Make a better web

  • Where Facebook has succeeded

    No, I’m not talking about the Nasdaq entrance, which is rather seen as a failure on the part of speculators, but the standard that Facebook has managed to put in place, let alone the “poke” which mysteriously disappeared from the circulation.

    Do you know OpenID? Not? Not surprising. Initiated in 2007, this service was to standardize the registration of sites. Exit registration forms where one enters the same thing, it was enough to create an OpenID account, and now you should be  able to connect automatically on other sites, without having to register and authenticate each time.

    Yes, but no because it is obviously necessary that the sites provide OpenID authentication, and this is where the problem would come in part: few sites have adopted this standard (I speak well of standard OpenID is an association non-profit), so few Internet users have heard of this service. Add to that an authorization somewhat wacky (you have to allow that site to use OpenID) and that is how a good idea does not work.

    Today, a universal authentication service has become THE standard, namely Facebook. On all recent sites, the registration form has to connect with your Facebook account.

    Here’s how to make internet-dependent famous social network … and it’s just the beginning.

  • B.A.-BA of developer : the config file

    May be you will find that this post is a little bit stupid, but I’ve been confronted several times with this kind of mistake, and I think it’s interesting to explain why it is a mistake.

    Usually in yours developments, you have to store informations which are different in each environment. For example, informations access to the database in a production environment will be need to be different from the development environment.
    This information is stored in the source code, and must be ABSOLUTELY grouped in a single file.

    Why? Imagine that each developers put in its own code his own parameters. This works fine on development environment, but not on the other environments. One must look at the parameters in the code and modify it to make it work on its environment. In short, we can spend time there.

    Worse, when deploying the website, you will probably not be the person who will deploy the website. The third person will be advised of the location of each parameter. Ok, the deployment takes place only one time, but what about evolution ? One might be lead to deliveran evolution, and during deployment, not possible to make the site offline for the setting of new files.

    The majority of tools (if not all) uses a configuration file where you find all these parameters. So just edit a single file for the site is functional in a new environment, like config.php.

    So please, use one single file to put all parameters of your project ! Thinks for the other guy who will use your code !

    Further, the best is to have a parameter file for production and a second file for development environement,and to have a script that loads the correct file depending on the environment. That way, no cold sweats in the crash of all files. This will be the subject of next post.

  • Book for PHP developers

    Today I will talk about a book that I highly recommend for PHP developers who want to improve the way they work. Some things should not (hopefully) be unknown to you, but asimple reminder does not hurt.
    For information, it is by reading this book that I got the idea to create a wiki for webmasters, as the book refers to tools that have evolved, and others have appeared. Hence the interest to have an up to date, in the form of a wiki.

    This book, published by Packt, is labeled Expert PHP5 Tools, written by Dirk Merkel. As thename suggests, Dirk describes the tools to be used in PHP development.

    I’m not going to copy / paste all chapters name, but generally, they are tools that all developers must use today. I still can not understand how some developers can work with notepad for object language, or without versioning tools like SVN or GIT.

    Here, no development board (actually, a bit, talking about  PHP_CodeSniffer), just toolslike eclipse and phpDocumentor, with their quality and their settings.

    This is a book that I recommend to everyone, it reads quickly. For project managers, this is the kind of gift to give your developers 😉

  • New website graphics

    New website, new grafics. From given elements, Shalama agency has conducted a major overhaul of the theme, with maintaining the colors of the compagny. HTML5 technology, although still in “draft” version by W3C, get the littre “+”. Some new pages will coming soon.

    I would also expose you to the future of this topic. There are many on the web technical blogs, sharing their discoveries. Some are excellent, some are “hollow” or worse, a vulgar copy / paste. No, here, our desire is to write an article a week, oriented technical / council to subsequently enhance the knowledge base around a wiki. Because to our surprise, there is no wikipedia for webmasters.

    Here is our point of view: a blog, the articles are written on a given day, on D +1, there is a new section (depending on the frequency of publication). Search engines allow us to access these items, except that the results are not necessarily the most appropriate: one can find an article older than one year and one year, it is huge in Internet technologies.
    A wiki (Reference) by cons, offers a single entry point, with articles updated by users / webmasters.

    In the future, instead of going through your favorite search engine to 4 colors, you go first on this wiki to find answers. If the answer is missing, you could, why not, add it later.

    Such is our will. No ownership of content, our motto seems clear enough: “Make a better web”. Let’s do it together!