Why all this fascination with Ruby on Rails?
The success of 37signals...these guys have built some cool stuff in very small teams.
But in general I believe that a lot of the coding developers (as opposed to user interface developers such as myself) like trying new languages like some men like trying fresh girlfriends.
Each time a new language comes along they think this might be the one.
For those of us just trying to produce working applications efficiently for clients, switching languages is a waste of time and money.
i.e. we will switch but only if the incentives are enormous or our current technology has badly dated.
Many developers are choosing to remain in PHP. CakePHP is PHP's answer to the Rails framework on Ruby.
Dominican developer Kevin Lloyd has written a succinct list of the reasons to choose CakePHP over RoR:
- shared host support
All the convenience methods and syntactical sugar that makes Rails such a pleasure for coders ends up being absolutely punishing, performance-wise....there shouldn’t be doubt in anybody’s mind at this point that Ruby itself is slow. It’s great that people are hard at work on faster implementations of the language, but right now, it’s tough. If you’re looking to deploy a big web application and you’re language-agnostic, realize that the same operation in Ruby will take less time in Python. All of us working on Twitter are big Ruby fans, but I think it’s worth being frank that this isn’t one of those relativistic language issues. Ruby is slow.
I don’t do Web Development for my health or for fun. I design web applications for clients. A lot of my work involves redesign of already existing sites. How do I say to a client: Hey, although your current web host that you’ve prepaid a year for is sufficient for 90% or the stuff you can throw at it, I’m using this new technology and you need to shell out some more $$$ for a host that can handle it.
That's our situation as well. We love web development but it is a means to an end. User interface, front end, user convenience. Of course reliability and security are very important to us as well, but that is more a question of coding practice than coding language.
We've been having quite a few issues with speed and server load, something which we'd never had to worry about in the past. We've been building more and more web apps and fewer and fewer simple websites.
We are also facing mod security restrictions on our webhost. Cartika (no longer recommended) are strapped down pretty tightly, but that makes sense. They also let us know right away if a website of ours is facing security attacks or if it is being scraped every day.
Apparently not all PHP is created equal and it is time to batten down the hatches.
Once we get to functionality we will have to put a full-fledged optimisation phase in the development cycle: the Code Optimization Phase.
In that phase we will specifically target PHP speed and security (as functionality will already be completely in place).
I will start by asking all Foliovision developers to read the article 40 Tips for optimizing your php Code. The top twenty or so are below.
Firefox has a great search feature based on Command-F (Mac) or Control-F (Windows).
You get a cute little text box at the bottom of the screen which allows you to search the whole page.
Firefox Find - Command-F
Subsequently Command-G works just fine to take you down through the page.
Just ' (apostrophe) alone will bring up the Quick Find box. It looks almost the same but isn't. Quick Find only searches URLs (a nice extra almost undocumented feature).
How to escape HTML for weblog entries from any computer with a single click of the mouse.
Switch to Phrase and Exact Match and Bring Down Your Cost Per Click and Cost Per Sale
Yesterday, I got an email from my acquaintance Andrew Goodman over at PageZero (author of the excellent Winning Results with Google AdWords) discussing issues with broad match in Google PPC management.
In August one of my clients had a horrible surprise (well we both did) where PPC costs skyrocketed - almost tripling for one week, with only about a 25% improvement in leads.
I got on it right away and called Google. The Google AdWords representative told me that thanks to our great quality score we'd qualified for "expanded broad match". Although Google says that they are against get rich quick schemes and fake sweepstakes in AdWords, this move is straight out of that shady playbook.
Sure, we'd "qualified". Qualified to pay three times as much for just a fraction more business.
"So how do we turn it off?" I asked.
"You can't," she answered.
He talks about the same old tired question of ecommerce websites badly organised for SEO with:
- image navigation
- image text
- badly formatted URLs
- session-cookie dependent content
- no content
All true, but old news. Spender suggests Web 2.0 has just made it worse. Perhaps. But the real value in the entry are in the two following screen shots.
The first is a tabbed web interface of a good looking Web 2.0 ecommerce site.
What should you do if you’ve forgotten or lost your WordPress Admin password? Don’t despair. A step by step recovery program. You will get back into your weblog.
One of my pet peeves is websites which promote their product but won’t post their prices. Acquisio (PPC Management Software) is one. Here’s the scoop…
Wondering how to find out if the guy offering you SEO services is qualified to do the job? Start with these questions.
It's no secret that we are big ecto users at Foliovision. But we've found Ecto for Windows more trouble than its worth. We are not the only ones to think so.
Rather than continue to fight Ecto for Windows which is a bit overkill for what we need to do on our Windows computers we went looking for an alternative, preferably something more portable. The Firefox extension JustBlogIt seemed like just the trick.
