Blatant Self Promotion

I’ve been studying PHP, on and off, for a good year or so now and I had the opportunity recently to produce a PHP served site at work. I needed to produce this site quite quickly and I stumbled across the Code Igniter framework which seemed to offer me flexibility and a little structure (if that’s not a contradiction) in the guise of the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern.

For some time now I’ve had an idea for a web application in mind (in the Web 2.0 tradition) and I thought of using Code Igniter to build this application. However, I wanted a framework with a little more structure, more support and I felt that Code Igniter wasn’t the way forward. For a very short while I looked at the Zend Framework but had problems finding a decent resource from which to teach myself.

That’s when I began to take a closer look at Ruby on Rails. I had heard of RoR over a year ago and I’m trying to remember right now why I didn’t pursue it then. It may have been because there were only a small number of hosting companies available for RoR or, more likely, because the language looked a little too different and I was quite happy, at the time, with the C++ -like syntax of PHP.

Anyway that’s all history now. I haven’t ruled out PHP entirely and I’ve found it a little more difficult to learn RoR than I imagined I would, but I like what I’ve discovered so far. I decided to take a look at RoR for a week and see if I could take to it. After downloading a free Rails book from SitePoint (Sitepoint – an excellent resource, the book – “Build Your Own Ruby on Rails Applications” ) and InstantRails for Windows I was quite interested within a couple of hours. I then dived in and bought myself a copy of “Agile Web Development with Rails” and I’ve not really looked back. I’m not sure if this book is the best learning resource but I’m getting there, slowly.

I think that Ruby on Rails is probably a good language / framework to use if you are about to develop a brand new site or application. I have some concerns about scalability and speed of execution but I’ll leave that topic for a later blog post. I’m not sure though if RoR is such a good choice from a career choice standpoint.

At the current time I am wondering if I’m about to be made redundant. The company that I work for has recently been taken over by a very big Italian company and I have come across some information that leads me to believe that redundancies may be on the cards. Now, I could be utterly wrong, but what if I’m not? As soon as I made this discovery my first thought was to dust of the CV and to take a look around at what jobs, if any, there might be available. I’ve had a look and I’ve found a number of PHP jobs and a very small number of RoR jobs, a very small number indeed. Hmmm, I think, perhaps I should have carried on developing with PHP. At least that way I may be a little more attractive to a future employer.

I stated in my previous post that I currently program in C++, and this is true. Well kind of. Without naming technologies, companies or international customers, I am involved in writing software that models aircraft systems. That may sound incredibly complex and I suppose it is, to a degree. The hardcore code that deals with scheduling of events, handling of user interactions, etc., was developed by a team of proper programmers. I write code that interfaces with this software infrastructure and which is responsible for modelling the behaviour of aircraft systems. This essentially means that the code that I write in my day job uses C++ command structures such as ‘if’ statements, loops and functions but I don’t usually have the opportunity to write my own classes (for example) as the software tools that I use perform these tasks for me.

So here I am, maybe looking for another job in the near future. Perhaps I should start some self promotion going; well I guess that that was one of the reasons for starting this blog in the first place! The only fully functioning web site that I’ve produced is the one that I did for my current employer and I thought myself quite lucky to be given the chance to do that – web development is not in my job description. Now normally I wouldn’t dream of promoting myself by using examples of my work like this – in fact it would be quite unwise of me to do so. However! A) I did most of the work for this site at home in my own time, and B) I have removed all data and the company details from the demo that follows. I’ve put together a demo of the application and put it on It’s a bit too small to see with sufficient clarity on this site so it may be better viewed from the Slideshare site where it can be viewed full screen. Excuse the poor interface design and complete lack of site design. Hey, I was in a rush!

I’ve removed my company logo and part of the site’s title which is why is may look a little odd.


~ by gblake on March 8, 2008.

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