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Podcast Lately in PHP 2 with Chris Cornutt of PHPDeveloper.org - PHP Classes blog

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Author: Manuel Lemos

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Categories: Interviews, Lately in PHP Podcast, PHP community

In this episode Chris Cornutt talks about his project sites PHPDeveloper.org PHP news site and Joind.in for promoting interaction between speakers and attendants of PHP conferences and other types of events.

A list of other worth listening podcasts for PHP developers was covered.

An interesting discussion was also held about the pros and cons of using Flex/Flash versus HTML 5/JavaScript in PHP Web applications.





Contents

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Show notes

Transcription


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Download Size: 26MB Listeners: 4676

Introduction music: Harbour by Danilo Ercole, Curitiba, Brazil

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Show notes

Transcription

Contents

Introduction (00:21)

Podcasts of interest for PHP developers (1:50)

Following the PHPClasses site on Twitter, Facebook and FormSpring (11:18)

PHPDeveloper.org and Joind.in projects (13:59)

PHP and Flex versus HTML 5 (30:23)

Innovative PHP classes of April 2010 (46:22)

The good and the bad of PHPClasses according to Chris Cornutt (51:36)

Conclusion (57:03)


Introduction

(00:21) Manuel Lemos: Hello, this is the Lately in PHP Podcast. Iím Manuel Lemos, the regular host and developer of the PHPClasses site. 

And as usual I have here with me Ernani Joppert; hello Ernani how are you doing?

Ernani Joppert:  Hello, Manuel, welcome back, and Iím doing great. Thanks for inviting me again.

Manuel Lemos:  Well, you are a regular co-host so you donít need to thank me all the time. 

Anyway, in this addition we have with us Chris Cornutt, also known as enygma, is the developer -- the PHPdeveloper.org site, and also Joind.In site project of his own that we will be also talking about in this addition. 

Hello, Chris, how are you doing?

Chris Cornutt: Hello. Doing good; a little hot here in Texas but not too bad.

Manuel Lemos:  Oh. Here in Brazil is quite the opposite, itís colder than usual, usually itís quite hot, but this is winter over here, so we are trying to survive because itís colder than usual. 

Anyway, moving on with our podcast, there are a few things I would like to mention.

Podcasts of interest for PHP developers

(1:50) In the last podcast, since it was the first, it was not yet in iTunes, but I registered it and in the show notes there will be the URL for the page in the iTunes Store site where you can go there and register, or you can use the iTunes program to find it there.

Talking also about podcasts, I would like to mention other interesting podcasts that I usually listen.

If you are not familiar with other interesting podcasts there is a very interesting site, PHPPodcasts.com, which is run by Cal Evans. Itís a sort of an aggregator, and I think it was a great idea by Cal Evans to have all interesting podcasts about PHP and some about related issues aggregated there, so it would be easier for everybody to find them. 

And another podcast that I usually listen is the podcast of SitePoint. Ití's very interesting, itís not specific of PHP, but I use it regularly and I find it interesting if you are into web development you also will find it interesting.

Well, anyway, what about you guys, what podcasts do you also listen regularly, Chris?

Chris Cornutt:  Well, itís not really a specific podcast, I guess, but I really enjoy the conferences like PHPTek and the Dutch PHP conference and all that.

They have made their recorded sessions available kind of in a podcast format because of people that werenít able to come or just want to listen along and follow along with the slides, its perfect, itís really nice to have those.

They release them semi-regularly so you always have a new one to listen to every once in a while. Those are pretty nice.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah. You mean the recordings of the sessions?

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, yeah.

Manuel Lemos:  Once in a while the guys from Zend also publish the sessions from ZendCon.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, they did that last year I think. I donít know are they doing it again this year? I havenít looked.

Manuel Lemos:  Well, not lately, but they usually do it sort of promoting the event, so.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, thatí's true.

Manuel Lemos:  So itís kind of a nice marketing stunt that we always appreciate because we kind of get to know about interesting sessions that went on in the event.

I also forgot to mention that the PHP Architect Podcast which I always listen once there is a new episode.

Lately it has been hosted by Cal Evans and Keith Casey and Marco Tabini when he can, I think. I think originally it was started by Marcus Whitney, but it was called...

Chris Cornutt:  The ProPHP Podcast. Because I helped him start it.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah, so you are quite familiar.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, ití's been a long time.

