Blog Archive

ZendCon 2011 retrospective

Date: 26 Oct 2011

If there is a top-3 of conferences, ZendCon will be present in that list. It’s probably *THE* conference to be when it comes to PHP development, so how awesome is it when not only you can visit ZendCon, but are invited to speak about one of your favorite subjects? Answer:  VERY awesome :)

LAMP-stack? Forget it! It's a LAMPGMVNMCSTRAH-stack now...

Date: 26 Oct 2011

Back in the good old days - and in internet-time, this actually means just a few years ago - people were quite happy with their LAMP stack: Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. With this quartet, or a variation on it like PostgreSQL instead of MySQL, we could do everything: create a blog-site, setup an e-commerce web shop, making a guestbook, you name it and it was there..

But times have changed… radically. More and more information is available and must be processed quicker and in more difficult manners than before. Do you accept a web shop where you cannot even do faceting search? Not really. But those systems can be more complex than they appear and lot of components must be used in order to get things working and working fast. In fact, there are so many components that we cannot speak of a LAMP stack anymore. A better name would probably be a LAMPGMVNMCSTRAH stack..

Creating partitioned virtual disk images

Date: 11 Oct 2011
Tags: [ cybos ]  [ ext2fs ]  [ losetup ]  [ mount

Using a disk image is very easy: download the file, mount it through a so-called “loopback” device and your OS will see the image as it was an real harddisk, CDR or DVD. When I needed to test the IDE-drivers, the partitioning-functionality, the ext2 drivers etc, I wanted to use just such an image so I can quickly make modifications and check how the actual structure looked like, just by reading the disk image file. This is a great help when it comes to debugging.

Creating MCollective clients in PHP - The hard way

Date: 01 Oct 2011
Tags: [ marshal ]  [ mcollective ]  [ PHP

If you haven’t heard of MCollective, think of.. The Borg.. Except without the laser-eye, or the spaceship-cube, or the scary voices. Come to think of it,.. it doesn’t really have anything to do with the Borg, except they are both a collective, and you are in charge.. just like the Borg-queen. And everything else is futile..

Book review: Pro Puppet

Date: 22 Sep 2011
Tags: [ book review ]  [ puppet

If you have read the book “Pulling strings with puppet”, a lot of this book might sound familiar to you already. Not really a strange thing since it’s from the same author. But because the book was written in 2007, a new update was in order and the new Pro Puppet book they’ve release so much more than an update: it’s a complete reference for beginning to the most expert puppeteers.

Book review: The geek atlas

Date: 29 Aug 2011

I got this book as a present from last year’s PFZ workshop day (thanks again guys), and is filled with 128 (get it?) places around the world interesting for geeks. I have to admit that even though a lot of places were unfamiliar for me, so it gave some nice new items for my todo list.

Book review: VMWare vSphere 4.1: HA and DRS technical deepdive

Date: 27 Aug 2011

I bought this book even before I’ve ever installed vSphere, and still it’s comprehensible. Let’s pretend it’s because of the book, which is very easy to read and not only tell you how to setup certain parts of vSphere, but also WHY.

Book review: Simly Einstein: Relativity demystified

Date: 27 Aug 2011

If repetition is the key to learning, you will learn a lot from this book. It keeps on repeating the most important aspects which in a way is good, since you will not forget them. The book itself gives a global view on Einstein’s special and general relativity theorems in a very simple and comprehensible way. There is little math involved, except for the last appendix of the book and still that is high school math that makes sense to everybody. So can a book about relativity do without math?

These are busy times...

Date: 15 Jul 2011

Not a lot of updates lately, but by no means I’m sitting still. The last few weeks lot of stuff has happened, and even more is to come. First of all, my second article has reached the PHP|Architect magazine. This time about the deflate-algorithm. Not an article that comes in handy in your daily work probably, but definately worth reading to find out how things work from the inside.. It’s kind of a how-stuff-works for computer-geeks.

Asynchronous operations in REST

Date: 02 Jun 2011

REST is hot! But doing REST right is more difficult than most people think. Idempotent methods, hateoas, RMM levels… All terms that a REST developer should know and master. But from a learning (as I do too, by the way) developer perspective, it looks pretty simple: use HTTP methods like get, post, put and delete, map them onto resources, call the underlying database models and you’re done: a fully RESTful API in just 5 minutes. But off course, when you actually have created a RESTful API, you find out very quickly that nothing could be more difficult. One of the more common problems when dealing with REST might be asynchronous operations. Let’s find out how to deal with those…

Top 10 Apache Top Level Projects

Date: 22 May 2011
Tags: [ Apache

When saying Apache, most developers immediately think of a web server. And this of course is true, Apache httpd web server is the most used web server today and the number of users keep on growing every day. What not everybody knows, is that Apache is a foundation that hosts many other open source (web) projects. A short introduction on a (my) top 10 of interesting projects for the (PHP) programmer.

