Chief Technology Officer & Photographer | Irvine, CA

Developer Theory – 95%’ers

There’s no big secret out there that a large problem that plagues the development community is the “95%-itis”. You’ve probably seen it before – where a developer will go all gung-ho, the project is humming along, until they hit about 95% completion, and then run in to a brick wall.

I’m no stranger to this.

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Sparks Package Management

So, many of you that read this blog (that are in the software dev industry) might have heard about PEAR packages or RubyGems once or twice. I think we can do better then that.

PEAR is a centralized package management system for PHP that has thousands of libraries built by developers all over the world. They have these nifty little commands you can run to install packages to your system, and with some configuration, your PHP project can then use these packages at will…although, I can’t tell you the last time I used PEAR, because it’s rather archaic in my opinion, and the times that I have had to use it, it was quite difficult to get it to “work the right way”.

Now – RubyGems are fantastic! RubyGems.org is a centralized package management system for the Ruby language. I’ve used this many times, and I love it. It’ll handle dependencies and install everything you need to your system, so all you have to do is call it up in your Ruby project, and you can use it. Hmm…like!

Finding Codeigniter libraries is kind of difficult. There are tons of fantastic libraries built for CodeIgniter out on the net, but it’s sometimes hard to find them, and it’s even hard to know if they suck or not without popping them in to your code and giving them a try.

Setting up ANOTHER system every time I move code is a pain in the ass. I’ve done it several times – when working in a new environment, you have to install all these libraries to your system, waste more time getting setup to go, and get all invasive with yet another environment. That sucks.

Cue in Sparks – the Package Management System for Codeigniter. First off, it solves 2 things right off the bat – it’s easy to find new packages (we’re finishing up the search in the alpha phase), and everything is attached to your project – not your system.

Sweet…a portable Codeigniter project with libraries that can be added/updated from a central repository in 1 command?!?!?!

A group of 4 of us came up with this idea, and put it together in a matter of a few weeks. It’s in ALPHA release right now, so we’re still finding/squashing bugs & adding new features. I would write more and more about how Sparks works in detail, but I’ll go ahead and let the site do the talking and let you experience it for yourself. Feel free to give us some feedback!

This is gonna change everything with Codeigniter!

No…I don’t have a resume…

“Corporate America” bugs the hell out of me.

Today, I get an email titled “Opportunity Knocks” from a local company in town, giving the same old canned message that was spruced up a little to be marginally personalized.  I was told he searched for “php developer phoenix” and he found me (I rank #1 for that search term).  Ok – I read on – and it was basically a soft recruitment letter – pretty standard.

I responded back that I wasn’t looking for full time work, but I’d be open to any contract/freelance work, as I had recently left a company to go back out on my own. He responded shortly after and said, “How about sending me a resume and I’ll set up a few face-to-face meetings with the peeps here?”.

Hmmm…

Well, I don’t have a resume, I haven’t updated my resume in years. Hell, the resume I used to desperately get a job with 944 Magazine was the same resume I had that I made in high school – clearly it worked, but it was old, outdated, and is a constant reminder of “old business”.  If you know me…Craig…this is directed at you haha…you know that I loathe “old business” methodologies – not all, but most.  I still prefer the good old “hand shake and a promise” – something about that just screams “business” to me, but everything else, meh, I can do without.

Apparently I said something to ruffle the feathers, because after my response of “Look at the links in my sig – that’s my resume – I’m pretty confident in the wealth of information you’ll find about me as a person/developer/etc on google”, I was told that I was “being arrogant, cocky and feeling entitled” and that those “are not a qualities we are interested in”.

Whoa…what?

Whoa what? Being arrogant and cocky? I think you completely misunderstood my last email, and now you’re telling me that I’m an “apprentice” because I told you I don’t have a formal “resume” anymore? I’m not an old dude with a pony tail – nor a web developer that wasted years in college and have 9 million microsoft/google/etc certifications – it’s all worthless – real world experience is where it’s at.

Wow – this went downhill pretty quick…and FYI, in the “real world”, a piece of paper listing accomplishments is still just a piece of paper – the proof is in the pudding, and you’ve yet to see any of my work (you’ve seen my blog and probably DateDesigner.com) – neither of which I care to “defend” to you.