Manuel Lemos:  We haven'ít listened much about Marcus Whitney, he haís probably been too busy, but I think he did a great job then with kind of starting the podcasts scene in PHP.

Chris Cornutt:  Actually, just real quick, speaking of the PHP Architect stuff, I like that their webcast series they have also released those kind of in a moreorless a podcast kind of format. You know they always have those webcasts leading up to the conferences, and those are good sessions too.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah, right.

Chris Cornutt:  Those are enjoyable.

Manuel Lemos:  Yes, I also appreciate. What about you Ernani, any podcasts you would like to mention?

Ernani Joppert:  Yeah, I like those related with technologies, the Jason Calacanis one, This Week in Startups, Leo Laporte This Week in Tech is very nice, ití's very enthusiastic, and has a lot of discussions about technology, and PHP Architect as well as Cal Evans. Those are really nice podcasts for the PHP world.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah. Well, also you mentioned some podcasts that are not really about PHP or web development. I also follow some of those that you mentioned TWIT of Leo Laporte and This Week in Startups, which is more a video podcast, if we can call it so.

And there is also one that I listen once there is a new episode, there hasní't been much, which is the Killer Innovations podcast by Phil McKinney, which is the CTO of HP.

He talks a lot about innovation and how to innovate and the innovation process. Itís not really specific of technology, but itís interesting for all of us that somehow are trying to develop stuff that is innovative and is somewhat related with Web development.

Yet another podcast that I try to listen when I can is Techzing Live. This is a podcast run by Justin Vincent and Jason Roberts. They cover subjects that include PHP and Web development, but ití's mainly in the scope of some entrepreneurship projects that the hosts have with them.

Well, what is curious about this podcast is not so much about the subjects, but actually what led me to find that podcast. It turns out Justin Vincent is, or at least was, a contributor of the PHPClasses site. He actually submitted a class that became reasonably popular named ezSQL.

And I noticed that he was sort of ranting about the PHPClasses site recently in Twitter. I have a way to monitor Twitter because Iím not an heavy Twitter user. Actually I don'ít consider myself a frequent Twitter user, but I try to keep up with things that are related to PHPClasses site that people are commenting in Twitter.

What I realized is that Justin was sort of ranting about the site in Twitter, I do not recall exactly what he was complaining, but it was interesting and I try to always give some feedback to people that mention things about the site in Twitter probably because it is something that they doní't like or something that is misunderstood.

And I try to clarify or give some feedback about the features that are being implemented to address the problems that they are finding.

Looking a bit with more attention at Justiní's profile, I found out his podcast, and I think it was very interesting to mention because they cover issues that affect many of us that are trying to implement their sites also as their own businesses.

So if you are an entrepreneur that is trying to succeed in the Web development world with your own sites, I strongly suggest to also take a look at their podcast.

Other than that there is also a podcast that Ií'm helping on, I'ím participating,I'ím just a co-host, which is the WebInsider podcast. But this one is in Portuguese. It'ís done with the owner of the WebInsider site, which is basically a site in Brazil that has a lot of articles about technology and Web development in general.

Following the PHPClasses site on Twitter, Facebook and FormSpring

(11:18) But moving on with our podcast and talking about podcasts, there are also a few things that I have added lately in the PHPClasses site.

Other than the Twitter account that aggregates the content that is being published in the site, there is also a special Twitter account named PHPClassesEarly, which is where I try to post in advance things that Iím working on at the moment and which will become new features once they are done. So I will also publish the URLs in the show notes.

If you are interested in knowing what is going on in the development site, it will probably be interesting to follow the Twitter account.

I have also started a page for the PHPClasses in Facebook, and also another one in Formspring just to know about things and questions that people have about the site they want to know about the features, why something is done this way, and how to do something that people may have been having difficulty.

And talking about that, now getting back to our guest Chris Cornutt, Chris do you also have pages in Facebook, Formspring, other than the Twitter account that I know that you have?

Chris Cornutt:  Well, I do have -- I have Twitter accounts for both sites: PHPDeveloper and then Joind.in. I only have a Facebook page for Joind.in, though, and a lot of that is kind of driven by the whole Open Source project too, not just the site itself. But, yeah, Ií've thought about doing one for PHPDeveloper a while back, but it would just be kind of redundant since it'ís just a blog aggregating all the stuff.

