work

Ten years of work

It's around this time of the month that I started working ten years ago. My first job as a web developer started at XS4All, now called Evonet. Visiting the site brought me back immediately to those days, even more because that site is the last project I worked on back then and is still up now. Guess it isn't that badly written :)

A lot has happened during those ten years if you look at the evolution of the internet and web in general. Unless you've been living under a rock, a crucial moment for me was when I discovered Drupal, now over 5 years ago. It allows me to travel all over the world for free, meeting a lot of remarkable people and even speaking on conferences. Sometimes people come up to me and thank me for the modules and patches I've written and give me beer. Seriously, that's freakingly cool! Having a non-programmer background, that amazes me all the time and I'm very grateful for the chances I've been given during all these years.

People often ask me where the passion began. I'm pretty sure it all happened when arriving the first time at Urgent, the student radio I've had a lot of good times as a student and the years after. Somewhere back in 1998, I sat down to get my first e-mail address and saw a little penguin on a black screen. That penguin is now on my wrist. During that time, besides having fun making radio shows - Jazztronautica! - I got interested in the internet and web in general. 'Start learning PHP' someone told me. Back then, 3.0 was out. Turns out he was a real visionair. Living with geeks under one roof together made things go even faster of course, hell, I still have a machine running Dave/Dina at my place. Thanking people on a blog might be a bit corny, but here comes a big thanks to Wiebe, Thomas, Peter and Klaas for the inspiration back then.

I'm not sure what the next ten years will bring. I'm still having a lot of fun and tons of challenges ahead of me, so thank you internet. Please don't leave me :)

Topics 

work, personal

Neighbears

I usually don't post a lot of pictures in my posts, but this is one is just to cute. I started at Krimson this monday and brought my cookiemonster doll with me - and my arcade machine too, so anyone near the Dampoort, call me and we'll have a game of Puzzle Bobble :)

One of the companies across the building also had his teddy bear with him and took the adorable picture underneath. Best Bears Forever.

Topics 

work, cookiemonster, bears

Launch of the new Boek.be site


Today we relaunched the new Boek.be website. With a tight deadline to bring this project online in only 3 weeks because tomorrow it's the start of 'Boekenbeurs', Belgian's famous annual book fair, we're more than happy of what we've achieved in that small period. Users can register and create their own collection of favorite books, add comments, rate and share them on facebook and/or twitter. There's more to come in the next few weeks, but it's a nice start.

I briefly want to highlight 2 main Drupal modules we use extensively in the site. The first one is Apache Solr. With over 250k of nodes (and growing), this was an obvious decision. We all know Drupal core search isn't the best in performance and decent searches. We used all hooks available to manipulate searches and as good Drupal citizens contributed some patches back to the community. There is still one left which we'd like to go in, so please review!

I'm biased for the second one, since I'm one of the maintainers, but the site (and also Stubru.be) uses modules grouped in the Display suite concept. Our themers love it, no more fiddling with node, views, user, whatever templates, just CSS. Our account managers love it, they use the interface to manipulate each context if the client asks for a little change without asking us themers or developers. And we developers love it, we have hooks :)

We're working on a document which we'll post somewhere next week on d.o with a more detailed description on how the site was built, so stay tuned!

Krimson time

Since yesterday, I joined the Krimson guys with only one goal: conquer the world with Drupal - but let's start with Europe first. One of the coolest things of my job description is that I get at least one day per week to work on what my little heart desires. Of course, since we only work with Drupal, things I can do on my spare day should include

  • working on my own contrib modules, documentation being priority number one.
  • following the D7 dev cycle way more closely so I know what's going on for the next release.
  • digg into issue queues of modules which need a port to D6 and help out testing, reviewing and/or writing patches.

That gives me more time in the evening and during the weekend to concentrate myself again on things I've been neglecting the past couple of months. In no particular order: playing music, reading, my girl, other nerd activities or just some simple time off for myself doing absolutely nothing. Fun times ahead I say!

Topics 

drupal, work

RTBF on Drupal

After 3 months of heavy development, RTBF (Radio-Télévision Belge de la Communauté française) was launched yesterday on Drupal. And this is only the first of a few phases still to come. The first launch consists of 3 major parts:

  1. RTBF Info: a news information site with lots of multimedia like images, videos and songs available page- or article-based. In the background, a couple of xmlrpc services are set up to get info for the lotto, belganews, weather and so on. The editors at RTBF can easily add new articles and connect multimedia in every possible way they might think of.
  2. RTBF Media: simply a pool of all multimedia files. Most of them are imported with xmlrpc services making radio emissions, journals etc created at RTBF, available on the web. The Info site (and in the future all other sites from RTBF) can use items from this pool to display in multimedia blocks or an individual article.
  3. RTBF iPlayer: a major flex application which connects to the MediaServer through the amfphp and services module. You can browse all on demand multimedia and soon all streaming channels will be made available too. If you are on the site, you can launch this player by clicking on 'Plus de medias' in the video block on the homepage.

A lot of custom modules were written to get this rolling, but I made the most generic ones available on the d.o. website:

  1. Imagecrop: This module makes a javascript toolbox action available thanks to the power of Imagecache 2.
  2. Blockclone: Adds a new operation to duplicate an existing block defined by other modules.
  3. CCK comment reference: defines a cck field type for referencing a comment.

This is definitely the biggest setup I've done so far and at the same time the last one at my current work. I'm starting at a new place within two weeks, more news on that later, let's keep it as a suprise!

Topics 

drupal, work, planet

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