A Shiny BlackBerry Pearl?

So I’ve been thinking about upgrading my cell phone for a little bit now (stupid tempting ads in the mail) and I’ve been looking around for something I thought would make a nice upgrade from my current flip-phone. What I really wanted was something with a bit more power so I took a look at the PDA/Smartphone category on my provider’s website. There were some nice ones on there (expensive ones too) but the one that really caught my eye was this one:

I’ve been using a BlackBerry (older model) at work and have found it pretty easy to use. The one for work is a bit bigger and older, so the slightly smaller size of the Pearl would be nice. The only problem I’ve come across, though, is the differing opinions as to the quality of the phone and things like battery life, signal strength, etc. I’ve seen a lot of people on forums swear by them and, two threads down, people cursing them after having to exchange them four times already.

Has anyone out there had any experience with these phones? Are they worth making the upgrade to or should I just walk on by?

Some “Why Won’t Solar Work” Tips

With more and more people installing and using Solar all the time, theres some questions that get asked quite a bit. I wanted to help with some of those questions by providing some simple answers here. Here we go…

  • Tip #1 – Be sure that you have your App directory correctly set in the configuration file. If you don’t add it to your front controller Classes setting, Solar has no idea where to find it.
  • Tip #2 – Class names on the controllers are important! Be sure it follows the directory tree like Project_App_Controller. Also be sure you’re extending the right thing. I usually use a Base controller/setup to provide an overarching “global” place to put things (like a layout) and extend that, so it’s usually “extends Project_App_Base”
  • Tip #3 – You can change the values that the Solar_Form login functionality uses to trigger the automagic login process by setting it in the adapter for your authentication object (like a Solar_Auth_Adapter_Sql) via the process_login and process_logout values.
  • Tip #4 – Be sure to include everything you need to get to “magically” through Solar in the set_include_path in the front controller. For example, you can add in another directory with external libraries so that in your application, you can just call it and let the __autoload handle it.
  • Tip #5 – You might get some complaints from Solar about not having a “sql” object it can work with. I good way to handle this is to check in your _setup function of your controllers to see if there’s one registered. If not, make one with a factory call and register it for the framework’s use: Solar_Registry::set(‘sql’, Solar::factory(‘Solar_Sql’));

Solar Makes Its Move – The Path to 1.0

In case you’ve missed it, big things are happening over at the Solar camp. Paul and the crew are getting close to the big stable release that’s been a long time coming for one of the best PHP5 frameworks out there. I picked up on Solar a while back and didn’t find it fitting my needs at the time. I came back, though, when looking for something besides CakePHP and the Zend Framework and am quite happy I did.

Solar is a great, full-featured framework and, according to the modest Paul Jones, has “at least 80% of everything you would need to build a web-based and cli-based application” in PHP. Personally, I haven’t found very much (small things really) that I needed that weren’t in the framework. Even better is that a lot of these have been added in preparation for the upcoming 1.0 release – things like the Model functinoality and updates to the Solar_Sql package to make lots of lives easier. There’s all sorts of fun things with the new models (check out the wiki for tips on its use) including magic things like: “fetchAllByStatus(1, $params) -> in this case, ‘fetchAllByStatus’ doesn’t exist, and the model will return all records with status 1″ (as per moraes).

If you’re looking around for a framework to try out, head over and give Solar a look – there’s never been a better time to get started with it. Nothing like a 1.0 to get people excited!

Many thanks to Paul and his fellow framework developers for putting together one of the best systems out there.

Let the countdown to 1.0 begin…