the (first) 3 things i hate about php

Written by jbriccetti on . Posted in Misc Ramblings

So can i just jump out and say here that despite php’s popularity, there is some aspects of php that’s just plain ‘ol stupid.  Oh, I’m aware that i prefer ColdFusion, the thing I’ve know for nearly 15 years,  and no, I’m not fighting “adapting” to new stuff. Quite frankly, php is overall just as intuitive as any other language – in fact it’s pretty easy – but I’m by no means impressed… why not? for starters, there is very little in PHP that I couldn’t have done in ColdFusion 4.5 in 1999. It doesn’t really change things, only that “it’s free” – what can i do in php that is so fundamentally unique? At least ColdFusion wraps up common web programming paradigms into simple tags and had a vision of making web programming less tedious. Php doesn’t do any of that and overall, it’s just mediocre. and then a few little things, the place where they could have made a difference – well, they didn’t make that difference. These are (3) little details that just got swept under the carpet and i think it stinks.

Stupid #1: $

Somebody must have watch too much Jerry Maguire with the “show me the money” quote all stuck in their head when they decided that all variables in php have to start with a $ character. Ok, really it’s because php has it’s roots in perl. Either way, it’s 2011 and i have to start all my variable names with a wasted character? don’t like it.

Stupid #2: . (that’s a period)

The nice thing about standards is there are some many to choose from. In this case, a very well know paradigm, “dot notation”, as the entire code writing world population has known for a hundred million years, was completely subverted in order to use the “.” character as the concatenation operator.

Philosophically, this doesn’t even make sense: a period punctuation mark represents the stopping of a thought, not the concatenation of one. i *could* have understood the “&” (ampersand) character (like ColdFusion uses, even though that was pretty damn stupid too, but then again, CF did it in 1994, long before xml encoding was the norm) At least the “&” character reads “and” and somehow suggests concatenation. I can understand why, perhaps, the php Gods couldn’t overload the “+” sign, like the entire rest of the God fearing languages in the world use. Hell, even a semicolon would have been disastrously better than the “.” character; Yes, a semicolon you already are thinking would be a major problem in that it’s normally used for the end-of-command indicator – it’d be a major issue. So, why then, is a period so awful? see Stupid #3

Stupid #3: -> (the “arrow”)

If you “cut yourself off at the knees” it’ll not only be hard to walk, it’ll be next to impossible to run. One of the most common patterns in coding, “dot-notation” for associative arrays was completely cut-off by Stupid#2;  So out rolls the duct-tape and the beginning of the a-standard; the birth of “the arrow”. who wrote this language, Robin Hood? Perhaps, the “rob from the rich, give to the poor” grudge of the commercial application server marketplace that has driven the mainstream adoption of php has morphed into an “oh well, it’s free!” mentality and let this kind of syntax monstrosity come to life. Instead of being able to reference an associative array like this: $_GET.first_name i have to use this “shortcut” syntax: $_GET->first_name. hey peeps, this is not a shortcut and using an html character like the “>” character is a really crappy idea in a scripting language (i do have that beef with the & character in ColdFusion). for now, i’ll just stick with the old bracket notation $_GET[“first_name”] and live with it.  unfortunately, i have to read other people’s code.

Someday I’ll get over it, but for now, you may hear more grumbles…



Written by jbriccetti on . Posted in Misc Ramblings

TWC is on the cloud:

while i wait for the instance to come up (it can take about 30 minutes) I’m off to a soccer game.. this afternoon i will be configuring ssh and getting squared away with how to connect and manage the server (and shut it down so the meter stops running when we’re not using it)

after that, cf and mongodb installations…


One word

Written by edonohue on . Posted in Misc Ramblings


check out

This is the guy who did the TED prezo on gaming layer ( – scvngr is his idea along with levelUP – great concept to think about when looking at developing an app

  • Influence Behavior
  • Appointment dynamic – for one to succeed, they must return at a specific time to be rewarded – an example of the appointment dynamic would be “happy hour”
  • Progression dynamic – incremental advancement and privileges as predefined tasks get completed.  Example  – buy a gift card and unlock the next level of rewards or get a badge or something of prestige

Drives loyalty, promotes competition to persuade behavior –

I think putting these concepts into an online product/mobile app should be a fundamental element of its architecture…


We’re underway…

Written by jbriccetti on . Posted in Misc Ramblings

With the launch of our techblog comes the launch of a new project – a quick project that will test our agile methods and push the idea that a system should “evolve” a bit further than usual.
Here comes campaignCloud:
Who? for now, Ed Donohue & Jon Briccetti
What? An app with tools to help run a campaign: political, community, whatever.
When? Now. Iterations 1x per week.
Where? on the cloud (AWS).
Why? Why not, right? Product centric effort to foster creativity and drive some new architectural prowess. Take it to the cloud baby.
How? Built to scale – NoSQL (mongoDB), CF9. The rest will evolve. We’ll meet 1x per week by text message. Supporting technology via

Stay tuned…