Glue code: Component module

Submitted by Larry on 13 July 2007 - 2:54am

Lullabot's Jeff Eaton has been talking about "Glue Code" lately; that's the extra little bit of code you write to make module A talk to module B to add that last little bit to that View you setup with that CCK-based node to make it just right. He's started spinning some of it off into modules, like Top Node, and asked for other people's favorite glue. Here's mine. :-)

Go PHP 5, Go!

Submitted by Larry on 5 July 2007 - 2:09am

Go PHP 5!

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have." --Margaret Mead

A while back, various people were lamenting the state of PHP 5 adoption, myself included. What to do about it? How to get hosts to let programmers leverage the added functionality that PHP 5 offers? How can we do that without cutting off 80% of our user base?

The solution a few people suggested was team work. If all PHP projects stopped supporting PHP 4 and made the jump to PHP 5 at the same time, none of them is penalized in the market for being "first" and web hosts will have a clear business case to upgrade their systems to PHP 5. We can then all start offering faster, cleaner, more powerful, more secure web software.

But how does one get all PHP projects together to agree on something like that? Actually, it's fairly simple. You ask them.

On code legacy

Submitted by Larry on 14 June 2007 - 2:16am

Dries has been commenting recently, both on his blog and elsewhere, about one of the chief advantages of using open source: All developers/users are on equal footing. If you try to learn a proprietary app or framework, you know what the main developer feels like deigning to let you know. Anything else is either a mystery or, in some cases, illegal for you to find out (if there's any encryption or copy-prevention involved). You can never be as good an expert as the author, because the author has access to the Holy Book (code) and you don't. With an open source project, everyone gets the same access to the code. The only thing stopping you from being the best expert on the planet is your own skills and time.

He's very right about why you should choose to use an open source project. But what about why you should start one, or release your own code open source? As a developer, that's a far more interesting question for me.

POTM for May: jQuery

Submitted by Larry on 30 May 2007 - 1:31am

There was a time when I hated Javascript. I'm sure many people hated Javascript at one point. Many still do. Back in the 90s, Javascript seemed to exist primarily to confuse web developers, to provide buggy stock code that designers could copy and paste to provide pointless effects that broke in every browser but the one they were using, and to make web pages cute and therefore unusable.

In the modern day, though, that has changed. Javascript is now cool, and actually fun to program in. There are two main reasons for that, in my experience: browsers that only mostly suck instead of completely suck, and jQuery.

Drupal and PHP 5 again

Submitted by Larry on 9 May 2007 - 12:45am

Nick Lewis has set off a bit of a firestorm with his latest blog, "Drupal is Part of the Problem". In short, his argument is the same chicken-and-egg that the PHP dev team keeps saying: Hosts won't move to PHP 5 until the applications are there, so the big applications need to lead. In a sense he's right; web hosts are by necessity cautious and conservative. At the same time, though, developers can't take the whole blame.

Version wars again

Submitted by Larry on 6 May 2007 - 2:39am

Over on the Planet PHP site, another author has brought up the monthly PHP 4/PHP 5 rant again with regards to why the major open source packages (he picks on Drupal and Wordpress in particular) are still developing for PHP 4. It's like clockwork how often the question comes up. The answer, as always, is dead-simple. I'd love to use PHP 5's features, but can't. Check out the latest PHP usage stats, published on the same planet site, to see why. (Hint: See the 3th chart.) Until that changes, developers can't drop PHP 4 support.

POTM for April: WinSCP

Submitted by Larry on 2 May 2007 - 2:15am

I'm really setting a bad example here, given that I started this thing. Bah.

In my day job, one of the most regular tasks I have, after writing code, is managing code on remote servers. In KDE, that's trivially simple; just open up s in a window and you have full access to the remote files with complete network transparency in any application. In Windows, though, I don't have that. So where do I turn? WinSCP.