Working hard or hardly working?

Hey all, I wanted to let you know that we are planning on starting back up in March. I and my family have been dealing with the flu and I haven’t had as much time to get things going again for a next meet. I hope to see all of you at our March meeting. I am tentatively scheduling it for the 3rd Thursday of March (21st). Also, if you haven’t signed up for Barcamp Conway do so now. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Derrick Koon

Learn something new everyday…

Skimming through the Zend manual today I found an answer to a question I have had for a while…..

Q: Why do some programmers leave the closing PHP tag out of pure php files?

A: So the interpreter doesn’t have to switch back to html and so that no whitespace is created at the end of the file that could jank up an include before a header declaration…….

The closing tag of a PHP block at the end of a file is optional, and in some cases omitting it is helpful when using include() or require(), so unwanted whitespace will not occur at the end of files, and you will still be able to add headers to the response later. It is also handy if you use output buffering, and would not like to see added unwanted whitespace at the end of the parts generated by the included files.

Just a little tip for anybody wondering why the hell some people would do that……

Welcome to 2013

I know that a lot of people make new years resolutions and that a lot of people never keep them. My resolution this year is to write at least something on here weekly as I expand my knowledge of PHP and my friendships with the development community here in Little Rock. I already have an article in the works for this week covering what I have found so far as I learn the Codeigniter framework. As I work through the framework and whatever comes my way I will try and blog about it so that you can learn from my mistakes/successes. I will try and give links to material and resources that I feel would benefit the PHP community. If you have something you would like to see let me know.  Feel free to leave me some comments if there are things in my articles that I miss or get wrong or if you just like what i have written. Good luck in 2013 to all of you and I wish you all “Happy Coding”.



Failure to launch……

Ok, so maybe that title is a bit extreme. Turnout last night was anemic to say the least. Between Christmas prep and illness I can definitely understand. A big thanks to Lee and Blain for coming by and not making it a Charlie Brown Christmas. Saucer has good beer but I think the location and my choice of venue and time/date was a little off mark this go round. I am going to start planning for next month. Probably not going to be downtown. I like the casual atmosphere of a pub or bar but it was a little distracting. I will be opening up a poll here shortly to get an idea of what kind of format you want for meetings. Blain told me about some of the meetings for the .net crowd and that seems like a decent model to go by. Anyway we go I intend on meeting each and everyone of you in the coming months. Enjoy this time of year with your family and try and remember the good of this year while looking towards next.

Happy Holidays…

Derrick Koon

Its finally here…..

Tonight is the first get together of the Little Rock PHP users group at the Flying Saucer in the river market. I have, for a long time lamented the fact that there is not a PHP group in Little Rock to help understand best practices and guide my journey as a developer. My hope is that this becomes something that helps the development community grow and get better, a tool that can be used. The technology boom in Arkansas is taking off and more and more people are getting into PHP as a development language. These novice developers face an internet full of poor tutorials and millions of out of date cut and paste scripts. I feel like beginners need the exposure to others in the field to navigate and veteran programmers need to be reminded that they once were beginners. I hope that everyone is able to make it tonight and I sincerely hope you have a good time. I look forward to calling all of friends and learning from each and every one of you. I have a lot to learn in PHP, but I know that a community can teach you much more than any book or tutorial… Have a great day and I hope i will see you tonight.


Derrick Koon

Flying Saucer, Rivermarket District, LR

Tonight at 6:30pm-8:00pm

Looking for Suggestions

Being a novice means having pie in the sky type ideas about what something should be. The reality is ofter a little different. I am finding that to be true with the LRPHP group. Our first meeting is setup for the 19th and I want to get you thinking about what it is that you want out of this group. Friendly get together? Informative sessions? Presentations? All of the above. I just want to get an idea? Leave me some suggestions in the comments.



Mark the Date, Dec 19th 2012

I wanted to make sure that we all got to meet before the Mayan apocalypse…

We are meeting at the Flying Saucer Downtown on the 19th at 6:30pm till we get tired come by and have a drink or just hang out and get to know some of your fellow local developers.

Ballad of WordPress Novice…

Here I sit all broken hearted, tried to Blog but WordPress farted…

To be honest I have never been on the WordPress bandwagon. I have friends who have made lots of money doing WordPress sites. I understand why, the setup was easy, the plugin system is robust, and the templating system is superb. That said, I always felt that I needed to understand something before I just used it. The internet to me seems to have an excess of people who just take a technology and misuse it. Ironically this is a lot of the internet. We see this in every meme and new website design trend. I mean what the post “Web 2.0” world would be without the “ribbon” as a design element. The problem is that I had never really taken a WordPress install apart and looked at the gears that move it. I did not have a lot of time to vet my choices because I wanted this to take off before the sparkle faded. So for me to choose what to select as a CMS for the LRPHP I had to convince myself to use WordPress. I wanted easy to use with not much fuss. I could have gone with Drupal or WolfCMS or even PyroCMS but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Being short on time and quick on the draw here is what I found..


  • Easy to use backend.
  • Plugin system with LOTS OF OPTIONS.
  • Quick Setup (Less than 4 hours).
  • Lots of styles when it came to prebuilt themes.


  • A website on WordPress is a fragile thing.(I tried to edit a config file and spent 2 hours putting it back together)
  • Spaghetti Code (Granted if you never want to look under the hood this is a moot point )
  • Note: if this is a design pattern I want to know what it is.
  •  I have whole domains blocked from registering. (Hotmail apparently believes security is putting your password under a coffee filter and telling people not to look).
  •  You have to play a cat and mouse game to keep everyone in Russia from registering on your site.
  • The design of the file structure promotes bad practices. WHY IS MY CSS FILE FOR THIS THEME IN THE PLUGINS FOLDER?
  •   BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP……. If you can, do some more backup….

In short, I believe the problem with WordPress has little to do with the system but more with its prevalence on the internet. Much like the Mac vs. PC debate, if everyone used a Mac then people would complain about Mac more simply because stories of it crashing would be more abundant. With WordPress, the waves of internet hackers crashing against it have made it prone to attack. On a less besieged site most of my cons would be mitigated and easily repairable. Unfortunately out of the gate running a WordPress site is like being on the front lines in Afghanistan. Fight or watch your site die at the hands of user or one of his brethren.

Derrick Koon