Manuel Lemos:  I have started a page on Facebook, but Ií'm not sure if it will be something that will be worth keeping an eye on or attention. Just like something, a latest trend that many sites have started to have pages on Facebook, but I'ím really not watching much that space.

PHPDeveloper.org and Joind.in projects

(13:59) Now that you also mentioned your projects, it will be interesting if you could tell our audience about each of them or how did you start them, when did you start them, why, obviously starting from the first PHPDeveloper.org.

Chris Cornutt:  Letís see, PHPDeveloper.org started probably about, well, I donít know when the first version of the site was, the domain was registered in 2001, so thatís kind of when I started things.

And really the only reason I started it was because I like keeping up with technology, I like keeping up with the latest in PHP and all that. And I figured I might as well share it, you know, get it out there and let other people read about it. At the time there was stuff like SlashDot and a couple other aggregation kinds of sites out there, but there really wasnít anything for PHP that I saw.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah, I kind of see it like the SlashDot for PHP because of that style.

Chris Cornutt:  Well, I appreciate it (laughs).

Manuel Lemos:  No, itís really because SlashDot... I donít go there for many years because itís too much content, too much news, too much volume to keep up, and itís not really focused on things that interest us most.

And back to PHPDeveloper.org, as I had the opportunity to tell you when I met you personally in 2008 in Seattle, actually Redmond where we met personally, that Microsoft event, the Web Development Summit, I really admire your effort because I know it takes a lot of time to, even if you just share it in a few lines what you have seen somewhere else, articles, hints of something that is worth following on, you publish quite a good amount of articles a day.

And doing that everyday and that not being your day job it really shows a lot of dedication, and Iím sure me and others appreciate it, and I hope you can keep up for a long time.

Chris Cornutt:  Well, Iím glad itís helpful. I think I have, what was the last count, over 430 feeds in my feed reader, and I try to kind of filter through them each day. Thankfully a lot of them donít have a whole bunch of content.

Manuel Lemos:  Did you say 400?

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, 400 and some odd, yeah, something like that.

Manuel Lemos:  Really?

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah.

Manuel Lemos:  Man, do you really have that much time to follow those?

Chris Cornutt:  (laughs) Well, and see now granted probably a third of those at least havenít published content in a year or two or three, they just happen to still be in there.

But thereís probably maybe 50, 60 that publish content daily, and then a lot of that you can just kind of dismiss outright because itís just not relevant to PHP at all, itís some other topic.

But thereís stuff that I just donít get to each day, and itís getting more and more, and I try to post seven or eight a day, six articles, something like that, thatís about all I have time for.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah, I think itís still quite a lot. Just so you have an idea, even though PHPClasses.org is my day job, so to speak, I struggle to keep up with publishing two or three classes a day.

Itís different because I have to actually review what people have published, so I can describe it in, hopefully in proper English, because many of the contributors are not from a country where English is the mother language.

English is also not my mother language, but hopefully Iím able to describe what they did in a better, in a more clear way that many of them actually do.

 Still I think your work at PHPeveloper.org is, I think the volume of submissions that you... All the articles that you publish are written by you or some are contributions that you actually write?

Chris Cornutt:  Every once in a while Iíll get a contribution, but not very often, usually itís just me. And Iíll write them all, I spend I think itís about an hour or so, hour and a half, depending, each morning, and Iíll write them all in the morning and then theyíre aggregated out; theyíre set to different times during the day so they kind of space out.

Manuel Lemos:  Okay.

Chris Cornutt:  So itís not... yeah, I tried the whole write it during the day kind of thing, and it just got too in the way, so I figured Iíd do it all up front and then let it go out during the day. If thereís something special that happens to pop up, you know, some announcement about a conference, or whatever, then Iíll go ahead and put that out immediately.

Manuel Lemos:  Oh, I see.

Chris Cornutt:  But for the most part itís just spread out.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah. Well, for me PHPDeveloper.org and then Planet- PHP are the main PHP sources of news.

I really appreciate, as I mentioned, all the effort you do because I would not have time to..., even Planet-PHP I donít have time to review all the submissions, all the articles that are aggregated there.

So there are duplicates actually that you once in a while you mentioned stuff that was aggregated there, but you also pick interesting stuff from other sites, and itís quite a valuable effort that you kind of do for the benefit of all of us.

