Category: Architecture & Developing

Learning PHP – Step 1

I develop in several programming languages like C#, VB.NET, VB, Java, JavaScript, Python, Groovy, Powershell, PL-SQL, T-SQL, a little of Ruby, C, C++, Assembly (in the last years not so often), Prolog, List/Scheme, F#, Perl and and few others less used. I’ve read and I can understand PHP, from the knowledge I have from “C” Languages, but I never developed a complete project in PHP, and I don’t know if in the future I will need to do it, but from what I’ve been reading PHP is used in the TOP CMS Frameworks/Applications as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.

I’m thinking to create a synergy here, I will deep my understanding and knowledge about PHP and WordPress, tweaking my blog, this blog! Which I think will enrich my CV and, in the future, my career, making me a better team leader and software architect.

Starting PHP.

1) It’s a language to use in web sites.

2) You mix HTML with PHP, which is different from ASP.NET and JSP for instance. To differentiate the HTML from PHP you use in the middle of the HTML. The server will know how to process the PHP and merge it with HTML.

My first example in PHP

This code will output “My first PHP!” in the browser.

Great! It’s the first step!

Next Post let’s install the software we need to run this example. Then, the sky it’s the limit!

It’s a bug! it’s a feature! Its just code! Its…super-whatever!

One of these days someone from my team told me about a story where someone closed a bug with the comment: “Works as coded!”. Well, its true, indeed, and its very difficult to discuss this argument. Probably his project manager will not disagree (I hope) with the comment but certainly will disagree by closing the “bug” with such argument!

Once in a while, I do training, I’m a Microsoft Certified Trainer and a Portuguese Certified to do training in any subject. (This doesn’t mean I can really do training to anyone in anything, its just means Portugal accept me to do training).

In one of these trainings I was teaching my students about software development cycle, and between roles, risk management, project management, etc.… one of the lessons was about bugs. What is a bug?

“A bug its nothing more than a problem in the development that its visible in the final product to the customer. “

You can disagree with this sentence, but think in it for while?

– Do you really could design all the possible tests (unit, functional, etc) in a way that you can guarantee that’s impossible your application/system has no bugs?

Lets dream (for a big application) you can! And you conclude that you need to  develop about 2000 tests with 10000000 input states for these tests, and expect 190000 different outputs from these inputs. (for clarification, you must test success and probable/expected failures)

If you are developing, for instance a web site, and you know that from all these bugs, only 1/100 could be visible or could bring trouble (semantic and/or behavior) to your application, it means you will not have to correct all the other 9/100 bugs discovered. To your customer, its important to pay more development weeks to the team to correct these 9/100 bugs? And if the customer its your company, I will bet with you that the project manager doesn’t want these 9/100 bugs corrected! It will not increase any value to the final product, it will not have any visible impact to the final customer, the only think that will increase it’s the project expenses.

As a developer, as a team leader, and as a project manager, something that I learned it’s: Any technical think in a project must have a business impact, and the goal of a member of team, such as leader, developer or project manager its to minimize the expense and increase quality of the product. This quality is observable by the final customer and not from the developer team. I think, this is applied to any subject, not only software development.


In a future post, I will merge this bug concept with the complexity/complicated subject post I have wrote before, and we can really have some fun discuss this intersection subjects, since that, most of times, a really software bug its something about application behavior, and behavior its related with predictability,  not related with understanding (at least in complex systems). Read my old post ”Complex or Complicated” and I think you will know what to expect from my future post.

In the future, be more nice with the bugs!

Silverlight 4–Out of Browser Authentication

One of the things that was very difficult to find, even in silverlight forums, was a way to know, in a simple way, what user is authenticated when a Silverlight 4 application is running Out-Of-Browser. I’ve found many information about using WCF, RIA, etc, buts it was not what I wanted. So, I investigated a little more about trying to find out how isolated was Silverlight from windows.

