Zend PHP certified!

Well, I did my Zend PHP exam today in London… and passed! … Finally I can relax after a stressful few days leading up to today and prepare for the Retrovision 2010 event in Oxford on Friday (Which i’ve found hard to get excited about due to all the revising).

The one thing I will say is that i’m glad I spent a solid month revising, as there is a lot of information to cram in. Although i’ve been using PHP for around 5 years now (4 as part of my day to day job) there is still a lot of material which I had never used/come across before. One of the key areas was really understanding some of the new features of PHP5 compared to PHP4.

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Learning to revise again

Well, after surviving a grueling 2 year web/preservation project, it has now finally come down to doing that Zend PHP exam which has been constantly put off whilst other impending work was completed.  At the age of 28, revising shouldn’t be a problem – I mean, i’ve been through the likes of GCSE’s, GNVQ’s, HND and Degree exams – more than enough experience right?

Problem is that my last exam was almost 6 years ago, so now its trying to get back into the swing of things again and remember how I best revised.  From what I recall, it was all about ‘cramming’….  making loads of notes with key words, creating bubble charts and my own questions and answers to constantly blast through.  Actually, after going through all the notes i’d end up with the equivalent of a Quiz book which i’d then spend several days constantly going through until I was getting at least 70/80% correct.  It seemed to work quite well and got me at least this far – so i’m hoping it will help this time round (If I can just doing the festive beer drinking!)

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Experimenting with Microformats

As we push towards a more semantic web overall, we are somewhat limited with XHTML in trying to describe what our information means to machines as well as humans.

With Microformats, we are given an approach to better describe our data through the use of standard XHTML markup.  With the following HTML: “<p>Joe Bloggs is a web developer at the University of Kent.</p>”, in a browser this can be easily interpretted by humans, but to a machine it is just a string with no particular meaning.
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Revamp of GTW64 finally underway!

Good news, but work is now finally under way on the redevelopment of GTW64 (The C64 sister site), which could take sometime… but at least i’ve started 😉

At present a project plan is being produced to ensure that the process is as quick as possible. We will be going with a Drupal CMS based system, which is useful as i’ve been building a large scaled archival project at work for almost 2 years now, so there is some reusability there and potential to get a prototype set up fairly quickly 🙂

The largest challenge still remains, where we need to tidy up the existing reviews/shots and bits and get an automated way of getting everything into the new system. Plans for this are underway, but it means going over the existing site and tidying up. Whilst doing this i’ll be improving the metadata to increase searchability of whats there for now – which is one of many broken aspects of the old 5-6yr old design.

I’m not sure how long everything will take, but what is difficult is working on the web all day and coming home to do it… so it will take some knuckling down to sort out. Additionally I want to keep the project running simultaneously to keep up the findings, so this will slow things too. Overall the searchability of the site, findability and readability of content will be improved which in time should help ensure that ex-developers are more likely to find things. At present Meta is poor, which does not help users to find what we write, and in the modern day web we could end up being buried away too much 😉

Anyone following the main site will have noticed a few cosmetic changes, but behind the scenes there have been various improvements to fix a few its problems to keep things ticking over. Plans will be to later move the main site into Drupal and enable the main site to be able to search across its own content, as well as GTW64 based items (With potentially being able to hook into the other sister sites too… though more research required there with the different systems being used). This is lower on the priority list, as the main site isn’t anywhere near as dated as the GTW64 site, and its migration should be a lot more trivial in comparison.

I’m thinking from my work aspect to keep updates via a few blog entries every so often, so keep an eye out on my blog.