Chris Cornutt:  (laughs)

Manuel Lemos:  Okay, but moving on, we were talking about the project. So you started it right back, when was it, actually 2001, Ď02?

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, itís almost ten years old now. Time Flies.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah. Did you have a tenth birthday party?

Chris Cornutt:  Not yet. I guess it would be next year. I think itís like in August is when the domain was registered, so maybe middle of next year. Weíll have to plan something.

Manuel Lemos:  How many articles have you published there until now?

Chris Cornutt:  Um, that is a really good question. 

Manuel Lemos:  You need to check.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah. Give me two seconds and I can tell you. My auto-increment is up to 14,635.

Manuel Lemos:  Wow, thatís a lot.

Chris Cornutt:  (laughs) Now, I'ím sure there'ís some gaps in there, but still thatís about right.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah. Well, thatís kind of, well, itís certainly a large number of articles. Do you... I noticed you have some advertising in there. Do you get any significant revenue from there or just not worth it?

Chris Cornutt:  The Google ads, thatís really the only consistent ads on there. Between those and the ones that are on Joind.in I get basically enough to pay for hosting, so itís not a lot but itís enough, yeah.

Manuel Lemos:  Itís certainly better than nothing.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah.

Manuel Lemos:  Well, Google ads are not paying a big amount these days.

Chris Cornutt:  No.

Manuel Lemos:  It used to be much better, like three years ago.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah. And I finally wised up and dropped the rates.

Manuel Lemos:  I'ím not sure what happened, but I think it was, there are too many publishers in the market, yet at the same time the crisis started and then all contributed to lower revenue that it generates for publishers, so better not count on that as main revenue.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah.

Manuel Lemos:  Then more recently you started the Joind.in project. This I have to admit Iím not so familiar about it. Actually I only recently I noticed this. Itís actually your project.

I'íve seen it a few years ago when it started, but I didnp ít quite pay attention it was yours, and it seemed like a new startup project about events and everything that could help event organizers to actually do it. But then I realized it was something that you started.

Can you give an overview of what it does and how it can be useful for people that participate in events?

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, sure, actually just a little background first. The initial idea for it was at ZendCon two or three years ago, maybe three years ago by now.

Keith Casey and I were talking about the paper forms that you get at conferences to fill out and say how you felt the talk was and all that. And he suggested, he said why isn'ít there a site out there that does this except online. And I was like thatí's a great idea (laughs), thatí's a perfect idea.

Manuel Lemos:  It solves a problem.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, yeah, exactly, and so I bounced some ideas off of him and a couple other people and kind of started the site up and got it going. And actually, well, in the PHP community ití's heavily used, it's being relatively used by other groups, slowly I think people are kind of catching on.

The site basically, for those that arení't sure, the main goal of it is to provide events an easy way to post the information about their event and post any kind of sessions and stuff underneath it like a conference really, and to make it easy for people to come and give feedback on that.

They can give anonymous feedback, they can log in, usually most people actually do log in and give their feedback that way. I almost never see anonymous comments come through. But I know to the last PHP TeK, TeK X used it really heavily, the Dutch PHP conference thatís going on right now is using it really heavily, I think they'íve only had like ten sessions today, the tutorial day, and there'ís already almost 30 comments on those.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah, thatí's great.

Chris Cornutt:  So ití's building up pretty quickly. I'íve been really happy with the reception, and plus the whole other side of it, like I mentioned earlier, the Open Source Project.

We'íve had some great contributors and some good patches and features and wanting to help, and now we'íve got mailing lists, and it just keeps going. And once you get that ball rolling there'ís almost no way to stop it, so.

Manuel Lemos:  So it was mainly a hobby that you started and then you opened the source of the project?

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, I think it was maybe about a year or so ago that I opened the source for it. Ití's written with the CodeIgniter framework, so ití's nothing... it'ís not Zend or Symphony or anything like that, so ití's nice and simple, anybody can jump into it and really get into the code pretty easily.

Manuel Lemos:  Do you already have many contributors?

Chris Cornutt:  We'íve got... I know we'íve had at least five or six people that have contributed patches. Lorna Mitchell is pretty heavily involved with. She did a lot of work on the API, rewriting some of my bad code. And weí've actually got two guys, one that wrote an iPhone application for it and one thatí has written an Android application for it.

