Setting Up A PHP Southwest UK User Group

Posted by Stuart Herbert on August 19th, 2010 in News.

London and the North West of the UK have their own successful PHP user groups … and it’s time we had one here in the South West 🙂

I’ve setup a PHP SW group on Google to get us started, and we’re already talking about where (probably the centre of Bristol) and when to have our first meet-up. Why not join the group and the discussion?

I’m hoping to appeal to folks using PHP who live or work in the Bristol, Bath, South Wales and South West of England regions to come along and join in. There must be plenty of us in the area!

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October in Manchester is home to the PHPNW09 conference. Last year’s conference was a great event, and this year’s promises to be even better. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a conference sponsor this year, honest 🙂

Immediately before the conference, I’m running a two day tutorial in the fundamentals of setting up and running a team of PHP developers, covering:

  • Keep your promises to your customers using written specifications
  • Organise your team using Subversion and Trac
  • Control quality using code reviews
  • Deliver to your customers using release management and follow-up support arrangements
  • Where to go after the course for additional learning

Places are limited to just 25 people, and there is an early-bird discount for anyone who signs up before 21st September. You can find out more on the course website, and sign-up online.

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Still Alive

Posted by Stuart Herbert on August 30th, 2009 in News.

It’s been a busy few months since I had to drop out of the Dutch PHP Conference’s PHP-on-Windows competition due to work pressures. At work, we’ve finished rebranding, launched a new corporate website, and are now starting on a review-and-polish cycle. We’ve also been kept busy finishing off the next version of our VoIP platform, migrating all of our customers onto it (just two more weeks to go!) and coping with a growth rate of 26% during the worst recession in living memory.

Outside work, my wife and I were involved in a car crash at the end of July. We’re both recovering well, although my wife won’t be back at work until at least mid-September. This has meant we’ve had to take things very easy for the summer, but I’m hoping to be back online and blogging regularly again shortly.

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Came across a second Microsoft-sponsored competition aimed at showcasing PHP on Windows. This one is for Canadian residents, and is headlined ‘The Ultimate Coder Battle‘. The premise is quite interesting: one student and one professional developer will be the chosen finalists, and they will battle head to head at the “Make Web Not War” conference. The winner walks away with substantial cash prizes – $5000 with another $5000 in bonus awards available. Entries close 3rd June.

After many many years of pushing ASP and, I’m finding it fascinating to watch Microsoft push Windows as a viable platform for publishing PHP applications. Although PHP apps on Windows have been viable for many years (provided you ditched the fundamentally-flawed ISAPI approach and stuck with the slower-but-stable CGI route), I think it’s great to see the improvements that are being made both to PHP and IIS. From personal experience, I know it can be very difficult to sell PHP-based apps into organisations that choose Windows; being able to point at Microsoft’s support for PHP is a good thing for the ISV community.

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I’m currently looking for two PHP developers to come and join my web development team at Gradwell. The team creates and maintains the web-based control panels for our award-winning VoIP service, plus our broadband, email, and web hosting services. From time to time we also get to do crazy things like Twittex and Facebook applications. Our partners often describe us as the geekiest company they ever have to deal with. And one nice bonus is that we use Linux for our desktops not Windows 🙂

The full details are on the Gradwell website, but the basics are that I’m looking for people with a computer science / software engineering degree, with PHP experience (via open-source projects is fine; it doesn’t have to be commercial experience), and experience with symfony is a major plus. It’s essential that you fit in with everyone else in the company, so you’ll need to be someone who’s proactive but supportive rather than competitive.

If you’re interested in applying, talk to me on Twitter or send through a CV and covering letter explaining why you’re the person for the role to stuart(dot)herbert at gradwell(dot)com.

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Job Vacancies at Gradwell

Posted by Stuart Herbert on December 15th, 2008 in News, PHP In Business.

I’m currently looking to fill two new vacancies at our office in Bath. I’m looking for a Senior Sysadmin (permie) and a Storage Engineer (contract) to come in and help us as we grow our award-winning business in 2009. These roles will be assisting us with our email and hosting platforms. If you’re interested, drop me an email. No agencies, please!

Who are we? Gradwell is a rapidly-growing ISP who focuses on broadband, email, web hosting and VoIP solutions for the UK SME market. We are a pioneer in VoIP, and are the leading VoIP provider for UK business. We also do fun things like Twittex, which I talked about recently at the PHPNW 08 conference.

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Speaking at PHPNW’08

Posted by Stuart Herbert on September 26th, 2008 in Conferences, News.

I’m really pleased to be speaking at the PHPNW’08 conference in Manchester on 22nd November. I’m going to be giving a behind-the-scenes look at how we built in just 7 days from idea to live service at Gradwell dot com, warts and all, and show you what really worked for us, and what we should have done to deliver the service even quicker. I’ll be covering technology, project management, and marketing too.

The last time I spoke at a conference was on Marco’s first php|cruise back in 2004, where we enjoyed a great view from the bar. There wasn’t really a UK PHP scene back then, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that’s changed in the last four years. We built twittex in-house, but we also outsource PHP development, and I’m very interested in meeting up with folks offering PHP and symfony development who are interested in VoIP (we’re the UK’s third largest VoIP provider) and social apps, and also with anyone interested in integrating VoIP into their apps too.

See you in Manchester in November!

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Any PHP User Groups In The Bath Area?

Posted by Stuart Herbert on April 5th, 2008 in News.

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I start my new job with on Monday, and I’m interested in hooking up with any PHP, Linux or Mac user groups in the Bath area. If you know of any interesting groups in the vacinity, I’d love to hear from you.

And if there isn’t anything in the area atm, and you’re interested in helping with a monthly meetup, I’d love to hear from you too.

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If you’re using the Advanced TinyMCE Editor plugin in WordPress (to replace WordPress’s less-than-stellar WYSIWYG editor), make sure you disable it before upgrading to WordPress 2.5. It isn’t compatible with the latest version of WordPress atm, and you might not need it … WordPress 2.5 includes a revamped WYSIWYG editor that (so far) seems to do a great job.

It even avoids screwing things up in Safari at last 🙂

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Come And Work With PHP In The UK!

Posted by Stuart Herbert on March 1st, 2007 in News.

I work for Box UK, where we use PHP to craft the hugely successful Amaxus XML Content Management System, and where we use .NET to craft the double award winning clickdensity website usability toolkit. We have an impressive list of customers, and did I mention that one of our products is written in PHP? 🙂

We re expanding the team in our Cardiff city-centre office (right in the heart of Europe s youngest capital city). We re looking for exceptional people with a proven track record in designing, delivering, and managing web-based solutions to large organisations. If you re a project manager, software developer, web site designer with XSL experience, or a systems administrator, maybe we have the right opportunity for your next role.

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