And then there was VIM – a story of Linux PHP IDE frustration

Yesterday, I hit a crossroads in the life of a Web developer. You see, I’ve been doing my testing on an Ubuntu VM lately. It’s been great because Apache runs PHP faster than it did on my XP VM. (If you ever need a break, fire up XP and load the Drupal modules page on a decently-sized site. You’ll have plenty of break time.)

But I had a dilemma; the IDEs just weren’t as good for PHP as my favorite Windows one (phpDesigner). I wanted to think they were. They had features that indicated that they should have been. But, in terms of actual productivity, they just weren’t – either they were too big, or they lacked good code completion at the right time. I was seriously considering sucking it up and heading back on over to Windows. After all, I figured, at least my databases are still on Linux, right? Maybe it’ll be faster. However, I had to pull my local Bazaar branches off of the Linux VM in preparation for the push to Windows, since there were still some changes (I think) that I might not have wanted to commit to the shared repositories yet.  While I was waiting, I figured I’d make a last-ditch effort to find a suitable IDE/editor my projects. After all, my needs in the end weren’t great – give me a couple nice features like code completion, syntax highlighting, and I’m fine.

So I thought I would try to finally learn VIM. I thought it was just a dinky little editor that wouldn’t be practical to use as my development environment for PHP.

I think I might have made a little miscalculation there. I don’t know where I was, but nobody ever told me VIM had so many great plugins or was so flexible! I can set it up practically however I like. It’s FAST. I can avoid using the mouse. I can get my syntax highlighting, code completion, and so on (a link to VIM for PHP programmers is obligatory here). More than I thought, in fact. And then…I can take it with me. Haven’t tried it yet, but VIM is cross-platform, so, in theory, I should be able to take the contents of my .vim directory with me. And I’m a big fan of DRY (something I do EVERY time I install an IDE for the first time on a computer/VM…).

Right now I’m just alternating between vim and gvim. I might wind up trying Pida or another similar IDE that embeds VIM as its editor.

I really ought to learn how to manipulate windows in VIM properly, though. One day!

I wonder if it’s the destiny of all programmers to eventually use VIM or Emacs? They do call them programmer’s editors…

That’s all for now,
Kevin

Portfolio page IS coming

Hi again,

Today I snuck up a link to a portfolio page. Said portfolio will be getting filled in soon. I just wanted to make sure you realize you can just contact me for the moment if you want to know what work I’ve done. Rest assured that I’ve done this stuff before…a lot 🙂

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.

Our contact form

Update: I’ve finally reached a mutually beneficial agreement with my contact form. It works now.

I just noticed the contact form has become a captcha nazi. Contact forms don’t like me, for some reason. But not to fear – I’m on the case and it’ll be fixed shortly. Watch for one of those fancy Update: messages on this blog post!

Joomla!

I’ve been playing around with Joomla! lately, and it seems to have its pros and cons. Compared to Drupal, it seems a little unnecessarily complex at times, and I don’t really understand the naming conventions for its extensions (“modules,” at least – blocks, the Drupal equivalent, is a much clearer term).

The administration interface is worth applause, though…Drupal’s is simpler, although it can be souped up with modules. It seems like Joomla! has more out-of-the-box but that Drupal is easier to get going with and to tailor to one’s needs. I prefer the latter, since it gives more flexibility to the creation and presentation of content.

Drupal’s also got much nicer URLs, and turning on its “Clean URLs” is super-easy.

So I’m still on the Drupal side, but if you think I should reconsider or try to get more into Joomla!, let me know in the comments.

At some point, I’ll do a proper comparison between the two.

A brand new site!

After some downtime, I’ve finally launched my new WordPress-based site! While it’s rather plain right now, this site will transform over time into a sample of what I can do using WordPress.

For now, browse around, and keep an eye on the blog for more info.