Manuel Lemos:  Great. Those seem to be quite significant contributions.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, I was pretty happy about those.

Manuel Lemos:  But those are people that are also frequently involved in events, right? You mentioned Lorna Mitchell.

Chris Cornutt:  Oh, well yeah, Lorna is, yeah.

Manuel Lemos: Frequently participating in the events.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, sheís actually running the Dutch PHP conference this year.

Manuel Lemos:  Yes, I noticed.

Chris Cornutt:  So in a big role. But, yeah, a lot of the people are pretty involved with the events, and they hear about the project from being at the event that ití's being used at, and then they want to get involved with it, kind a roundabout way I guess, but it'ís good though.

Manuel Lemos:  Since you opened the source I donít know if this question will make sense, but I'íll still ask it anyway, did you ever consider turning this into a business or at least a source of revenue or you are not very much inclined to pursue that route?

Chris Cornutt:  Well, I think one of the main things and one of the big keys to the siteís success so far is making the basic functionality, you know, listing an event, getting feedback for the event, kind of managing it in general, that thatís all been free, thatís been available to anybody, anybody that wants to come in and set it up.

I have considered things on top of that, additional things that the events could use or additional features, that kind of stuff, that could potentially be used for revenue in the future. But as it stands right now the project is free and open to whoever wants to use whatever features.

Manuel Lemos:  Right. Well, because since it has some value that it can provide to event organizers, it probably could be a good idea, but I didn'ít know if you ever considered that route.

Chris Cornutt:  Yeah, I thought about it, nothing... obviously nothing firm. But, yeah, it'ís been thought about.

Manuel Lemos:  Okay, well, and Ernani you have been quiet, I don'ít know if you are familiar Chrisí' sites, I don'ít know if you have anything to comment?

Ernani Joppert:  Oh, yes, the aggregations of use from PHPDeveloper is one of the sites that Ií'm more familiar with because of the history on top of it and the way it organizes the information is very nice to catch up with PHP related articles, as well as I mentioned before, I used to listen to PHP Architect podcast and I also follow their blog which is a very helpful source.

And Joind.in have... since you mentioned that you were inviting Chris for this Ií've been checking it out and for the most part I didn'ít deeply look at it, but it looks very promising functionality that I'íve never seen anywhere else. And I'ím sure that this is a helpful solution for event organizers and could be for a lot more.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah, well, but letís move on to other subjects of this podcast. I don'ít know, Chris, if you have anything else to mention other than what we have been discussing so far about your site.

Chris Cornutt:  Do you mind if I mention about the Open Source Project for Joind.in?

Manuel Lemos:  Sure, of course.

Chris Cornutt:  Just if anybody wants to take a look at it, it is on GitHub. You can go to the, I think itís the About section on Joind.in, and find a link to it or you can just search on GitHub for Joind.in.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah, weíll add a link in the show notes section of the podcast.

Chris Cornutt:  Perfect, thank you.

PHP and Flex versus HTML 5

(30:23) Manuel Lemos:  Okay, but moving on to another topic that I would like to mention in this podcast, and this is something that probably Ernani is more familiar.

It is about Flex,Flash in general and actually the applications using PHP to use this technology now from Adobe, used to be from Micromedia, but it was sold. And I donít know, Chris, do you use PHP with Flex or Flash in your job?

Chris Cornutt:  No, actually, I havenít really used it very much, Iíve only just kind of read tutorials and articles and stuff. I know... I think Cal and Keith are both doing some posts on it right now for a project theyíre working on with Flex, but I donít remember what specifically theyíve talked about.

Manuel Lemos:  Yes, actually I'íve seen a few articles also by Marco Tabini, and Ií've actually seen an article recently about actually not exactly Flex but Adobe Air that could use PHP natively to do some kind of integration, and it seemed interesting.

Personally I don'ít use much, actually any, Flash or Flex. I don'ít have much for or against the technologies.

I'íve written an article about HTML 5 I think probably two years ago, Ií'm not sure. And basically HTML 5 has been catching up on many things that so far only Flash or probably Java applets could provide for the development of Web applications.

And my opinion once HTML 5 becomes widely spread, widely adopted in the browsers that most people use, it will probably not be much sense in using Flash except for legacy applications. 

