Category Archives: Me

Three years of my Zend Framework Tutorial

Three years ago today, I published my first Getting Started with Zend Framework tutorial. This was the announcement. Back then, Zend Framework was at version 0.1.5 and a considerably smaller download than now :)

Three years later and I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for Zend Framework as you can tell since the latest version of the tutorial supports ZF 1.8 and 1.9 and uses the new features like Zend_Application and the command line Zend_Tool scripts. And I wrote a Zend Framework book!

I wonder what will happen in the next three years?!

DNS Transfer

Just a heads up, I am currently transferring the registrar for akrabat.com, so there may be an interruption of service here if I mess up :)

Women in open source communities

An incident occurred at a Rails conference recently where pictures of scantily clad women were used on slides. The attitude behind the use of the images disturbs me. To be clear, this is not a Rails issue as I aware of a similar issue in the PHP community and it is prevalent in the the entire IT industry.

Martin Fowler has summed up pretty much how I feel about it:

The nub is that whatever the presenter may think, people were offended – both in the talk and those who saw the slides later. It doesn’t matter whether or not you think the slides were pornographic. The question is does the presenter, and the wider community, care that women feel disturbed, uncomfortable, marginalized and a little scared.

I find it discouraging that we need to ask this question in this day and age, but I’m assured by women I know in the IT industry, that they deal with prejudice because of their sex day in day out in their working lives.

Martin goes on to say:

I have a different vision – one that sticks it to the suits so hard it will make their eyes water. How about a community where women are valued for their ability to program and not by the thickness of their skin? How about a community that edgily pushes new boundaries without reinforcing long running evils? Perhaps even a community where women reach equal numbers? Such a community would hand the suits the defeat in the long battle women have been fighting for centuries. I’d love to be part of that.

Hear hear! That’s what I want to be part of too.

I recommend that you read all of Martin Fowler’s article as it provides a good grounding in a lot of the issues involved, especially if you read the other articles he links to.

In honour of Ada Lovelace

As today is Ada Lovelace Day, I get to write about a women who has inspired me and isn’t my wife!

I first met Alison on the Electronic and Electrical Engineering course at University back in 1991. Of course, that dates me; Freddie Mercury was still alive and died towards the end of ’91. I remember her from our Uni days as conscientious and determined to do well, though I did not know her very well.

After Uni, I joined a small telecommunications company writing C++ programs for Windows. Alison joined the company a year later in 1996 We needed a hardware engineer and I knew Alison was looking to get into communications engineering as she was designing sonar systems.She taught me about how important it is to understand the details in a project are along with the importance of good customer relationships.

I remember one project quite clearly which was to integrate GPS with a Psion Series 3 PDA. She found this project very tough, especially the C programming side, but worked very hard at it, overcoming the difficulties in both the (lack of) project spec and understanding programming a new language. She concentrated on the details and delivered what was asked of her. The team rapport we built up is something that I’ve been trying to replicate ever since.

Unfortunately (for me) after a year or so, Alison moved on to bigger and brighter things. She’s gone from strength to strength and is now in a senior position within a major mobile phone company.

Catching-up

Since the New Year, I’ve been very busy and have had little time for coding. One reason is that I decided to take a photo every single day of this year. It’s proving fascinating, but is taking up more time per evening than I realised. Of course, as I get into the swing of things, the time taken choosing which image(s) to post and then processing them will go down :) If you are interested, I’m posting the pictures to my Flickr account.

At work, I’m transmogrifying into a full-on Project Manager and only bug fixing code here and there. We have a good PHP developer at work and I’m gradually getting comfortable with him doing the design of stuff that would have been my domain six months ago. Letting go is hard.

I should probably talk about what my experiences as a Project Manager in a small non-enterprise web shop. Maybe I’ll turn it into a talk for the Dutch PHP Conference who have recently opened their Call for Papers. Of course, from Cal’s blog article about it, I should also come up with an advanced PHP topic. That may not be too hard as I have an idea for a personal project that may have something interesting to discuss inside it.

Here’s today’s photo, which proves that I have a long way to go before I can call myself a still-life photographer.

Coins

I quite like it though!

Seven Things – Tagged by Matthew

Like Matthew Weier O’Phinney, I don’t really understand these tagged memes either, however, after he said such nice things about me, I thought I’d have a go.

Seven things you may not know about me:

  • My first programming job was programming PIC microcontrollers using Forth. Forth has been one of the more confusing languages that I’ve used.
  • The first search engine I used was Gopher on a SparcStation 1 in 1991…
  • My most expensive telephone bill was for just under £1500 (3 month billing) due to playing EverQuest in the days before ADSL.
  • I have high myopia and without my glasses, I can’t focus on the same word in a book with both eyes.
  • I cannot sing in key much to my wife’s chagrin.
  • The band played Blue Moon at my wedding in honour of my stag party. I had to explain the significance of the song to my aunt…
  • My favourite wine comes from Rueda, with Rioja a close second. I like Spanish wine!

