Archive for the 'Development' Category

Software and the Law

If you check the sylabus on most it ComSci degrees, it is unlikely that you will find a course or even a hat tip towards anything legal. Even the course that I took which included subjects on Communication, Managment and a full year project had no content on anything legal.

This is why my friend Thomas Otter is investigating in his efforts to become a Pointy Headed Doctor err… a Pretty Harmless Driver … err Purple Headless Dragon. Actually none of those. He is completing his PhD. Not to be confused with PHP which, I grant you, at some level is very similar but on others completely different.

Anway enough of the rambling.

I will let Thomas actually describe what he is doing:

Legal systems have evolved over centuries to codify rights and obligations in societies. Throughout history law and technology have interacted, modifying each other along the way.  It is often an uneasy relationship…

I want to ask as many software people as possible about what they understand of the law that can impact software, and what their attitudes are towards a couple of legal concepts in a software context.

It is designed to gather information about the knowledge, education and attitude of software developers towards the law related to software, and how law is or isn’t built into software. My goal is not to just have a small survey of a couple of hundred developers, but to really survey lots of them.

To do this, I want to tap as many of my readers  as I can to spread the news of the survey, and for as many of you to take the survey as possible. The more answers I can get from around the world, the richer the results will be. I will also be following up with telephone interviews with a much smaller sample group.

In this survey I have used the term software developer rather broadly. I define this to be anyone working professionally to design, build or maintain software (information technology). So if you are a product manager, solution manager, implementation consultant, systems architect, business analyst, or a systems tester, for instance, then we would be just as interested in your responses. The survey isn’t just aimed at those who code, but those who make a living from its construction and maintenance. Much of this group would fall under that definition. The Germans have a rather nice term,informatiker, but it doesn’t really translate very well.

You can access the survey here or use this link in twitter to get the word out to your friends social network, tribe or whatever the new word for friends is this week.

In a world of SOX and Data Protection this is very timely research.

The goal is to get at least 1006 responses so that the data is statistically significant.  (You did stats 101 didn’t you?) I am reliably informed that it is progressing well but until you take 10 minutes of your precious time to add your response it will not be complete.

PHP Advent Calendar


Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar

Last year the guys at OmniTI, primarily Chris Shiflett kicked off a PHP Advent calendar and while I was looking for it last week I was disappointed to not find one. At least not where I found it last year.

This year all your favourite PHP authors are back  at a shiny new domain with design assistance from Jon and Jon.

So count down the shopping days to Christmas with a great set of articles from some of the best authors around at

Photo Credit: *Regina*  used with permission.

Zend Framework 1.7 is out

How would you like to pay for that Sir?

How would you like to pay for that Sir?

I note, via a number of sources, that Zend Framework 1.7 is out. As we are close to going live on our project that is using ZF for the first time we will not be putting 1.7 into production just yet. The most interesting thing to me is the updated Dojo as we are finding those Dojo forms to be kinda funky. I am looking forward to playing with Zend_Amf though.

What would interest me most in a 2.0 release (if anyone is listening) is a Zend_Payment component. I am thinking a component with a nice abstract adaptor similar to Zend_Db that could have implemenations for Paypal, Google Checkout, SecPay (or is that Paypoint?), WorldPay, eWay etc etc.

I think that a payment component is a critical part of a web toolkit. On my project we are starting to build this out as we need to, refactoring old classes into a Company_Payment class and if I get really excited I may even sign the CLA and get involved in ZF myself. It would be great to have leadership from Zend on this get an awesome base abstract class to build off.

It would be great to bring everything together under one set of classes like Zend_Payment rather than the Zend_Service_Payment, Zend_Service_Linkpoint, Zend_Service_Paypal that are currently (languishing) in the Community Wiki.

This would be a great addition for a 2.0 release.

Any thoughts on this are welcome.

BTW if you are new here you might like to subscribe to the RSS feed for Getting Technical.

Photo credit: Roby72

So who is this SE80 guy? [Caption competition]

so do you find the corner of a room and start coding?
so do you find the corner of a room and start coding?

