php|architect — March 2010

Connecting With the iPhone

People want their information wherever they are. It doesn’t matter whether they are at home or on the fly, they want their information, and they want something that looks and feels nice. This article gives some tips ‘n tricks when working with the iPhone to make this happen. –by Koen van Urk

Firefox For Control Freaks

Have you ever needed to get information off of a web page? You might be data-mining, you might be spidering it for a search engine, or you might be trying to set up automated testing and monitoring of a web site. If the site offers an API or an RSS feed, then your job may be easier, but otherwise screen-scraping is the traditional approach. That worked well ten years ago. Then, people invented JavaScript, cookies, Java, Flash and AJAX. Looking at the raw HTML no longer tells you what the user is seeing. Pages hidden behind a form are even more work, but there are now solutions.–by Darren Cook

Game Design for Web Developers

Turning a website into a game can transform users into fanatics. Imagine if your users were as addicted to your site as they are to World of Warcraft: if they would actually pay you for the monthly privilege of viewing your site. So, how do you make your feed reader the next Grand Theft Auto? Emulate the characteristics that make games so popular: flatter the user’s ego, challenge them to complete tasks and reward them for digging deeper. Many of the most popular sites on the web are doing so: people collect friends like Pokémon on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Stack Overflow (a programming forum) gives users badges for reaching certain goals. News sites such as Digg and Reddit let users vote on each other’s submissions and comments, giving users cumulative scores based on how interesting their input is. Keep in mind that you’ll probably give your users culture shock if you suddenly turn your eCommerce site into a first-person shooter, however, gradually integrating elements of game design can make users stay longer and enjoy your site more.–by Kristina Chodorow

Advanced Mobile Device Detection with Tera-WURFL

With the growing number of mobile Internet-enabled devices in use, providing a usable mobile website is more important than ever; but you can’t get there without mobile device detection software on your front line. This article will show you how to detect mobile clients without having a negative impact on your server’s performance.–by Steve Kamerman

Government and PHP

In the fall of 2009, WhiteHouse.gov announced that it would be replacing its proprietary content management system (CMS) with the open source CMS, Drupal, running on the traditional LAMP stack. This is a huge win for PHP and open source. While PHP is not new to government entities (my employer, the City of Fort Collins, has been powering our website with the LAMP stack for years), it is exciting to see a top government site like WhiteHouse.gov highlighted as being part of the PHP and open source world. This development also highlights a topic that is close to my heart, namely the importance of open source and PHP in the governmental market.–by James Baugh

Savior of the Universe?

Flash Builder 4—the much anticipated successor to Flex Builder—is finally out. Here’s an exclusive look at all the juicy bits that you’ll find inside.–by Marco Tabini

Drupal Corner: Achieving Drupal Happiness with CCK

Drupal’s power and flexibility is due in part to its modular architecture and some truly exceptional contributed projects, like Content Construction Kit (CCK). This article will give you an introduction to building and customizing content types with CCK.–by Derek Webb

Security Corner: Resistance is Futile

Do you know who’s listening while you’re on the phone? Do you know what security measures your mobile phone doesn’t have?–by Arne Blankerts

exit(0): One and a Million

How can we tell how many PHP developers are out there, who should be counted, and what should this mean to employers and businesses??–by Marco Tabini

Responses and Pingbacks

[…] by Marco Tabini on March 24, 2010 IN News Tags: We are happy to announce the release of the March 2010 issue of php|architect, in which we cover lots of cool topics about the mobile web.As always, if you are one of our […]

 

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