At first sight, Silverlight should act as flash, isolated  as possible from the OS, but when running in Windows (as out-of-browser, thank you Microsoft for this “Air” copy”), I should access windows stuff, since I’m exclusively running in Windows, so the isolated thing doesn’t matter anymore! Wrong! I can access only some windows stuff! The .NET framework for Silverlight it’s a little bit “small” in features!

My first try, was to connect to SharePoint using ClientContext from Sharepoint Client API for Silverlight (My application needs some SharePoint list items). When inside SharePoint I just ask about “who am I”, and SharePoint , running in a windows domain, should respond to me with the authenticated user! Was successful! But with some hick ups every time someone from systems staff changed IIS Windows Authentication configuration or some SharePoint tweaks. The problem: I want to run an application and I need to use a SharePoint just to ask about “Who I am”? Yes, you are right! As we say in Portugal, “A cannon to kill a fly”.

Since my Silverlight app its running out of browser I needed to find a way to use directly windows. I thinks it’s a logic thinking!

When a Silverlight App its running outside browser with Elevated Privileges it can access COM stuff! Well, with this “opening”, the sky it’s the limit!

Thanks to “dynamic” word from C# we can do this:

            using (dynamic ad = AutomationFactory.CreateObject("ADSystemInfo"))
                var usernamedn = ad.UserName;
                var computernamedn = ad.ComputerName;
                var DomainDNSNamedn = ad.DomainShortName;

                string us = usernamedn.ToString();
                us = us.Substring(3, us.IndexOf(',') - 3);
                username = string.Format(@"{0}\{1}", DomainDNSNamedn, us);

As you may see, I use a COM Object that returns Active Directory information, including the User logged in.  (OK, the format it’s the AD CN=xxx,CN=xxx, but I now we have a door to the windows, very useful!

ORA-00984: column not allowed here

If you try to find information about this error probably you will reach the page:, but read information that will not help you.

In one of my PL-SQL Scripts I was getting this ORA_00984, I’ve followed the advice from the above URL without success, I was just using a Stored Procedure parameter, not an expression or the name of another column.

The solution I’ve found:

– See if the next column (above “col3_column_with_error”) in the “values” statement is correct. In my case, the next column was with a wrong name, but the error was reported on the previous column (col2_reported_as_error).

Something like:

INSERT INTO MYTABLE (col1, col2, col3) values (col1, col2_reported_as_error, col3_column_with_error)

Hope it can help you!

Silverlight 4–StackPanel, Scrollbars, effects, others….sometimes its better not!

I really like Silverlight 4, and in the last months I ‘ve developed a Silverlight App which communicates with WCF which by the way talks to Sharepoint 2010 and Sql Server 2008R2. Well, with all this complexity, as you may guess I had to learn a lot about handlind strange bugs and problems…

Below, some of them with my solutions… a few more in later posts.

Stackpanel & Grid

You have a Grid with scrollbars, but they don’t show when data reach the bottom of the window or panel.

If you have a Grid inside a Stackpanel, see a way to remove the Stackpanel. You can use a DockPanel for instance.

AutoCompleteBox & Popup Window

When you use a AutoCompleteBox the dropdown window appears on the upper left corner of your popup window.

See if you are using Effects and remove them. It’s a well know bug… maybe at this time its fixed… or not..

ChildWindow and DialogResult

You want to call a ChildWindow as a DialogBox and collect the final DialogResult.

It will not work, because Silverlight uses an Async model. You need to create a delegate (which will point to a “local” method that will handle the result), pass it on the constructor and inside the childwindow, when you are ready to exit, call the “delegate” method and then exit.

PS: If you need an example give me a call…


You will have some forms and communications to outside Silverlight, for instance WCF.

Please use, MVVM or similar pattern, you will need if your Silverlight app grows. I had to refactor my app, because I didn’t follow this pattern from the beginning.

You can find more about this pattern here:

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