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Showing posts from June, 2009

Time Waster: X-PHP-QUESTION - Yes, I did notice

Welcome to Time Waster article #1. Time Waster is going to be where I put weird little easter eggs as I find them. Either programming hiccups or weird software oddities that caused me to waste time. Today's Time Waster involves the PHP website itself. To participate, you will need Firefox with the Firebug plugin installed.

Visit the PHP website in Firefox.

Now, open up Firebug and you should see something like this:

(Why, yes, I did notice.)

A few other people have noticed this. Looking at the source code for their site doesn't have any explanation for its existence. Someone on the PHP developer team thinks they are cute.

Bad Design: Windows Task Manager

I've decided that Windows Task Manager is ill-conceived, poorly designed, and extremely misleading. Especially the following:

Most people have seen the "Performance" tab and that memory usage chart. Charts have a more powerful influence than a bunch of numbers and statistics. Take a good look at the chart and answer one question: What is the user going to think?

Most users have no idea what a 'page file' is. But most can understand the terms 'memory' and 'CPU'. The chart is extremely misleading. The chart above this chart is 'CPU' usage. In terms of all the charts in Task Manager, that chart is the most useful.

Think in terms of the average user trying to figure out why the computer is extremely slow. Now, based on this image, what can you tell about the current system?

That is right - the average user cannot figure it out. This means Task Manager is poorly designed and is downright misleading. The user is mislead to believe that th…

Maximum failure: PHP 6 deprecates short tags

I just discovered that PHP 6 is officially deprecating short tags. I'm sorry, but short tags are incredibly useful. They should be turned on for every server. They simplify coding dynamic actions within HTML. Plus, you get the added bonus of using:


Which is short for:

<?php echo $x; ?>

Compare: 7 characters vs. 17 characters. The latter is over twice the length, quite unreadable, and, from personal experience with large code bases, unmaintainable! Typing 'php echo' in every time I want to execute/display data that is hosted within the PHP engine is ridiculous. This is a step backwards going in the wrong direction.

The lame excuse for removing short tags is XML. PHP is for HTML, not XML.

I write PHP code quite regularly. Prior to PHP 5, PHP stunk. PHP 5 really changed my view of scripting languages. PHP 6 is going to ruin that view as we will return, once again, to the dark ages of software development. What really gets me is that someone made a decent recomme…