Mayflower Barcamp: Developing a PHP extension for Skype

At the Mayflower Barcamp a few weeks ago we had a very interesting and promising project: Develop a PHP extension for communication with Skype. Actually, this project was a merge between two projects: One was to „develop a PHP extension“ – five out of six project members never had written any PHP extension or did any PHP core development before. The other project was the Skype extension, with the goal to have a new PHP function that could send a chat message to a given Skype profile. Weiterlesen

Moerfelden from an exhibitor’s view

As regards the conference content, Continuous Integration and Quality Assurance with all kinds of sub topics like Testing, Debugging, Code Reviews and Security were topics relevant in a couple of sessions and workshops. Well, PHP is getting more and more matured.

The keynotes were all worth mentioning, particularly Zak Greant who ended in pointing out a few domains where the deployed software should be controllable by everybody who’s able to read source when talking about literal machines. That was a clear statement for the use of open source software in many areas.
His talk included parts of the history of human life which was very entertaining.

Probably for most techies (and especially php techies) the short abstract about the grown up Personal Home Page Tools by Derick Rethans was of more practical concern.
Derick also concluded with test driven development. In the third keynote Bill W. Scott showed lots of very nice (and some bad ;-) visual features of user experiences
in some of the web projects he was involved in.

The hotel was quite nice, unfortunately its location feels like somewhere in the middle of nowhere, nothing of interest is within walking distance. The space in the basement level where the small exhibition was hosted was a bit cramped, the corridors were too crowded in-between the sessions. In the sessions the conference technicians probably didn’t expect that many MacBook owners, so those adapters to connect DVI-only MacBooks to the video projectors where short in supply.

For the second time, Zend has brought in lots of comfy sofas to create their lounge which I still think is a very smart move. The catering was quite ok most of the time (except for the VIP reception – Ludwigsburg earlier this year was much better). The same applies for the atmosphere at the casino night which was much more relaxed in Ludwigsburg. Probably this was due to the more varying mix of people because of the conference combination with the Webinale. I personally liked the addition of the foosball table (or do they always have it at the NH hotel?) and had some nice matches.

Creating desktop-like applications on the web

We recently were asked to make an offer to create a web based solution for a desktop software. Visually we only had some screenshots of the original desktop application. To make it easier for the customer to decide how a possible solution could look as a web application, we tried to create a prototype looking kind of similar to what his product looks like until now. Calls for Web2.0, don’t you think?

Here at Mayflower we have a lot of experience mainly with Prototype (and also with the mighty, prototype-based Scriptaculous) and Dojo. Although the documention of prototype seems more complete and easier accessible, Dojo is more mightful, and, yes, it’s an API ;-)

Dojo calls itself „the Open Source Javascript toolkit that makes professional web development better, easier, and faster.“ It’s licensed under the AFL and the BSD as well and is supported by the Dojo Foundation which list some of the big names in the industry as their sponsors and partners. Recently Sun joined the list of companies supporting the Dojo Foundation.

Dojo does not only contain widgets for flashy Web2.0 applications, but lots of different things to write real JavaScript applications (hm, isn’t that an antagonism ;-), with support for crytographic routines (dojo.crypto), linear algebra and other mathematical support (dojo.math). It also brings some new data structures out of the box (dictionary, FIFO, FILO).

To get a visual impression of what Dojo’s widgets are capable of so far, you should check out the „see it in action“
section on the Dojo website.

So we decided to create the prototype not using prototype but using Dojo (using the meanwhile deprecated 0.2.2 version) – sounds odd, he?