My good friend, Rob, hosts my site for me, in return for helping with server maintenance. After being on Gentoo for the past three years, though, we decided it was time to switch to something a little easier to maintain, so last night we wiped the system partitions and installed Ubuntu server.
I'll say this: the setup is much faster! However, we had a few gotchas that surprised us -- it didn't setup our RAID array out-of-the-box, which led to a good hour of frustration as we tried to verify that the install wouldn't wipe it, and then to verify that we could re-assemble it. (We succeeded.) Additionally, we second-guessed a few things we shouldn't have, which led to needing to back out and reconfigure. But what was over a 12 hour install with Gentoo we accomplished in a matter of a few hours with Ubuntu server -- so it was a huge success that way.
Unfortunately, our mysqldump of all databases... wasn't, a fact we discovered only after importing it into the new system. I ended up losing my blog database and PEAR channel database. Fortunately, the PEAR channel has not changed at all in the past year, so we had an old backup that worked, and I had a snapshot of my blog database from three weeks ago I was able to use. As a result, there are a few missing entries, but for the most part, all works. If you commented on one of those missing entries, my apologies.
Now that the install is done, I'm also finalizing some design changes to my blog -- it's time to leave the black and white for more colorful grounds. Look for a revamp in the coming weeks!
As a continuing part of my MVC series, I've posted a new article on Form Decorators up on the DevZone.
I'm hoping this will be the definitive guide to using form decorators. I cover the design decisions behind them, basics of operation, how to customize output by mixing and matching standard decorators, and how to create your own custom decorators. Among the examples are how to create a table-based layout for your forms (instead of the dynamic list layout used by default), and how to use a View Script as your form decorator in order to have full control over your form layout.
So, if you've been playing with Zend_Form and having trouble wrapping your head around decorators, give it a read!
With 1.0 and 1.5 of Zend Framework now released, there are a lot of questions flying around -- what will we do next, what components to expect, what are some of the best practices, etc. So, we're going to have an open Question and Answer Session webinar, with all of us on the internal team.
If you have a question you want answered, please be kind enough to submit your question in advance, so we have time to actually think about it (though you can always broadside us during the webinar).
Sign up in advance so you don't miss out!
I have another tutorial in my Zend Framework MVC series up on DevZone today, this time on View Helpers. If you're curious on how to create view helpers, override the standard view helpers, or how some of the standard view helpers such as partials and placeholders work, give it a read!
I'm doing a series of articles on various Zend Framework MVC topics for the Zend Developer Zone. Last week, I covered Action Helpers. This week, I cover Front Controller Plugins. If you've ever been mystified by or curious about this subject, head on over and give it a read!
I've been delving a little into Rails lately myself, and what I find is: use the right tool for the job. For green-field, self-hosted projects, Rails is not a bad choice, and offers a very easy way to get your application up and running quickly. But due to the fact that PHP was built for the web, there are any number of tasks that are simpler and faster to accomplish using it. Evaluate your needs carefully, and choose the tool that best addresses them.
It's nice to see leaders of projects like Rails having this same attitude. It's a breath of fresh air in the competitive market of web development frameworks.
Cal has released a new PHP Abstract podcast today on the Zend Developer Zone, an interview with Wil Sinclair, the project manager for Zend Framework, and Brad Cottel, Zend's product Evangelist. In it, they talk quite a bit about the work I've done on Zend Form, and also a lot about the proposal process.
If you're interested in the new 1.5 features, or how the proposal process works and who contributes to the community, give it a listen!
Dojo announced today the availability of 1.1.0.
I've been toying with Dojo off-and-on for almost a year now. It's the most framework-y of the various JS toolkits I've tried, and I particularly appreciate its modularity. (That said, it can lead to a lot of HTTP requests to your site if you don't create a targetted bundle with the modules you need.)
The 1.1.0 release has me pretty excited, as it finally is doing something
most other JS frameworks have been doing for some time: its XHR requests now
send the "X-Requested-With: XMLHttpRequest" header, which allows it to
conform to the
isXmlHttpRequest() method in Zend Framework's
request object. This makes it much easier to provide a standard mechanism in
your server-side code for detecting AJAX requests, allowing context
switching to be automated.
Update: this article is now available in French, courtesy of Frédéric Blanc.
I've fielded a number of questions from people wanting to know how to handle authentication and identity persistence in Zend Framework. The typical issue is that they're unsure how to combine:
It's not terribly difficult, but it does require knowing how the various pieces of the MVC fit together, and how to use Zend_Auth. Let's take a look.