Hi Ho Silver! Away!

Remember the Lone Ranger? Believe it or not, I actually watched it as a kid. I don’t know why he was called the Lone Ranger, he always seemed to have Tonto - his Indian sidekick with him. Often, I code alone (I thought about rewriting the "I Drink Alone" song to "I Code Alone" but I had only had 1 small cup of coffee when I wrote this) and I’ve been thinking of some "tricks" to help me with my lonely quest.

Live Clipboard, or not…

I set aside my Codesnipers time this week to continue last week’s exploration of the Live Clipboard technical introduction. Then I found this link on Bob’s blog, and that kind of threw me off track:-

Live Clipboard Specification v0.91

I know it wouldn’t be smart to press on regardless, pretending that there was no new information, so I need to do some reading. In a normal week, that wouldn’t hold me back; I’d read the new information, adapting the article if necessary, or I’d pick something else to write about. I decided that this week would be different, for a couple of reasons.

Versioning - The Next Big Thing

In the web development world, anyways. So, in the grand scheme of things, maybe not a huge deal to anyone else. Versioning is going to be one of the biggest problems and opportunities there is in web development, and it's going to take us at least five years to get it right.

Actually, let me admit up front that five years is a shot in the dark, and optimistic to boot. If people keep hanging out with bondage and discipline languages like Java and C# that are still catching up to language and framework developments from the 90's it'll take us more like ten years. (Attention Lisp Weenies: Yes, I know you solved every problem forty years ago for certain values of "solved" and "problem" while the rest of us were getting work done.) Not only is versioning a difficult technical problem, it will be difficult to educate programmers in what it is, how it works, and why you'll wish you used about a year after you decided it was too much work.

A look at Rails' Code Generation and Java

Bill Venners of Artima recently posted a look at how Rails' code generation compares with Java, and talks about Bruce Tate's recent DeveloperWorks article on the comparisons between Hibernate and ActiveRecord.

New Contributor - Peter Harkins

Let's all give a warm welcome to our newest contributor, the incredibly brilliant and good-looking Peter Harkins.

That's right, clap for me -- er, him, clap for him. I'm not writing this about myself. I mean he's not. Crap.

Hi, folks. I'm a new contributor to CodeSnipers. I'll be writing mostly about design and coding, though I may wander into MicroISV territory if any of my side projects should start doing particularly well.

To tell you a little about myself, I'm a 25-year old web developer in Chicago, IL, USA, Earth. I've been programming for about fourteen years, professionally for the last 5.5. My constant obsession is writing code that's just a little bit better, a little bit smarter, a little bit higher-level. Even though the steps I've taken and will be writing about are small, they're a great way to improve code and design every time you touch it.

Say Hello to My Little Friend

With my recent Ruby on Rails project, I've done more on the linux command line than with PHP development. For example, you run a ruby script to generate a code skeleton for scaffolding, controllers, models and views. Stuck with a windows environment for my development on the go (I commute 3 hours a day, in which time I'm hacking away on my laptop, which I am doing right now. In Vim.)

I reached into the crevices of my mind to remember how to create Batch files. Yes, that’s right, batch files. Yes, Good Old MS-DOS. I still have a DOS For Dummies book (aquired long after DOS was out, I just couldn't resist the nostalgia and I think it only cost 2 bucks). I created a batch file for ls, mv and cp. Not rocket science I know and although I had installed cygwin I was not particularly keen on using that all the time, I also had found some exe's that imitate many of the unix commands...but I didn't need all that jazz. I just wanted a ls, mv and cp command!

As my project progressed, I was doing more and more on the server side, tweaking here and there. Man, I said… I need to get VI for windows I knew it existed, I had it many years ago. Actually, I think it was only a dos version that I had. I searched and discovered GVIM. And it’s pretty darn nice!

House of Software Development

We've started a software developer's book club at work, and our first book is Code Complete, 2nd ed. by Steve McConnell - probably the highest recommended book on software development today.

Our division is just starting to organize itself from a staff-augmentation focus where we'd help out clients with relatively quick and easy programming solutions to a structured software development focus. It's more of an attitude shift than a job-type shift, really. We aren't going to start selling shrink-wrap, we're just going to start laying down some procedures and standards and a methodology of sorts.

Coincidentally to reading the first chapter which reviews the major aspects of software development and discusses different analogies (including that of building a house), my boss asked me last week to basically define my own role in the new hierarchy, which itself is still being defined daily.

Using Live Clipboard, part 1

Last week, I was talking about Live Clipboard, and how it was well worth investigating. Now I’m taking a closer look at the technical introduction, to see how it works, and find out how easy it is to add to a page.

Admin - Site Makeover

Under the cover of darkness, I've been working on a few Secret Projects*. You're looking at the latest and greatest of them. If you're on CodeSnipers, you've probably already noticed the makeover. Alright, it's less of a makeover and more of a razing and rebuilding from the ground up. Previously, we were using the base Drupal theme bluemarine and then I was poking around OSWD and was inspired by a few of the designs.

Yes, I notice there are a handful of oddities. If you have comments, notice functional oddities, or generally wish to ridicule or compliment the design, please feel free to drop me a note at webmaster at or comment here. Just to protect the innocent, only one of the other CodeSnipers saw this design before it was live...

* Most of the Secret Projects are prototypes and concepts of CaseySoftware projects, so keep an eye out.

New York PHP Conference and Expo

June 2006 Event to Feature Recognized Speakers and Exhibit Hall

NEW YORK – New York PHP, the leader in uniting business and community for open source, announces that it will host the New York PHP Conference & Expo, June 14 – 16, 2006. The conference, titled “The PHP Business Community,” will be held at The New Yorker Hotel in New York City. NYPHPCon 2006 will emphasize both business and technical sessions, giving the audience a chance to learn how to better implement PHP within their enterprise and current infrastructures.

“This conference is a chance for the business and technical sides of PHP to come together at a single event” says Hans Zaunere, President and Founder of New York PHP. “The New York PHP Community has already had a chance to hear many of the top speakers present on a regular basis – now this conference is a chance for the rest of the world to visit New York City and see them all under one roof.”