Larry Garfield wrote:
On Thursday 29 July 2010 12:36:13 am Nathan Rixham wrote:
Hi All,

I find myself wondering about the state of the PHP community (and
related community with a PHP focus), so, here's a bunch of questions -
feel free to answer none to all of them, on list or off, or add more of
your own - this isn't for anything specific, just out of interest and
sure I (and everybody who reads the replies) will learn something +
doors/options/contacts may come of it. The only thing I can guarantee is
that I'm genuinely interested in every reply and will read every one of
them + lookup every tech and link mentioned.

in no particular order:

What other languages and web techs do you currently use other than PHP?
- if you include html or css please include version, if js then
preferred libs, and whether client or server side.

PHP, MySQL, and Javascript make up the vast majority of my code these days.

What's your previous language/tech trail?

I started with Fortran back in high school, then C, then Java, then C++. In college I added PHP, Perl, and VB (in mostly that order), then more C++ and Java. PHP is the one I really stuck with, obviously, although I did spend time doing Palm OS development in C.

Are you considering any new languages or techs, and if so which?
  - names / links

One of these days I want to learn more about Erlang, because functional programming is brain-breaking but nifty.

Is PHP your hobby/interest, primary development language, just learning or?

Day job and hobby.

How many years have you been using PHP regularly?

Full time professionally about 6 years, but have been working with it as my main language since 2000 or so.

How many years have you been working with web technologies?

I did my first website in 1996-ish, somewhere between Fortran and C. :-) My first paid project was for my then-state representative in 2000 in home-grown PHP 3. (I am very glad that site is no longer in existence.)

Did you come from a non-web programming background?

I was a CS major, but my college's web program was way way behind what I was learning on my own. By graduate school I was correcting the professors on web technology in the middle of class. (Yes, I was one of those students.)

Is your primary role web developer or designer?

PHP programmer, software architect, and technical site architect.

In your developer life, are you an employer, and employee, contractor,
freelancer, part of a team of equal standing members?

I work for a ~20 person consulting shop ( consisting of designers, project managers, front-end developers/themers, and engineers/PHP gurus. Our company is at this point all Drupal-based and business is quite good. :-)

Do you tend to work on jobs for geo-local clients, clients in the same
country, or do you work internationally 'on the web'?

I think all of our clients are in the US, but all around the country.

How do you get your projects? do they come to you, word of mouth, do you
hunt and bid for projects, code call, visit clients, target clients
individually you think you can help, or?
- not looking for trade secrets, just to get enough for an overall picture.

Our CEO is disturbingly good at shaking the money tree, and after 14 years in the business our reputation is high enough that we get cold-called to bid on RFPs, many of them really good projects. We employ several leading Drupal developers so our collective reputation and project history is all the marketing we need. Being good open source community citizens (sharing as much knowledge as we can about how we do what we do) helps as well.

Do you have any frustrations with the PHP community, do you find you
want to talk shop but can't, or find people to work with but can't, have
projects in mind you want to do but can't find people to do them with etc?

Oh god, where do I start...

- Why is there no good iCal library? Seriously. My company is looking for sponsorship to write one, because everything we could find sucks.

- Those driving PHP development itself (vis, writing the engine) don't seem to comprehend the idea of someone running a web site who isn't also a C developer, sysadmin, and performance specialist. "If you don't have root then we don't care about you" is the prevailing attitude I see. I'm sure most of PHP-DEV will disagree with that assessment but I've been reading the list for 3 years now and that sense is very clear. That's quite unfortunate given that the vast majority of PHP scripts are still on shared hosting where you have no control over the environment at all.

- Organization? Collaboration? Standards? Process? What are those? I really feel for Lukas Smith, as he tried really hard to bring some sort of sanity to the PHP dev process before finally giving up in despair. I really do respect what he was doing and wish he'd been more successful.

- If I still remembered enough C to do so and had time to do so I'd try to work on PDO. Sadly I don't have either. PDO is in desperate need of help, apparently, and everyone is standing around waiting for someone else to do something about it. Given that databases are kinda critical for most PHP apps that is a non-small problem.

Do you network with other PHP'ers in real life - meetups etc, do you
tend to shy away, or do you find you circulate in other web related but
non PHP focussed communities?

Mostly my work in the Drupal project eats up 99.9% of my community networking time, so I have very little left over for general PHP networking. I used to be somewhat active in the Chicago PHP users group but haven't been for some time.

Are you a member or any other web tech communities, opensource efforts,
or standardization bodies - again, if so which?

I'm one of the lead developers of Drupal (although the term is very vague in the Drupal world), and the Database subsystem maintainer for Drupal 7 and later having written most of it. I am also in my 3rd year as a member of the Drupal Association Board of Directors as Director of Legal Affairs.

I was also the lead organizer of the GoPHP5 effort a few years ago that managed to finally kill off PHP 4.

In theory I'm the Drupal rep to the "PHP Standards" working group, but I think that group has pretty well died.

Are there any efforts, projects or initiatives which are floating your
boat right now and that your watching eagerly (or getting involved with)?

Just lots of stuff within the Drupal world, which is large enough to keep me busy. I won't bore you with details. Come to DrupalCon Copenhagen next month if you want such details. :-)

--Larry Garfield

Hi Larry,

Thanks for taking the time to reply, a solid insightful one at that - kudos +1 for your opensource drupal efforts!

Good of you to mention, and indeed to see, Palinter grasping opensource with two hands, this is certainly a very credible approach to business which deservedly reaps good rewards; testament to this is Day Software (including of course Roy T. Fielding) which it seems is just about to be bought by Adobe, a big +1 for this approach; and one I hope to see more of.

With regards drupal development, there is a rather interesting chap called Stéphane Corlosquet [ ] who does a fair bit of committing and really pushes the semantic web / linked data side of drupal - definitely worth keeping tabs on.

Thanks again for your reply, the Jamie Lawrence quote on your homepage [1] and providing a quick laugh via your april 1st post - lol.



[1] Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig; after a few hours, you realize he likes it. — Jamie Lawrence

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