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'Tale of Two Languages' - The Ground Rules

As I mentioned last week, I plan on publishing a series of blog posts that will demonstrate how PHP and ColdFusion can address common development tasks. Before I publish my first post (in a hopefully long and informative, if not entertaining, series) I wanted to lay down some ground rules. These rules are for me as much as anyone else as I want to make sure I follow a 'standard' procedure for each post.

Here are the rules for me to follow:

  • All the code I demonstrate will be compatible with the versions I have installed. For ColdFusion, that is version 9.0.1. For PHP, that is version 5.3.4
  • When possible, all ColdFusion code will be written using CFScript syntax.
  • I will try to follow 'best practices' whenever possible.
  • Keep in mind the purpose of this series is NOT to try and prove one language is better than another - but to learn more about the differences, and more importantly, the similarities between them.

Here are the rules I would like you, my readers, to follow:

  • Keep it civil. I have no problem if someone wants to express an opinion, that is great, just please do so in a way that is not insulting. I will not approve comments in this series that are not 'civil' (weird to hear me say that, huh?)
  • If you see better way of coding what I am trying to demonstrate, please share it - this way we can all learn.
  • Keep in mind the purpose of this series is NOT to try and prove one language is better than another - but to learn more about the differences, and more importantly, the similarities between them.

As I said last week, I hope to have the first post done later this week.

New Blog 'Series'...A Tale of Two Languages

As I mentioned here, I have been re-learning PHP as part of a personal project based on WordpPress. Last night, I was working on some more updates and customizations and I realized that some of what I was typing was exactly the same syntax I would use for ColdFusion (the only difference was the variable name, all I would have to do is remove the '$' from the PHP code).

This got me thinking..maybe PHP and ColdFusion are really not all that different. It also made me think of the idea for 'A Tale of Two Languages'. My thought is not to have a 'my language is better than your language' debate, but to show how you would/could accomplish common tasks using each language (ideally, I would like to use other languages as well, but for now I am taking 'baby steps' and using the languages of which I am most familiar).

I plan on starting simple, and, over time, working my way up to more complex tasks. I am going to use this as an opportunity to become more proficient in PHP so that I become more 'valuable' as a developer. I am fairly certain that this will make me a better ColdFusion developer as well.

I already have some ideas for the first post or two but would love to hear some suggestions on what I can cover. Please leave a comment or use the contact form if there is something you would like to see me demonstrate.

Look for the first post in the 'series' sometime next week.

Disclaimer:I use the word 'series' loosely. I do not plan to have a regular schedule for these postings, but I am hoping this will prove useful enough to others that I would kind of be forced to do so. I also understand that this stands to be a powder keg for a 'battle of the languages'.

I have been dabbling in PHP...

...and I do not hate it.

Let me give you some back story. I have been in a golf league for the last few years. The first year, all the points totals and standings were done on an Excel spreadsheet, and it was a rare occasion when we knew the standings before we played our matches each week. The last 2 years we have used an online service that was nice, but it was difficult to fit our scoring rules into the site and while we had access to the stats and standings, they were often inaccurate

This year, I was asked by the guy who runs the league to see if there was anything I could find that might work. Most of the services I found that would work were cost prohibitive, and the ones that were free did not fulfill our needs. I briefly thought about writing something from scratch, but with school and work, there is no way I could have gotten it done in time..even when using ColdFusion. That is when I started looking into WordPress.

Say what you will about PHP, but WordPress is a simply amazing platform (for lack of a better word). In about 2 hours time, I had the site set up, with a new theme and had located plugins that would allow us to track everything we needed for the league - Yes, I actually found a plugin for tracking sports leagues.

It took some getting used to how the code 'flows' when dealing with plugins, but once I (kind of) figured it out, it was pretty easy to make some customizations - such as tweaking or adding 'templates' for displaying the standings or team information, as well as modifying some of the functions that extract the data from the database. Admittedly, though, a lot of what I was doing was utilizing WordPress functionality (as opposed to native PHP functionality). So far, I have only received positive feedback from other league members, but, I expect that to change when league play actually starts up.

Now, don't get worried, I am not going to 'jump ship'. I am not giving up ColdFusion, but it was kind of nice to play around with PHP again (I actually started as a PHP developer before I 'discovered' ColdFusion)

There are some other customizations that I plan to implement over the next month or so that might require me to dig a little deeper and if its anything I think might be worth sharing, I will post it.

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I spend a short time every day (ok, almost every day) looking through my Twitter search feed for 'ColdFusion'. Most of the time the search feed is filled with messages about cool stuff someone did with ColdFusion or people asking questions about the language or recruiters looking for ColdFusion developers. However, every once in a while, there is a message from some who...how shall I put this... let's just say every once in a while you find someone who does not share the same view of ColdFusion as I do (and some are out right hostile and/or vulgar).

I will admit, in the past, I have made less than flattering statements about PHP, but I can not understand how a programming language could invoke such a visceral response from some. What ever language you choose to use, ColdFusion, PHP, Java, Ruby, etc., it is just a tool. Some people prefer PHP - and I have seen some kick ass websites written in PHP - others do not. The same can be said for any of the languages I listed (and quite a few that I have not).

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<cfdump> in PHP, say it ain't so...

It appears as if some of the ncie things about CF are being picked up elsewhere.

I don't think there is a CF developer alive who has not bowed before the God that is <cfdump>.

Now its available for PHP.  Check it out here.

Thanx to JJ for showing me this.

Running PHP5 on IIS 6

I love ColdFusion, ask anyone I work with.  Though, I know it doesn’t always offer the best solution (yet, ).  One example of this is administering MySQL.  I know there is a CF based solution called CFMyAdmin.  I am not knocking the developers of CFMyAdmin, they came up with a good product… it’s just not what I am used to.  I cut my teeth in web development using PHP, and for MySQL administration, there is no better tool, in my humble opinion, than PHPMyadmin.

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