Using Vim as a PHP IDE

Jon Cairns wrote “Using Vim as a PHP IDE” blog post a good five years ago, but a lot of it still relevant and useful. It covers all the usual – syntax highlighting, syntax checking/linting, tags and auto-completion, coding style and mess detecting, unit testing and debugging. As many other similar guides, he links to a variety of plugins and provides configuration tips.

The Engineer/Manager Pendulum

The Engineer/Manager Pendulum” is a great article about a career shift from engineering to management.  Anybody who’s in engineering now and plans or even just wants to become a manager should read this.  Anybody responsible for “promoting” engineers to managers must read this too.

What Is WP-CLI? A Beginner’s Guide

WP-CLI is a super useful tool, which I use on a daily basis, and I wish more people knew about.  Gladly, there is now “What Is WP-CLI? A Beginner’s Guide“, which explains what it is, how to install it, how to use it, and where to go from there.

Eight Rules for Effective Software Production

Timofey Nevolin wrote an excellent article “Eight Rules for Effective Software Production” over at Toptal.com.  The whole thing is well worth a read, but here are the 8 rules to get you started:

  1. Understand the IT Mentality
  2. Do Not Mix Software Production and Development Methodologies
  3. Use Persistent Storage as an Extension to Human Memory
  4. Stop Wasting Time on Formal Time Estimation
  5. Understand the Cost of Switching Tasks and Juggling Priorities
  6. Use Architecture Reviews as a Way to Improve System Design
  7. Value Team Players
  8. Focus on Teamwork Organization

All of these are good and true, but if I had to pick one, I’d say that rule 4 is my personal favorite.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent a good quarter of my life in meetings, discussions, and other estimation sessions.  And looking back at all of them, I have to honestly say that they all of them were a waste of time.  The only useful part of an estimation session is a high-level project plan, but that can be achieved with a project planning session – much narrower goal, much more measurable, and much easier to achieve.

How to use Emerge to make your website load nicely

Ilya Birman explains how to use Emerge to make your website load nicely.  Emerge is a JavaScript library that he wrote to help with coordinated loading of the page elements.  The library is not free, but the license fee is very reasonable.

The examples and documentation look good.  I don’t remember seeing something similar, but then again I’m not actively involved with JavaScript these days.

The Ultimate WordPress Security Guide – Step by Step (2017)

WPBeginner, a website for beginner guides to WordPress, has published an updated and comprehensive guide to WordPress security – “The Ultimate WordPress Security Guide – Step by Step (2017)“.  Most of the things are well known to seasoned WordPress users – keep things updated, use strong passwords, remove unnecessary plugins, make sure to pick the right hosting, add security enhancing plugins, etc.  But it’s a good place to start for  people who are not too technical and those who don’t think about security implications of having a publicly accessible website on a daily basis.

There are plenty of questions, answers, simple explanations, and links to other resources in the article.  So even if you are an experienced WordPress user, you might find a useful thing or two in there.

You might also want to checkout my earlier blog posts:

Building the Right Alerting System

Here’s something I wanted to get into for a while now, but haven’t had the time yet – switching the monitoring / alerting system from server-oriented to business-oriented.  The gist of the story is:

If it’s not actionable and business critical, then it shouldn’t ring.

The article has some statistics and summaries as well.  The reasoning behind the switch is obvious, but it’s good to have it formulated:

After a few months, I can tell reducing our alerting rate should have been a top priority before things got out of hands, for a few reasons.

  • Constant alerts prevented the team to focus on what was important. Being interrupted even for things that can wait for a few hours lowers our productivity when we work on things that can’t wait.
  • Being awaken every night, several times a night exhausts a team and make people less productive at day, and more prone to do errors.
  • Too many off hours interventions cost the company a lot of money that could be invested in hardening the infrastructure or hiring someone else instead.

Is group chat making you sweat?

Jason Fried has an excellent write-up on the pros and cons of using group chat for the team communications, and some of the ways to make it better. We use HipChat in the company and while it’s vital to our operations and I can’t even begin to think how we could do what we do without it, it does have some negative side effects – exactly as James describes them.

The most valuable advice out of that long article is this one (I’ve heard it before a few times, but it’s worth repeating):

Think about it like sleep. If someone was interrupted every 15 minutes while they were trying to sleep, you wouldn’t think they’d be getting a good night’s sleep. So how can getting interrupted all day long lead to a good day’s work?

 

Stack Overflow: Helping One Million Developers Exit Vim

OK, this one is socially funny and statistically cool – Stack Overflow question on how to exit Vim editor was viewed over a million times in the last few years.  Now, there’s a breakdown of all sorts of statistics about who gets stuck in Vim the most.  It’s pretty amazing the kind of questions and answers one can ponder at when having access to a lot of statistical data.

:wq