Hello world!

I’ve tried multiple times to restart blogging.  I’ve blogged before.  The site was newbienetwork.net, and then became phpcomplete.com.  Both were fun, new, exciting, and interesting.  I was learning to program, learning PHP, and teaching others along the way.

Of course now I’m old and jaded.  I’ve been programming for 10 years now, and I’ve been focused on credit card processing for the past 8 years.  Specifically, I’ve been focused on credit card processing for the adult industry.  8 years of doing that, in an industry that makes it a challenge as well as interesting.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love what I do.  I find everything I’m involved with to be a challenge.  There is a lot more that goes into it then people think.  However, I also want to break free.

At least on a personal programming level.  PHP programming for so long means I know what I’m doing.  I have an easy grasp of PHP.  I understand how it works, I understand web development as a whole.  I know it well enough that I feel comfortable with it.  The problem is, I need to branch out.

Of course, the question is, what do I branch out into?  I’ve dabbled with game programming using C# and XNA.  This has been a recent bit of fun.  I’ve wanted to try Java, but frankly, Java is filled with so many options its rather daunting.  Where do I start?  Maybe the same place I started with C#? A book!  But then why not get back into C++.  I’ve done C++ early on, but I stopped when PHP became my focus.  I could get back into it, but all this is beside the point.

What would I create?  More importantly, why build it in any of these languages?  So much is web-focused these days that in many ways, it’s worthwhile to learn the new things coming out for the web.  Become more fluent with JavaScript, CSS3, and HTML5.  Canvas looks amazing.  There is so much room for growth.  Seeing what people are creating online makes me wonder why I should worry so much about programming offline.

Consider that I am busy learning Zend and Doctrine.  Now, I know them well enough I can work with them, but frankly, I don’t consider myself as knowing something until I can avoid using the documentation and I just hammer out code.  Both Zend and Doctrine are big, monstrous pieces of code and each have lots of options, do lots of things.  Granted, I don’t think I’ll ever really learn every aspect of Zend.  Lots of packages, lots of tools I don’t need every day.  But there are also a large number of things Zend does that I should learn.

Of course, after I think about all that, I think about what else I am learning.  I’ve been pushing myself to use TDD every day, in everything I program. Constant Integration, Agile development, documentation, version control. So much going on every day, so many new things happening.

In the old days, you got a website, you put up a simple page with SSI header and footer, and you were happy. You copied a Perl script, dumped it into cgi-bin, hoped it worked and didn’t throw up a 500 error, and that was your web page.

Oh the old days. I miss, but frankly, these days are a lot more fun.