Thursday, January 11, 2007

Finding Linux replacements for Windows software, developing with phpMyEdit

When discussing ways to switch to GNU/Linux, one of the biggest difficulties I've found is finding answers to the question, "What can I replace this program with?" It's completely understandable; people don't want to lose functionality. However, Googling for answers can easily lead to confusion and frustration if you don't have the background or knowledge to be able to differentiate between the wheat and the chaff. In my new entry for FSM, I discuss resources that can be used for Finding GNU/Linux replacements for Windows software.

Good news; the article that I wrote for Free Software Magazine has been accepted! Once it's published, I'll link to it here. I'm proud; it's my first real published article, not just an opinion, letter or article in a student publication.

Today, I've been going through my notes, snippets and ideas from the past few weeks and tried to catch up on some back entries (my apologies to the feed subscribers). I've posted everything chronologically, so if you look at the blog itself, it should sense.

Yesterday, I tried using phpMyEdit to develop a forms based front-end to a MySQL database. I've found it to be simultaneously useful, simple, complex, flexible, and limited. It allows for rapid development of CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Destroy) forms, which greatly reduces development time. However, when you want to use an advanced MySQL join or contextual input, you start to find a bit of roughness.

The documentation does a decent, but not thorough job of listing all the functionality. I'm particularly annoyed by the comment, "Note that the above example contains additional features..." yet there are no instructions on how to use the new functionality anywhere else in the manual.

Another issue I have with the documentation is the inclusion of code examples that only apply to "future development" and not the current version... this sort of thing should be in the bug tracker, not the production documentation.

I've asked a question on how to do contextual input on their support forums, and if I get a response, I'll publish it here. Overall, I think phpMyEdit is a good free tool for PHP development.

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