I then get to pass on the baton to:

These are the rules apparently:

  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post – some random, some wierd.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.

2008 end-of-year wrap-up

Everyone appears to do end-of-year wrap-up posts about this time of year, so I thought I would do one too…

January

We started the year with a trip to the zoo. I attempted to get a photo of a waterfall with that blurry water you see the good photographers do.

Waterfall near the seals

February

The highlight of February was talking at the UK PHP Conference in London.

Lunch!

March

A quiet month with most weekends doing something with the family. We went for a walk by the river Severn one weekend. There are many swans.

Swans (and a seagull!)

April

April saw a very nice PHPWM meet-up at a pub that served pies as well as pints. It also snowed.

Snow covered slide

May

May is the month of birthdays in our household as both the boys and myself celebrate. It also marks the start of the camping season for us.

Camping at Kingsbury Water

June

After May, June was a quiet month. Prince Charles took a ride on the Severn Valley Railway though, which I enjoyed photographing.

King Edward on the Royal Train

July

July saw sports day for our eldest son and a week’s holiday camping in Norfolk towards the end of the month. I believe that that week in July was the only hot week we had all year.

The beach

August

We went away for our second week’s camping and visited Legoland. The kids loved it.

Lego Models

September

A busy month with our youngest starting school. Also, I went to ZendCon!

ZCE Party at ZendCon

October

We started the move to Birmingham for the company with two members of staff there. The Wispa also returned to the shops.

Wispa is back!

November

The highlight of November was speaking at the inaugural PHPNW conference.

Jeremy's about introduce the panel...

December

The last month of the year saw both kids in school plays and most importantly, my book about Zend Framework was published!

Zend Framework in Action

Here’s to 2009!

Busy

I’m kind of neglecting this blog at the moment. Sorry.

I was away last week and I’m head down into editing Zend Framework in Action. It’s amazing how many details the technical proof reader and our copy editor have found. The book is going to be so much better as a result. I need to go through each suggestion though and ensure that the meaning hasn’t changed and to implement the suggested technical changes.

When I get a little time, I’ll try and write up what I’ve learnt recently about testing with Zend_Test_PHPUnit_ControllerTestCase which has reduced the testing scaffolding that I had by around 50% or so.

UK Readers: Don’t buy petrol from BP or ESSO

This is very off-topic, so feel free to skip!

Received a round-robin today via email. As I don’t send on such things, I thought I’d mention it here as I’m getting fed up with the price of petrol, especially given the profit that the big oil companies have recently announced:

Received from a good friend so leave the rest to you!

See what you think and pass it on if you agree with it.

We are hitting £123.9 a litre in some areas now, soon we will be faced with paying £2.00 a ltr. Philip Hollsworth offered this good idea:

This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the ‘don’t buy petrol on a certain day’ campaign that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn’t continue to hurt ourselves by refusing to buy petrol. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work.

Please read it and join in!

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a litre is CHEAP, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the market place not sellers. With the price of petrol going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of petrol come down is if we hit someone in the pocket by not purchasing their Petrol! And we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. Here’s the idea:

For the rest of this year DON’T purchase ANY petrol from the two biggest oil companies (which now are one), ESSO and BP.

If they are not selling any petrol, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact we need to reach literally millions of Esso and BP petrol buyers. It’s really simple to do!!

…(snip boring bit)…

If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on.

PLEASE HOLD OUT UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE 69p a LITRE RANGE

It’s easy to make this happen. Just forward this email, and buy your petrol at Shell, Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Jet etc. i.e. boycott BP and Esso

I’ll write about something a bit more on topic soon!

Life outside of PHP

I thought that I’d answer Davey’s question: what do you do to get away from PHP?. I also enjoy seeing the non-PHP side of people on Twitter, though I’m tending to use Twitter as a micro-blogging tool more at the moment.

I enjoy spending my “non-PHP” time with my family. We are members of the National Trust as it gives us cheap access to land where the boys can run around freely. We also go camping for our holidays, though like to do it in a little bit of comfort.

I also enjoy photography, though still have a long way to go to being more than “proficient” at it. Looking through my Flickr stream, and it is also obvious that I like old trains – mainly as a photographic subject. There’s something about the pent up power in the old steam trains, that just isn’t there in the modern people transporters we have nowadays. I’ll photograph anything really as I haven’t really discovered what I’m good at!

Another thing I’m doing is writing a book, of course! I love reading fiction – anything really, from Bernard Cornwall to Peter Hamilton via Terry Pratchett. I also read “technical” books to keep my brain sharp and to keep on learning.

So what about you? Answers on a postcard and make sure you let Davey know too!