And talking about Flex, lately I'íve been discussing a bit about this with Ernani, and I know heí is a big fan of Flex. Ernani what do you have to say about this?

Ernani Joppert:  Yes, I guess that this buzz about HTML 5 and Flash or Flex, in every sense will generate even more buzz. And we actually tend to know that Flash is going to be replaced rather sooner than later, but in my perspective I feel that this migration, if it happens, it will take a subsequent amount of time.

And because Flash, especially the latest plug-in, has a lot of potential by having peer to peer streaming, so you could pretty much run in a Flash-based project communication between one machine to another without any requirements to have a master server.

So applications could pretty much talk to each other by using Adobe'ís protocols and definitions, and Adobe is pretty much involved it into releasing specifications and pretty technologies based on open source.

But of course the plug-in itself is not open source at all, but Flex is an open source technology, and the compiler for Flex is an open source technology. 

And I feel that this has a lot of potential, especially now that Google adopted the whole platform on Android I feel that you could benefit from developing AIR applications as well as Flex web sites and with a pretty much more rich user experience.

And another great point about this is that you don'ít have to struggle by dealing with different browsers and different behaviors and hacking CSS scripts and JavaScripts in order to accomplish a very easy task which is display of animations and transitions of pages and things that takes a lot of time to develop when youí're using jQuery or any kind of JavaScript can work.

So I feel that Flex has a lot of potential and we will keep here for a long time, and I hope I am correct about it.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah. I already knew that you were a big defender of the Flex because like you many people have invested a lot of time in studying the platform and developing components to use in their Flash or Flex based applications.

Ernani Joppert:  Yes.

Manuel Lemos:  Sorry?

Ernani Joppert:  Yes, REST-full is one of the particularities of it is that most applications that are based on REST-full services, they are either on JavaScript JSON and XML or SOAP protocol.

And Adobe has at least a very powerful binary format to communicate between Flex applications and the service that are tied with it. Zend is investing a lot of efforts from AMF protocol with the Zend AMF framework and other languages as well opting this.

And this protocol has a lot of potential because you can pretty much stream some rows, letís say 20,000 rows, in seconds. And you can do client side validation and it doesn'ít really damage any performance on the machine.

And JavaScript performance has increased significantly in the past compared with past browsers and in interpreters. But I feel that itís a bit far from my personal acceptance. And I feel that Flash has way more potential to compete with it right now. So thatí's the event that I wanted to mention.

Manuel Lemos:  So you feel it'ís more o rless the maturity of the libraries or components that exist for Flash when compared with JavaScript libraries. Do you think the JavaScript libraries still have to catch up a lot to match what you find in the Flash/Flex world?

Ernani Joppert:  Yes. One of the main issues ití's a bit of a one side fighting with another side by presenting footprint comparisons between Flash applications and JavaScript applications.

It'ís okay because normally today we have several ISP providers and most of the Internet heavy users and pretty much people with the Web 2.0 experience are seeking for a more rich user experience.

And a big exchange between a web site and a browser could be a potential harm. But not comparing the situation with a user performance experience, so if Ií'm browsing a web site which is very slow when transitioning from one action to another instead of loading the whole web site in the first time, I feel that I have to trade-off for this first initial load in comparing it to by browsing each time, each section of the application and having to reload or wait for JavaScript operations to complete.

And I feel that Flash has, because itís a native plug-in for each platform, it benefits from the site. And as well as the AMF protocol, and I strongly recommend for PHP developers to check it out, actually one of the evangelists from Adobe, his name James Ward, he did a lot of work on this and he wrote one application which name is Senses, and this application does a lot of background comparison between ways to communicate with a back-end server.

So you can do it through using web services, you can do it using XHTML, you can do it using SOAP, you can do it with an AMF protocol. And the AMF protocol has a lot of advantage because itís a binary format, and itís somehow a compression mechanism, so the data transition between client and server is very small and very powerful.

And the serialization and de-serialization of objects between client and server in any case, in any language, is way, way more fast than anything else I'íve ever seen comparing frameworks here and there. Thatís the point.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah. Well, I don'ít know if you are familiar, HTTP supports compression natively so ití's not the fact that AMF supports compression, that will be the big difference I think, in my opinion, because you can just send a request to the server and compress the data which is a built-in feature in most browsers, do not say all browsers now are using that these days.

