PHP Advent 2009

I'm very proud to be able to say "I'm a PHP Advent author" - I've been invited to take part in this year's event and my article One Step at a Time is now live!

My post this year is aimed as a reminder to us all that we can all aspire to better things, and lots of "better" eventually adds up to "pretty damn good"! If you read the post and have comments, add them here - and if you've chosen what one thing you'd like to change next, I'd be delighted to hear it. Whatever your next step, good luck :)

Email As a Means of Social Communication

Recently I've been spending a lot of time away from home, and busy with clients within office hours, which means I'm not available via my usual real-time communication mechanisms. This has given me the opportunity to enjoy email as a means of staying in touch with people that I would more usually chat with on IRC or some form of instant messaging.

When I write an email, I'm usually (mostly) doing that one thing, and the result is quite joined-up. Anyone who has had the experience of trying to carry on a conversation with me over messaging when I'm doing multiple things knows that I can easily lose the thread of an explanation and I often find I have to read back the logs of a conversation to be able to keep up.

When someone takes the time to write an email, the reader can't interrupt or divert the writer and so the writer is able to express their points at their own pace. Email is also easier to re-read and reformat, if you are the kind of writer that doesn't necessarily think of everything that needs to be said in quite the order it ought to be said.

When someone is emailing asking me to do something, I won't lose an email (you'd be surprised how often I lose things people ask me to do on IRC, its on a par with asking me in the pub). Admittedly, my inbox can be several months deep but when I have time to attend to your query, I will - and that goes for social correspondence as well.

Finally, and most importantly, it enables me to stay in touch with people whose committments don't fit around mine in terms of online availability due to work, life, or timezones.

I'm quite enjoying a slightly more formal exchange of the written word with those friends who are emailing me while I'm on these little jaunts - you know who you are and I don't enjoy being away from home so those little messages are welcome, thanks :) And for everyone else - next time you are lurking online looking out for someone, take the time to write an email instead - and let me know how it works for you.

Announcement: Editor-in-Chief of Ibuildings Techportal

A few weeks ago I got a call from my employers, Ibuildings, asking me how I felt about changing my role a bit and taking on some of the functions of our PCE (PHP Centre of Expertise). This area of the company does some super-cool stuff and so I said I'd be interested. Fast forward a bit and I'm on a call with Ivo Jansch (our CTO, who also oversees PCE) talking about what kind of things I could be involved in. I cannot describe the surprise I felt when he asked if I would take on the role of Editor-in-Chief at our developer portal site, techPortal ... and of course I jumped at the chance.

I'll be picking up a few other community-facing functions for Ibuildings but techPortal is the headline news, I'm super-excited to be entrusted with this project as our existing Editor-in-Chief, Cal Evans moves on from Ibuildings. Now the announcement has been made I guess its real ... wish me luck :)

PHP Code Sniffer Tutorial on Techportal

I'm pleased to announce that a my tutorial on using PHP Code Sniffer is now available on techportal. I had the opportunity to work with PHPCS in a recent project and thought it was a great tool, and looked more closely into how it works and can be configured. I learned so much along the way that I've put my findings together into a tutorial designed to enable others to pick up and start using this tool in their projects - I hope it helps someone :)

Memcache Follow-Up Article on Techportal

Today techportal published a new article of mine on their site - New Memcached Extension for PHP. Its a sequel to the article I wrote for them earlier in the year entitled Getting Started with Memcache. At the same time I wrote that first article, Andrei Zmievski released a new extension for PHP to make use of the functionality in the libmemcached library - so I wrote the new article to give some information about it.

techPortal - new PHP developer resource

There is a new resource for PHP developers available from today - techPortal from Ibuildings. First, I must add the disclaimer - Ibuildings are my employers, so I've known about this project for a while. I helped set up the site and the first tech article on there is mine. With those aside though, this site is going to be a really valuable resource - with content on advanced topics mostly written by my colleagues. Ibuildings employs some pretty accomplished people and has a steady stream of interesting projects, I get to chat over these things when I see the guys (and girls) in the bar; it'll be great to have it written down and shareable.

The "share" aspect of techPortal is really key - we have all learned a lot from other people publishing and sharing their knowledge, and this is a central point for all our developers to contribute in the same way. I'm also very excited on a personal level since I'm already published on the site! My article Getting Started with Memcached is my first contribution to this new venture and I'm looking forward to seeing what else will follow :)

(I should point out that the article is now a few weeks old and doesn't include anything about the new memcached extension recently released by Andrei Zmievski. Perhaps there could be a sequel ... )

Published in php|architect

I'm very excited to be able to say that I was published in php|architect, in December's issue. I had the /etc column, where I wrote a bit about phpwomen.org and what we're up to these days. As I've wanted to write for them for ages, I was very chuffed to be asked and it was fun doing it :)