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Web Development Meetings

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I can't find any of these in my area (yes, I tried Google and Meetup.com) but I heard that sometimes they happen over the internet. How does that work? And more importantly...where are these meetings? Are they on Skype or something?

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Well, I was just looking into that the other day, seeing as how I just moved back to America. I was only able to find a couple meetups/user groups in my area, but I basically found them by typing my city into Google plus "PHP" or "JS", etc. All of them were through either meetup.com or twitter.com, which is where the information was posted. If they're not in your city, maybe try broadening the search, or better yet, start your own meetup.

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Have you been to a web developer meeting before? What are they like? What do they talk about?

 

I suppose it is a possibility to start  a group in my area but I figure should at least know a little bit about them first :)

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No, I haven't, but I'm going to my first one tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

Thus far, my impression seems to be that there is a lot of variety in meetups, and it really depends on the type of meetup and the people hosting/presenting everything.

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After you go, could you tell me what it was like? I'd really appreciate that :)

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Yeah, sure. This first one is probably a bit non-normal though, as it's about WordPress and writing copy for the web.

Next month though are the PHP, Node.js and Hadoop meetups, which I'm more looking forward to. Anyway, I will report back with my findings.

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I've been to a few meetups and its as HartleySan says - they all vary depending on the subject and the organiser. Here are some of my experiences:

 

One called Untangle the Web usually has 3 different talks given by people established in the industry. I've only been to this one once and the the speakers were from digital agencies and their talks were well presented and informative. Another one I went to recently (can't remember the name of it) also had three presenters. One talk was given by a 20 year old who was clearly quite good at front end web design but not at public speaking. The 3rd talk was given by Rachel Andrew who has written several books on CSS and gave a very good talk on some of the new features in css3. It was great to get to speak with her afterwards. There is a huge php meetup once a month but it tends to give talks on on more enterprise related concepts and tecniques. My favourite is one often held in a Mozilla office and aside from providing beer, pizza, soft drinks, nice crisps and chocolate, is really good for meeting other coders to learn from and collaborate with.

 

In summary, they are all different and you just have to try them out. I'm in Amsterdam at the moment and am thinking of going to one of Appsterdam's talks.

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margaux, it sounds like you're living in/around a great hub of web development. We don't have nearly that much or that level of speaker in my area. There are only two meetups in my city (each once a month), and beyond that, I have to drive about an hour to the closest big city to find any other meetups.

 

Anyway, kudos to you for having such a hot spot for web dev.

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HartleySan, you should pay attention to W. Jason Gilmore, if you're not already. He's a writer and former editor at Apress. He's one of the people behind the CodeMash conference in Sandusky. And he lives in Columbus. Or did the last time I spoke to him.

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So what about on-line web development meetings? Does anybody do those? We could all go :P lol

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Thanks for that, Larry. According to his website, he's still in Columbus. I'll drop him a line sometime, and find out when he's making a public appearance next. Thanks.

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Buttercream, I went to a few meetups/user groups in the last few days and here are my thoughts:

 

- Overall, they're definitely a good experience, and I'm glad I went.

 

- The first one I went to was about SEO. The woman speaking was not an expert though (just someone who paid money to attend an SEO conference that was presented by an expert and costed money). As such, it was a fun experience and I met some nice people, but the content was way too far below my level, and I didn't really get anything out of it knowledge-wise.

 

- A woman that attended the first one presented at the second meetup right after that. The second one was about how to write professionally for the web. This was a topic I was really interested in, and even though she was only a housewife writing copy for the web part-time from home, she was very professional, nice and knowledgeable. I'm in the midst of trying to make my own website, which is about web tutorials and requires a lot of writing. As such, I really enjoyed this one and got a lot out of it.

 

- The third meetup I went to was actually a group that focused on helping women break into the tech industry (but they did allow guys to attend as well). This was the most like the kind of meetup I am looking for: basically a group of developers and aspiring developers like myself that just hang around at a cafe and talk/write code. I didn't meet anyone that was actively using PHP, but I did learn a lot about Ruby and Rails from a woman that uses them for her job, and I also talked to a housewife that started learning JS about a year ago and wants to get into web dev like me. She was fun to talk to.

 

So yeah, they were all good. At this point, I haven't been able to really talk in detail about the finer points of JS and PHP, which I'd like to do, but all in all, the experiences have been good, and I may go back to the girls developer group the next time they have a meeting.

 

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend attending some in your area. If nothing else, it allows you to get out there and meet like-minded people.

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I'm a woman that does PHP, I would have gone to that third one :D

 

Speaking of women in programming, my little subset of the industry is weird because we're predominantly female, lol. Since I've been a programmer, I've almost always been involved with PBBGs in the animal simulation genre (everybody just calls them "sims" or "SIM games"). There are a lot of sims these days. There's ones about common animals like dogs, horses, cats, etc. and then you have the more exotic ones that focus on things like lions, dinosaurs  or mythical creatures. Some focus on competing in shows or breeding for rare colors, while others have more novel goals like survival in the wild or rescuing homeless dogs.

