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TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

Garret Woodworth - CakePHP then, now and tomorrow (Opening keynote)

Beginning with an overview of the CakePHP project, changes and evolution of direction and development team members, Garret provided a great overview of where the project stands, and how it has grown to be as successful as it has today.

Garret gave a great description of the types of participation that are seen in open source teams, and these are relevant to CakePHP. He also described the attributes that make a good team member in such projects.

Contribution Levels:

 

  1. No effort (tickets are subimitted with little explanation)
  2. Some effort (well explain the ticket, and have attempted to reproduce the issue to confirm it)
  3. Attempted effort ("Some effort" with patch)
  4. Good Effort ("Some effort" with test case)
  5. Ultimate effort ("Some effort" with test case and patch)

Good team member attributes:

  1. Communicate often.
    1. To keep people motivated and interested on working for / with a project, its important to talk about what they want to work on, and what they feel they can assign some of their time to. Developing for open source shouldn't feel like "work".
  2. Show diffs of code, and get feedback to ensure the quality of work overall for the project is as high as it can be.
  3. Think longer about the problems faced, and as a result, write code faster.
  4. Details, Details, Details.
  5. Give back to the project more than you take from it.
  6. Think outside the box, and be creative.

CakePHP is growing, and the stats presented spoke for themselves, with America, Japan, India, France and Germany being the top countries at the moment in terms of hits on the CakePHP websites at the moment. This is resulting in 24% unique new visitors per month. A statistics that is truly extraordinary.

 

With the feature development and more developers available to the CakePHP Core Development Team, git has been implemented widely and is the future of version control for source code for the CakePHP project. This should ease feature development, and remove some of the pain associated with merging with Subversion.

Announcements!

Garret announced new versions of CakePHP, currently being actively developed by the CakePHP core development team. Version 1.3 is a Step up with several enhancements over 1.2. Most notably Bake, Session, Javascript changes, Inflector and some library renames. Deprecated methods were also removed. There is even a wiki page describing migration steps from 1.2, to help ease the transition.

CakePHP 2.0 was also announced. This is a huge move, stepping forward to drop PHP4 support, and move towards PHP5 Strict compliance, and much better Object Orientation and performance throughout. This new version is in active development,  but does not yet have a stable release for download.

code.cakephp.org was launched at the time of the Keynote, and is designed to consolidate systems. it's running on thechaw.com code, and uses git for the main projects. Its available now for everyone to use.

Closing things up, Garrett urged the community to "get involved". CakePHP isn't where it is today without the extensive help and support of the community. There are a number of ways that you can contribute, and he mentioned the following in particular:

 

  1. Interact with the community and the core developers.
  2. Get interested in Bakery 2.0 which is currently under development
  3. Plugins and Plugin Server
  4. Forks
  5. Join #cakephp-bakery on the IRC server

 

Latest articles

Simplicity is important - here’s why

When it comes to web design, simplicity is not valued enough. Simplicity is important - but why? Simplicity reduces navigation confusion, makes the website look more sophisticated and can help in increasing site conversions (sign ups, contacts). All too often, web designers tend to miss the point of simplicity and over do the amount of information given on a single page - the need to get everything across at once can seriously hinder how much a website visitor is able take in. Over complicated pages can lead to higher than average bounce rates or lower on-page conversions. We thought we’d share with you some top tips to simplify your website.

  • Keep things along the 80-20 rule
    • Use the Pareto principle which is that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This means taking away as much as you can from your design that will not lead to any type of conversion. Take things back to the bare essentials and make those work properly
  • Embrace few colors in your theme
    • Does a monochrome color scheme work for you? If not, try out as few colors as possible. Work towards a design that requires less effort for your website visitor to process. Fewer colors will also give your site a sleek, classic look
  • Keep copy short and sweet
    • Embrace compelling copy but keep things shorter and to the point. Make your point quickly and keep things easy-to-read by sticking to a few key points. Use shorter sentences, and keep paragraphs to a maximum of 3-4 sentences for easy reading.
  • Fix your navigation
    • Often many sites have over complicated and lengthy navigation options. Remember to include navigation to your list of things to simplify today. Keep important and key pages in your navigation bar. Remove excess clutter and keep all navigation menus visible. Other key things to keep in mind is the use of universal icons as well as ensuring a sitemap in your footer - these are all standard items that visitors look for.

How Much Does it Cost to Design a Site?

If you are in the market for a website or application, it can sometimes be daunting. Being unsure of where to start, which development firm to use or how much the whole process is going to cost you can be truly overwhelming. And then there are those horror stories of others, who selected a developer based solely on cost (the cheapest quote perhaps) and ended up majorly down the hole with their budgets, while owning a unfinished website. Whether you are in the market for a website application with a specific outline and goal, or have a rough idea of what you need your application to do, how do you go about finding the best selection for you? And then how do you know that whoever you select is going to deliver what you want and in the time frame that you need it? And then, not knowing how to code yourself, you can land up frustrated at not understanding the process - especially if your development team gives you the runaround. At CakeDC, we are committed to a transparent workflow - we've created our own git workflow (MIT license) and we've used it successfully with our clients for 3+ years and dozens of projects. We use it to accelerate growth and innovation providing the highest quality application development. What sets CakeDC apart from others is that our experts listen closely to your needs. Second, we formulate a roadmap of milestones based on your specifications. Third, we offer guidance while delivering the highest quality results in a fraction of other developer’s time, by doing things The Right Way™ So how much is it going to cost you? Well this is of course dependent on what you project scope includes, however, we will work with you in determining the best package to suit your requirements. You can check out all of our rates and packages here. Ready to get your project started? Reach out to our experts today to see how easy it can be to get your application up and running.

What your website users are trying to tell you

Every visitor to your website has a goal in mind - this may not be a conscious goal, but they are visiting your site for a reason. So listening to your users feedback is key to meeting their expectations! As a business owner, be sure to keep these in consideration and as a developer, be sure to pass these recommendations through to your clients. What are some things that users are trying to tell you and how do you find out? What and why is it Often people forget about the basics and fail to include what their product, service or business is. By excluding this vital information there will be users who will not know what the purpose of the page that they have stumbled upon is, but what to do next - and therefor bounce quickly off of your site. Where is your pricing information? If you are trying to sell something - a product or a service - be sure to include the price information as this is used by your visitor to determine their next action. Even if you are providing resources in return for their details, it is important to be clear. Where are those testimonials or reviews? Have others tried it People like to know that whatever they are investing money into is worth it - reviews or customer testimonials help to show your visitors what you can do. Be sure to add this information in a way that is easy for you visitors to find. Where can I sign up or contact you Another vital piece of information that many often forget is to let your visitors know how to signup and contact you. Perhaps you have chosen to hide your contact information due to spam bots or other issues faced, however, if you are in the business of recruiting clients, then be sure to have some form of contact information easily available to your visitors.
Not sure if you are missing anything? CakeDC, the experts behind CakePHP, offer a range of services including consulting, guiding you through the best practices with your CakePHP application.

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