Here is my latest editorial for the May 2014 issue of php[architect] magazine:
There are so many ways out there for us to make a difference in the lives of others. As technology pervades every aspect of life, our power as developers grows. We must use this power for good! Yeah, alright, I do a “good” job on projects. I make “good” decisions when it comes to security. I am “good” when I talk to non-technical users. That’s enough, right? Not even close. To truly be using your power for good, you must open your eyes to everyone around you, not just the loudest complainers or the most dangerous threats. You must be willing to put your words into action and work within the system that helps you stay employed (and fed).
What am I talking about? Accessibility affects the entire lives of many people out there. The numbers are staggering, and technology is no longer a novelty that we can say is for those who can use it easily. Technology is now a staple and needs to be available to _everyone_. Where do we start? Take a walk with Joe and find out what it’s like need assistance accessing the web. Learn about accessibility guidelines and requirements. Try using your website or app without a monitor or a mouse and see how it goes. It’s amazing how much we take for granted.
What else? Give back. Contributing to open source is daunting – yes. It can be time consuming – yes. It can be so rewarding – absolutely. Read Erika’s account of how a simple problem that she ran into avalanched into an accepted pull request for the Symfony project, and how you can get hooked on contributing as well.
Sometimes, making a difference just means trying a new solution at work to make things nicer for our users. Is your site struggling with the load that dynamic Ajax updates place on your site? Learn about pushing data instead with Darren’s article on HTML5’s Server Sent Events. Is your team going crazy dealing with messy APIs and data consumption difficulties? It’s Michael (and Guzzle) to the rescue with tips on abstracting away the HTTP/1.1 so you can move on with your real job. Want to make your pretty URLs more secure in Laravel? Check out Dirk’s article on Laravel’s URL hashing helpers.
Aaron reminds us to avoid heavy frameworks for problems PHP has already solved, Matt finishes up his two-part series on Phalcon, and Eli wraps things up with a brief rant on those statements we all mutter about the competitors of our favorite tools and projects.
Don’t forget, if you are reading this on an iPad or iPhone, we have an app to help make it easier to access your issues. Download it from the App Store today! Just search for php[architect].