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The unspoken problem with frameworks

The more I work with Zend Framework and other frameworks (Rails, CakePHP, etc.), the more I come to a realization that there is a hidden cost to using a framework. That's the time it takes to learn the framework, and the amount of work needed to do something relatively simple.

Sure, there are good points about frameworks - code reuse, flexibility, etc. And most times these points outweigh the downsides. Especially on larger applications.

Zend Framework - Default Environment

When using Zend Framework, you can set different configurations for different environments. For instance, you may use a local database copy in a development environment, and a different centralized database in a production environment. Getting the environment defined properly can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. DASPRiD on the IRC channel #zftalk, has devised a method that seems to work well and posted it to the the inter-web for all to see:

Where did the time go?

Looking at my blog, I see I have been absent for a while. Which seems odd - it feels like the last post was done just a short while ago. I think I'm seeing the summer days fly by way too fast.

But here is a quick update on what I've been working on:

  • Business Coding - I continue to make my living writing code (awesome!!). In this area most of my time is spent on the occasional support request for a long established app, and working on the next major overhaul of that app (which leads into some of the other items on this list).

COSSFEST 2009 - I've finally recovered

One full week. That's how long it took me to recover from COSSFEST 2009. Mainly because of all the effort that went into setting up the event. The Friday night dinner/karaoke/drink-a-thon didn't help any either.

As one of the planners, I saw the inner workings of the event. I saw a number of things that just fell together right, and a few that didn't work at all. Luckily most of the latter type were not visible to the attendees, and have been identified as issues to address next year.

Event Planning

Planning a big event sure is lots of work. As some of you may know, I'm involved with planning COSSFEST 2009. This is a technology conference exploring the use of Open Source software in business environments, and the communities that stem from these projects. While I have plenty of experience setting up (and giving) presentations for CLUG, COSSFEST is radically different.

Internet Privacy, and steps to protect yourself

Making my living working with computers requires me to be aware of various security issues and how to handle them. Everything from viruses, to spam, and even to encryption. But sometimes I'm fortunate enough to observe the humanity behind the computers. And sometimes this humanity itself is a security issue. Humans are mostly social creatures. They want to interact with each other and share information. Humans can also be parasites trying to better themselves or their environment at the expense of others. This dual nature of us humans leads to some interesting situations. We trust.

Design Patterns

I recently did a presentation on Design Patterns. This was an intro level talk and was primarily focused on awareness and where to get more info.

When I was posting the file to my blog here, I found an older presentation file on design patterns that I created but never did give - I think. So rather than just replace it, I'll make it available here as well.

For those who may like to see that presentation, you can check it out here:

Use PHP to create & modify Active Directory/LDAP entries

Working with LDAP servers from within a PHP based application can be a very handy trick to have up your sleeve. But the path to acquiring the know-how for this can be filled with mis-steps and confusing issues. Having recently worked through this, and finding the online documentation unhelpful for a relative LDAP novice, I'd like to document what I have found and help rectify that situation.

Christmas Spirit Revamp

With Christmas coming up, It was time to tweak the look/feel of the site a little to get into the spirit of the season. So we now have a red theme with a splash of green. As an added bonus, this tweak *finally* got me to fix the logo placement issue I have been ignoring for months.

Here's wishing everyone a great holiday season!

Inkscape presentation

CLUG recently asked me if I could do a presentation on some topic. I said "of course!" and selected Inkscape as the subject. For those not in the know, Inkscape is a free, cross platform vector graphics tool that is great for creating images from scratch. It is useful for logos, web images (buttons, themes, etc.), as well as more mundane things such as signs, banners, and business cards. Or any image you can think of, you can probably do in Inkscape.

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