As Jesús Castagnetto was presenting a long talk on how to improve one’s PHP coding practices, I decided that the event was worthwile and went a little earlier to follow Diego’s presentation on GNOME and Fernando’s presentation on Drupal (although these two were of little interest to me, I still learnt a bit from both).
Diego was presenting GNOME 2.24 (if I remember well) but for some reason (I got there several minutes after he started) he didn’t have internet access, which seemed to prevent him from showing what he wanted. So I don’t know if that was intended but in the end he started showing how to develop a small window-size program in Glade, which got me to finally understand more or less what Glade actually was. I think it was too complicated for the audience though, as most people seemed to be looking at the screen with bright eyes just because he generated a window with a menu. Somehow, I felt like an Ubuntu release party was not exactly the place to be showing how to code, but nevermind… I guess it was all due to the Internet connection problem.
I’ve always wondered what exactly Diego was doing in GNOME. I went on his blog the other day and… well… I’m still wondering. [Diego, if you read this, do you mind telling us?]
Then came Fernando, founder of Drupal Perú. If I understood well, Fernando is a developer (if not the main developer) of the Organic Groups extension for Drupal. I had already seen him presenting Drupal at Linux Week and I cannot help but think that he needs a little more dynamism when presenting it, but I think it’s pretty much down to Perú itself rather than him alone. There’s something in Perú that seems to be making all people that want to look professional never smile or laugh in public. Weird.
Anyway, although it was pretty much repeating what I already knew, the Drupal presentation got me (in the end) to find out the name of the Drupal module that allows DHTML menus to appear on top of my Drupal website, as they do for my WordPress account. That’s called the Admin Menu module, and if you try to find it by name on the Drupal modules page, you probably won’t, so here is a link: http://drupal.org/project/admin_menu
I got to see a bit of the Panel and Zen modules as well, which seemed nice to change your site’s design (gotta try that).
Finally, Jesús came out of nowhere and started his presentation on PHP’s coding best practices (you can get it in Spanish from here). Very interesting talk. I have to admit that nothing was new, and he’s only translated and improved the work of others for this talk, but it was a complete presentation of all the things that you know you should do but never do all at once.
Of particular interest to me were the directions that PHP6 is taking (like E_STRICT and the removal of register_globals and magic_quotes) and possible efficiency optimizations (like using several parameters to echo rather than a concatenated string, or using ++$i rather than $i++).
He also told us that exception handling was generating memory loss in PHP5, which took me by surprise…
Anyway, globally, I’m glad I went and I must admit I’m surprise at the amount of initiatives promoting free software in Lima. It’s like hammering free software like we *should* be doing it in Belgium. But there are obviously more people around here ready to hammer that for free. Good thing, if you ask me!