Articles

What exactly happened to Brightball for hire?

Business - August 11, 2014

It's been about four years since we last took on a new project as a company. Work continued for existing clients for a long time after that, but the company itself was basically dead from that point. I was on vacation with my family last week and somewhat reflecting on exactly how I got there after ending up in a hospital bed in the middle of the night four years ago trying to keep it going. Here's how it happened.

Screenhero - This is your Business Plan

DevOps - July 31, 2014

I got a newsletter last night from Screenhero announcing version 1.0. The problem is that in the announcement, they also announced a change in pricing that will probably kill a lot of what they have going for them. And I hate that. I REALLY hate that. I've worked for companies where we had to invest a lot of time cleaning up bad decisions, so maybe it bothers me a little more. I really like Screenhero though, so I'm going to try to help. I wasn't doing a good job of explaining myself to them via Twitter, so this should hopefully be a better explanation of what I was trying to communicate.

Why should you learn PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL - July 21, 2014

Nearly a year ago I put together an hour long presentation on PostgreSQL to provide an overview of all of the benefits it provides you over other options in the database space. In hindsight, that wasn't nearly enough time because it has the capability to replace almost your entire application stack outside of the web server. In any case, here is an attempt to summarize all of the amazing functionality that you're cheating yourself out of by not choosing PostgreSQL.

Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL - Intro to Advanced

Classes - July 15, 2014

Beginning August 18th I will be offering a three week evening class aimed at professional programmers who want to learn Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL, with the goal of becoming proficient with both in a very short time.

Exploring Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL

Ruby - July 04, 2014

An overview of Ruby, jRuby, Rails, Torquebox, and PostgreSQL that was presented as a 3 hour class to other programmers at The Ironyard in Greenville, SC in July of 2013. The Rails specific sections are mostly code samples that were explained during the session so the real focus of the slides is Ruby, "the rails way" / workflow / differentiators and PostgreSQL.

Pair Programming - The Lightning Talk Version

DevOps - July 04, 2014

Lightning talk introduce pair programming based on information gleaned from RailsConf 2014. Bulk of the credit for this presentation goes to Chuck Lauer Vose of New Relic and Joe Moore of Pivotal Labs.

What's the "right" PHP Framework?

PHP - June 21, 2014

This is a presentation that I recently gave at UpstatePHP in Greenville evaluating the framework landscape in PHP. We discussed why there are so many, history, goals, benefits, concerns and ultimately a recommendation.

Tempering My Docker Enthusiasm (retracted)

DevOps - June 04, 2014

In a recent post I provided my initial impressions of Docker, which were glowing to put it mildly. After spending more time working with it, I've found that it does still have some additional drawbacks in certain situations just about every situation covered thanks to Vagrant.

Docker is the Heroku Killer

DevOps - May 14, 2014

After getting an intense look at Docker last night, I firmly believe that it is going to be the most disruptive server technology that we've seen in the last few years. It fills a much needed hole that's currently managed by very expensive solutions and it's being actively funded by some of the biggest players in the market.

PostgreSQL - It's kind've a nifty database

PostgreSQL - November 27, 2013

This is a presentation I recently gave to provide an overview of PostgreSQL and some of it's excellent features, including full-text search, multiple built in datatypes, data compression and extensions. 

Also, Morgan Freeman is narrating. You're welcome.

Learning Ruby on Rails: Why? How? Pitfalls?

Ruby - May 09, 2013

I've always been a proponent of the "right tool for the job" approach to programming. Different languages are well suited for different situations. Over the past 2 years I've spent a great deal of time with Ruby on Rails after coming from a background of PHP, Java and Perl. Here's how I got started and some of the lessons I learned along the way.

The Drawback to Web Frameworks

Ruby - April 29, 2013

Web frameworks are great, don't get me wrong here. They provide a structure and consistency across projects that will transcend developers over the life of a system while dramatically simplifying the code base amongst other wonderful side effects. But what's the downside?

"Make it faster."

Development - April 28, 2013

 I'm obsessed with performance tuning.  It's an itch that can never fully be scratched.  A sickness that can never be cured.  Here's the story of how I caught the bug.

The Impossible Assignment

Development - April 25, 2013

I had the opportunity to visit the class of one of my legendary former professors yesterday and got to share a classic story about him...the time he gave us an impossible assignment.

A Study of Pricing and Billing Models for the Web

Business - September 13, 2010

Asking people for payment for work is a touchy subject for everyone involved.  We've had the luxury of experimenting a little bit over our first couple of years, and here's what we learned.

The difference that expert Quality Assurance makes

DevOps - July 06, 2010

When we first started out, we listed the thorough quality assurance review as an optional piece of our estimates.  We had this incredibly naive idea that if we gave people the option to save a little money up front that they'd fully understand if there was anything that needed to be tuned up, post-launch.  We learned our lesson...hard.

The Wonders of SSH Tunneling

DevOps - May 11, 2010

Have you ever been working on a website and needed direct access to the database, but couldn't get access without using something like phpMyAdmin?  SSH tunneling can solve this common problem and a whole lot more.

Should my domain name include a "www"?

DevOps - May 06, 2010

In the age of Twitter and Web 2.0, we've started to see a lot of websites drop the standard www from their domain names.  This could simply be a product of people following trends or just trying to be a little different, but the real question is "What are the drawbacks?"

String localization with dynamic content in CakePHP

PHP - June 20, 2009

Cake has a wonderful shell script function built into it called extract that will run through your code and create a .po file full of all of the text contained within your __('My text here') calls. You can then pass these files onto to translators to modify them for your languages. When you want to add variables though, you have to break it up into pieces which may change the context of the phrase. Here's a way around that.

WYSIWYGPro Helper and tutorial for CakePHP

PHP - June 14, 2009

I couldn't find any resources on setting up WYSIWYGPro with Cake so I developed this helper along with instructions for total integration with your system. If you've never used WYSIWYGPro, you should check out the demos. I've tried every WYSIWYG editor out there and none of the other ones even come close as far as I'm concerned.

PublishableBehavior for CakePHP

PHP - June 10, 2009

PublishableBehavior allows the use of datetime fields for start and end ranges on content. Included functionality allows for checking published status, toggling to published / unpublished status, and adding conditions to a find to properly filter those results.

Smoother CakePHP date/time fields with jQuery

PHP - April 22, 2009

While working with the date/time input fields in Cake I got tired of having to select 3/6 drop down boxes to choose all of the date/time information and specifically of having to select 3/6 drop down boxes if I decided to clear the date. A little bit of jQuery will clear this right up though.

Automatically loading your ACL tables

PHP - January 27, 2009

If you've spent anytime wanting to use ACL on your applications, you know how tedious it can be to manually enter your entire controller and action structure. This Task will handle finding and loading or updating all of those for you whenever you run it from the command line.

About Me

My name is Barry Jones and Brightball, Inc was my contract development company from 2008-2012. Although I no longer do contract work this site has become my personal blog.

Stick around as I plan to discuss more programming, business, lessons learned from our run as a contract business and anything else that comes to me...if that sort of thing interests you.

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