I spent the last three months working as a hired gun for a start-up in an incubator program called ignite100 and now I am back in the south-west for the holidays and I feel like I have learned so much in such a short space of time. Ignite100 is a three month program run in Newcastle that helps teams create relationships with helpful mentors who have experience in different fields. I am sad that the program is over but I thought I'd write up my experiences.
Anyone who has used PHP for a while knows that it has its ugly parts. Recently I've seen a whole swathe of PHP-bashing articles and that would be fine if they were making a valid point, but some of it has just been - as I tweeted recently - "absolute drivel". He didn't like that very much so I thought I'd follow his follow-up with an article of my own.
Two months ago I was doing some client work that ended up with me creating NinjAuth - a generic authentication layer between FuelPHP's auth package and social networks. I've been working on it a fair bit on and off since then and in the last week I've ported it to CodeIgniter for use with PyroCMS and it's looking brilliant! You can now use PyroCMS to drive your social site. Login and register with Facebook, Twitter, etc, attach multiple accounts to users, post blog articles to Facebook and much more on the way. Here's a video.
While I am on the ignite100 start-up incubator I have met some amazing people in some brilliant start-ups. One of these start-ups is Givey: a "social giving platform" which allows donations via SMS, Twitter, etc. They have organised an event happening in Newcastle tonight called "Stitch Your Friends Up" where a few people will be brought up on stage and be "Stitched Up" for money. Of course muggins here is involved and you can be too. I am sworn to secrecy on everybody else, but basically put for every £10 that is raised - at the event or via Twitter by users watching the live stream - I will have one strip of wax removed from my leg. Yep you heard it. You can cause me pain in real time and see the results!
I was giving a short talks at DevXS in Lincoln this weekend based on my Nomadic Web Development article and I was asked "Where did you find the courage to quit your job, leave your flat and just go?". I mumbled something about not being sure but I am really annoyed with myself for not coming up with a substantially better answer. If asked again I would say "Do the things that scare you. Try anything and you'll either succeed or fall on your ass and learn some valuable lessons, either way you come out stronger.". That might be some motivational bullhockey, but I believe it and you guys should give it a try.
This weekend I popped home to Bristol for Web Developers Conference 2011 and while I was mainly going to see a few friends I came away inspired to make some changes. Three of the talks at first seemed to be the common "This is how I went from being an inexperienced dev to being part of an awesome company" but the combination of different approaches and characters complimented each other perfectly and left me thinking for most of the day. By the time Paul Boag finished his talk I was ready for some big changes.
The CodeIgniter Community has been crying out for EllisLab and the development team to be more open and forward with information, developments, roadmaps, etc and EllisLab have taken this to heart. Yesterday they put up a "nightly build" of the new documentation which has been worked on in a GitHub branch for months and is not in develop and... the community said AAAAGGGGHHHHHHH! This post is an explanation of why the new documentation is amazing.
With CodeIgniter moving to GitHub we are starting to see a lot of CodeIgniter developers wanting to learn more about Git, specifically how they can use it to improve their workflows, manage their applications and move away from the horrible days of copying and pasting updated libraries off a wiki. UCK. Sparks are helping us on the whole, but there is another method that we can use to manage our packages: Git Submodules.
In the past I have never needed to implement oAuth into a PHP project. I have done it in Rails and boy it was easy thanks to OmniAuth. OmniAuth abstracts away so much of the grunt work that it takes about 5 minutes to add a new social network to your site, and 4 of those minutes are spent signing up for the API keys. What options do we have in the world of PHP? A bunch of screwy hacks or provider specific classes like TwitterOAuth. I don't want to hunt down 20 libraries with different methods, I want to get a key, bang it in and go to the pub. Well, now I can!
CICON2011 happened and it was awesome. We had 100 CodeIgniter nerds in the same place - which is the biggest collection of nerds since CICON2010 in the UK, but this event was so much better. We had a whole load of announcements that have changed the way the framework is contributed to and improved the whole community for the better. This is not me blowing smoke up my backside, but feedback I have had from attendees. So, what did you miss?