Wednesday, September 19, 2007

PDT IDE and Netbeans IDE updated.

Good week for IDEs. PDT, the eclipse based PHP IDE and Netbeans both have major releases.

PDT is one the leading PHP IDEs and the closest to an "official" open source PHP IDE project, having the support of Zend and other major players. There are several other PHP IDEs including other eclipse options but I believe PDT will become the dominate one if it isn't already. Zend's pro IDE, currently a standalone project, is transitioning to Eclipse and I believe will eventually be a PDT++ kind of thing.

I haven't been a strong user of IDEs for PHP work historically but have decided to move my php development into PDT as much as possible. I'm pretty happy with it so far and really appreciate the integration of other eclipse tools like Subversion support. The Aptana project is adding more PHP support but I believe that PDT is better for serious PHP development like that needed to support Zend Framework or CakePHP.

The other news is Netbeans 6.0 moving into beta. Netbeans is primarily a Java IDE and was my favorite when I was doing java work. I haven't worked in java for a while so I haven't kept up with Netbeans but the new version also has strong support for Ruby and Ruby on Rails. The buzz is growing around it and I think could be a really big deal moving forward. It will be interesting to see how this develops compared to Aptana's Rails support.

Monday, September 17, 2007

JQuery 1.2 (and 1.2.1!)

A little late blogging this but I haven't even had a chance to play with it yet. JQuery 1.2 is finally out with several big changes. XPath selectors have been moved into a separate plugin. CSS style selectors are really the more natural way to work in JQuery anyway and the plugin gives backwards compatibility if you need it, so a good move I think.

There are a lot of new functions to DOM manipulation including a slice function that works like array slicing and clarifications to the Ajax features. The whole thing is still only 26k packed and can be shrunk down to 14k with gzipping.

The 1.2.1 update restores the eq function and fixes a relative animation issue. eq had been dropped because it was seen as overlapping with the more capable slice command but is so widely used that it was brought back.

The bigger news is probably the new UI toolkit at I've barely looked at this but given the high quality of the UI elements I've seen built on top of jQuery I'm expecting great things. The widgets include Accordion, Calendar, Dialog, Slider, Tablesorter, Tabs. I've been using the Yahoo kit a lot, especially for the calendar, so I'm hoping this kit can replace a lot of my use of that. JQuery and Yahoo's YUI kit get along fine but it just makes more sense to use one kit if possible.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Magento Commerce first beta.

The first beta of Magento Commerce was released on August 31st. Varien, an Los Angeles ecommerce shop has been teasing the PHP world for months about this project and it's great to see it finally released. Despite the large number of open-source PHP CMSs, there has not been that many options for ecommerce. OsCommerce is the biggest but has a reputation for being difficult to work with.

The interesting thing about Magento is that Varien has been a long time user of OsCommerce. They apparently got sick of running into walls with OsCommerce and decided to create their own product. It's open-source as well, built on the Zend Framework and has a very rich feature set. I was really looking forward to this project's release because I feel like the fact that they are coming out of heavy real-world use of OsCommerce makes them well qualified for building a next-generation product. The use of Zend Framework increases my confidence because I think it is smart to build something like this on an established platform instead of building from scratch.

The Roadmap looks great and I'm impressed with it so far. The interface is slick and the feature set is already really far ahead of the CMS oriented carts I've used before. Advanced features like wishlists, upselling and cross-selling are all in there and easily managed through a nice modern UI.

There are a couple of weaknesses from an admin side. First is no RTE support, though I believe that is coming soon. Second is no auto-generation of various image sizes, something that years of Typo3 use has spoiled me on.

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