David Slack - Web developer

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What is a Senior Developer

There are lots of developers out there with varying degrees of experience and expertise, some mid level, some junior and some senior. Some developers may think they are one level and be completely off the mark. In this post I'll try to give an overview of what I look for in a senior developer.

The best senior developers will have the abilities bellow and will strive to tick these off as experience:


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First thoughts are Symfony is ace!

Only been using Symfony for 1 project but the amount of coding it has saved has been worth the time spent learning how it works.

To use it you work with Bundles that you think of as modules. You'll use the command line to create the bundle then create Entities that are really your data structure. Once you have your bundles and entities you run some commands on the command line and you have a working app! It creates all your forms, controllers, database tables and structure from your entities.

Web design "Fold" myth

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As a web developer and web designer I need to take into account everything on a site from SEO, marketing, usability across devices, the look and feel, UI, browser compatibility, etc, etc, etc. This is all fine and I'm happy with this.

But, over the years I've heard the term "Fold" and "Above the fold" and "The scroll" when designing websites. This is rubbish!!
This site shows some of the older "Fold" on websites, but it is useless and wrong today.

PHPUnit on Windows 8

Make sure you have PEAR inplace by following here 

Open a new cmd prompt in admin (press the start key, type cmd, right click, click Run as administrator)



pear config-set auto_discover 1
pear install pear.phpunit.de/PHPUnit
pear install phpunit/DbUnit



Pear on Windows

So you have Windows 8, Aptana and WAMP and want to install Pear? This is how I did it.

WAMP 32 or 64 bit

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I use WAMP as my server of choice but a few months ago I installed a new version. After installing this some of my sites stopped working, I tried to change from PHP 5.3 to PHP 5.2 and PHP wouldn't work. At this point I put my old version back on and didn't think about it.

Last weekend I reformatted my computer and I put the new version of WAMP on. Same problem.

After checking the logs I noticed Curl wasn't working. I tried different versions of PHP and MySQL and none of these worked.

Windows 8 Shutdown

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Start on the Windows 8 desktop, or in a new folder - anywhere except in the Start Menu folder!

Right-click, New, Shortcut.  Paste the instruction:

C:\windows\system32\shutdown /s /t 20

(remember the space between t and 20)

Name the shortcut, e.g. Shutdown computer

Use Windows Explorer to navigate to the crucial folder:


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Found a great new payment gateway to use instead of Paypal, GoCardless. I'm using it on one of the websites I'm developing (myBubbleBee) at the moment and it seems to work well. It's easy to setup (the api is very simple), cheap at 1% (or under) per transaction and simple for the customer for both recurring payments and 1 off payments.

HTML5 Shiv

HTML5 is great, I think we all agree with that? With the new elements like <section>, <header> and <nav> it makes so much more semantic sense (see below for more). But what about IE old browsers that have now way of knowing the new elements? Well, they will simply skip these new elements, but at least cause no error. So if IE7 and IE8 skip the new elements, how can we style them? Usually, we can't.

Infinite loading

Added in some infinite loading to the blog using this. Try scrolling down on the blog page

e-Commerce in Drupal

Well, I've got to say it, the Drupal / e-commerce solutions are not great!


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I've finally started using Git the way its meant to be used!

I've created a small plugin for jquery and added it to Git hub and Bit bucket. But the thing I found most useful was I could change the file as I wanted and go back later, I can clone the plugin in work, change it and have the same version at home either on another branch or on the same branch. Now it's ready to let into the wild I can simply link it up to my website and let people use it.

Font replacement

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In the '90s the only way to add in a cool font to a site was an image or use an eot for Internet Explorer. Then we had iFR to replace headings with a bit of Flash, great for Headings and maybe a few links, but never the whole site.

Over the last few years we have had the @fontface and techiclly, that means we can use any font on any website!

There are a few problems with the way a Mac renders fonts compared to PC and linux and (as usual) there are licencing issues but it looks like things are finally happening for fonts on the web.

This works wonders:

mod_security and Datflame

I use a really good hosting company called Dataflame but they suffer (as most hosts do) with problems helping thier clients.

mod_security and Drupal 7

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The story

I'd been working on a website (http://luckyfingers.co.uk/) for a few hours when the site died for no apparent reason. It was late so I left it for next time. I went on the site a couple of days later and all seemed fine until I installed a module on Drupal 7, at that point the site went off!

I checked in the browsers and it was gone, then tried to access the files via ftp and the server was gone.


Some of the problems on a website are down to the server or the server host provider being stingy with the memory. For a Drupal website for the image handling and other bits you want at least 128m of RAM, but some hosts limit you to much less (1and1 only give you 30m in some cases.

To combat this - and some other issues - we create a php.ini file in the public_html (or other root) folder and add the following:

memory_limit = 256M
safe_mode = off
session.cache_limiter = nocache
open_basedir = none
extension = pdo.so
extension = pdo_mysql.so


Update and new design

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Finally had a bit of time to get this site up-to-date! Updated the site to Drupal 7 and created a new design for it which I'm really happy with (first time for this site), even though the site needs a little bit of love on the content.