How cool is my job?

Date: 25 Apr 2011
Tags: [ cool stuff

How cool is my job? A description of a normal days work…

The GNU Build tools, part 1

Date: 24 Apr 2011
Tags: [ autotools ]  [ gnu ]  [ make

So there you are, you want to install some tool or application that didn’t come in a package, or you want to use the latest version. You download the tarball (*.tar.gz file), untar it, do a ./configure && make &&  make install and all is well.. But what exactly is it that you are doing? Why must unix users compile everything by themselves? Wouldn’t life be much easier if we all could download a binary and run it, just like on close source OS’es? Are binaries that evil that we must compile everything ourselves manually so we know what we are installing. Well, yes and no…

Pragmatic Investment Plan - may 2011-2012

Date: 21 Apr 2011
Tags: [ pip

During some reading up on Dean Wilson’s blog, I stumbled upon his Pragmatic Investment Plans. Even though we have something similar in our company (called a POP “Persoonlijk Ontwikkel Plan”, which is more or less the same thing), I want to separate a “business” and “personal” plan. My personal plan is not only about my development in my daily work, but as a all-round developer and system administrator in general. But this post is not only about my plan, but also about the things that have happened last year to me personally.

Varnish in non-compiler environments

Date: 18 Apr 2011
Tags: [ compiler ]  [ varnish

Last weekend I’ve visited the Loadays conference where I sat in the presentation of Thijs Feryn’s “Varnish in action”. Even though most of the talk was pretty familiar for me personally, a real interesting question was raised from the audience: is it possible to run varnish in an environment where there is no compiler available. It looks that I’ve just found the answer..

binomial coefficients

Date: 10 Apr 2011
Tags: [ coefficients ]  [ math ]  [ pascals triangle

Question: how can a simple question asked by a colleague turn into a blog post? Answer: when he asked: how many different queries can I build when I have 270 fields? The answer to solve this problem: binomial coefficients.

Now I do enjoy math. I’m definitely no guru in math but I (hopefully) know a thing or two. Just like with programming and everything computer related: if you know something vaguely, at least you know enough to look up the actual application for it. Our first instinct on the answer to my colleague was 270! (factorial of 270, which is 1x2x3x4x…x267x270, which is a VERY large number) but I knew something was not right. Turns out: it wasn’t right. The problem was mixing up combinations and permutations, which I knew there was a big difference, but I didn’t knew the math involved anymore..

Back to basics: virtual memory

Date: 09 Apr 2011
Tags: [ b2b ]  [ memory ]  [ virtual

Memory is something (almost) no computer can do without. In todays world the saying goes: the more memory the better. But the way computers uses memory is very different than they did only a few decades ago and “more memory” does not always equals better performance. A small introduction and history in memory usage.

Dwarf fortress: crossing vi with the Matrix

Date: 24 Mar 2011
Tags: [ dwarffortress ]  [ game

What do you get when you cross the vi editor with Keanu Reeve’s “The Matrix”? A cool game called dwarf fortress. A game that is awesome in many MANY ways. I’m not much of a gamer. As a matter of fact, lot of programmers aren’t and are more interested in actually creating games than playing them. However, dwarf fortress is an exception to that rule but beware: it’s not your average game. Everything but…

Speaking at Loadays and PhpBenelux Meetup

Date: 17 Mar 2011
Tags: [ conferences ]  [ speaking ]  [ Talks

It’s going to be a few busy weeks for me concerning speaking at conferences and meetups. Not only will I be speaking at the March edition of the phpBenelux meetup, hosted at our Enrise office, but also at the Linux Open Administrator days in Antwerp, Belgium. Here I will be hosting 2 different talks:

Speaking on the 4developers conference in Poland

Date: 08 Mar 2011
Tags: [ Android ]  [ conference ]  [ java ]  [ joindin

More good news: I’ve been invited to speak at the 4developers conference on april 4th in warschau, Poland. This time, my talk will be about the android application I’ve written, the connectivity to 3rd party API’s and creating android applications in general. A lot of stuff to cover in a short period of time but it will be an exciting talk so if you are around, come and join the android fun.