Function References and Runtime Functions in PHP 5

Well, it’s the final hour of the final day, so it’s time for my weekly mandatory blog post. I was going to counter-rant a hack-job post and call the author a chump as much as my fingers could muster. But I was told that “Chump!” three hundred times is not a blog post. As I was thinking of other topics to write about I realized two things. First, no one cares that much about Lindsay Lohan anymore. Second, I have a hard time deciding what to do.

But it is this distinct lack of commitment that, while being so destructive to my personal relationships, has brought me into a rarely discussed nether-region of PHP functionally: function references and lambda functions. The sad thing is there isn’t really either in the language – at least not what you’re thinking of if you just read “function references” and “lambda functions” and though, “Oh yeah! Those are awesome!”. No, I’m going to talk about the dark and shameful ways in which we make do without these features in PHP. That feeling you just got? It’s called excitement. Actually, it’s probably indigestion, but get it checked out anyway. All good? Follow us after the jump for a look into the depths of PHP 5.

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Posted in: Development

The Software I Use

Chris is threatening to take away my shiny new workstation if I don’t make a blog post, and while we’ve got some interesting stuff in the pipeline, it’s not quite ready yet. Instead, I will make one of those generic posts that every blogger at some point makes: the list of software I use.

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Posted in: Cool Stuff

Effectively boost your organic search results & make money: Blogging for SEO LOLs and $$$s

We suggest to every client we have, no matter their business or their market, to blog often about what they know. (When they don’t know much, we tell them to fake it.) <nearly-self-evident statement> Blogs are a powerful way to boost your search engine results and to drive further organic traffic to your site. </nearly-self-evident statement> I bring you through all the tasty details after the jump.

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Posted in: Development

VW plans 235mpg car…made out of popsicle sticks..

Ok, so maybe not popsicle sticks, rather magnesium and carbon fiber. Anywho, this prototype is slated for production by 2010..which is quite soon. As always, I am all for getting off our dependency on fossil fuels but I don’t think that ultra efficient cars and alternative fuel sources are going to help all that much.

Yes, they are steps in the right direction but I think that the big change we need will not happen until the American people change their minds about the concept of excess and greed.

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Posted in: Rants

Adventures of a Summer Intern: Volume I

Bob asked me to make weekly blog posts outlining what I learn as an intern here at at Synapse Studios, therefore, I will commence my weekly installments. Hopefully these posts will be slightly interesting to those who wish to read and the cliché title is not too much of a deterrent.

Some of the main reasons I wanted to work here was to learn more about enterprise level web development and to learn how to work in a team. The first week has been very educational. I have been exposed to a myriad of new software and ideas. As an intern I am stowed away in the corner of the office and given slightly more mundane tasks than the rest of the group, but even these assignments have proven to be valuable to me.

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Posted in: Cool Stuff, Development

Cause of the WordPress bug identified

Previously, we discussed a WordPress bug and our temporary workaround for it. I am glad to say that we have identified the root of the problem and have been able to come up with a better solution. Apparently WordPress’ auto-save function is not a fan of a character set of anything other than UTF-8. We had changed it through the administration interface via Settings -> Reading to be ISO-8859-1. When we changed it back, it seems that posting works happily again without the truncating issue that was happening before.

This would seem like a fairly large problem and I am very surprised that it hasn’t been identified and resolved before now. After we tracked down the cause of the problem, I ran a quick search and was able to turn up this topic covering the same problem on an older version of WordPress. Seeing that this problem existed in at least version 2.3.2, I can’t fathom why it didn’t make the cut for things to fix for the 2.5 release.

At any rate, I sincerely hope that this is something that is addressed in the very near future so that we can switch back to the ISO character set.

Posted in: Rants

AjaxDaddy.com: Making it easy to jazz up your UI

There are plenty of resources for code snippets and quick-and-dirty ways to accomplish all sorts of things in JavaScript. Back before AJAX achieved any sort of prominence, they were all form validators, alert systems, calculators and the like. Now that AJAX has hit the “Web 2.0″ scene in a big way, (in large part typifying the “Web 2.0″ application interface) more and more users are clamoring for ways to add those cheeky interface elements that they see on Flickr and elsewhere to their own attempts at the web.

We make pretty heavy use of YUI and occasional use of Prototype and Scriptaculous, all various forms of JavaScript frameworks/libraries that save us time and effort by packaging up neat effect calls and components into easily digestible chunks, while making the JS we write sane again.

The script samples here don’t do any of that cool stuff but they provide a quick and dirty starting point with some nice guidance to get in there and start AJAXing your site.

Worth a look, at least, but perhaps only if you have *some* familiarity with JavaScript basics. No? Alright, dive right in. Just be sure to test across browsers.

AjaxDaddy.com via Lifehacker

Posted in: Cool Stuff, Design

Why you should ALWAYS Google potential employees before hiring them

Meet our new intern, Jeremy Lindblom:

Now, we always Facebook and MySpace (which I refuse to link to) search anyone we’re considering hiring. But for some reason, a proper Google search completely escaped my mind. Until now.

I’m just saying that we could’ve made his first day (nay, even just the *interview*) considerably more fun (for us) if we, say, dressed as Goombas or other Mario arch-nemeses.

It should be totally obvious by now that you need to be fully aware of your social networking identity, as your potential hires, clients, inamorata and life partners can, will and SHOULD do at the very least a cursory background check by making sure there’s nothing absolutely terrifying or bizarre about your personality before, well, getting into bed with you. Or, in this case, a useful source of mockery for the next three months.

Posted in: People

Building your web development blog feeds: 30 sites to follow

Six Revisions has a great piece on 30 websites to follow if you’re into web development, complete with cute little screenshots that let you judge, near-fully, the quality of each site on the merits of its cover, instead of having to actually click through. (I kid.)

Among them are classics like Ajaxian, the O’Reilly Network and a bunch of others that you’ve probably not heard of but should definitely check out. (And a few we weren’t too familiar with, either.)

30 Websites to follow if you’re into Web Development | Six Revisions via Digg

Posted in: Development

Magento: A New Open Source Shopping Cart Solution

A good amount of shopping these days is done online, but any developer knows that creating eCommerce websites is not a simple or mundane task. To cook up your own solution can take months of designing, coding, testing and headaches and there is no guarantee that you, your client, or your client’s customers will really benefit from your labors. [Reinventing the wheel is a bad habit we broke ourselves of a couple of years ago when we realized smart open source solutions could be built upon and expanded with great success.—Ed]

At the heart of these eCommerce websites naturally lies the shopping cart. There have been many attempts by both commercial and open source developers to create solutions that can be ported from one project to another. There are literally hundreds of shopping carts available for developers to incorporate into their applications and websites. Instead of talking about several of them and discussing their glories and pitfalls, allow me to present one of the newest shopping cart applications which we think has a great deal of potential.

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Posted in: Cool Stuff, Development, Tech News