Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First impressions of WordPress

For reasons that may become significant, I began my first install of WordPress yesterday evening. My install was under CygWin, and most of the challenge was getting WP's dependencies met, PHP being the most frustrating. Eventually I found apt-cyg and cygwinports.org, both from Victor Miti's excellent primer Installing and Configuring Apache, PHP & MySQL on Cygwin, which had most of what I needed.

After getting Apache2, MySQL, and PHP working, the WP install itself was a breeze, and the content management features seemed straightforward and mature out of the box. On day 2, I've stumbled onto the WordPress Console plugin, and the P2 theme, both being fairly snazzy:

I can see from this brief exposure, and from an interview with a VideoPress developer, why they have such a thriving community. Good stuff all around, folks... whether or not you end up hiring me.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ignoring the tyranny of official widgets

...and a small explanation of why that's important to me.

In 2009 I became immersed in the world of check image files, often referred to as "Check 21" files, in reference to the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, which gives a scanned image of a check legal credibility as a financial instrument. In our modern world of online bill pay, web 2.0, and pizza boys with credit card scanners that plug into their mobile phones, paying utility bills by mailing a check is slowly becoming anachronistic... or so you might think.

In reality, over 300,000 physical checks per month get mailed to our Canton remittance center, many from businesses with multi-thousand dollar electric bills - businesses large enough to employ an IT department to do ACH transactions, wire payments, what have you. But the physical checks keep being printed and mailed, for much the same reason that companies that have ever used a mainframe continue to use them despite the cool kids shouting "dinosaur!" or "RESTful!" or "node.js!!" at them: It's well understood and works reliably.