Tag Archive | "PHP"

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How to measure code quality

Posted on 28 April 2009 by Demian Turner

This comic perfectly captures that elusive but all-important question: what are the universal hallmarks of good quality code.

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Taming Netbeans

Posted on 25 February 2009 by Demian Turner

I’m really glad to see so many posts by PHP devs switching over to Netbeans – I don’t think there’s any real competition when it comes to a PHP IDE with a decent feature set that’s not painful to use.  Obviously this last requirement rules out anything based on Eclipse.

But there are a few niggling hitches remaining in Netbeans that need to be addressed.  Others have written about this already but I’ll paraphrase:

  1. fix the double-click drag select bug
  2. get a more native-looking Mac look and feel
  3. get some themes at least as good as Textmate, eg the default ‘blackboard’ theme

The first problem is in fact very painful and I haven’t been able to find any remedies for it.  Netbeans being a Java app, the GUI is implemented in Swing, which by default doesn’t seem to support the ability to double-click a string of text, then with the mouse button still depressed, drag to select additional words of text.

In any browser, for example, this works as expected: you can click the mouse in the middle of a word, double click to get the whole word, then drag left or right to get the string of words you need.  Not having this feature can be extremely painful because the alternative means you must place, with pixel precision, the cursor at exactly the beginning and end of a word, then click, then drag.

The former system lets you work a lot faster, and in a text selecting business like programming can really cut down on the agro in a day’s work.

If this problem drives anyone else crazy, or someone knows a workaround I’d love to hear about it.

For the second point the Netbeans 6.7 M2 release, out today, seems to address some of the issues.  But it has to be said the IDE is still on the ugly side of things, however slightly less bubbly now which I think is an improvement.

For the third point I dug up a theme this afternoon which is a definite improvement over the sparse selection of themes offered with the Netbeans download.  Check out Ruby Dark Pastels – Mac users beware that the .nbm file gets .jar appended to it when you download the component which makes it unusable.  Simply remove the .jar in the Finder.

The theme is not perfect however, method names are black on a dark blue background, and many code elements (constants, static methods, etc) are white and get match-highlighted in yellow making them unreadable.  Many of these elements are not configurable in the Fonts & Colours preference option.

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Is vendor sponsored software certification the way to go?

Posted on 19 February 2009 by Demian Turner

In his article Three elements of certification success, Darren Hague, a friend and former colleague, argues that when software vendors are driving the certification process, there is a conflict of interest worth examining.

For example, in the case of Zend PHP certification which has been around for several years now, who ultimately benefits more from the programme – the software devs or Zend?

Currently Zend certification is one of the only options available to PHP devs who want to get accredited, however.  But judging by general feedback from the community  it would appear that, despite the current certification choices, quality discrepancies between PHP devs on the market can still be pretty … impressive.

Getting quality programmers is no problem as long as you have a bulletproof hiring process I hear you say – that’s another subject 😉

Darrens’ final comment gives a nice insight into why PHP certification might not be more widespread:

The third major element of certification is market demand. Of course, if you are a doctor or a lawyer, then you cannot legally practice unless you are certified, which certainly helps with the demand side of things. Unless professional IT certification is legislated (an unlikely prospect for the forseeable future), then certification will only succeed if customers demand it.

Maybe industry demand for certification is not higher due to the lack of independent certifying bodies?

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Seagull 0.6.6 Released

Posted on 27 January 2009 by Demian Turner

A new version of the Seagull framework has been released, download it here.

This is mostly a bugfix release but with some important improvements:

  • Improved preferences management
  • Better handling when DB connection is down
  • Updated FCKeditor to 2.6.3
  • Added German utf-8 support
  • Updated Horde_Routes lib
  • Consolidated translation features (SGL_Translation, SGL_Translation2) into new SGL_Translation3 PHP5 only package
  • Added media2 module which makes ajax uploads easier and provides media features to the CMS module

The Seagull framework release coincides with a new release of the CMS module, and an announcement of Doris, our new productivity app.  You can read the announcement here if you’re not on the mailing list.

This will be the last release of the CMS module as a mainly developer-focused download.  Version 2.0 of CMS will get its own website, improved developer and enduser documentation, and a Pay as You Go format for those who need the convenience of a hosted service.  Read more about the improvements and try the preview here.

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Error Message Control

Posted on 06 January 2009 by Demian Turner

Technorati error messages

I’m always amazed to discover quite high profile sites letting goofy errors out in the open.

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Unit tests, new packages, good practice

Posted on 06 January 2009 by Demian Turner

In case anyone missed it quite a nice PEPr proposal came in the other day, suggesting guidelines for software best practices and writing testable code.

Check out the original article too, it’s slightly better formatted.

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The Secret to Making Money Online

Posted on 29 November 2008 by Demian Turner

via David Heinemeier Hansson at Startup School 08. David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of the Ruby on Rails framework and Partner at 37Signals gives insight into creating a profitable startup company.

Check out the whole Startup School ’08 Series.

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Happy Billion Impression Month WP

Posted on 31 October 2008 by Demian Turner

Congrats to Matt Mullenweg, who I met unexpectedly last year, on this fantastic achievement.  Via facebook:

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Visualise your log files

Posted on 31 October 2008 by Demian Turner

Dealing with logfiles all day for so long, it’s great to see a new way of visualizing web requests!

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Stackoverflow – good code Q&A resource

Posted on 20 October 2008 by Demian Turner

It seems http://stackoverflow.com/ is finally out of private beta, check it out.  It’s the programmer’s Q&A resource that’s had the massive pre-hyping from Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood over at IT conversations.

First impression: it seems really great, better than the hyping in fact.  Also quite active – while I was trying to answer a question 4 more response came in, inline.  Some great community karma-enabling ideas.  Only problem is it’s really heavily .NET weighted at the moment, so head on over and give it some of your PHP/linux/open source expertise 🙂

UPDATE: There are some real classics like this: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/164432/what-real-life-bad-habits-has-programming-given-you

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