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Dutch Web Alliance:
Continuous Learning
Nov 13, 2015 @ 10:45:57

On the Dutch Web Alliance site today Stefan Koopmanschap makes a recommendation about something that can help make you a better developer and grow in your knowledge: continuous learning.

Education. In a fast-changing environment such as the web industry, education is the single most important thing to survive. [...] We need to stay up-to-date on those subjects to ensure we keep doing the right things in the right ways. It is impossible to keep your knowledge on everything up-to-date and still have enough time to work, so we need to make choices on which topics to focus on and how to learn. In this article I’ll go into some strategies and some ways to keep the knowledge of you and your team current.

He covers lots of good topics, including a brief summary of each point as he goes (including deciding if you want to be a generalist or specialist). He goes through several places to gain this kind of knowledge including:

  • Knowledge sessions
  • Trainings
  • Code kata
  • Code reviews
  • Mentoring

...and these are just some of the places. He also points out the value of learning something on your own every day, trying out something outside of your usual solutions and remembering that "no two challenges are the same".

tagged: continuous learning resources generalist specialist knowledge

Link: https://dutchweballiance.nl/techblog/continuous-learning/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Being a Full Stack Developer
Sep 23, 2014 @ 10:53:55

In this new post to the SitePoint PHP blog George Fekete shares some thoughts about what it means to be a "full stack developer" and what kinds of technology and skills are involved.

The barrier of entering the web development industry as a web developer is still low, but it’s getting increasingly complex. The dynamic nature of the whole industry makes requirements shift often to the most popular and “next best thing” tools and programming languages. Gone are the days when only one programming language or a very specific process was required from a developer. Nowadays programmers must know a range of technologies across multiple platforms in order to do good work.

He starts with his own definition of what the term "full stack developer" means and how it's different from what it meant even just a few years ago (like back in 2000). He breaks up the skills and technology into a few different categories:

  • System administration
  • Web development tools
  • Back-end tech
  • Front-end tech
  • Design (including UX/UI)

Each item on the list includes a bit of context around the topic and a few items that could fit inside it. He ends the post wondering if it's better to be a full stack developer or not. Is being a generalist better than being a pro in a particular technology?

tagged: fullstack developer opinion technology knowledge

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/full-stack-developer/

Mathias Verraes:
DRY is about Knowledge
Aug 04, 2014 @ 10:51:50

In this new post to his site Mathias Verraes approaches the concept of the DRY principle (Don't Repeat Yourself) as being more about knowledge. He includes two "real world" examples where the business rules can change around you.

“Don’t Repeat Yourself” was never about code. It’s about knowledge. It’s about cohesion. If two pieces of code represent the exact same knowledge, they will always change together. Having to change them both is risky: you might forget one of them. On the other hand, if two identical pieces of code represent different knowledge, they will change independently. De-duplicating them introduces risk, because changing the knowledge for one object, might accidentally change it for the other object.

In his examples, he shows how hard-coded rules (like "a product container can only contain 3 products") could just be around certain needs, not the entire range of requests. He covers some of the principles of Domain-Driven Design and how they apply here, pointing out that changing rules in one part of the application can have an effect on other parts depending on it.

tagged: dry dontrepeatyourself principle knowledge domaindriven design business goal

Link: http://verraes.net/2014/08/dry-is-about-knowledge/

HTTP: The Protocol Every Web Developer Must Know - Part 2
Apr 29, 2013 @ 15:07:21

NetTus.com has followed up their previous article covering some of the basics of the HTTP protocol with this new post, part 2 of the series. They suggest that HTTP, the messaging format of the web, is the one protocol that every web developer should know.

In my previous article, we covered some of HTTP’s basics, such as the URL scheme, status codes and request/response headers. With that as our foundation, we will look at the finer aspects of HTTP, like connection handling, authentication and HTTP caching. These topics are fairly extensive, but we’ll cover the most important bits.

In this article, they talk about things like the HTTPS secure version of HTTP, server-side connection handling, identification/authorization and working with caching and cache control headers.

tagged: http developer knowledge https authentication connections caching

Link: http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/tools-and-tips/http-the-protocol-every-web-developer-must-know-part-2

Daniel Ribeiro:
Do you want to be a PHP Evangelist?
Apr 05, 2013 @ 11:08:23

Daniel Ribeiro has (re)published an article he originally wrote for the Web & PHP Magazine about becoming a PHP evangelist and helping to lead change in the community.

To evangelize is to effectively transfer information regarding one set of beliefs to another, with the final goal of converting each individual to the original belief. Isn’t that what we do when we spread the word of PHP?! The idea behind being a PHP Evangelist is for an individual to speak passionately about PHP and be able to have strong and durable arguments for PHP, if questioned about his “faith” in the technology.

He talks some about the skills and things you'd need to become an evangelist - an advanced knowledge of the language, thinking "out of the box" about problems and how you can stand out from the other people in the community as a leader. He also recommends being technically adept as well and contributing to projects, either through support or actual development.

