Upcoming Panel on The Future of PHP

On November 17, Engine Yard will host a discussion around the future of PHP. Engine Yard describes the event, “If you are a PHP developer using PEAR and Pyrus, we invite you to join us this week as we explore the future of PEAR and Pyrus. We’ll be discussing issues such as where PEAR/Pyrus will be going in the next few years, what obstacles may be on the horizon, and how they’re going to get where they’re going.”

One of the panelists is Till Klampäckel who many of you know as one of the people who worked with HTMLCenter for many years. Till also just published a book (in German) about the database service CouchDB which you can purchase on Amazon.de.

The panel is free, will be streamed live and the panel will take questions via Twitter. If you are interested, you can register for the event here.

CodeIgniter 2.0 Released

Back in late 2008, I wrote about my first experience using the CodeIgniter framework. Since then, I’ve enjoyed using the framework with PHP — it reminds me of my days programming in ColdFusion.

Today EllisLab and the CodeIgniter team have released the 2.0.0 version of CodeIgniter.

Here’s a list of the main changes from 1.7.3 to 2.0.0:

  • Support for PHP 4 is gone, PHP 5.1 is now a requirement.
  • CSRF Protection built into the form helper
  • Drivers
  • Application Packages
  • Scaffolding, having been deprecated for a number of versions, has been removed.
  • Removed the deprecated Validation Class.
  • Plugins have been removed, in favor of Helpers.
  • Added routing overrides to the main index.php file, enabling the normal routing to be overridden on a per “index” file basis.
  • Added $route[‘404_override’] to allow 404 pages to be handled by controllers.
  • 50+ bugs fixed

They also note that this new 2.0.0 version has moved CodeIgniter into a, “much more community-oriented framework than it has been in the past.”

I can’t wait to play with the new version and try out some of the new features and functions.

Amazon Lowers Prices for Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances

Amazon’s Web Services division has announced a new pricing model for EC2 reserved instances today. The reserved instances offering launched earlier this year and is basically a pre-paid option for the EC2 service. Amazon offers a lower rate in return for you locking into a one or three year contract.

From what I can tell, the pricing dropped quite a bit (some in the comments say 30%) – for example:

  • small instance one year price dropped from $325 to $227.50 and three year price dropped from $500 to $350

There’s no doubt that Amazon wants to own the web services market and continuing to provide more service for lower prices keeps the momentum moving forward. Check out my notes from the Amazon web services seminar earlier this year.

CGForms First Beta Released

Over the last few years, I have been slowly working on developing a series of PHP classes to handle Web forms. I have finally got enough of the code together and in a portable format to feel comfortable releasing it to the public. The project is called CGForms, is hosted on SourceForge and is completely open and free.

CGForms is intended to make things easier and provide a process for PHP developers to churn out Web forms without having to worry about writing complex processing and validating scripts over and over again. CGForms offers a centralized codebase from which all of your forms are generated, validated and processed (by sending results through e-mail – using HTMLMimeMail5 – and/or saving them to a database).

Tips for Boosting Conversions

ClickTaleThe team at ClickTale have released a report from data they gathered from users of the ClickTale service. The report highlights tips for boosting conversions on blogs and ecommerce websites.

Some of the tips include:

  • read this and win
  • visualize it
  • put the most important content on top
  • make content pop
  • you ask too much
  • test – repair – retest

Online Audiences and the Paradox of Web Traffic

If you are as much of an analytics nut as I am, then the video below is for you. It features Dr Matthew Hindman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Arizona State University discussing online analytics. Dr. Hindman uses a variety of data from Hitwise to go very deep into the true analytics and much further than a basic web report.

From the overview, "Using three years of daily Web traffic data, and new models adapted from financial mathematics, this talk examines large-scale variation in Web traffic. These data show that Web traffic is highly heteroskedastic, with smaller sites having orders of magnitude more variation in the relative number of visitors they receive. These consistent patterns allow us to provide reasonable estimates of how likely it is Google will still be the most visited US site a year from now".

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