Archive for the 'PHP' Category

SAP Inside Track London 2009

Darren Hague and I had a odd idea last year.

“Why not run an unconference for SAP developers and consultants in London.”

SAP Inside Track London 2009

SAP Inside Track London 2009

We had both been to SAP Community Days and thought we could pull something off. So we hustled together a venue and a wiki page to handle the signups and sessions.

It was a lot of fun. So much so that this year we are repeating the whole process.

This year we have managed to secure IBM Southbank as a venue. Thanks to a lot of help from Zoe Slattery

The date is April 4 and there is a small charge of £10 to cover the lunch. (Signup quickly in March for the early bird rate. In April it will rocket to £15!)

There are several SAP Mentors coming to the event from Europe so it is a great chance to hear from them and particularly the ESME team.

Ant Phillips from IBM will be presenting a session on connecting SAP up with Project Zero, the community version of Websphere sMash. The other sessions planned for the day are on the SDN Wiki.

One of the  sessions is a discussion on certification. This has been a hot topic in the SAP community lately. New Mentor Michael Koch is currently running a survey on how certification relates to contractors. You can complete this survey here and it would be great to see some good results from that survey at the unconference.

You can follow the fun in twitter at @SAPInsideTrack.

One of the great benefits of these days is the networking and conversations with people in trenches.  In credit crunched times such as today these can be even more valuable than official training sessions and (dare I say it) certification.

If you would like to come along to meet the mentors, participate in the sessions, run a session for yourself there is still time to signup.

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.  http://is.gd/eACI

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 PHPAdvent.org.

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

Agavi 1.0.0 Beta 1 released

As a follow on from the talk at PHPLondon last week David has now posted this announcement.

Hi everyone,

after more than three years of development, Agavi has finally reached the first 1.0 milestone: 1.0.0 beta 1 is out! Grab it now at http://agavi.org/

As you might already know, it’s fairly identical to the stable Agavi 0.11 series, which has been ready for production use for a long time now and enjoys widespread use across many sites already.

This new release introduces a new build system for projects, and features a new XML configuration subsystem that is even more flexible and ready for the future while maintaining full backwards compatibility. Several other minor enhancements are also listed below, but as usual, the RELEASE_NOTES and CHANGELOG files know it all.
Please also pay special attention to the UPGRADING document which explains the changes to the configuration file formats (old configs will continue to work, however).

There will likely be another beta release before we enter the release candidates cycle as a couple of refactorings remain to be done, just like the new unit testing subsystem for applications. Note that use in production environments is not recommended at this time.

Also, I’m very happy to announce that a preview version of our new tutorial manual is up at http://agavi.org/docs/tutorial/. It covers the first couple of what’s going to be quite a number of chapters that explain the creation and improvement of the new official Agavi example application, which will also be used by other manuals, presentations and in trainings. Please have a look at it and let us know what you think; any sort of feedback is greatly appreciated!

But let’s talk about three important new features in 1.0:

– XML config subsystem with improved, namespace-aware handlers, support for multiple XML Schema (also using XML Schema Instance declarations), RELAX NG and Schematron validation runs in various stages of config parsing, support for XSL provided through external instructions and by <?xml-stylesheet?> processing instructions and convenient support for namespace versioning, which means we’ll have nice backwards-compatible configuration files in the future. Envelope and actual content of files are now separate, as described in the UPGRADING document.
– A completely new build system for creating and managing your projects. It features several wizards, as well as raw targets that work without interactive input. This allows extension and customization of build operations in your custom build.xml files.
There’s also an event listener system you can hook into for even more flexibility.
– Execution containers now have a request method. This means you can embed, for example, a slot with a login form, with the request method forced to “read”, so that this Action would never run the login operation even if another form on the page was submitted through a POST request. This should reduce a lot of request method related pains people have experienced when building heavily componentized web sites.

The rest is mostly refactorings and minor enhancements as explained by RELEASE_NOTES, CHANGELOG and UPGRADING.

