_archive for the ‘PHP’ category

Facebook at Work

07/23/08 :: by pwang

Like anything with the web these days, news to one person may not be news to another. So my discovery of the new Facebook site may really be old news to the blogosphere. With the f8 convention sold out and happening as this post is written, Fb is really doing some really exciting things, proving itself to be still at least seemingly hip, young, and innovative, in light of its tussles with Google and business negotiations with entrepreneurs and large companies like Microsoft. What impresses me most is how the team interacts with the users.

Like an American driving in another country, on the opposite side of the road with the wheel on the right, users of the new site will have horrible first impressions of the flipped layout. Good thing the negativity is short-lived. In terms of looks, the new look is even more spartan than the original. The wrapper for the site fits snug with the browser window, and its contents are given more room to breathe. There is no more box constricting the site’s content. Before seeing what is possible with this new system, the old one felt fine. The excessive scrolling to the bottom in search of something interesting felt routine and even a little visceral, like going through a real yearbook. The new tabbed profile, coupled with the efficient and more than ever desktop-app-ish controls have made things easier for newbies and initially confusing for veterans. It’s mostly the few main pages with any real redesign. A lot of the content is outputted in the same way, and the pattern of a paginated list for most results pages remains in heavy use. A number of pages don’t even have updated widths for their content column yet, but all have ads on the right column. Given that Facebook is all PHP, maybe these are signs that future battles will be on scalability and flexibility. As a note, a lot of Google is done in Python, which is said to be more scalable. I’m not too worried for Fb, since the company probably has some of the best PHP programmers around. F8 will only increase the line of recruits.

It’s not an easy thing, doing away with something that has a bit of a venerated history, mostly though wide use. It goes to show innovation requires freedom, especially from the constriction of past success. Kudos to Facebook for the vision and the guts. When it appeared, the now worshipped old layout added buttons on the left and made the content container awkwardly boxy. That was probably only a year ago (a time I can still recall, despite having a profile for four years), when a friend shared how he thought Fb was going down the drain because of the then new look. Like when they launched the News Feed a while back, there will be frustration from every corner with the big revamp. Now the same main and mini-feeds are given even more of the limelight. The same with everything that gets more use, like the mini-twitter. All Fb did was ask its user base to develop the app for themselves through their feedback and listen. I think it’ll happen again. And that’s where all the fun is, watching the whole thing grow from just a small camp on the wild frontier of the interwebs. And me? I’m going to use the ‘new’ Facebook, since if I go back I’ll lose my user history with the new features. Also, if anyone from Facebook reads this, why doesn’t your site support pretty urls? It would make your big trove of content more accessible to your relatively non-address-bar-savvy users.

9 Ways to Build a Social Network on the cheap

07/25/07 :: by moquito


9 Ways to Build Your Own Social Network

The news may overflow with stories about the social networking giants, such as Facebook and MySpace, but a horde of companies are doing their best to reduce the fundamental features of these websites to mere commodities. These up-and-coming companies provide so-called “white label” social networking platforms that enable their customers to build their own social networks (often from scratch) and to tailor those networks to a …

PHP4 - The Time is Nigh

07/23/07 :: by Patrick

Today it is exactly three years ago since PHP 5 has been released. In those three years it has seen many improvements over PHP 4. PHP 5 is fast, stable & production-ready and as PHP 6 is on the way, PHP 4 will be discontinued.

The official ‘end of life announcement’ straight from the horse’s virtual mouth.

New open source ecommerce

05/23/07 :: by moquito

Our friends over at Varien (our old development partner) just released this…


My guess is that it’s built on top of their highly customized osCommerce build. Let’s look and see if it’s a good option once they release it in the summer.


05/11/07 :: by Patrick

To pull the headline directly from the source, ’symfony is an open-source PHP web framework.’ I came across symfony via an article on sitepoint. I am not sure how it stacks up against our current golden boy, cakePHP, but it sounds like it has some interesting features.

With frameworks sprouting up left and right these days for PHP, I think it’s a good idea to keep an eye out and fool around with them whenever we get the chance.

I know Mr. Hodgson is counting down until the Zend framework (site design courtesy of Varien!) is officially released, which sounds like it’s going to be enterprise-level.

Can’t you just feel the electricity in the air?


05/07/07 :: by brocksteady


After posting about the magnetosphere visualizer for iTunes, I felt like Processing deserved it’s own mention.

For those who are unfamiliar, it’s an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It was created by Ben Fry and Casey Reas (whom Mike and I had the good fortune of meeting at a conference last year). He gave the most inspirational presentation I’ve ever seen from a developer. He literally elevates programming to an artform.

So anyway, I’ve been following it since the beta release a couple years ago, and feel strongly that it would be a great platform for our designers to collaborate with our programmers.

…just trying to keep the Directed Study dream alive.