Basic, but easy to use and open to multiple accounts - very important to cover our multiple weblogs.
JustBlogIt worked a treat with my legacy Typepad account (if you're asking I don't enjoy Typepad at all - tech support is terrible even on a premium account), but wouldn't work with our WordPress weblog, always returning a PHP fatal error.
I asked Jérémie to investigate and this is what he came up with:
In a mastermind group to which I belong someone asked whether it would be a good idea to use Paypal as a merchant service for e-commerce.
The gentleman wanted to sell touchscreen monitors at $1000 to $2000.
One thing I will say for Paypal, using their system for merchant payments is extremely easy. You just set up your buttons and your links and you can be taking donations in minutes.
For physical goods, Paypal is extremely buyer friendly, i.e. it would be difficult to prevent a customer from abusing a return policy. On the other hand for digital goods, Paypal is extremely seller (i.e. con artist) friendly. I recently made the mistake of purchasing some expensive marketing materials from a dubious seller. In the end, the product was never delivered.
With Paypal's system, there was no recourse. You fill in the complaint procedure (you have 45 days maximum) and then when you are done, they close the case.
Digital goods are not subject to Paypal guarantees.
But for physical goods, they are always on the side of the buyer (i.e. someone can order something and claim that it didn't arrive and all the burden of proof is on you). On expensive items like yours, I would be wary.
Which Help Desk to Use to Generate an Online Set of FAQ? This is another question I’ve answered lately privately. Kayako, Three Pillars Help Desk, Basecamp, Freshbooks – all candidates. My advice – pick any one system get to know it well and use it to the maximum.
Update 08 November 2010: We’ve actually finished our own
I’m on a professional WordPress mailing list and this interesting question came up:
I’m using WordPress 2.2 as a CMS to create a site for a client with a small business. My client wants a portfolio page (not necessrily a WP Page) with a list of thumbnails that will each link to its own “gallery” page which will include multiple photographs with some descriptions. My client is a non-programmer who will need to update and add to the portfolio page on her own.
I’ve been looking at WPG2 and wondering if this will accomplish my needs. I’ve seen you can put photos in posts, but can you link those post photos to a WP Page that contains more photos from that category in a gallery style (such as the embedded WPG2)? I will also need descriptions about those photos on that Page. I’ve looked at other sites that have WPG2 embedded within Pages, but their Pages don’t contain photo descriptions beyond the photo title.
Does WPG2 seem a good fit? Or is there another plugin that works better? Or will this not be possible?
Alas, Tracy, all of the galleries in WordPress stink. Both Gallery 1 and 2 are way too top heavy on their own. Mixing Gallery with WordPress would be a fatal PHP cocktail, capable of choking the most powerful server and confusing the most adroit programmer.
We needed to add four new workstations to our Foliovision office in Bratislava. In my experience working on quiet computers really increases the productivity, so originally we were considering laptops. After quite a bit of thinking and research we’ve made the decisions to base our computers on Intel’s Core 2 Duo chipsets, as they’re fast and cool (they run almost at half of the temperature of their AMD alternatives).
WHY DUAL CORE
I’ve found dual processors to be great for design and internet related tasks, as you can leave an upload running in the background while still working at full speed in a text editor or browser. If the Core 2 Duo is good enough for Apple, we decided it was the choice for us. Going with a budget chip would save you a $100 or $150 on the unit but at the cost of additional heat, noise and problems.
After doing up a budget for Intel Core 2 Duo laptops and desktops, we found laptops would have:
- smaller screens (1440×990 versus 1680×1050)
- smaller and slower hard drives (80 GB versus 200 GB)
- much higher price tag (25,000 SKK ~ $900 versus 17,000 SKK ~ $625, including Samsung 20” 205 monitors)
- would be much harder/more expensive to repair
We also thought long and hard about whether we needed or wanted to be moving our computers around. We already have three laptops in the company so we already have some portable units – if we need them. And we found that portability was a small concern. The guys didn’t feel like taking their work home for the weekend or to Switzerland for holiday. Why should they? Always having your work with you can be the bane of one’s life, costing peace of mind and whole relationships.
Using Organic Ranking Profits to Subside Paid Search Ads : SEO Book.com: I am not surprised to hear about Amazon…. A year ago, when someone sold on eBay and Amazon, they did about 70% eBay vs. Amazon in volume.
LinkAdage – PR6 Link on Great Non-Profit Website Auction 58744: This non-profit site has a bunch of very nice natural backlinks from other non-profit organizations. This is a very clean site and it is the first time they are selling links.
It turns out the situation is even more dire than one would think. Alexa Rank can be wildly wrong – by a factor of ten.
Short essay about what an idea is worth. The right idea could be worth $361 million per person – or nothing.