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by Ben Dechrai
PHP6 is due for release in early 2010. Anyone that remembers the release of PHP5 will no doubt be wondering what's in store for them, and the web sites they've created. While most hosting providers will not upgrade in the near term, it is wise to be aware of the issues surrounding a milestone release of this popular web scripting language.
A lot of PHP6's new features are available in PHP5.3, such as name-spacing and late static binding, and those that are already making use of these features will have an easier time migrating to the next version of PHP.
In addition to these new features, there are some changes that may still affect your code. Many of the things the programming community felt PHP did incorrectly have been fixed or deprecated, and those who squeezed through the PHP4 to PHP5 upgrade path are advised to pay particular attention to these.
Make sure you're prepared for these changes and learn about the juicy, and not to juicy additions to the language.
by Ben Dechrai
Dropbox is probably the current leader in the storage application and service space for desktop users. Featuring an auto-commit-and-update mechanism to transparently send updates to the repository, changes are reflected on any other machine in near real-time.
Unfortunately, while Dropbox promises security, you cannot use your own infrastructure for data storage. Most data security policies would make this a show stopper for many organisations that wish to deploy such a facility.
By gluing a few existing open source tools together, you can replicate the functionality with a version control system, a file system watcher and a scheduled task.
by Liz Henry
Practical tips for women developers in open source to support each other, and for communities to develop good practices to be supportive of women.
by Liz Henry
Sometime in your life you'll likely have a physical impairment. People with disabilities might need mobility devices, assistive or augmented communication devices for speech-to-text or eye controlled input, screen readers for visual impairments, or what we now describe as ergonomic adaptations. Mass produced, closed-source, proprietary designed objects don't meet the individual needs of people with disabilities. So we need to approach the invention of assistive technology in a way that expects and welcomes hacking. How can we change the view of assistive technology so that it is not a medicalized special need that has to be begged for, and open source development so that it includes universal accessibility from the beginning?
Rather than obsess over impossible levels of healthiness and longevity, we need to change people’s expectations of how they will deal with changing physical limitations. Popularizing simple designs, and a DIY attitude for assistive tech, will extend the open source culture of invention. Complicated access hacks need open information, open collaboration, and community in order to be successful enough to rival mass produced software, hardware, and gear.
18th–23rd January 2010