Here is my latest editorial for the April 2014 issue of php[architect] magazine:
Hate to Love Them, Love to Hate Them
PHP used to be a small, inconsequential thing – a fad that would pass with time. Though some do still try, it’s not possible to say that now. PHP has come into its own, and like any large-scale entity, a set of leaders has emerged. This is not to say that every project isn’t important and useful in its own way. Everything we build has a purpose (even if it’s sometimes just to remind us what not to do). However, some projects have outpaced the others, setting the trends that the rest of us, whether we like it or not, need to follow if PHP is going to have a unified front moving forward.
Sharing code is important to the growth of our community, but we can’t do that if we are all moving in different directions. I don’t want to see creativity stifled and PHP developers become typists that can’t think for themselves. What I do want to see is a thriving, diverse community of developers working together; where the tools and language constructs that we use encourage collaboration, not separation. So, even though we love to hate those behemoth projects that make decisions that we may not like, even though they make easy targets for jokes and jabs, and even though it may seem like they are slowing us down – we step back, look at the bigger picture, and appreciate them for what they are – major players in our community that make a big impact on the world around us.
So I encourage you today to take a look at these major players. See what they can offer you, what they are offering the world, and what we can offer to them. And maybe, cut them a little slack. Let’s spend less of our preciously-limited time attacking each other and more time learning how to take advantage of what each of us is doing within the community.
To start, WordPress is one of those major players that I hate to love. As much as WordPress makes me want to tear out my hair, I secretly love how easy it is to upgrade and how easy it is to install plugins (so, it’s not so secret anymore). What I don’t love is how slow it is, but this month, Jason gives us not one, not two, but 21 ways to speed up WordPress. This article is already making my world a happier place.
Is Drupal your secret love/bane, Oscar has some great tips on ways to customize Drupal and get it to do exactly what you want. Looking for something new to try? Matthew takes Phalcon for a test flight. Or perhaps you are more of a Yii person? Yii 2.0 is still in alpha, but Philip takes a look at what is in store for its upcoming release. Authentication is a common headache, but Dirk will show you how Laravel can ease your pain. Aaron shares his philosophy on caring for resources (and why going to church has made him a better developer), and Eli wraps things up with some thoughts on the three F’s: fork it, fix it, and…well, I’m sure there’s another one.
That leaves us with one last article to discuss. Matt wrote a quick tutorial for contributing to Joind.in, and I am so excited to have it in our magazine. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Joind.in helps collect and share feedback on conferences, talks, and speakers. As a speaker, user group leader, and conference organizer myself, Joind.in is an incredibly valuable tool for me, and I would love to see more people involved in this project as well as all of the other amazing open source projects out there that rely on the generosity of others in order to survive. If you have been contemplating getting involved in an open source project, but were concerned about getting everything set up and figuring out how to get started, please take a few moments to read Matt’s article. If you do take the steps to get involved in an open source project, please drop us a line and let us know. You can e-mail me at email@example.com, tweet at us (https://twitter.com/phparch/), or hit us up on Facebook (http://facebook.com/phparch).