And also with HTML 5, which is not the HTML that matters, but the JavaScript APIís, I don'ít see much difference. I don'ít see many features that Flash could provide and they are not provided by the different API specifications for JavaScript in the HTML 5 specification.

Do you see any features of the HTML 5 and the Flash AMF protocol that are significant things that are missing for Web applications with and without Flash? 

Ernani Joppert:  Oh, yes, the whole point is that I know that most of the HTTP protocol is... sorry, the HTML specification is catching up, but Rich Internet experience demand. And ití's a little time that HTML 5 gets close to what Flash and Flex can do, but the AMF protocol is something that those a little bit close from this overview.

Ití's sort of like a standard to exchange data between one application and another by serializing objects here in a binary platform and sending it over to HTTP or to an HTTP connection over sockets or any kind of other protocol.

And in the other side the de-serialization of this information is way faster than any XML parser available. So I feel itís more mature and more performant solution. 

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah.

Ernani Joppert:  This is one small part of the whole thing. And another thing that Ií'm involved by curiosity, and I'íve been studying it a little bit, if the time allows me, is the communication, the Flash screening, the RTMP protocol which Adobe has defined. And the RTMP protocol performs streaming of video on the Web from Flash sites.

With HTML 5 uses as a file source, and it streams the video over to you, but it has no protocol for streaming video which has a lot of demand nowadays, and Ií'm not aware of anything in that side for now.

I am involved in the Red 5 project which is a streaming server for Flash video, and thereí's a lot of good things for the Open Source community because itís an open source solution. So that is the whole general perspective for Flash that I do have.

Manuel Lemos:  Yes, I think those are issues that raise a lot of debate between pros and cons. There is also now the debate of Apple versus Adobe because Apple refuses to support Flash in iPhones and iPads, and I don'ít really... I think there is a lot to say about that but we donít have the time.

Anyway, I just want to comment on something that I remember; there are compilers that sort of convert Flash SWF containers into HTML 5 with JavaScript that probably could be a way to go for those people that really insist on using Flash features in those Apple devices, but Ií'm not sure if they will be able to perform every aspect of Flash applications.

Anyway, that is a subject that will give us a lot to discuss about, but we have to move on.

Innovative PHP classes of April 2010

(46:22) Now practically reaching the end of our podcast, one regular feature is to comment a little bit about some classes that were nominated to the PHP Programming Innovation Award that PHPClasses site organize every month.

In April some classes were nominated and the winners announced early in June after computing the votes from the users. I donít know if you guys have noticed any classes that would be worth mentioning.

Iíll just comment about a few of those I think that were more interesting at least from my viewpoint.

There is a file system wrapper class (MongoFS) to access BLOBs, practically files, storing MongoDB databases which is very interesting because you can use regular file functions to access BLOBs in MongoDB databases.

It was written by Cesar Rodas, which is a regular contributor of the PHPClasses site. He also contributed an interesting article about MongoDB

Other than that, there is interesting API for accessing the WebMaster Tools service provided by Google to use a lot of interesting statistics about sites for webmasters.

And other than that, there is also another interesting class which solves a very complicated problem for a site that have newsletters in HTML. This Inline Style class that what it does basically is to convert all CSS that is, all definitions in CSS that are in an HTML page to inline style declarations and apply them directly to the HTML text.

This is interesting because some webmail systems, I think itís Gmail, and Iím not sure about Yahoo mail, that totally wipes out any CSS declarations that you have in HTML newsletters, so this is quite an interesting solution.

And other than that there is also an interesting class for people... now that the iPad device was launched and it seems to be becoming reasonably popular, there is a class for publishing, for generating eBooks in the ePub format which it seems interesting for people that want to distribute eBooks or publications in that format so that they can use in their iPads. 

Did you notice any other interesting classes from this that were nominated this time Chris?

Chris Cornutt:  Actually you pretty much touched on all of them. I was going to mention the MongoDB in the ePub one, those were the two that really interested me, but yeah, you already kind of covered those. 

Manuel Lemos:  Right. What about you Ernani, any classes you think would also be worth mentioning?

