CakeDC Blog

TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

Working with a company that embraces open source

I've done my fair share of working for closed and "open" companies. I've recently (in July 2011) clocked over two years working here at the Cake Development Corporation, and while attending the Open Source Developers Conference (2011) in Canberra, I have had some time to reflect on my experiences with the company, and my feelings regarding my work here.

Traditionally I have found that companies that claim to be pro-FOSS or open source companies are those that are making a profit, through the use of open source technologies. This is awesome. I love that the proliferation of open source software continues to grow and be adopted by traditionally closed, and proprietary software users. This produces better quality software for all of us.

While CakeDC produces a large quantity of client projects that are closed source, what we do have control over is the common reusable components that we use to build and produce web applications for our clients. These are developed and refined over a number of years, and have been a pillar in our success as a company. To be able to draw on years of experience through various developers and quickly build high quality, high performance websites continues to draw attention, referrals and interest from businesses and the community alike.

A decision made back in mid 2010, initially proposed by Larry Masters, our President, was to open source all of our plugins. This decision stirred a lot of discussion internally, and there were mixed opinions. While we each individually contribute to open source, speak about it at conferences, engage the community and promote open source, the concept of releasing all our internal code for public consumption for me was a little daunting. The decision was made, and we spent some time cleaning up code, making sure everything was documented and in a good state to release. You can now find all of our plugins and projects on the CakeDC Github Account.

The initial load of dealing with issues and support questions, emails and contact from the public was somewhat overwhelming. We deal with issues and features very well internally, but as the process is different to open source projects we contribute to, this produced a somewhat less productive period of time for us while we adjusted our work structure and organisation to accommodate our new open source projects. We now action issues, support requests and other contact from users in a timely manner, and are receiving new and useful commits to the repositories consistently from the community. Overall the experience has been a learning one, and a very positive one.

CakeDC support the staff and community in other ways. We are constantly sending staff to conferences both to speak and to attend. This allows us to talk more broadly about CakePHP, PHP in general, and other projects we use and are involved with. It also allows those attending the events from CakeDC a great opportunity to network, and learn from some of the more interesting and innovative minds of our time. This is something that we have come to do through the support of CakePHP, and through our newfound knowledge and experience in working with communities and projects openly.

Working with a company like CakeDC, embracing open source and supporting a community like CakePHP is extremely rewarding and equally challenging; and a job without challenges is not what that I would want to be involved in for any long period of time.

After speaking with many people working on awesome, interesting projects that are closed, or "not ready" to open source, I really count myself lucky to be working for a company that has embraced open source, contributed to the community, and demonstrates a dedication to supporting those projects and communities.

Latest articles

Payment integration, E-commerce made easy

With ecommerce trending, it may be the next step for your business. However, it can seem daunting - so where do you start?   Starting with basics, you need a website that will serve as a platform for your products - a good starting point is key. Perhaps your website is up and running, but you aren’t happy with it - why not do a redesign at the same time as doing payment integration. Be sure to discuss your needs with your development team.   Next is to ensure your product list is up to date and aligned with your ecommerce goals. With the ecommerce industry becoming so competitive, it's important to stand out - both with your products as well as with the overall user experience.   So your products stand out on your website, things are looking good! But having a functional payment processor is key to making those sales! Here are some key tips to ask your development team today!  

  • Before considering technical aspects, take consideration of the payment processing fees but be sure to pick a provider that is trusted by customers
  • Reference check your selection of payment gateway with your development team, will they be comfortable integrating this third party service with your site or do they have an alternative solution
  • Are you selecting a payment gateway that has been certified as safe and secure? By choosing one that is popular and trusted with customers will keep you on track for this requirement.
  • Is the payment gateway capable of accepting different payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards and others
  • Where are you planning to sell geographically via your ecommerce store? Is your payment gateway compatible with this geographical location? Some payment gateways are limited to certain countries - be sure to double check this before implementing the integration.
  • Should you chose to scale your business in the future, will your payment gateway be able to grow with you?
  Just remember, that whatever you choose to do with your ecommerce site, your payment integration should be as secure and smooth as possible. Chat to the expert team behind CakePHP today, to discuss how we can take your ecommerce integration to the next level. CakeDC is here to lead, so you can lead.  

Launching your new site? Read this first!

As exciting as launching a brand new website is, there are a lot of expectations that can be built up around it. Here are some top tips to not fall into the easy traps of launching your website   Don’t be a perfectionist It can be easy for some people to take the perfectionist view point when launching a new site. Rather focus on launching your website to its best and get feedback from testing and website visitors.   Doing it all yourself With the launch of your new site, it's important to delegate - make sure you have a expert team behind you so that you can manage your business and end goals. CakeDC, the experts behind CakePHP, believe in this philosophy - we lead, so you can lead.   Create a launch plan, now! If you do not have a plan for your launch, then the time is now! With research and strategy building, your launch will have direction, while reaching the right audience. Write everything down and be sure to share it with your team.   Linking to all Social media platforms With social media becoming an important way to reach out and talk to potential clients, it is key to ensure that you link your social media accounts to your websites and visa versa.   Have you tested? Testing is another key part to the success of your new site’s launch. Be sure to not miss this step. Not sure how to properly test your site? Here’s a great checklist to check out. From how to test elements such as HTML, CSS, security and performance through to SEO and accessibility, this checklist will guide you along best practices when it comes to testing.   Relax and execute your plan Lasty, relax and execute your plan! The final step to your new site’s launch is rollout. Things should be set up and in place which allow you to roll out your launch with minimal hassle.   At CakeDC, our goal is to help you, as a business leader, develop, achieve and maintain your competitive leadership in your market. Contact us to find out more about how we can create your custom application today.

Do you ever code for free? Contributing to open source

If you have ever taken a moment to contribute to open source, then you would know that it can be quite rewarding. But perhaps you are involved in an open source community, but aren’t necessarily contributing - yet! Maybe you are too nervous to contribute or you make a list of excuses as to why you aren't able to commit the time.   If you aren’t contributing just yet, here are some great benefits to you to start today.   Meet others in the community who are interested in similar things The CakePHP Community is welcoming and warm - by getting involved in the forums, online chats or through other participation, you can get to know others with similar interests.   Finding mentors within the community Get to know the community by getting involved - is there someone in the community who you think does an amazing job doing what they do? Chat to them, learn from them. There are some incredible mentors in the open source world - and they are normally down to earth and approachable.   Grow your knowledge and skill set base By contributing to open source, it gives you the opportunity to practise your skills. Through community involvement, you will learn new ways of doing things or suggest ways to improve on how things are done.   Help others - sense of giving Find reward in helping others solve the problems that have been troubling them. Giving back to the community brings in many rewards and a sense of achievement can be gained by helping out.   And now you may be asking - but how do I start? Easy! Just go ahead and find some issues that you can help out with, or simply join the support forums around the community and answer some questions - people appreciate the help and you never know, you could find help by helping others!   At CakeDC, time is committed to open source contributions. From our open source plugins through to support on community platforms, CakeDC ensures that time is committed to ongoing community support.

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