I Exist

My team has worked hard last months to develop the latest Skynet application: Exist!

This application is primarily a social networking site addressed to Belgians who want to aggregate not only all the digital content they create and/or are interested in, but also all the digital information they may have compulsed over the time, into one place. It is also an opportunity to reinforce the social networking dimension we offer through our products. The main features of the site are to search by tags in order to find interesting profiles and to aggregate content in order to share your centres of interest.


During all stages of the development lifecycle we used web 2.0. technologies and paradigms. Therefore, all the effort has been brought to implement a feed aggregator, clean and meaningful URL and provide a rich end user experience through the use of ajax. The most difficult was to be able to provide a rich user experience with ajax but at the same time guarantee that the site remain crawler friendly.


This application was build using the latest technologies of two worlds that most web developers consider as concurrent: PHP and .Net. For the presentation layer we used a mix of the Yahoo YUI control library and prototype and the server side code was written in PHP 5.2  using our portal framework: ATOM.   For the backend we used WCF the latest Microsoft framework for building distributed applications.  By combining these technologies we tried to use the best tools available from the enterprise and open source world. 


Currently the application is online but not officially launched. So subscribe now exclusively and be one of the first on this new community.


Dutch version:  http://exist.skynet.be

French version: http://existe.skynet.be



11:42 Écrit par Geoffrey Vandiest dans Web | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) | Tags : exist, rss, ajax, wcf, php, community, agregator, networkingweb 2 0 |  Facebook |


Web technology cocktail

Interoperability between PHP & .Net


In my team, we are currently testing a new type of architecture. We decided to mix technologies and uses PHP for the front-end of our application and WCF for the business tyre.

One advantage of PHP over .Net is that there are a lot more PHP developers available on the market and they are usually cheaper as their ASP.NET colleagues. Most of the developers working on the web started their career as webmasters. They learned programming on PHP because of the simplicity of the PHP language and the fact that Microsoft never made a product that was appealing to them. For most of this type of autodidacts it’s really hard to master an OO platform as ASP.NET of JSP. So in my opinion despite the fact that ASP.NET or JSP are far more advanced and proposes a better set of tools, PHP will remain for a long time the most used web platform. For the same reasons I predict that it will be very hard for Microsoft to sell his “expression” suite to webmasters.

The PHP language is very flexible and easy. The entering cost was really low, in a couple of days we where able to master the language. We found a very effective way of interoperate both technologies by using wsdl2php.

Nevertheless I’m a bit disappointed over PHP because we are missing a good development environment. For the moment we are using Zend Studio and it really sucks. The auto completion is not working properly and we were unable to configure it for remote debugging or for source control. We use a distant development server because the application will be deployed on linux clusters and we wanted to have the same development environment as our deployment environment. Zend is really bad with this type of configuration.

It’s like we are back to the stone age of development; no debugger, no source controller. Because of that we are forced to phone to all members of the team to know who is working on what. Our code is full of "echo" and "print_r" statements. Bugs appears because someone else has saved some new files on the server that are incompatible with the current version of the files.

PHP is a nice little platform but it really miss an IDE as VS.NET 2005 IDE and other tools that boost up productivity and quality.

13:20 Écrit par Geoffrey Vandiest dans Web | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : interoperability, php, asp net, wcf |  Facebook |