The only arrogant person in this conversation is you right now…you probably need to chillax a little. An apology for flying off the handle is appreciated.

It gets better – I just got this response:

Fair enough: I apologize for “flying off the handle”. Let me get back on my broomstick (apparently, I’m a witch?).

We do require a resume. Sorry, I can’t ask other managers and the co-founders of this company to “Look at the links in my sig – that’s my resume”. Seriously, that doesn’t cut it. To dignify and respect their time, they should only have to review a single-source document of your accomplishments (aka a “resume”). Everything they read online *could* be 100% BS (just as a resume could be), but it starts the process down the right road. No one has time to look at countless websites that have some reference to who you might be. Down the road, if we were truly interested, we would dig deeper (verify work history, check references, etc.).

You’re right, never saw any pudding. Also, I wasn’t being arrogant, I was being condescending (which was wrong and I apologize for that, too). Guess I was expecting to somehow be “wowed!” by your claim of being a “jQuery Expert”.

I reached out to you because you appeared to have an acceptable amount of experience in web development. I failed to conclude that you were a master of your craft. Being that you are, you are clearly out of our league as we are really just looking for someone who is pretty darn good at what they do.

Sorry to have bothered you.

And my response:

Again with the “crafty” email response – and a dodge at just apologizing, tucking your tail, and moving on.

I never claimed to be a jQuery expert, I mentioned that my budd had said that. That was meant to be a joke, but clearly that wasn’t conveyed – or understood. I don’t claim to be an expert at anything – I do however know that I’m pretty f***in good at the skills I do possess.

My flip flops, t-shirts, and bedazzled jeans don’t do well in corporate culture – neither do resumes and obviously me – this is why I’m a full time freelancer. I loathe “old school” business methodologies, and can’t stand to be a part of them.

A bit of advice – especially in an ever competitive tech industry, hire people, not resumes. You could have easily brought me in to “meet the peeps” with a bit of information about me – you know, doing your job with recruiting, you gather information and report it back to those that control your strings. But now, you’ll just be on the hunt for another drone – another resume submitter…someone whom which I’ll never be again.

Thank you again for yet another captivating response XXXXX, I’m really looking forward to the next one!

Yes – now I’m just being an ass, but hey, it’s the amusement that I needed today. Back to the grind – see ya on the flip side!

Wanna save money on development costs? Stop using Internet Explorer!!!

firefox_and_internet_explorerIt goes without saying really that we are in a recession, and many people and businesses are looking to save some money.  I’ve got a great idea to help out…STOP USING INTERNET EXPLORER!

As a web developer, I have many things that I factor in when developing a new site, or adding on to an existing site, and you know, people could really save some cash if I didn’t have to spend extra time making Internet Explorer play nice like the other browsers do with no “extra” help.

Let’s say that some normal markup would take about 10 hours…well I’ll quote it out as 13+ just because of that extra bit I’m going to have to spend on making Internet Explorer display the same way that the other browsers do just because they conform to standards.

So do yourself a favor…if you want to save some development costs, spread the word, Internet Explorer is the devil as far as XHTML/CSS is concerned – it just HAS to be different and it is costing YOU more money.

I think Microsoft did it that way, because you know you didn’t pay for that Office software you are using…so they are just stickin’ it to ya in another way! hahahaha

Download Firefox or Download Safari – and save your soul!!!

Refresh Phoenix – April 2008

We had our monthly Refresh Phoenix meeting on Tuesday night this week. I’ve only been to 1 other meeting (Feb 2008), but I’ve been conversing with a lot of the attendees for a while now through various social networking channels (mostly Twitter). This time, I told myself that I needed to talk to more people – and I did! I finally met some of my online buddies face to face and shared a few laughs. The topic for the April meet-up was a review from various SXSW attendees – who all agreed that it’s not only the best conference to attend every year if you are a web n3rd, but the networking aspect of it all is extremely valuable!

If you are in the web development industry – design, dev, photography, etc – it is a very good idea for you to attend these monthly refresh meetings, because like SXSW, the networking aspect within your local community is probably your most valuable resource!

If you aren’t in Phoenix, you can check Refreshing Cities to find out where the closest meet-up is to you – or start your own if there aren’t any available!