Why blog?

Oh no. Yet another first post by a relative nobody justifying what is really vanity publishing.

Most blogs seem to start off this way. Well, even if the first post is not about why the blog exists, you can be pretty sure that soon enough there'll be such a post. This is that post (and it's the first).

Why blog?

Apparently there are 33 reasons to start a blog, but only if you think you can express your freedom of speech (as opposed to exercising it) and can bare the author's nasty habit of joining what should be 2 or 3 sentences with commas. And he seems to be a self-improvement junkie, so you've really got to take it with a grain of salt.

I much prefer these reasons, though I'm not immune to some of the temptations. Perhaps it's not so much about being famous as partly using a blog to further certain ambitions. Now I'm starting to sound like that personalhack.com fella.

But it's true. As noted in my "about" summary, I'm a wanna-be PHP developer. I should probably learn other languages but I don't earn a living programming and need to balance work and family life too. I hold the slightly vain hope that discussion of programming ideas on this blog might elicit some interest from others, including those who might employ me.

Why PHP?

Back in university (20 years ago), I did a bit of Basic and assembler programming on a BBC micro. I wrote a program that would display a score (the Bezier curves for the clef symbols were a killer!) and play sound (that bit was in assembler). Later, there was a little Pascal and C on an early Mac and the Hierarchical Music Specification Language, based on FORTH. Pascal and C use braces; HMSL doesn't. I really like braces and I don't like the idea of whitespace determining program flow (therefore, so Python and Ruby seem really odd). So PHP seems like a natural fit. And then there are all those libraries with built-in functions for doing all sorts of really cool things relatively easily. I especially like PDO.

Like every PHP novice, I've written a templating system and had a go at writing a framework. But there are so many people much cleverer than me so I gave up. As Clay Sharkey said, build a cool app. So I did a bit of experimenting. I haven't had much of a go at Zend or Solar though there are things that seem admirable. I used Cake and ran into a lot of problems, such as the insistence on naming form fields in a certain way and then finding that the Cake Model component didn't give results whose names conformed to it. WTF?

Lately, I've been playing with konstrukt, a framework which concerns itself with the controller and view (presenter?) parts of the MVC puzzle. It seems really nice. It doesn't assume anything about the model part -- you can roll your own. Pretty URLs are handled really nicely with hierarchical controllers and nested views are easily set up.

I suppose that if I were really serious, I'd have written my own blogging app. I might still, just for fun and as a learning experience, using konstrukt. In the mean time, Habari will do. It seems to be the most nicely coded PHP blogging app around. I'll also have to learn how to write a theme for it, including a customised front page. I may write about that experience too.

Since I'm an audio engineer and teacher of sound production, you might find the odd post about sound and audio technology.



A vanity publishing venture of David Rodger, sound production teacher and wannabe PHP developer