Ernani Joppert:  Yes, Chris mentioned you went pretty much over all of those cool ones, and one that crossed my attention is the Firewall which is sort of the creative... it describes the creative process of building our own custom components and sharing with others. It brings a lot of potential for special situations, and the Firewall one caught my attention.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah, thatís also an interesting class, although there are others somewhat similar, that seems to outstand because it sort of uses a similar format for blocking addresses, IP addresses, from users accessing the site, but it uses a format that is similar to configuration files for firewalls like IPTables used in Linux and probably others that I donít know.

But, OK, I think we pretty much covered all that I think were more worth mentioning.

The good and the bad of PHPClasses according to Chris Cornutt

(51:36) And, well, finally reaching the end of our podcast, as usual I have this section where I ask our guests, Chris Cornutt, in this case, about two things: one which is the one thing that you like in PHPClasses, and another thing which would be what you dislike, and probably you have different opinions of different things. But letís hear about what you have to say.

Chris Cornutt:  Well, as far as what I like about it there is quite a bit of, well, quite a bit of code on there. You definitely come in there and find a class that can do relatively what you need at the very least and modify it. But thereís tons of stuff in there, so it seems like every time I search for something, anything on Google, at least one link comes up for it.

I guess as far as things I donít like, the only that I worry about with the site is the amount of overlap in the quality of the code that might be overlapping. I know there are a lot of classes that do really similar things in there, and I guess it worries me a little bit that somebody would pick up one that may not be as high quality as it should be, and they might have a security vulnerability in there or some other issue that the author may not have thought of. And I mean obviously you guys canít go through every single submission and figure out this stuff.

Manuel Lemos:  Right.

Chris Cornutt:  But, you know, thatís a concern, so.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah. Itís somewhat similar what Guilherme Blanco that also came in the previous podcast that mentioned about it, and I pretty much understand those concerns, theyíre pretty much valid.

And there is a resource that allows the users to vote on the classes that they think are better from those that they like. They actually can vote not really up or down, but can classify in different aspects.

And there are ways somewhat to help people to distinguish which are the classes that they think can be more appreciated. They just need to go in the categories of the classes and sort them.

There is a listing named Top rated in the category page, and there users find the classes that were actually rated, which pretty much exclude many classes that probably were not even worth rating according to the users, and they it sorts them according to a grade that each one received.

That is something that already exists for a few years. But since I noticed several people started to come up with that complaint, probably the user interface is not making it very obvious.

So it gives me something to think about, how can I improve that to make it more obvious for the users searching for the best, or at least the more appreciated, components for searching purposes. How can they find those components instead of having to go through many classes for same purposes?

Ernani Joppert:  And yes, Manuel, Iím sure you probably thought about it, and I guess that one way to improve this issue is actually view the social behavior like as we are getting used to with Facebook and any other social interaction as Digg is going to look at, you can probably browse in order of user ratings, as well as you have one author of classes that you trust, so actually you could find a way to list your classes that I trust more.

And someone who trusts me will then find recommendations by myself and go seeking those classes, and this would even improve the social behavior of your website. So itís just one idea that I had, and it could be that I could forget so I guess worth mentioning.

Manuel Lemos:  Yeah, it seems an interesting idea. Actually itís not the first time that I get a suggestion that somewhat goes along those lines of including sort of a rating from friends or people that you trust in terms of recommendations. So that will be something that I will think about over the time and weíll see.

Conclusion

(57:03) Well, weíre practically ending our podcast, and I would like to thank Chris Cornutt once again for making yourself available and sharing about your experience, your comments and views. And I would like to ask if you have anything else to add just to end our podcast?

Chris Cornutt:  No, nothing really I can think of. Thanks for having me.

Manuel Lemos:  Well, that was great, and Ernani, weíll see you also next time. Weíll try to keep the level of the guests that we have been having so far, and I think thatís all for now.

Ernani Joppert:  Yes, thanks to everyone, and Iím really pleased to be here. And I wish to thank Chris for participating, and as well as to contributing to the Open Source and to the PHP world as well. So thanks everyone.

Manuel Lemos:  Okay, bye.

Chris Cornutt:  Bye.


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1. PHPClasses.org: Podcast Lately in PHP 2 with Chris Cornutt of PHPDeveloper.org (2010-06-16 11:07)
On the PHPClasses.org blog today, thereís a new post about the latest episode of their ďLately in PHPĒ podcast with an interview with yours truely, Chris Cornutt...


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