PHP evangelists are born to lead, to form opinions, influence the opinions of others and to have followers – and haters as well. Even if you think you were not born to be a leader or just don’t want to be one, you will have to get used to public speaking if you wish to become a PHP evangelist.
tagged: evangelism community language leader contribution knowledge

Link: http://danielribeiro.org/do-you-want-to-be-a-php-evangelist/

Michael Kimsal:
Things a web developer might need to know
Oct 29, 2012 @ 09:39:46

Michael Kimsal has a new post to his site with some recommendations for web developers as to the things they should know to do their job well.

The original question from was a 16 year old who’s been doing some basic CRUD apps, but is getting bored and wanted to move on to ‘real’ development. There were some good replies, but few went in to the depth of detail that I think beginners are even aware of. Granted, this might scare off some, but for others it might give them some ideas about what’s possible and what’s involved in professional web development. I know I’m going to leave off some topics, so feel free to add on!

He touches on topics ranging from version control to performance and even a mention of mobile development. Each section includes a brief summary of the topic and some have specific topics to check out to help narrow things down to the important parts.

tagged: web developer suggested knowledge learn


Pádraic Brady:
PHP Security: Taking PHP Security Seriously By Taking It Seriously
Oct 02, 2012 @ 10:13:06

In his latest post, Pádraic Brady suggests that you take PHP security seriously and start really thinking about the security of your applications, not just talking about them.

Most programmers treat security as an afterthought and engage in zero self-directed education about security in general. The most common response is actually shock, followed by denial, followed by excited elation at the idea of fixing stuff, followed by the sobering realisation that someone somewhere is an evil fucker for making their lives harder by not telling them all this sooner. Some graduate further into taking security seriously, seriously. This is actually PHP’s current failing: Knowledge.

He talks about some of the mislead beliefs that many PHP developers share about the "One True Way" to secure their applications from common things like XSS and CSRF. He also shares his thoughts on how to solve this knowledge problem...and it's not by reading the same things we have been for years now. New knowledge needs to be shared, new questions need to be asked and new methods need to be shared for effective security precautions.

Knowledge is the essential ingredient to improving PHP Security. What you don’t know can bite you; what you do know can be hunted down and shot.
tagged: security application threat knowledge questions opinion


Pádraic Brady:
PHP Security, Authorative Knowledge and Combining Forces
Sep 04, 2012 @ 14:55:38

In this new post to his blog Pádraic Brady has proposed a "combining of forces" in the PHP community centered around promoting best practices in the security of PHP applications.

Once you start to dig around PHP Security in earnest, you begin to notice trends and patterns in how programmers behave and accumulate knowledge. The most obvious feature of PHP culture is that we do not have an active “leadership” in security. There is no appeal to authority in PHP security debates, only personal opinions informed by a nebulous entity called “They”. There are individuals that I have learned to trust and that’s about as far as we can go. [...] In the PHP community, the Authorative Knowedge for PHP Security is derived from a concensus. A concensus based on published articles, the practices of libraries and frameworks, printed books, and the vague meandering thoughts of whoever you follow on Twitter. In other words, our current Authorative Knowledge is you.

He notes that this "everyman security expert" hasn't proven to be the best method for increasing the overall security awareness of PHP developers, so he's proposing something different: the "PHP Security Technical Group (SECTG)".

It’s a group of members who share a common interest in sharing information, performing research, publishing articles/newsletters, and generally taking advantage of resource pooling without giving up their individual interests – all towards accomplishing some common goal, i.e. creating or emphasising new Authorative Knowledge. The phrase “Unofficial” is implicit in the group name – this is not an official PHP entity.

If you're interesting in joining in on the cause, you can sign up for the mailing list and get more information as it comes.

tagged: security knowledge leadership technical group sectg mailinglist


Matt Frost's Blog:
Prevent Overcomplication
Jul 06, 2012 @ 12:56:13

Matt Frost has a new post to his blog talking about reducing complexity and preventing overcomplication in your code and application structure.

We've all come across code that's written so craftily that it takes us some time to figure out what's actually going on in that block of code. We've never written things like that ourselves of course....seriously though, if you're collaborating, not doing things in the simplest terms will create an issue when other people start to look at your code. There is something about us; when we have an opportunity to show off how smart we are; we really try to go for it. The point is that it's not helping anyone and crafty code !== good code.

He makes a few recommendations about how to keep things simple in the various aspects of your development:

  • Know your tools
  • Know what you're doing
  • Check your smells
  • Ask "what value does this add?"
By simplifying things, you give others a chance to look at what you are doing and help you understand what you did right and what you can do to improve that section.
tagged: overcomplify opinion tools knowledge value smell


Community News:
"PHP Tip a Day" Blog
May 17, 2012 @ 11:07:58

Greg Bulmash has started up a new site that's dedicated to the "tip of the day" sharing of PHP facts he finds out in the course of his development, php-tip-a-day.com.

I started a daily PHP tip blog a couple of weeks ago, figuring the daily writing will keep me curious about programming. [...[ I've found that I learn things better when I have to absorb them well enough to explain them to someone else, so this site (and a couple others I'm starting up) are my attempt to just solidify my knowledge and push my skills. The goal of writing five brief tutorials about various functions, methods, or solutions each week is meant to force me to keep expanding my knowledge and to help me burn it into my brain. I hope others might find it useful.

So far he has posts about things like:

There's lots of good content here, especially if you're a beginning developer and want to discover these helpful hints along with him.

tagged: tipaday tidbit knowledge tutorial