I'd like to start out by thanking Sun Microsystems, and in particular my manager during my short stint more than a year ago there, Rinaldo DiGiorgio(twitter). I can honestly say I'd not be as good a programmer (or as great a copy-paster :P ) were it not for the time I spent there. I learned a lot, but more importantly I had the time to reflect upon just how far I had to go to even dent the knowledge I wanted to know. Thanks for the opportunity :)
On that note, I've been working with CakePHP for a little over a year. I have an IM chatlog dated exactly a year ago referencing CakePHP with a good friend of mine, Alexander Quick(twitter), but I believe I first heard of it on the 28th of December, 2008. I was determined to actually learn something useful that break, and after trying out many frameworks (Rails included), I decided to give CakePHP a try. Its the only one I actually managed to 'finish' the blog tutorial for, and I had a Mac (still do, thanks again Sun!).
A lot has happened in the CakePHP community since then. Matt Curry(twitter) has started releasing somewhat bi-weekly CakePHP updates with loads of good code and news from around the community. Check them out if you have time, quite useful info. There's been a rash of good code posted on twitter as well, so you should really get a twitter account if you don't already have one - at least follow the core devs. There have also been quite a few CMS and other types of applications released - one by me, but a more popular one (JEALOUS!) by Fahad Heylaal(twitter) named Croogo - which has helped spur the community into action. And don't forget CakeFest Berlin! So much good code came out of that.
CakePHP has also had a few setbacks. People thought it was the end of the world when Mozilla announced the move to Django. Whose site will we place in our slideshows to clients and our bosses? If you are transitioning to CakePHP, it scales. Trust me. And if you aren't but need to show clients, improve your sites and include the include them instead :) . Regardless, changes occur.
2009 also saw the loss of about half the core CakePHP team, including its Project Manager, Garret Woodward, and the Lead Developer, Nate Abele (not to mention all the other awesome devs). I've been looking at their project, Lithium, and it is coming along quite nicely. I can't wait to be a newbie there next January when it hits a 1.2 release ;) CakePHP, however, has not suffered from their loss much. It's moved to Github and Lighthouse! We've moved on from thechaw, and the move has already seen quite a bit of development from the community. Feel free to get your mittens dirty with the source :)
So with all the changes in the community, what has that brought me? Well, I have 37 public repositories sitting on Github, at least 30 of which are related to CakePHP in some way. The Filter Component has seen the most action, so take a look, it's pretty useful and just hit 0.7. I also co-maintain the MeioUpload Plugin with Juan Basso(twitter), which has seen much development from both our ends and has been put through it's paces (I released the 2.0 way back in August. It's quite the forked project!). While a lot of my code is fairly useless - even I don't use the BankOfAmerica Cakeshell - it has provided me with an outlet to grow professionally.
And jobs? I thought I would go back to being a poor college student after being at Sun Microsystems. Well, CakePHP has helped there too, although I won't post any numbers. That's between me and the Government :) . I've been managing web projects at Pace University for the past year now, and while I am currently attempting to transition away - everyone needs their downtime, especially students - it's been a blast and I've learned quite a bit about the other side of the coin. Building entire sites within 30 hours and not being sure I could pull it off before starting counts amongst just one of the adventures I've had while at Pace. Good stuff, and I can only hope I improve in the year to come, not just for my own sake, but so that those working with or "under" me can also learn and hopefully have their year in the sun.
Let me transition a bit into less CakePHP and more of the real world though. I am working with not one, but two startups now. The first, my attention has languished more than I would like. I'd like to apologize in my little corner of the internet. Promise to work on everything with vigor and zeal in the coming weeks, and hopefully months. At least one major commit a day. Honest. Life happens, I'm more than upset to admit.
Life does indeed happen. It's not all fun and cake :) . My girlfriend broke up with me the week before July 4th. If anyone grepped my commit logs, you'd see a huge burst in not only productivity - I released around a dozen or so apps and snippets of code in July - but also depressing commit messages. Love was tough on my mind, I'm still occasionally reeling from the impact. I'm still not sure where that part of my life is headed, as I and said girl are in what Facebook would call "It's Complicated" territory. Mmmmf.
I've had a few friends die; a couple reminders of the life I used to live and the people I used to hang out with. Who would I be without the people in my past? I sent a text message today to a former teacher and now friend of mine. They are contemplating moving from one school to another, each possibility with it's ups and downs. My text? "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't." I think the same of my friends and former life; I'm extremely grateful for the experiences I've had and wouldn't trade the for all the chipwiches in the world.
I'm heading back to NYC on Monday, and am beginning the new semester on the January 20th. I'm genuinely excited for my courses - Software Engineering FTW! - and will of course try harder than last time ;). There are at least two site launches in early February that I am aware of, as well as two other sites that should be at completion around the end of February. CakeFest 2010 - hope it's in my neck of the woods! Off to Brazil for Spring Break as well, should be a boatload of fun. Don't want to forget all the time to be had between now and then, as well as late-night raids of the Deli and 1am Rockband-fests. I'd also like to regularly lift weights again, but we'll see how that pans out... Hopefully I'll have enough money saved to go to Ireland this Summer. Or something.