Recently in Web Development (July ’12 Edition)
Web development is an industry that's in a state of constant flux with technologies and jargon changing and mutating in an endless cycle. Not to mention the sheer deluge of information one has to process everyday.
In this series, published monthly, we'll seek to rectify this by bringing you all the important news, announcements, releases and interesting discussions within the web development industry in a concise package. Join me after the jump!
News and Releases
All of the important news in a single place: releases, announcements, companies bickering, security issues and all related hoopla.
PHP Gets a Lot of Hate and Praise, Simultaneously
Oh, PHP. It's been web developers' favorite punching bag for a long time now. Every few months or so, a blog post will go up criticizing PHP and then a bunch of posts will appear both defending and attacking PHP.
Well, we're in the middle of one of those cycles. I've linked to just a few related posts below.
In a bit of tangential news, Google has now launched its internet service in a select few cities. The upshot? Free internet plans available and the paid plans go up to a full gigabit. Color me impressed!
While it's not entirely clear how soon this will spread around, or if at all, it's a welcome move away from the tyranny of our current ISPs. Oh, did I mention Fiber is going to be data uncapped? I'm truly envious of the people who are indeed going to get this service first.
With PHP 5.4 just crossing our rear view mirrors, talks of 5.5 may sound too premature. But the mailing lists are already ablaze with improvements for the next version of the language that runs the web.
One enterprising developer has taken it to himself to give us all a sneak peek at what PHP 5.5 could potentially look like. There's a lot of surprising information in there, so make sure to check it out if you're a PHP aficionado.
With all the cool kids using Vim, Vi or Sublime Text 2, it's easy to forget that plenty of other incredibly capable IDEs exist as well.
One of my favorites is Netbeans. Earlier this month, version 7.2 dropped with a ton of new features including support for the fresh new version 5.4 of PHP and much more.
Systems that identify individual users and the internet really don't mesh in together that well. It's a clash of ideologies, as it were. But as the internet itself evolves, a strong case can be made for the use of a non-intrusive and optional identity system.
There have been a few attempts at this and Mozilla is back in the news this time with its own attempt, named Persona. I'm sure you're itching for more information so make sure to hit the link below for more information.
PHP is an easy language to learn but not as easy to master. This site/dynamic ebook is "an easy-to-read, quick reference for PHP best practices, accepted coding standards, and links to authoritative tutorials around the Web."
If you're a beginner PHP developer who's looking to step his game up, this is a great place to start. You'll get a great outline of the best practices, testing setups and deployment routines -- all important topics for the modern web developer.
Flash itself may be dead but the rich API and the legion of developers associated with it have no where to go. This project aims to bridge the gap between Flash and the open web by creating an API that's highly compatible with that of Flash.
New Kids on the Block
As web developers, the sheer amount of resources we can tap into increases exponentially with time. Here is just a quick look at some recently created resources that deserve your attention -- everything from new books to scripts and frameworks.
Yeoman is a robust and opinionated client-side stack, comprised of tools and frameworks that can help developers quickly build beautiful web applications. Note: It's not officially available yet but stay tuned.
Backbone UI provides a simple way to represent your Backbone Models and Collections as UI components. The need to shuffle data in and out of your UI is replaced with simple data binding techniques. All components are skinnable with CSS, and will render consistently accross browsers.
Walrus is a templating library inspired by mustache, handlebars, ejs and friends, but with a couple of important differences in philosophy and style.
A MIT licensed collection of extremely useful DOM helpers and special events for jQuery 1.7
Repo.js is a light-weight jQuery Plugin that lets you easily embed a Github repo onto your site. As a plugin or library author this is a great way to showcase the contents of a repo on a project page.
Rivets.js is a declarative data binding facility that plays well with existing frameworks such as Backbone.js, Spine.js and Stapes.js. It aims to be lightweight (1.4KB minified and gzipped), extensible, and configurable to work with any event-driven model.
HTTPie is a CLI HTTP utility built out of frustration with existing tools. Its goal is to make CLI interaction with HTTP-based services as human-friendly as possible. HTTPie provides an http command that allows for issuing arbitrary HTTP requests using a simple and natural syntax, and displays colorized responses.
Best of the Internet
Often, you're not really looking for a tutorial as much as you're looking for a rant, an opinion or the musings of a tired developer or just something cool with absolutely zero real world use. This sections contains links to precisely those -- interesting and cool stuff from the developer community.
Feeling a little out of place with all the changes happening in the web development world at a break neck pace? This great little article will help you catch up!
MVC is the predominant architecture for web apps. The author, Conrad, argues for a slighly modified architecture that hopes to address all of MVC's shortcomings.
Writing apps based on jQuery and Backbone tend to look quite different. And of course, it takes completely different mindsets to write them in the first place.
In this writeup, you'll learn how to convert a block of jQuery powered actions to ones that run on Backbone. It's a very simple example and I'm sure it'll get you on the right path towards transitioning to a Backbone oriented mindset.
To wrap up this news piece, here's one last article whining/praising PHP. This time its from Marco, Instapaper's author.
Well, that's about all the major changes that happened in our industry lately.
Do you want us to cover more standard news? A focus on upcoming scripts maybe? Or just more interesting posts and discussions from the community? Let us know in the comments and thank you so much for reading!