It's still snowing outside ...
I know it's such a simple little thing, but I've just added a cool little check to the load of this page that will see whether someone is using a PPC device before deciding which version of the site to load. There are two main pages for this site. The one with all the graphics and Java that is seen on desktop browsers, and the one that is very simplified text that is used for mobile devices where data costs 5 cents / KB (give or take). By adding a very simple HTTP_USER_AGENT command in my index.php file and looking for the "PPC" string, I'm able to redirect as necessary.
Yeah, this is a pretty simple thing, really. But I thought it was rather cool.
For the past four years I've focused pretty heavily on the Microsoft technologies available with VB and C#. I was accustomed to seeing things in a very broken apart way. However, now that I'm learning more and more PHP, I can see that the MS direction was the wrong direction to follow for so long.
Several people have told me about the power and versatility of PHP and the newer web languages, but I had held grudges against them, and by extension, everything they favored. However, as I try to grow up just a little more, I can see why they had promoted these technologies while I was content to work with smart-client apps written mainly in VB.net with a SQL2000 back-end.
One of the funniest items that I've noticed is that a LAMP server will run on almost anything. Given enough time, I'm sure a digital Timex watch could host a server. This is not the case with the Microsoft technologies, where a pretty robust machine is required just for the base OS and IIS (not to mention everything else that typically gets dumped onto a web server). My LAMP consists of a simple 200 MHz RISC processor with 32 MB ram. It's all condensed inside a little enclosure just large enough to hold the main circuit board and a 3.5" HDD. Sure, it's not the fastest box in the world, but it gets the job done.
Of course I think I've pretty much reached the end of what I can do on a personal site. In order for me to learn the next level of functions and technologies, I'll need to work with something a little more powerful, and develop a solution that will push my infantile knowledge of PHP and MySQL even further. At work there is a development BSD box that hosts several of our test sites. I think it's time I start pushing the company to afford my training. Depending on what decisions are made in the next four months by management, this learning time could be later put to very effective use.
I know I said that I wouldn't make this site a geek discussion ... but sometimes the simplest things can spur me on to learn the next level of a particular skill. Depending on how much I can learn between now and January 2008, the future might be a little brighter for Reiko and myself.