Do you know who this guy is? I know that all developers are a little anti-social until they have had a little of the amber fluid to loosen up with but this picture is just a little silly.

Fo those who are foreign to matters enterprisey and in particular matters SAP, this is a grab from the spash screen in the ABAP developers workbench. Resplendent in corporate # and # there Mr SE80 man sits in the corner of the airport departure lounge, alone.
I think this could be an opportunity to present to ABAPers collaborative development. This picture of “lone man coding” should be taken out the back and quietly shot. Every SAP project I have been involved in required a TEAM and this image could very easily be replaced with a shot of two guys working together (to get the job done?) in XP style or a code review or really anything but “SOLO MAN”.
Before we swing the “get rid of solo man” campaign into full steam, lets have a caption competition to see what he is thinking or saying.
Answers in comments below or take this image and add your thought bubble and trackback to this post.
I will buy the winner a beer next time we are at the same space time coordinates. No correspondance will be entered into etc.
Looking forward to see what you come up with.

The Annual A List Apart Web Survey

If you are involved in the web then head over to A List Apart and fill out. their second annual survey of web professionals.

If you are interested in last years results then look here for a nice pdf. There is also raw data for further analysis for if you want to do a Flowing Data and produce some reconstructed graphs.

ESME – the Enterprise Social Media Experiment

The rise and rise of ESME is something I have watched with interest in just the past couple of weeks. At the SAP London Community Day, Darren Hague showed off Scala and Lift and push messaging. It looked pretty cool. A few weeks later he puts this page up on the SDN Wiki and then showed a couple of SAP Mentors the initial progress he had made with Scala.

Well in the last couple of weeks ESME has gone a little nuts. All sorts of guys have come to the party to produce the demo that is below and entered it into Demo Jam – the annual SAP contest to find innovation from within the ecosystem. I think they are the first in the history of the jam to publish their submission video before the competition.

At last weeks nanomonk there was several of the core team present. Giving demos and explaining the proposition.

My original concern was that what does this add that you can’t get from enterprise instant messaging?

The immediate response on twitter was:

With IM you have to know whom to ask and requires mutual adding to contactlists. #esme works like Twitter #

@njames #esme tag clouds, group concept, integration of different corp. back-ends, etc.  #

So it’s all about getting what you want without having to know where to get it from. It’s about breaking open information silos and sharing information with colleagues to create solutions quicker and get the job done.

I am very much looking forward to what these guys, who I am happy to count as friends, pull together. The thought that in about 5 years time I might be using a ESME like tool is exciting. I am saying 5 years as some of the large enterprisey type clients can be a little slow on the uptake. I would love it to be Q1 09!

For other information about ESME check out the following series of posts:

PHP London July 2008

As always the London PHP meetup last night went off.

I met a whole buncha new people. Some of whom were from and others were from iBuildings.

Ian Christian presented a great talk on doctrine (rhymes with whine not win apparently but I guess that depends on what school you went to or what country you were born in)

Doctrine is a ORM tool for mapping your classes into databases tables. His presentation went well even with offline google docs!

I later got into all sorts of conversations with the afore mentioned new iBuildings guys and aparently the are an international company now because they are in two countries. Well judging by the nationality of them they are a global company! Other people drifed into the conversation and I mentioned I was a SAP consultant by day and someone (not the iBuildings guys FTR) had decided that SAP was all proprietory and was not into open standards blah blah blah. I tried to press him for evidence for his assertions but none came and someone else conventiently came along to rescue him.

I could go on here about how you could connect with SAP dozens of ways including SOAP, REST, Java, .Net, PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby with connectors some official and some open source (how’s Zend Core for SAP coming along guys 😉 hint hint ) but if you have decided that SAP is not open then I guess your mind is in a similar state.

A small group of Symfony guys found a table and started doing the symfony thing and I managed to see Ian was getting prepared for the Agavi presentation next month. (Backstory here)

At the end of the evening I saw Marcus giving a one-on-one with someone so I came over to see what was happening and ended up getting a personal tour through simpletest and intro to TDD.

Thanks Marcus.