Tag Archives: development

Bug or feature?






IE Test VM’s for Virtual Box

Always a useful resource.

There is a list of VM’s with several versions of IE’s if you are under OSX (might work with Linux as well – haven’t tested).

Very useful if you, for some strange reason, IE doesn’t work with your Javascript, CSS, design, etc.


Learning from the Amazon AWS Outage

I’m a old schooler, I have been programing and dealing with computer systems since mid 1990’s. At that time we did not had all of the cool tools that we have today and everything was dealt with paranoia.

In another words what I’m trying to say is that from experience, there are ways to deal with situations when the sh** hit’s the fan.

Today’s Amazon AWS outage (can’t call a hiccup something that is lasting more than half an hour) either brought down or slowed down sites all over the world. This could have been avoided if business had a simple contingency plan.

Most of today’s mid and large sized web applications use a third party service to host the application, databases, etc. With the increasing demand the Cloud services become more and more popular and the migration of in-house service to third-party service just become natural. If the server died on the third-party, they could replace it with a faster time than if done in-house. With similar reasons the in-house servers became relic and the contingency plan become forgotten. No one would guess that a whole data-warehouse would go down right !?

For whatever reason today Amazon AWS service went down on US-Area-1 (or Virginia) and they stayed (or still are) down for a considerable time. The question that you should be doing right now is: What had to be done to prevent my web application to go offline or slower because one or more servers (doesn’t matter the type – app or db) are offline?

I’m not a DevOPS and I really can’t go deep on the subject, but based on experience (or simply paranoia), here  is an idea. Everything today is distributed, so it should be your server instances under the load balancer. Truth is whoever doesn’t have that today probably got the web application fully offline.

In defense of Amazon AWS, you can choose the areas of service of your servers and, with the exception of Virginia, all the other service areas are working just fine. Even knowing that is pretty bad that a whole area got knocked off, your application should not if you have the server instances correctly setup.

I might be saying the obvious here, but I recall a friend telling me that he was at a conference and all other participants that worked on very large websites were spooked because he mentioned that he had all his server instances with only one single service provider.

Obvious or not every business should prepare a contingency plan. A plan that will give answers and restore it to full working conditions in no or little time in the case of the worst case scenario.

Improve performance: Save the Request and Use Signed Cookies

These are 2 ideas that I have just heard on a presentation. To gain performance with your application, save the requests (dont worry much with pageload) and use a signed cookie to autenticate uses instead of checking the sessions.

The save the requests concept is pretty simple: If you browser already cached something, unless you really need to reload that file, save that request and let it cached. For example, don’t change an image name or add an identifier to a css file unless strictly needed. That will save a request, therefore gaining performance.

The signed cookie is an interesting concept. If you take a look, the read time to the database (or cache mechanism) to check if the use is authenticated is greater than your application checking for a signed cookie. Read the cookie and if is there, authenticate the user.

I really did like these 2 ideas and probably will start using them on my apps. Anyway, sharing the tip.

Good old site restored

I was a bit bored today and decided to clean up and change my good old site – mcloide.com. No PHP only some Twitter Bootstrap and Jquery. Very simple, very direct and totally clean. Give it a check. http://www.mcloide.com

User requirements

Somedays you just read a piece of creativity and brilliance that is worth to share. Got this one from Twitter (RT) that I have translated to the proper english.

The platypus is a duck that the programmer created by following requirements given by the user.

To add to that: Bugs is what we fix so the platypus can be back a duck 🙂

10 Truths about PHP and Web development

Yeah, that is Murphy when he discovered the law

When developing web applications there are some real “insights” that might help you and all of them applicable to PHP developing.

Check them out:

  1. “In Science Failure is always a option” – Adam Savage fro MythBusters
  2. Take your time and do it right from the 1st time
  3. Contradiction and Irony had a case and created the Murphy’s Law which kicks both rules above through space
  4. A missing semicolon will break your script
  5. There is such thing as error logs and they exist to be checked
  6. The only real configuration for error logging in PHP.INI on a development machine is E_ALL
  7. The project will be launched before the due time and with a considerable amount of bugs
  8. Usability is never considered on project development time
  9. So is real testing done by testers and not developers
  10. For the last, and the most important of all, when everything fails, stop, grab a coffee, chill for a minute and you will see on the monitor that missing semicolon that you weren’t seeing.

Even knowing that most of these truths I have treated as jokes, in a real project and in the “real world” these actually happens. Just keep in mind the first 5 “truths” while developing a project and all will be good.

Have fun!

All about mobile development

For everyone that is crazy about mobile development, the issue of March 2010 of the PHPArch Magazine, a great article holds great information about advanced development with WURFL, one of the best methods of mobile device detection that is available.

Excellent reading: http://www.phparch.com/magazine/2010/march/

Dynamic Design

I was searching for a Jquery plugin today when I bumped into this Blog. What did call my attention on this blog was the mouse over event that is on the header (the guy cartoon) of the blog.

With  very little, it brings a very cool dynamics to the site, making it much more interactive.

Besides being a great place to search Jquery stuff, this has a top A interactive design. Check it out: http://marcgrabanski.com

New resources

Happy Friday everybody ….

2 New resources for you to check out:

  1. Javascript Bookmarklets
  2. Zend Framework and Firebug – Log PHP warning, errors and exceptions

Don’t forget also of the PHPArch Free Webcast today about Running PHP on Windows with Hank Jansen and Zack Owens.

Have fun .. .

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