Spent the weekend with a dozen other people in Cheltenham. Phil Taylor offered to show people how to develop custom modules for Joomla, the open source Content Management System. It was a hectic weekend, up to our eyes in PHP code. I’m glad that I’d researched a little and had done a few templates. It helped, for sure, but there were a few experienced people there and it got quite detailed, deep under the hood. I think that we all thought it was a great experience though and that we all learnt a lot. There were people from the continent as well so it shows how popular these course can be.
Phil Taylor wasn’t quite so keen by then. He found it quite a struggle to keep up with a dozen different developers asking difficult questions. He vowed that next time he would keep the numbers down to only a few people. That would probably be just as good value. He will do consulting by the day, and talk about whatever the customer would like, within Joomla. He’s not too expensive so I would recommend taking him up on that. His technical knowledge is good, but I think that you have to be a developer with experience to get the most out of it. Check out his report.
We had some insight into using the Zend development system and that was the first time I’d seen it. That sould be the last time I’ll use notepad for PHP editing. Debugging looked useful as well, but it takes some knowledge to set up the sites to do this properly. Not quite as heavy as learning Visual Studio but going in that direction.
Joomla looks good underneath. We developed modules to do both admin and user interfaces but we shall probably have to let it sink in for a short while before going further. As with anything else, you need to do this stuff regularly to keep in tune. Joomla 1.5 will produce yet another learning experience. It will change quie a few things, but won’t solve all the problems. I need to make a chooice of whether to develop anything in 1.1, or to leave all the customisation to version 1.5. It’s hard to work out when there will be a stable production release of 1.5, so we’ll do some 1.0.11 work and then convert.