Web Development is finally cool

Chrome Developer Tools

Chrome Developer Tools (Photo credit: RubyJi)

I’ve been working in web development as a developer since 1998.  Many developers work at companies with large buildings with many offices, and teams are often moved around for logistic purposes. And a curious trend is happening: developers tend to end up in nice shiny offices, whereas other departments – like Administration and Finance – are slowly being pushed down into dingy basements.

OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but you get the idea: developers might not get all the girls like in the movie The Social Network, but sure they get better coffee and wider windows. All this confirms a simple thing: developing is cool again, although some detractors may say that it’s finally cool, implying that it was never cool at all.

The main reason for its rise in popularity is, in my mind, the myriad of apps that are constantly launched now are having more impact on other people’s lives than ever before. Developers are finally producing things that are closer to people, and like for books, movies or songs, it’s easier to imagine a real person behind them. Many believe that the marketplace offered by iTunes App Store played an important part in transforming developers into superstars, but the point is: coding is now closely associated to creation, in a space where art and logic come together.

So whether your purpose is to make money or to express yourself (although you could achieve both), this is a great time to learn developing skills. There are many possibilities to choose from: websites, web applications, or apps for computers and mobile devices.

Making it to the hall of fame of ITunes is hard, and many failed while few succeeded. However, to be a successful developer you don’t have to go the rockstar way, you can work on customized jobs for specific clients too. All sorts of companies, big and small, are hiring developers to create customized apps to improve their customers’ experience and take advantage of the explosion of mobile usage.

At this point, the last preconception about code programming is that it’s very hard to learn. The good news is: it’s not, not harder than any other skill anyway. You understand the basics, climb up the learning curve a little, and after that it’s all about exponential learning.

How does that sound? If you feel like giving it a go, or if you have just started, let us know what you are interested in for your learning adventure.

NOTE: We have teamed up with TeamTreehouse to offer you a way to learn how to program if you want to learn to build websites, create iPhone and Android apps, code with Ruby on Rails and PHP, or start a business head over to TeamTreehouse – START TODAY!.

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The 4 Best WordPress Projects To Outsource


WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Big thanks to WordPress for being the #1 most used and most popular content management system on the web today. Why? Because of two reasons, 1) it’s built in PHP which is by far the most extensible and customizable of all coding languages and 2) it has created a web environment that is recognized by more programmers and designers than any other environment on the web today.

What does this mean exactly? It means you can outsource with effectiveness. Outsourcing can be dangerous, costly, and unproductive. But not when it comes to WordPress. This stable and practical web environment has allowed people to add features to their websites like never before. Here are the 4 best WordPress projects to outsource and get the most out of your investment:

1. Theme Improvements

This would be any UI or functionality you need added to your theme that doesn’t justify the development of a stand-alone WordPress plugin. In this scenario you would package up the files of your theme and send them on to a contractor with specific instructions for what new functionality you need added. Be as specific as you can be with descriptions and screenshots if necessary.

2. Social API Connections

Connecting to popular social sites via APIs and creating unique functionality on your site can be very very difficult. It’s also one of the biggest opportunities available for creating a better user experience and expanding your online business. The right outsourced contractors will be perfect for helping these connections happen for you. Think Facebook Connect for a minute and you’ll get what I’m referring to here.

3. Plugin Innovations

There is nearly a WordPress plugin for everything you can think of. But don’t let that stop you here. Here’s why, because nearly 90% of all plugins either a) don’t work entirely as promised or b) haven’t been updated to be compatible with the most recent version of WordPress. Add this to the fact that you’re always going to want your own “bells and whistles” it’s always a good idea to outsource your WP plugin development.

4. Mobile Capabilities

And finally, mobile. Mobile is tricky to say it kindly. You’ve gotta optimize your website for mobile phones, tablets, different types and models of phones and tablets etc. There’s a ton of work to be done here, and it makes perfect sense to leverage an outsource contractor. Also, don’t forget mobile app development which will require a contractor with a whole different skill-set but will be extremely valuable to you nonetheless.

Unless you’re a coder yourself, you need the help of a programmer to help you create new functionality for your site or blog. Outsourcing is a great idea for many reasons but primarily it has to do with cost. It’s cheaper than hiring someone locally. And because of how universal WordPress has become, you have more options than ever in hand-picking a developer to help you get the job done.

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Increase PHP script execution time

With a default install of PHP the scripts have a limited execution time in which they much execute, do their thing, and finish. Quite often particularly in shared hosting environment the default limit just isn’t enough. This is quite often the case if you’re trying to upload large files or process a lot of data at once. Read more

Shorthand PHP if statement

Within most PHP scripts if statements are used quite often so wouldn’t it make sense if you could make this as fast and as efficient as possible? You’ll be glad to know that there is such a thing as the PHP if shorthand syntax which lets you write simple if statements using less code. Read more

query custom taxonomies

Photo by splorp

WordPress 3.0 has brought a whole lot of new and interesting options to the table.  You can create you very own customer post types and taxonomies to go with them.

Cool – did you do it yet.  GREAT!  How do you pull them back out?  Red Letter Studio has a great post about just that.

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