What's In Chris' Brain - December 2010 Edition

Blogger's block is a real thing people -- especially when you feel like you are not accomplishing anything that you can share. Here are some of the things bouncing around in my brain.

User Groups

I'm giving a talk for the GTA PHP User Group on Test Driven Development using PHP on December 6th at Longbranch Coworking. If you're in the Greater Toronto Area, I'd love to see you come out and watch me talk about how TDD helps restore my sanity.

No matter what language you use, you should seek out your local user group if one exists. Nowhere else will you find people who (a) use the language or tools you are interested in and (b) willing to commit the time to meeting people with similar interests. I got to meet CakePHP lead developer Mark Story at the last one, so you never know who might show up.

CodeMash 2010

I'm super-excited to be speaking at CodeMash 2011 in January 2011. Even better, the whole family is coming with me so they can play at the ginormous indoor water park at the resort where the conference is being held while I'm geeking out. I'll be giving a TDD and Continuous Integration talk (don't know what day or what time yet) and I will try and record the talk as a screencast to share with everyone who couldn't make it. If you don't already have a ticket, you are out of luck as the conference is completely sold out. In fact, it sold out in just THREE-AND-A-HALF DAYS. That's incredible.

PHP application deployment

I've talked before how I used Phing to deploy stuff at work. It works just fine, but I always found it annoying that I had to connect to a server via SSH to get things done. I haven't been able to block off a bunch of time to come up with a better solution, but I think someone else has. The creator of PHP, Rasmus Lerdorf, has open-sourced a web-based deployment solution he created for use at WePay. All the code is available on GitHub. It suddenly seems more important to me to set aside some time to fix the current deployment situation at work...

Books you should check out

During my blogging silence I have been reading books and watching presentations and/or reading slides. Some fiction (I love my sci-fi and historical fiction) but mostly programming-related. Here is some stuff you should take a look at:

  • "Designing Social Interfaces" by Christian Crumlish & Erin Malone
  • "Seven Languages in Seven Weeks" by Bruce Tate
  • Literally *any* presentation by Christian Heillman, currently an evangelist at Mozilla. Looking at his presentations flipped some switch in my brain and I'm looking at things totally differently.
  • All 6 of the Scott Pilgrim books