Please test this first release thoroughly with your projects and report any issues you find on the mailing lists or the bug tracker!

Thank you all for using Agavi, it’s an absolute pleasure to work with such a great user base!

I am not a user myself – I am focusing on Zend Framwork. This is just a PSA.

Avagi – no criminals here

ScaffoldingIf you have been following along you may remember an Agavi advocate Mike haggled Symfony proponent Ian P. Christian at the PHPLondon conference in February.

Last night at PHPLondon, David Zülke said the correct quote was “I don’t want to call anyone a criminal …” David was presenting an very thorough account of the Agavi framework. Agavi has been round a while and I am not going to try and repeat or even summarise the talk my take away was that Agavi’s strenght is multiple representations of the same data with zero coding change. Everything is setup in config and abstracted and if you won’t json or soap or html or even irc you can have it.

If you are really keen the talk will be online at the PHPLondon wiki at some point in the very near future. Hopefully the new toy – the microphone / amplifier / mp3 recorder will have worked and there will be an mp3 for your listening pleasure. 

Of course this sort of talk brings out the testosterone and the one upmanship. I was refreshed to hear a couple of people say in converstion later:

  1. I like to have the url map on the the file system
  2. I think we are getting a bit drunk on frameworks

Both are valid points. The beauty of PHP is you can use a framework if the application lends itself to it or not. There is no one true way. There is no silver bullet. Once you get past the wow factor of the 90% of your app being build in 5% of the time from the commandline the realisation comes that you still need to build out the rest of your scaffolding into a real application. Sometimes the overhead is not worth it and sometime it is. As Laura Thompson blogged recently (okay it was last year) there is no one true way.

I am frequently irritated with the mindset that there’s One True Way of solving any kind of software problem, be it web platform, database choice, operating system, or methodological approach.  It’s been irritating me since I was an academic and I would present two different algorithms (let’s call them A and B) to solve problem X.  There would always be a student who wanted to know “which is better?”  Typically I would respond “In a situation such as […] A is better, but if you are looking at something more like […] B is better.”  Most people would be happy with that but there are always people who insist that one must just be The Best Way.

So if you use a framework – great and if you don’t – that is just as great. I will assume that you have thought through the reasons of why or why not and made the right choice for your situation.

Photo credit: kevindooley – thanks.

Have a great 08 day

This moment was just ripe with opportunity and I didn’t want to miss it.

This post has been published at 08/08/08 08:08:08.

Enjoy the moment.

(Also enjoy the Olympics and enjoy the fact that PHP4 is no longer being supported – upgrade to 5!)

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.

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 bluhalo.com 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.

Meeting Jan Lehnardt

SAPHHIRE 013You just have to love twitter. Those who don’t get it or don’t perceive its value are missing out. When I arrived in Berlin for the SAPPHIRE conference on Sunday night Jan twittered to see if I wanted to catch up while I was in town. I jumped at the opportunity and we then traded tweets, emails and eventually phone calls to track each other down and go and have a beer. I was at the evening networking event meeting SAP Executives and catching up with old friends but a chance to have a chat with Jan was something I thought I could not pass up.

We found a quiet bar right next to the Hauptbahnhof and chatted about life the universe and well… nearly everything.

Jan had initially come up on my radar from a podcast he did at the end of last year on the Zend Devzone. That podcast surprised me a little because it had little to do with PHP and everything to do with CouchDB. CouchDB is a new non-relation database that stores documents rather than being the typical relation database that we have all grown to love.

CouchDB is not the solution to everything. For a lot of cases a relational system is still the best solution but for some cases and I will freely admit to know a whole lot less about CouchDB that I would like, CouchDB provides better scalability than a relational database can provide as it is built on erlang, the language built with scalability in mind.

It was great to have to opportunity to meet up with Jan and great to meet a face behind a great open source project like CouchDB.

Stop Press: Jan has just mailed me to let me know that he will be in London for an Erlang Exchange evening on Wednesday 25 of June. Go along to hear from a pretty amazing guy.


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