I need to add website URLs and maps for the projects that need them and all the content needs putting in the right places plus everything needs updating, some content is over 3 years old!

Here is a list of modules I've used on this site to date:

EWA Goes live

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After months of hard work on the design and the build the EWA site has gone live! It was created by the Smiling Wolf team, of which I am part. Great work all round Smile

94 Elements has gone live

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94 Elements is a site by Mike Patterson and created by Smiling Wolf of which I was part of the team. It's created using a bespoke CMS for the backend and most of the frontend is XHTML and jQuery.

The site has 94 Elements of the periodic table and behind each element will be a film.

Get on the site and show your support

Arm & Eye site live

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The Arm & Eye site has been live for a while now but I'm still working on the Blog section as they didn't just want a 'normal' blog. Should be finished in the next few weeks

Senua Hydroponics

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Senua Hydroponics has gone live!! Its a site selling hydrponics (greenhouse) stuff.

I've been creating it for the last few months sorting the design, creation and most of the content. It's create using Drupal, Ubercart and lots of other modules, I've also created a theme for it from scratch and created a few modules from scratch.

Drupal 6 Clone

For the last 2 hours I've been trying to clone a Drupal website. I have a site on my PC (WAMP) and some server space on a dedicated server.

Now, I uploaded all the files without incident, next came the database. Usually I'll upload using phpMyAdmin but if there is a problem I'll upload using SSH.

Windows 8 working on my PC

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Well the new Windows 8 is looking sweet, its a cross between Windows 7 and Windows 7 mobile so you can install little mobile apps and real programmes. Think tapfish running next to Dreamweaver.

Check out this tutorial:

The good thing is Virtualbox has added in the windows 8 operating system from new so no need to choose windows 7.

Let me know what you think

Acer A500 tab is all mine

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After a few weeks of uming and aring I've finally gone and got a tablet PC! I've been looking at a lot of them like the xoom and the asus models and some cheaper ones but I kept coming back to the Acer model because I have a laptop by Acer and I like the build quality of that.

It has the new Android 3 os, has 34gb space and  2gb ram. It has a duel core processor and a hd screen and a usb slot so I can just copy files across (might need virus protection for that). 

Not had a good play with it yet but I'm doing this blog post on it and it seems fast enough.

Android on my PC!

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Just installed Android on my PC!

Got a few teething problems but I'll get that sorted no probs.

Find out more here

How good is that!

Mr & Mrs Hey (Gill & Tim)

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Congrats to Tim & Gill on their wedding!

A good day had by all

Not all Virgin phone staff are dumb

I've just been on the phone to Virgin to get some money back cos our TV and broadband was off.

The first guy I spoken to was such a fool! He told me cos we didn't call it in (only emailed, as our phone was off) it wasn't on our account that everything had gone all off so he couldn't reimburse us! I had to spell it out that it is logged on his system that the cabinet was off and that a guy has just been out 2 fix r box so he could work out when we had been off and how long.

Ended up speaking 2 him in baby talk and asking if I was making any sense! Fool!

Alton Towers

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Went to Alton Towers with Su and Adam on Friday and it was Ace!

We should've got the coach at 8am from St Georges Hall in town but because of a cab doing a u-turn and hitting the first one before we got on we had to wait for a second coach (got to stay in the Park longer though Laughing)

Went on all the rides we wanted to including oblivion and we went round the gardens and the Sea life center.


Adams Party

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Just had the party for Adam's birthday. It went really well except I couldn't get the BBQ to light! Embarassed

Thanks to everyone who came, we all had a good day


Just found out about PHP fog from Ian. It's a cloud based php hosting for php developers. I had Drupal 6 installed in a few clicks!

I've found it supports:

  • SSL
  • SSH
  • GIT
  • MySQL
  • Environment Variables

Not sure about online file management yet cos I've not had a good play with it.

Once they get emails and online file management shared hosting could be a thing of the past...


Latest content

There are lots of developers out there with varying degrees of experience and expertise, some mid level, some junior and some senior. Some...
First thoughts are Symfony is ace!Only been using Symfony for 1 project but the amount of coding it has saved has been worth the time spent...
The Lost and Found website was built by myself (David Slack) and designed by Arm & Eye.The site was created to promote a bar and...

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Wednesday, 2 August, 2017 - 06:56
There are lots of developers out there with varying degrees of experience and expertise, some mid level, some junior and some senior. Some developers...
Tuesday, 5 March, 2013 - 09:49
First thoughts are Symfony is ace!Only been using Symfony for 1 project but the amount of coding it has saved has been worth the time spent learning...
Monday, 3 December, 2012 - 10:07
As a web developer and web designer I need to take into account everything on a site from SEO, marketing, usability across devices, the look and feel...

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