There’s a new blog in town and it’s not just any blog. This one I helped slap together with my bare hands, from virtual scratch, spending the last few months giving it all the loving care I’d normally squander on mere humans. It’s a thing of beauty if I do say so my self.
Why the gloating about a blogging site when blogging is supposed to be dead? Well, as a number of pundits concur blogging is far from kicking up daisies and is in fact part of a well rounded marketing mix for just about any online endeavor. So while it’s definitely maturing it’s still a vital element in this whole wacky web thingy and, so, it needs to be addressed as such. Which I think my programming cohort, Kurt Miller, and I have done by creating our own blogging software using PHP and Zend Framework.
What Were They Thinking?
That in its self might seem a bit strange to the blog-savvy since there are at least dozens if not hundreds of blogging platforms out there, just about every one of which is free. Why expend all the effort to write another one?
Because Kurt wanted to sharpen up his PHP/ZF skills, basically. He hadn’t done a major PHP project for about 4 years (eons in tech terms) and the ZF version he was using at the time was still creeping up on its initial v1.0 release so it seemed meet that he should jump into the new world order with both feet on a full blown project, just not on some poor client’s dime. And a blog has all the moving part that you’re going to find in any web application as well as well defined resources like tutorials, libraries, code examples, etc. so that he could come up to speed at a descent clip. All good, right?
So how did I get roped into this? After all, my PHP was limited to hacking on WordPress functions and widgets and I had no ZF experience at all. But, for the time being, I’m living under his roof, the rent is ridiculously reasonable, work has been very slow and, finally, he asked for my help. He thought our two heads would be well suited to getting the project up and running in less than half the time. So I decided to jump in with him.
As it turns out he was right, of course. Being able to bounce our ideas and stumbling points off each other made a tremendous difference as we put the site together in just a few months from scratch. I got the deep-immersion treatment with PHP which, when push comes to shove, is a lot like most other mature languages and its OOP support is very nice (it seems such was not always the case; lucky me!) so I caught on pretty quickly. The Zend Framework on the other hand was quite the experience due to the fact that you can do the same thing about 14 different ways while the documentation, while abundant, is all over the board. It made for some interesting learning curves. So interesting in fact that we came up with the name, Your Moment of Zend, in a moment of pure snarky sarcasm. As you can see then name stuck.
And there you go, version 1.0 of whatever we’re going to call the application. The mad rush to get it up and running has left some details on the todo list, a project name being one of them. And there are other items on the list too. You’ll notice that, like a parent, I referred to the site as, “a thing of beauty.” Actually looking at it you will assume that, like a parent, I just can’t see the defects. Yeah, well, a more in-depth investigation in to color schemes is on the list too but at least all the colors are covered in SASS variables so once we get there it will be easy to change. Just let us have our illusions while we can, thank you very much. Also on the list is posting the entire source up on github.com to share all of the gems and hard earned lessons we’ve learned putting this beasty together, refactoring the entire site for mobile and to continue tweaking and improving on an ongoing basis.
We don’t plan on making a career out of the site or the software but we won’t let it flounder in a ditch either. That would be a terrible way to treat my first born.