do in tech has the opposite effect.

She talks about the role of perks in an effective workforce and how, despite some seeming very nice on the outside, can cause burnout as it encourages longer work hours than normal. From there she moves into some suggestions about "meeting culture" and some of the major drawbacks to meetings (including how they can distract from "real, paying work"). There's a nice flow chart included in the post too that can help you determine if a meeting is really necessary or not. From there she goes on to talk about the other two topics mentioned above - employees knowing and understanding their roles and fostering trust between them through things like delegation and effective listening.

tagged: highly productive teams technology opinion trust meetings roles

Link: https://laravel-news.com/habits-of-highly-productive-tech-teams

Laravel News:
Can Frameworks lead to tribalism among developers
Nov 21, 2016 @ 10:21:50

On the Laravel News site there's a new article posted by Percy Mamedy posing the question: "Can Frameworks lead to tribalism among developers?"

In the modern world of web development, it is common practice to make use of frameworks for building large scale applications instead of starting from scratch. [...] In the PHP world, we have seen the emergence of hundreds of frameworks thanks to a large and dedicated community. Some developers even develop their own framework re-using components and parts of other frameworks thanks to an awesome tool called composer.

[...] As part of an experiment, I wanted to see how my fellow developers would react and to what extent they were willing to go to defend their own frameworks if I praised Laravel as being the best framework out there. [...] As expected, responses were flowing in; some even brutal. Everyone defended their framework of choice with extreme passion and dedication. This has lead me to the conclusion that there is an intense sense of identity and kinship that developers have around their framework of choice.

His results came in from a post he made wondering how fellow developers would react to the statement "Google Trends says it all...Laravel is king." He talks about these results and the obviously relation to tribalism in technology choices and how it binds like people in groups, a common human need.

We all as developers feel this intense love and passion for our tools, it’s part of who we are, and I think it’s what makes our Job so unique; we code because we enjoy to and because we love to.
tagged: framework tribalism developer opinion technology group choice

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2016/11/can-frameworks-lead-to-tribalism-among-developers/

PHP Roundtable:
029: The Only Girl In The Room
Aug 26, 2015 @ 08:36:35

The PHP Roundtable podcast, hosted by Sammy K Powers, has released their latest episode today with guests Beth Tucker Long, Eyrn O'Neil and Samantha Quiñones - Episode #29: The Only Girl in the Room

Inspired by a panel discussion at Midwest PHP 2015, we discuss what barriers exist for women in the PHP community and what we can all do to remove gender bias.

You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page video player or directly over on YouTube. If you enjoy the episode be sure to subscribe to their feed and follow them on Twitter to get information about future episodes as they're released. You can also catch previous episodes by going to the main page of the site and scrolling through the "Past Episodes" section.

tagged: phproundtable podcast video girl female technology barriers gender bias

Link: https://www.phproundtable.com/episode/being-a-woman-in-the-php-community

QaFoo Blog:
Developers Life is a Trade-Off
May 27, 2015 @ 10:57:57

In a new post from the QaFoo blog they talk about a developer's life as a trade-off, the amount of work to put into one technology or approach before deciding it's not worth the trouble and moving on.

At Qafoo, we train a lot of people on topics like object oriented software design, automated testing and more. [...] There is no silver bullet and one of the most important skills every developer needs to hone is to assess possibilities and to find the best trade-off for the current challenge.

He uses personal experience to illustrate the point, a struggle they had with choosing a storage system for their application's data. While one technology seemed to be an ideal fit (Cassandra) the trouble it caused made them fall back to something more reliable. He also talks about another instance where he had to make a decision around using a state machine...or not, because of the overhead and time consumed around it.

One of the most important tasks of a developer is to make trade-offs. They occur wherever you look in your every day life. It is a highly important step to realize and accept this. And it is important to hone that skill. You need to open your mind for new technology and techniques, learn and try them wherever you can. But then you need to step back, analyze the current situation and then find the best trade-off between all possible approaches.
tagged: developer life opinion technology tradeoff decision

Link: http://qafoo.com/blog/075_developers_life_trade_off.html

Community News:
Run Geek Radio Launched & Episode 1 (Podcast)
Apr 21, 2015 @ 10:48:36

Adam Culp, well-known PHP community member and organizer of both the Sunshine PHP conference and ZendCon, has started up a new podcast that's targeted at blending the two things he enjoys most - geeky "stuff" and running.

My plans behind the podcast is to bring together two things I love to do…programming, and running. It only makes sense that I would want to share in both areas, and a podcast is a great way to do that. With the resurgence of podcasts lately I felt a little bit of peer pressure to attempt my own, and so far I have received wonderful reviews from PHP developers who also run, or runners who are also programmers.

You can find out more about the show over on rungeekradio.com or just tune in to the first episode and see what you think. This first show deals with conferences, user group talks and performance audit tools. If you enjoy the show, be sure to subscribe to the feed to get more episodes as they're released.

tagged: rungeekradio ep1 podcast running technology conference usergroup performance audit tool

Link: https://rungeekradio.com/episode001/

Dutch Web Alliance:
Technology Choices
Oct 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.
tagged: technology choice symfony2 fullstack component small pieces

Link: https://dutchweballiance.nl/techblog/technology-choices/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Being a Full Stack Developer
Sep 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?

tagged: fullstack developer opinion technology knowledge

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

Sherif Ramadan:
A Software Engineer's Job
Aug 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.
tagged: software engineer job opinion technology social

Link: http://sheriframadan.com/2014/08/a-software-engineers-job/

Goodbye LAMP Stack?
Aug 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.

tagged: intlphpcon14 presentation video lamp stack technology

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

SitePoint Web Blog:
Code Manifesto: Words to Live By
Jul 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.

tagged: code manifesto values advice conduct technology

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