Tag Archives: php

Microsoft slurs, geeks and bean bags

On Friday I was at PHP UK Conference 2009, thanks to my boss, and a charming discount from the Facebook Developer Garage. Here’s what I thought.

The biggest presence here was undoubtedly Microsoft, followed at a distance by Adobe. Zend had a very small stand and don’t appear to have been a sponsor. I found this a little odd from the outset, but I guess it’s the big corporations that have the cash, and can ensure they don’t miss a single conference. Microsoft bribed us with the usual toys: XBoxes, the magic table thing … you know the drill. I was of course there to hear about the future of PHP, particularly PHP 6, and why we’re still just a cool as Python and Ruby.

To save you skim-readers the full breakdown, here’s my conclusion up-front: All in all a good day, but I wanted more talk of PHP’s future and could have done with less of the Adobe stuff. Most of the speakers were great, even if the subject matter missed a bit in places. Also, I know we’re trying to save the planet and everything, but could Olympia please turn the heating on next time!

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« part 1 « part 2

 Part 3 – Hacking the library

Code libraries essentially provide abstraction. Abstraction is good. But anyone who regularly uses third party code in their work has at some point hit the knowledge wall; that point where the abstracted nature of the library leaves you helpless in resolving an apparent problem. You have limited choices – Wait for a patch, hit the forums, or hack it yourself. The latter is probably the worst thing to do, but deadlines are deadlines. Continue reading…

I’ve received quite a few emails recently asking me where the code is for jParser.

I’ve had to disappoint so far, because it’s not currently available for download. My web analytics also tells me that a lot of people are finding this blog by Googling “php javascript parser“. There’s clearly a need out there, so I’d better do something about it.

I know why I want a JavaScript parser, but what kind of things might you need it for? What API features/functions would you like to see? Please post a comment and let me know. Watch this space for a release, and in the mean time here’s some food for thought …

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Confessions of a control freak and an anecdote about AMF

If you haven’t read part 1, it’s there for the reading, and puts this post in context.

I figure the best place to start is where the title of this series comes from: I am a control freak; in life and so in code. This is not a very positive thing to say, but in terms of my personal skills development I feel it’s important. I don’t like things that just work; I have to know why.

There is a button on my washing machine that says “anti-crease“. This bugs the hell out of me: When would I not want this setting on? What’s the trade-off? If it creases my clothes less, then what is not doing? Is it cleaning them less?

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I’m suspicious of people who don’t enable commenting on their blog – that just makes it a book. But this gripe aside, I like what Joel Spolsky has to say about abstraction in modern programming. Well, it pushes one of my buttons; perhaps “like” has nothing to do with it.

Sadly the people I feel need to appreciate his point the most probably won’t get past the second paragraph. That point, or at least the one I took away from it, is best summarized by this quote:

“[…] as we have higher and higher level programming tools with better and better abstractions, becoming a proficient programmer is getting harder and harder.”

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[ Update 18 Nov 2009 ]

This article is rather old now – the jParser code has been released

Despite the glorious sunshine this week, my week off, I managed to put some time into my pet project of developing a full JavaScript parser written in 100% native PHP. Actually, I’ve been developing a generic parser suite for some time, and using it to build a full JavaScript parser was my ultimate goal to be satisfied that it all works and is powerful enough to be useful. I’ve written a bunch of blogs about developing a parser generator in PHP, (click “parsing” to do a tag search).

Before I start wittering on,
Click here to play with the online example of JParser

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I can’t quite believe how long I’ve lived without the Eclipse IDE. I’ve always been quite proud to walk into an agency with my copy of Homesite 5, it shows I’m old school – I don’t need no fancy code hinting, it’s all in the old noggin!

Anyhow, I downloaded Eclipse about a year ago and installed PHPElcipse. I was put off immediately by the shear size of the application, and decided that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So it sat silently amongst my Program Files for a good year or so until I was inspired last week by a colleague to give it another go. Continue reading…