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.
How to escape HTML for weblog entries from any computer with a single click of the mouse.
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.
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:
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.
There are lots of ways to build incoming links.
For a small window of time (about six months until April of this year) sponsoring WordPress themes was a great way to get varied links from lots of different independent websites.
Of course these links wouldn't be going on top PR sites generally (custom themes) and you don't have control of the theme of the site.
On the other hand, you do have control over the anchor text, which is already not bad.
And previously it was quite inexpensive - you would pay about $40 or $50/link on a two sponsored link theme and around $70 to $100 for a single sponsored link theme.
Things have changed - most theme developers are pushing three sponsored links and are trying to get $100 or more per link.
With the inflation and feeding frenzy, a lot more lousy developers have thrown their hats into the ring, so there is an oversaturation of themes.
The developers all talk a good game of how they promote the theme on sites such as:
- http://www.themesbase.com (PR4)
- http://forums.digitalpoint.com (PR7)
- http://www.wpskins.org (PR4)
Unfortunately on all or most of these high PR authority sites, your sponsored link will be nowhere to seen. Just a link to download the theme and some jpegs of the theme.
The developers will also try to shout and scream about 450 downloads, 1037 downloads for past themes. But for link building number of downloads accomplishes nothing for you.
What you are interested in is the number of sites which use the theme and include the sponsored links. For the purposes of sponsored links, a single is much better as the end user is less likely to rip out the links. By the same token it would also be better if the links were discreetly nested and not in electric green (where they are likely to attract the attention of the site owner and his visitors and finally get ripped out). An exception could be made if your site is likely to go viral and has a very wide appeal. In that case, clicks from sponsored links might actually contribute to your business. For my regional websites, we are not looking for random clicks. It will never generate any business for my clients and the more discreet the sponsored links the better.
Like everybody in search we are having to get more involved in Social Bookmarking than we used to be.
Like most people in search, normally we don't have a lot of time for social bookmarking. It's a pretty busy year.
On this weblog, we've implemented Denis de Bernardy Bookmark Me plugin which gives direct access to 25 services (del.icio.us, Digg, Furl, Reddit, Ask, BlinkList, blogmarks, Blogg-Buzz, Google, Ma.gnolia, muti, Netscape, ppnow, Rojo, Shadows, Simpy, Socializer, Spurl, StumbleUpon, Tailrank, Technorati, Windows Live, Wists, Yahoo!).
We've selected del.icio.us, Digg, Ma.gnolia, StumbleUpon and Technorati for now. I would really hate to see more than five icons at the bottom of my posts. Even that's a bit of a stretch. The PR drain would be terrible but Denis de Bernardy very sensibly allows us to automatically put no-follow tags on all bookmarking services with a single checkbox.
Announcing extended post on hacking WordPress template files. Step one – identifying the template files from the front end.
Philip Dow’s Journler
Philip Dow is the developer of the very well received Mac PIM (personal information manager) Journler about donationware. His application Journler had an open donation policy for personal use. Contribute whatever you like. A single commercial use license was/is $25.
Phil is going full-time as a developer now and is starting to feel the pain – lots of downloads and good press, but not a lot of revenue rolling in.
Out of 580 registered users, Phil had received an average donation of $17. That makes a total of about $9800. But in the end, Phil feels that some are abusing the donation system.
Lost an hour today to trying to debug Ecto posting to this weblog (if you’re not using Ecto, you should consider it).
I was constantly getting this error:
XML-RPC server accepts POST requests only
Finally I wrote up a nice little support ticket for Dreamhost with all the details. Surprisingly I got the fix back in relatively short order.
I was wondering what the problem with WordPress was. It turned out to be a PHP 5.2.2 bug. The file xmlrpc.php is broken under PHP 5.2.2. As WordPress is the weblog system in widest use in the entire world, it would be nice if the PHP team would get with the real world and debug their releases before rolling them out.
John and I have often quarreled over the appalling WordPress login visuals.
Every site has to go to the same ugly login page:
The login page gotten somewhat better since version 2.1 but it still just doesn't fit in with the rest of the site. Which site? Any site!
Just discovered a very nice shopping cart for WordPress. Fits in well with the upcoming FolioPress release. We will take WordPress from weblog software to CMS, bypassing bloat.
The WP e-Commerce shopping cart plugin for WordPress is an elegant easy to use fully featured shopping cart application suitable for selling your products, services, and or fees online.
WP e-Commerce is a Web 2.0 application designed with usability, aesthetics, and presentation in mind. Perfect for
- Bands & Record Labels
- Clothing Companies
- Crafters & Artists
- Books, DVDs & MP3 files
All is not rosy however with WP e-Commerce lite. The URLs for shopping cart pages are atrocious, something like:
That takes us back to the bad old Mambo days. At some point John and I should do a rewrite of the plugin to incorporate search engine and people friendly URLs so that the above would read:
There is a raging debate right now about the sponsored themes at themes.WordPress.org.
Given the garbage currently being submitted with up to five credits including anchor text like web directory (x 3), Make Money Online and bid for links (a real single example), this is no surprise.
Matt Mullenweg has come out hard against all theme sponsorship.
Guidelines (strict ones) are what we need here, not an absolute ban.
In 5 days I received about 25 applications. Of these 25 applicants, 20 of them had a better combination of skill set and experience than any resume that I have had float across my desk in the last year....My providers are highly skilled, great communicators, detail oriented, affordable, and they WANT TO WORK! When is the last time you went to the university down the street and picked up a developer with those credentials?
I've checked the resumés myself and Adam's right.
Actually oDesk is more than a place for outsourcing, but a whole system for hiring and managing coders. It's rather techcentric. It's not the sort of thing that a client would enjoy managing (one does need to know how to spec a project in technical terms and how to speak to a developer). It's something for someone like me with one foot in the commercial realm and the other on the technical side. But to be honest I would probably have John do most of the developer management (depending on the project).