My 2009 Technology Recap

Its been two years now that I’ve been a more or less “serious blogger.” I had using the term blogger, since when people hear about blogs, they think of people either detailing their entire lives, or pumping some angel. For me, blogging has just been a way to share information with people I know locally, and those I don’t even know who find my blog via searching. I’ve had a few spurts where I blogged quite frequently, but for the most part it was just here and there.

I’ve gone back and looked at this year of 2009, and the things I’ve blogged about, and I thought I’d give a little recap.

My CSS Conversion

At the beginning of the year I realized I had 100% percent to using CSS. I’m still a little in awe that being such a table junkie I finally did it. There were a few key things that I did to help me learn all the difficult things with CSS. I hope I can help some poor web developer out there understand their CSS a little better.

A Year of PHP IDEs

I really invested some time in trying out and experimenting with several PHP Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). I had been using Zend Studio for several years, however more and more I found myself frustrated with it’s quirks. However, I haven’t had time yet to blog about the new IDE I am using, NetBeans. I’ve made the switch from Zend Studio to NetBeans, and while I’m not completely sold, I’m still giving it some time. Maybe over christmas break I’ll blog some about it.

Interesting Challenges w/ MySQL

While I haven’t blogged about most of them, I have had some interesting challenges w/ MySQL over the last year. One was converting 40 Million rows from a MyISAM engine to an InnoDB Engine. I’ve been having some serious heart-to-heart conversations with MySQL (metaphorically of course) on how I’m going to scale it to millions and billions of rows. I think I’ve mapped out in my head how we’re going to handle it for Dating DNA. That will be one challenge I’ll be addressing in 2010.

New Blog Design

This year I got around to re-designing my blog using the Carrington Theme as a base. I kinda like it, but it still could use a little more polish. One day I’ll find time to give it that extra polish.

Memcached

This year I really got into the theory on how to design an application with Memcached. I’ve decreased the load on several websites by using it, and wrote an in-depth article on the theory of caching, and how to implement it effectively. I’ve been amazed at how well it works, and that I hadn’t used it before.

A Year of Presentations

I’ve given two presentations this year, my Memcached presentation at UPHPU, and my “Real Life Scaling” presentation at the Utah Open Source Conference. I got great feedback from both presentations, and I look forward to what I’ll present on this upcoming year. I’m thinking about putting together a presentation called “Being a Web Ninja with jQuery,” and showing of the dozen of awesome applications I’ve built using jQuery.

Utah Open Source Conference 2009

This year I helped organize and throw together the Utah Open Source Conference. I was made the Sponsorship Manager, and it was interesting trying to talk to companies in a recession about donating to a non-profit conference. I haven’t had a chance to blog about different techniques on how to professional ask for money for something like this, but hopefully in 2010 I’ll be able to share some insights.

Things I Didn’t Blog About

There were a lot of things I didn’t get around to blogging about this year. I’ll quickly touch on them here, and hopefully in 2010 I’ll be able to blog about them more.

Web Services – I’ve done a LOT of web service work. Web services provide a unique challenge, since many times its hard to debug them. At my old job, one of the biggest challenges is we really couldn’t debug our web services until all of the other pieces of the puzzle were done. Then we spent long hours with trial and error, debugging via dumping logs. I’ve learned a lot of tricks with PHP and web services. Hopefully I’ll be blog more about those soon.

Performance Tuning LAMP – I’ve had to do a lot of tuning to keep the Dating DNA website afloat. Because of the awesomeness of our iPhone apps, we’ve had a lot of load on our web servers. There are a lot of things you can do to get the LAMP stack to run well.

Alienware Arena – Here was a fun little project I was able to crank out for probably the largest client I’ve done work for: Dell. We made them a website for their Alienware brand called “Alienware Arena.”

AlienwareArena.png

There were a lot of challenges to this website, mainly timeline and budget. But we were able to walk away happy with our work, and the Dell / Alienware team were really happy. It was interesting going through and trying to copy / mimic the look and feel of the Alienware website. I’m really proud of what we made.

Never Ending iPhone App Store Saga – Anyone who knows me has heard of the bloody wars that my current employer has had with Apple, their iPhone, and the App Store. The ridiculous approval process, the extremely long wait periods, and Apple’s OCD when it comes to their phone. I won’t say much anything else on the topic, but boy it has been frustrating.

What to Expect with 2010

Boy, 2010 will be interesting. What to expect? I’ll be doing some pretty sick programming in jQuery, as I’ll be adding integrating chat to the Dating DNA website. What else? A lot more when it comes to integrating websites into other social network platforms.

From a business platform, 2010 will be a lot of work spent on taking some great ideas and trying to monetize them. While working on awesome stuff is great, its important to pay the bills with them. I will have an entire year to sign up Sponsors for the 2010 UTOS Conference instead of 2 short months.

Hopefully I’ll get in a better habit of documenting my discoveries and solutions here in my blog. Sharing information is the best way to help everyone out.

I hope everyone has a happy holiday and good luck in the new year! 2010, here we come!

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