PHP 7 Explained: A review

Submitted by Larry on 31 December 2016 - 2:50pm

The team over at thePHP.cc recently published an ebook entitled PHP 7 Explained, "Everything you need to know about the next generation."

A few weeks back, I received an email from them stating "As a token of our appreciation for your involvement in the PHP community we would like to gift you a copy of our eBook." Yay, free stuff! Since I'd gotten it free, and it's of timely use to the PHP world, I decided to publish a formal review.

New Drupal, new Platform, new PHP, new year

Submitted by Larry on 31 December 2016 - 1:19pm

OK, well, it took a while, but I've finally gotten my blog off of Drupal 6. :-) Welcome to the new and improved Garfieldtech.com! My blog is unsurprisingly rather bland, as it's, well, a blog. That made updating to Drupal 8.2 using the Drupal migrate module reasonably easy. It wasn't hiccup free, and a few not-yet-updated modules got lost along the way, but it wasn't an epic struggle, either. There were only two major hiccups:

HTML Application or Network Application?

Submitted by Larry on 19 May 2016 - 2:45am

There has been much discussion in the last few years of "web apps". Most of the discussion centers around whether "web apps" that do not degrade gracefully, use progressive enhancement, have bookmarkable pages, use semantic tags, and so forth are "Doing It Wrong(tm)", or if JavaScript is sufficiently prevalent that a JavaScript-dependent site/app is reasonable.

What I fear is all too often missing from these discussions is that there isn't one type of "web app". Just because two "things" use HTTP doesn't mean they're conceptually even remotely the same thing.

Moving to a new Platform

Submitted by Larry on 2 May 2016 - 10:02am

After my last post, a number of people asked if I was leaving Drupal all together. Perish the thought. :-) However, after a decade at Palantir.net and the five-year Wagnerian Saga that was the Drupal 8 development cycle (complete with singing), I have been asking myself "What next?"

Well, what do I like to do? I like to build. I like to teach. I like to make things better. I like to work with smart people, as colleagues, as community partners, and as customers. I want to be able to have an impact in making something better for other people.

To that end, I am pleased to announce that today is my first day as Director of Runtimes, Integrations, Engines, and Services for Platform.sh.

The end of an era

Submitted by Larry on 22 April 2016 - 2:06pm

Today is the end of an era. After just over ten and a half years, this is my last day with Palantir.net.

The past decade has seen Palantir grow from a company of 5 to a company of over 30. From a company that wouldn't touch the GPL with a ten foot pole to a strong advocate for Open Source, Free Software, and Drupal in particular. From a company that did mostly subcontracting work for design firms to an end-to-end soup-to-nuts agency. From having two desktop screen sizes anyone cared about to an infinite scale of screens from 3"-30". From a world where IE 5 for Mac was considered a good browser to one where once again, the latest Microsoft browser is actually good. (Everything old is new again, I suppose.)

After ten years with the same company (which in Internet years is about a millennium) I certainly have stories. There's plenty I could say about Palantir, most of it good. :-) In the end, though, there's one thing in particular that has kept me here for so long.

Palantir.net is the kind of place that has your back.

On contempt

Submitted by Larry on 25 March 2016 - 10:06pm

A few weeks ago, I went on an uncharacteristic Twitter rant. At the suggestion of a follower or two I've turned it into a blog post for posterity. The following is a direct repeat of that Twitter stream, very lightly edited and paragraphed.

Composer vs. Linux Distributions: A Mental Model Battle

Submitted by Larry on 24 February 2016 - 12:10pm

Recently, Gentoo documented what they view as the Composer Problem: Basically, PHP projects using Composer can't be packaged the way they want to package it, with system-level shared libraries. This is not a new complaint; Other distributions have complained about Composer's impact before. But fundamentally I think the issue stems from having the wrong mental model of how modern PHP works when viewed from a distribution or sysadmin perspective.

Giving Back in 2016

Submitted by Larry on 23 January 2016 - 6:18pm

Three years ago, I ended 2012 with a call to the Drupal community to Get Off the Island. Mainly I wanted to encourage Drupal developers to prepare themselves for the major changes coming in Drupal 8 by connecting with other PHP projects and with the broader community, and called on people to attend non-Drupal conferences in order to visit and learn from other communities.

Anyone can code

Submitted by Larry on 24 December 2015 - 5:22pm

One of Pixar's best movies is the 2007 "Ratatouille", the story of a rat named Remy who teams up with an unskilled nobody human to become a gourmet chef. Toward the climax of the film (spoiler alert!), the uber-critic Anton Ego visits their restaurant and is blown away by the quality of the food, producing the next day a genuinely humble and reflective review. While the whole review is one of the highlights of the film, there's one segment in particular I want to call out:

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist can come from anywhere. [emphasis added]

It's one of the central themes of the film, and Pixar I believe captures that line beautifully. It's true, not everyone is a good cook. Not everyone can be a good cook. However, good cooks come from a myriad of sources and backgrounds (and apparently species).

And the same concept applies to almost any skilled field, including that of programming.

Drupal 8: Happy, but not satisfied

Submitted by Larry on 3 December 2015 - 2:55am

Two weeks ago (hey, I've been busy and trying to sleep for once), after 1716 days of work by more than 3312 people the Drupal community finally released Drupal 8, the latest release of the best community-driven web software in the world. The blogosphere is already filled with congratulatory blog posts celebrating the immense accomplishment, and deservedly so.

A number of people recently have asked me how I feel about Drupal 8's release, especially around the PHP community. Overall, my answer has to be that I'm happy, but not satisfied.