 

Most of the sims I know about are owned and coded by a single person--a female person! Even the people I know about that code sims for hire are female. I've yet to meet a male sim programmer. Heck, I hardly even meet male players. I don't know why sim games don't appeal to many males but apparently they don't. Still, it's hard to believe, isn't it? Anywhere else you go there's scarcely a female programmer to be found.

 

I feel right at home in the sim industry but when I start freelancing, I might not get very much sim (or even game) related work. I'm probably going to have to learn a TON of new stuff but hopefully it won't be too hard. I'm reading Larry's PHP Advanced and Object-Oriented Programming, 4th Ed. So hopefully this will give me more tools in my mental toolbox. My PHP education is kind of patchy. For instance, I never learned much about working with files. I only learned what I needed to make sim games--which admittingly is a lot of stuff but it's still not a complete education.

 

Oh! I wanted to tell you. I've been looking around for PHP questions I can answer but I'm mostly finding stuff that I don't feel qualified to reply to. It seems like people hardly ever ask questions that are related to my experiences. If more people asked about things like, "How can I allow users to equip items to their pets?" or "How could I code genetics?" or "How could I code a private messaging system?" I would have a lot to tell them, but it seems like they're almost always talking about things I have never done. 

 

It seems like I'm going to have to study every type of PHP application under the sun. (Unless somebody has a better idea?)

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You know, I didn't always know everything I know about PHP, etc. You have to build up the knowledge over time through a lot of work. Because it's my passion though, I thoroughly enjoy playing with PHP code just to see what it'll do sometimes. Also, I've had to study for hours before to answer some people's questions on this forum. It's just a matter of putting in the time and effort, which is easy if you enjoy it.

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What I worry about in those situations is even if I research, I might be giving incorrect information. Is that ok, as long as I try?

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Is that ok, as long as I try?

Ummm... I can't really answer that question.

 

I think that it's all relative though.

Worst case, you really annoy a client and possibly lose them, but you learn from your mistakes. I think that if you're really pressed to find an answer to something though, you will work hard enough to find the answer. Plus, you always have these forums to come to and ask questions.

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Huh? I'm confused. I thought we were talking about helping the people who ask questions on PHP forums (as a means of furthering our own learning). Did you think I was talking about clients?

 

Side Note: LOL usort() is playing with my head. I'm learning how to use it, got that? Well, first it was not working, and I couldn't figure out why, but now it's working, and I don't know why either xD I don't know what I did to get it working. I just had to laugh at myself over that.

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Yeah, I did think you were talking about clients. If it's on the forum, you're welcome to chime in whenever, but if you're really not sure, it might help to preface your posts with that sort of comment.

 

usort is tricky. I had to run a bunch of test scripts to get it done.

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Larry broke usort() down and explained it really well in his PHP advanced book, so I had the jist of it by the time I started doing it. Except for that weird error, I thought it was really really easy. I still have no idea what caused the error. What originally happened was the array I was usort()ing was getting turned into the integer 1. I changed...something...I don't even remember...but it was related to something else and then it started working. I was shocked.

 

PHP likes to mess with our minds lol

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Wow, just wow. I hit control + z (undo) a gazillion times and got back to my old code. I ran it and it worked fine.

 

 

What

.

.

.

the

.

.

.

heck!

 

 

Edit: Oh, nevermind, I got it to do it again xD I hit control + z one more time :P

 

Here is the evil, evil code:

$_deck = array(
	//Aces
	array('number' => 'ace', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'ace', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'ace', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'ace', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),
	
	//2s
	array('number' => '2', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '2', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '2', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '2', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),				
	
	//3s
	array('number' => '3', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '3', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '3', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '3', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),
	
	//4s
	array('number' => '4', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '4', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '4', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '4', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),
	
	//5s
	array('number' => '5', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '5', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '5', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '5', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),			
	
	//6s
	array('number' => '6', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '6', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '6', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '6', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),	
	
	//7s
	array('number' => '7', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '7', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '7', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '7', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),	
	
	//8s
	array('number' => '8', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '8', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '8', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '8', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),
	
	//9s
	array('number' => '9', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '9', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '9', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '9', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),
	
	//10s
	array('number' => '10', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '10', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '10', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => '10', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),			
	
	//Jacks
	array('number' => 'jack', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'jack', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'jack', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'jack', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),	
	
	//Queens
	array('number' => 'queen', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'queen', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'queen', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'queen', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),	
	
	//Kings
	array('number' => 'king', 'suit' => 'clubs', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'king', 'suit' => 'diamonds', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'king', 'suit' => 'hearts', 'facing' => 'down'),
	array('number' => 'king', 'suit' => 'spades', 'facing' => 'down'),	
	);
	
function sort_alphabetical($x, $y)
{
	return strcasecmp($x['suit'], $y['suit']);	
}

$_deck = usort($_deck, 'sort_alphabetical');
print_r($_deck);
Bah! I can't control + y back to my working code because I changed something. Now I gotta figure out how to get it working again, lol. Hmm...

 

Edit 2: Fixed it! I didn't need to put the result of usort in $_deck. usort changes the array all by itself, you don't need to put the result in the variable for it. And what it returns is a boolean so that's how 1 was getting in there, I guess.

 

I would have figured that out a lot faster if php.net had not been down, lol. I just got on php.net for the first time in like 6 hours.

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