Leaving SoftLayer

For those that know me, you know I’ve been working here at SoftLayer for about the last year and a half. I’ve definitely enjoyed my time here, it’s time to move on. My last day here will be a week from today. Following that I’ll be moving over to another local Dallas company called iSight Partners where I’ll be using some of the skills I’ve learned here at SoftLayer to help improve their current application set and create new, easier ways for their customers to consume the reports and data the company generates.

Here’s a description of the company from their website:

iSIGHT Partners specializes in physical, electronic and human intelligence services. We provide reliable and actionable threat intelligence to our clients’ security and fraud investigation teams, which helps them proactively counteract all phases of criminal electronic and physical attacks against digital assets.

Our suite of products complements our customers’ Risk Mitigation Teams by alerting them to emerging threats that require action and providing guidance during critical incidents. Our intelligence sources help IT teams prioritize their workflow and ensure that they are working on the most important threats and vulnerabilities first. (They can work hard on an issue all day, but if it’s not the right issue, their time is wasted and your company is put at risk.)

I’d also like to publicly thank a few folks at SoftLayer before I go:

  • First off my team who’ve taught me a lot about not only the technology we use but how to be (and not be) a leader: Stephen Johnson, Dan Hudlow, Adam Shaw, Varrence Minor, Allan Siongco, Richard Morgan, Shahmir Noorani, Steve Bartnesky, Kevin Holland, Diana Harrelson, Theo Shu and our epic QA folks – David Borne, Jaime Barriga, Reynaldo Guzman and Janeth Paredes.
  • Next comes Duke Skarda who has graciously allowed the Dallas PHP User Group to meet here at the SoftLayer offices (and provided us with food and drinks everytime!)
  • To Logan Reese and Kelly Morphis for mentoring me when I started with the company and for being there as excellent sources with all the answers

If you’re looking around for a good PHP shop to work at in the Dallas area, you’d do well to take a look at the openings that SoftLayer currently has (personally I suggest the “Interface Development” option…that’s the group I’ve been working in and it’s been a fun one).


One ToDo list to rule them all?

Okay, so _ I’m going to put this out there so I can get some feedback. I’m looking for a good To Do list manager with a few criteria:

  • I’d love for it to have desktop software that would sync with the site (or some other resource) and allow me offline access to the lists
  • It needs to be able to prioritize items
  • It should definitely allow main and sub-categories (one level of categories? that’s crazy talk)
  • The desktop software would need to be cross-platform (pc & mac) – maybe an AIR client?
  • Bonus points if it allows sharing between users or just public access to the lists (RSS?)
  • Mobile support is cool, but not required

I like the simplicity of some of the tools out there, but none of them seem to meet what I’m looking for. Is there anyone out there that’s come across something like this? It’s driving me nuts that there’s not one that’ll fit my needs.

The times, they are a-changin’

Let’s get the exciting part of this post out of the way first – as of today I will be leaving Atmos Energy and will be starting at JWT on Monday the 19th!

I’ve been with Atmos for what seems like forever – this is my eighth year here – and I have grown so much in those years. I’ve come from a developer that barely knew OOP and couldn’t design pattern his way out of a paper bag to someone completely different. If you had asked me back in 2002 if I’d be writing articles, running an open source project and have had a few speaking notches under my belt, I would have thrown an Oracle manual at you (which was all new to me at the time). I’ve learned about best practices, fought my own battles with both code and things more on the human interaction level (I hadn’t worked in a large office before this) and have come a long way as a developer.

Atmos has provided me with an environment to make all of this possible – they’ve been receptive to my requests for training and conferences and for letting me try out new things and technologies. I’ve done things here that I can’t say I’ll so at other companies like write applications to interface directly with gas systems and work with huge customer databases (1.5 million customers over 13 states).

Unfortunately, over the last months I’ve become more and more aware that I’ve grown a bit too comfortable in my current skills. You know how it is – you do the same kinds of things over and over (and over) that you get used to doing that thing and not so much developing the applications you know you could. This is a big reason why I’m making the move. I’ve been doing the “gas applications” for a good while now and I wanted some place where I could stretch back out and really get back into a more real form of development. I think that JWT can offer me that so I’ll be starting there two weeks from today.

Thanks to all of you who have supported me in my job hunt, it definitely means a lot! Oh, and if you know of any good PHP developers (Oracle experience a plus) in the Dallas area looking for a job – let me know. I know recommendations would always be appreciated!

Speaking at php|tek 2009 – “No Really, It’s All About You”

Now that the schedule is official and all, I suppose I can post about it – I’m going to be presenting at this year’s php|tek conference (in Chicago) on a developer-centric approach to frameworks – No Really, It’s All About You. Here’s the summary:

You’ve heard it all before – this framework can do this, this other one can do it faster. The lists of features and comparisons go on and on, but there’s one thing those lists forget – the human element.

Frameworks are only as good as the developers using them and in this talk I’ll focus on these developers and how they interact with the tools. How easy is it to create an application in CodeIgniter? What kinds of things does Solar make simpler than others? Is the Zend Framework the best choice for some of the more ‘business applications’?

I’ll take a developer-centric approach to four popular PHP frameworks: CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Solar and the Zend Framework. Topics include speed of application development, how simple they make the simple things and maybe a few benchmarks thrown in for fun.

This will be my first time presenting at a conference and, really, my first time up in front talking about a technology topic. I haven’t had much experience in public speaking so a lot of it will be new to me. Oh well – what’s life for if not for taking those big jumps into the unknown.

So sign up already and come out to Chicago to see myself and lots of other qualified speakers talk about Subversion, streams, the SPL, security and much more…

Deploying PHP Applications?

So, a question for everyone out there – we’re looking to do a bit of an overhaul for our build and release system and I was wondering what kind of setups you all out there had for your releases?

I’ve seen all sorts of different things (including a version control->rsync to production push and a fully CruiseControled push for everything) but I wanted to hear back from you fellow PHPers out there as to the kind of stuff you’re using. We’re looking to try to keep it open sourceish stuff, so suggestions down that line would be best but we’re pretty open.

I don’t have much experience with a more formalized build process but we’re coming up against a need to separate out the responsibilities a bit more.

What do you use for your build (and deployment) process for your PHP applications and websites?

Twitter Updates for 2008-04-23

  • @ramsey: did you ever get that "too many requests" issue solved with spaz? #
  • work you damn jquery selector! i command thee! #
  • @funkatron on spaz? every time I fire it up I get that "too many API requests" message after a few seconds #
  • @funkatron @ElizabethN trying the passowrd thing first… #
  • hmm, interesting – an onclick on an anchor and an onclick on a div firing at the same time #
  • @jeichorn nice! #
  • @ElizabethN heh…me too…wonder what it was #
  • okay, this cough is officially getting old #
  • grr….slow people– #
  • how many dbas does it take to check permissions on a sequence…(apparently 3) #
  • @elazar heheh #
  • i ❤ #