Monthly Archives: January 2005

Gnomedex 2005 in Seattle?

Chris Pirillo is busy planning Gnomedex 2005 which looks like it will be in Seattle Washington sometime this summer. Originally it sounded like Las Vegas was in the cards, but with Chris’ relocation to Seattle recently, I’m guessing it’ll be easier to organize if it’s in the Northwest. Had a great time last year and I hope to go again if I can.

SDForum: PHP5 & Web Services

The January 2005 meeting of the SDForum Web Services SIG featured a presentation on “PHP5 & Web Services” by Andi Gutmans (a co-founder of Zend). Following are my notes and comments from the presentation.

Introductory Notes

PHP5 released in July 2004. PHP highlights; what are the key reasons it’s so popular?

  • Rapid, iterative development cycles, low learning curve
  • Robust, high-performance & scalable; stable & secure
  • Easily integrated into heterogeneous environments/systems
  • Proven through widespread deployment; vibrant community

TIOBE Programming Community Index (January 2005); PHP earned the title of “Programming Language of the Year 2004“.


  • Allows for real object orientd development (but doesn’t force OO; can still use as functional language)
  • Integration capabilities (Web Services, C/C++, Java, Perl, .NET, etc.)
  • Databases (Oracle, DB2, MySQL, MS SQL, etc.)
  • Support for standards (XML, LDAP, SNMP, etc.)

Web Services — why another SOAP implementation?

  • PHP4 had no standard SOAP implementation
  • Several non-standard implementations (NuSOAP, PEAR::SOAP)
  • Needed a standard, bundled, high-performance, reliable implementation
  • For PHP5, Zend wrote an entirely new implementation, bundled by default (need to recompile PHP to activate)

Consuming Web Services

  • Use SoapClient class
  • Two modes
    * Easy way: WSDL file import (easy unless you have to write the WSDL)
    Harder: programmatically describe the web service

Exposing Web Services

  • Use SoapServer class
  • Two modes
    * WSDL file
  • SoapServer can receive and optional array of arguments like SoapClient
  • One problem now: no good way to generate WSDL from PHP itself

PHP’s XML Magic (SimpleXML)

  • Treat XML values as native PHP types
  • Takes advantage of new Zend engine overloading API
  • Takes advantage of the dynamic nature of PHP
  • Based on libxml2 library

Examples show function simplexml_load_file() which in a single step creates a PHP XML object from either a file or a live URL. You can then iterate through the item using dynamic element/attribute names.


  • Yes, compatible with PHP4
  • Not distributed by default; download and build it separately
  • Works very much the same way (no exceptions, for example)

Future Directions

  • Sending cookies in SOAP envelope (5.0.4)
  • HTTP digest authentication (5.0.4)
  • SOAP attachments (MIME, DIME)
  • SOAP routing and WS-Security
  • Method overloading
  • Better development tools (WSDL creation, web services explorer, code templates, code completion)

New projects tend to be starting in PHP5, but conversion from PHP4 will likely take time. Apparently making the upgrade isn’t too difficult, but organizations are taking it cautiously.

SDForum: Craig Newmark

Tonight we’re going to the first SDForum Distinguished Speaker Series of 2005 featuring Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist). They’ve been able to get some notable speakers recently. I’m a big fan of Craigslist and will be interested to hear his side of the story.

Update: Really enjoyed Craig’s presentation. Hearing him talk in person gives you a good sense of how Craigslist has evolved. My friend Phil wrote a nice summary worth reading: Craigslist and Viral Marketing. Craig posted his presentation online as well: Craigslist Challenges (PowerPoint format).

Update 2005-02-04: IT Conversations has published the audio from Craig’s talk. It’s worth listening to a second time.

Applied Marketing

After much cajoling by me, my good friend Philip Bernosky has started his own weblog: Applied Marketing.

In his opening post, Phil wrote:

You might be asking – “why a blog on marketing”. Primarily this is an outlet for me to collect and organize my thoughts and experiences with the function of marketing in any organization – with a primary focus on business. It was born out of my frustrations while working in & with, large and small companies that, by their actions, seem to completely misrepresent or underutilize the role of marketing to their success.

Being so focused on the technology and product development side of things, I’m not as familiar with product marketing as I’d like to be, so hopefully Phil’s blog will enlighten me along the way.

NFL Game Audio on Audible

CNET (and others) are announcing that NFL will deliver game audio through

Under terms of the agreement, will offer MP3-compatible audio broadcasts of the Super Bowl and conference championship games. Listeners can download the entire broadcast, or selected highlights, the morning after the game.

Consumers can download the games, from, and other online retailers, onto their MP3 players, including Apple Computer’s iPod, Audible said.

This should be interesting. I can definitely see the game summaries/highlights being useful. (Ideally I’d like them that evening rather than the following morning.) I think the post-game summary on the radio would make great podcast material. For baseball, they could broadcast the “condensed” version they’ve done for TV occasionally.

Continuing the trend of attributing everything to the iPod, headlines all reference “iPod”, but the audio should be available for any device that supports.