Why Re-invent the Wheel

As a web/software developer I often have to step back and ask myself if developing a site from scratch is the correct solution.

There are so many third party and open source high profile projects that could often fit 90% of a projects requirements. The other 10% can be solved by making tweaks, adding or developing a plug-in.

I have one new client who requires a web site to promote their London Touring Cab business.  They want to publish content about tours, packages, special London events contact information. I have also recommended some community features to allow customers to interact, make suggestions, ask for advice and more.

joomla With the work proposal I was able to identify that Joomla fit their requirements and also allowed them to publish  additional content and make changes. There are a number of plug-ins that can be added for additional features, plus I can create bespoke plug-ins for the client as required.

There are also many web graphics designers out there producing very cool Joomla templates, so we can get the site look and feel designed just right.

I know this could all be created in Rails but it will take more effort, time and resources than using Open Source. Also creating plug-ins for the client I can give back to the Joomla community by publishing them for anyone to use.

Finally have space to work

Photo-0022I finally found some space at home to place a desk and have a dedicated work area for my ever increasing web development and soon to be podcast. Lots of space for a nice shiny new iMac but I guess that will have to wait.

A New Direction

At the weekend I spent time thinking about the direction of this blog and where I wanted it to go in the future.

Currently there is no direction except for being a general tech and media information site with everything feeling bitty. So I looked at the areas I would be excited about to publish and provide a service to the pro/enthusiast/hobby developer.

The decision is that I will be focusing on web applications, but from a different perspective.

I will be researching web app’s that provide API features and will be demonstrating these in this blog in text and video form.

It’s all about having fun with these technologies, mashing and thinking up new ways to take advantage of the features available.

These web app’s will also be reviewed in terms of the technology used to build them and where they are heading.

Along with all this there will be a new web site design and community features.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated and you can contact me via email or iChat at funcoder@gmail.com.

Here’s to the future….

My views on the WWDC Keynote

It’s been a few days now and I have had time to listen to podcasts and watch they keynote speech.

The new Leopard release looks fantastic to me. The new finder is something that was desperately needed and they have done a great job with this.

Being a .NET developer as well as Cocoa, I tend to compare the conference to Microsoft’s and I always find it strange that the keynote is not primarily about developer features (being that it’s a developers conference).

I think they should have demonstrated the new XCode 3.0 and Object-C 2.0 features. Also show more powerful app’s created for Leopard, not just their own but 3rd parties. This is what Microsoft tend to do when they release new features to the .NET framework.

The JavaOne conference is a great example, where almost everything is about Java and not about new Sun hardware.

I realize that a lot of tech stuff is provided in the sessions after the keynote, but I think the whole idea of the keynote should be to excite developers from other platforms to join us. Show the world how cool it is to develop app’s in XCode.

I love being a convert to Mac and I could never see myself going back to PC, so lets show those PC developers how fun it is in the Mac world.

Finally I was hoping to see a cool tool to develop on the iPhone but the solution of developing web app’s for the phone just seemed lame to me.

Saying all that, I am planning to go next year.

Creative Marketing Graphics

I my bid to move my development perspective to the web, I have been studying many techniques. The major areas I am working with are CSS and web graphics.

One of my favorite graphic teachers is Mark Monciardini and I can’t wait for his new DVD Photoshop Top Secret. I recently purchased his video tutorials on Creative Marketing Graphics to help me understand Logo Design amongst others.

My first stab at the gotocodecamp.com logo is here, let me know what you think:

Goto Codecamp Logo

He talks a lot about aesthetics and the positioning and styles of text. I am once again really impressed with the way Mark explains techniques in such a relaxed, non-scripted fashion.

On to the next video….

Social Networks for Learning Programming Languages

This week I decided to start learning Spanish as our summer holiday is a vacation to Tenerife, so I cam across a cool site called soZiety. The idea behind this site is to use Skype to learn your chosen language with other members.

This got me thinking how it would be a great idea to use a similar concept to learn to program a new programming language like Ruby, VB.NET, PHP and more. Somehow producing a more interactive network using some screencast or sketchwindow features.

Maybe there’s some feature of the language you don’t understand or you get an error in your code you cannot resolve.

I’m thinking IRC chat with much more interactivity…..

So as you know I can’t start on an idea without having a name.

Drum roll please……

Codereez.com is the name for this project. Watch this space for more information and the logo. Don’t ask me why but I can’t move forward with an idea without a name and logo. I know I’m strange….

Cocoa Podcasts

Now that I am a fully fledged member of the Apple Developer Connection, I have been delving deep into the world of XCode.

It’s a strange journey being that I haven’t had to deal with pointers for a long while now. My main development focus has been Ruby/Rails C# and VB.NET, none of which you need to concern yourself about *variable.

Saying that though I am actually enjoing the power and control I have over my code compared to the other languages.

Anyway…I digress…

Apart from the books I’m reading about Cocoa, I found some very cool podcasts dedicated to the subject.

CocoaRadio is an interview format podcast where you can hear what other developers/companies are doing with Cocoa. There are also some very good discussions on specific libraries in the famework, like sync.

CocoaCast is a very good screencast series to teach you from the start how to develop in Objective-C and XCode.

Fantastic SubSonic 2.0 Beta 1 Release

I am a big fan of SubSonic being a .NET developer and Ruby on Rails evangelist.

Developing ASP.NET applications in SubSonic is a much  more productive task as it takes all the benefits of Rails into the .NET environment. Subsonic is a zero code DAL (Data Access Layer) providing rich data features.

The one thing i love about this tool is being able to get a site up and running quickly using the scaffold. I just use the scaffold function as a temporary development environment until I am ready to build the templates ans start implementing some CSS to get the UI designed.

The new command line tool is a great addtion to SubSonic and provides a lot of cool generate functions and much more.

Check out SubSonic at http://www.codeplex.com/actionpack

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