KillerPHP Blog

Editorial

Will Ai Kill Coding?

February 26, 2017

With all the talk about Ai (artificial intelligence,) people are wondering if Ai will rush in, making human coders obsolete. Short answer: maybe in 25-50 yrs!

Ai is slowly being developed, but there is a way to go! Though true Ai will take a while before it is realized. As it develops, you will start seeing the simple jobs replaced by Ai long before it finally gets to coders.

The 3 Categories of Ai

The scientist have divided Ai into three categories:

  1. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)
  2. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)
  3. Artificial Superintelligence (ASI)

Today we have lots of examples of ANI Ai: Siri, Google search and self driving cars. This type of Ai can only do a few simple things. A long way off from coding!

The second type of Ai (AGI) is what will eventually replace human coders. AGi can think, learn, plan ahead and communicate. When that happens, Ai will replace all jobs, not just coders.

Coders need to Communicate with Clients

Coding has a lot to do with being able to communicate with humans, since you have to speak with people to figure out what they want in their websites (or apps) that you are building. That’s one thing new coders/developers often overlook – the importance of being able to interact with people. Good social skills is a big part of being a great coder.

Of all the skills that Ai will have to learn, the nuances of human communication will be the most difficult. So long before Ai will start coding, it will replace construction workers, truck drivers, accountants, maintenance workers and many other jobs.

… Ai represents a huge change in our society and likely our culture. Nobody can say with certainty how it will all play out. But what is clear, is that the simple tasks will be replaced with Ai before coding … given how complex coding can be.

Legal Considerations

Some of the world’s smartest people are sounding the alarm bells about the birth of Ai, this includes people like Bill Gates, Elon Musk

and Stephen Hawking. I think as we get closer to true Ai (Artificial General Intelligence – AGI) rules and restrictions will be put into place and Ai will likely be tightly controlled. This will further slow the adoption of full Ai in any field. So this will further slow the replacement of live coders with Ai.

Ai will change the Role of Coders

As primitive Ai begins to come online over the next 20yrs, you will first see Ai change the role of coders/developers. So as we use frameworks and code libraries (ex: jQuery, Bootstrap) to speed up development today, primitive Ai will slowly works its’ way into development in an assistive role. Instead of replacing coders outright, Ai will merely allow us more freedom to work on the higher level conceptual aspects of an app.

… Sounds good to me!

Finally, given all the experts seem to think true Ai will only be invented in 50 yrs, I wouldn’t be too concerned. In fact, the fabric of society will change radically (due to Ai) long before coders/developers will be replaced.

Thanks for reading!

Stefan Mischook

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Google Chrome blocking Flash ads

September 2, 2015

Yo!

Flash was dead a few years back when Steve Jobs put the hit on it, by not allowing Flash on iOS. Then Firefox slapped Flash off the side its’ head, by blocking it. Then Facebook’s security chief ripped into Flash, calling for it to be trashed.

… But wait, there’s more!

Now Google is blocking Flash ads (at least) and that my nerd friends, means the end of Flash. It is no more, and we shall not speak of this passe, bloated, security risk again.

Ahh, how technologies come and go – a very short version of the dead-tech list:

  • Perl CGI
  • Classic ASP
  • Flash

… Is Ruby next?

🙂

If you want to do ‘flashy’ things, use HTML5. It’s just better.

Stefan
Killerphp.com

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Bitcoin and Litecoin from a Programmers Perspective

November 27, 2013

bitcoin

Hi!

I’ve been programming for about 18yrs … give or take a few months. I’ve been self employed or running businesses for over 20yrs and so when it comes to code and business, I know at least a little bit.

Speaking of ‘bits’, let’s quickly talk about the latest ‘investment’ vehicle: bitcoin.

What is Bitcoin?

It’s a number … yes, just a number. These numbers are mined/discovered by very powerful computers running mathematical equations. Once they solve the equation, you have a Bitcoin.

Yes, a bitcoin is just the result of a major math problem!

What is the value of Bitcoin?

Bitcoins are as valuable as the market would have it. People say it is valuable since there is a limited supply – this is false.

Bitcoin and Litecoin are just a couple of examples of the many, many digital currencies that are floating around out there. You, me and anyone else can come up with a new digital currency pretty easily (killerCoins?) … and as long as other people buy into it, they will circulate and go up in value.

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Denial-of-service attack … in an image.

May 20, 2013

Hi,

Not strictly PHP but something that any web programmer might have to deal with from time to time: denial-of-service attack (DoS attack).

What is a DOS attack?

Some dirty nerd (or group of dirty rat bastard nerds) decide they want to make your site or your servers unusable or at least, much less usable. What they do is flood the server with request in attempt to overload the CPU, memory and bandwidth.

… It just happend to me here on the killersites.com/killerphp.com servers. Some jerk-store using a microsoft server out of Washington, started flooding our PHP based forum with request … millions a day in fact! We have a fairly new dedicated server with multi-core processors, so we did not go down, but the server did get noticeably slower.

How did I discover it?

Besides noticing the server was acting a little sluggish (kinda like me after a few beers,) I popped open the web stats and noticed a huge amount of traffic from one IP address – that isolated source of big traffic pretty much tells you what you need to know.

How do you fix it?

Well, a good firewall is supposed to catch these things and block them … it seems my firewall falls asleep on the job sometimes, so in this case, I had to manually go in and ban the IP address. Once banned, any request from that IP are just dropped. This is not a perfect solution since the nefarious nerds can then just switch IP’s to continue the attack … but it seems to have done the trick this time.

Check out the chart below, showing the KillerSites server traffic flow, before and after I blocked the attacker’s IP:

DOS attack

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
killerphp.com

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Why I will NEVER touch Java again.

February 22, 2013

Hi,

Some of you know that once upon a time, I was a big Java programmer … I loved Java! But that was a long time ago and I will never go back. I left Java because it became a big bloated monster, as the effects of corporate design-by-committee took hold.

… When that happens, it is the death of anything really!

Actually, I can quickly summarize why I left Java for PHP … first the Java code:

public class verbosity {

public static void main(String[] args) {

System.out.println("This sucks because it takes too many lines of code!");

}

}

Now the same thing with PHP:

echo"OMG! One line of code! One line ...";

Yes, PHP is a little bit more verbose OOP style .. but I am just making a point that Java is very verbose.

Enough said.

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

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Web Programming for 2013 … and Beyond!

February 5, 2013

Web programmers have to keep on their toes – you can’t let yourself fall behind using old technology that nobody is interested in. Flash anyone?

… I didn’t think so! Ok, let’s start:

1. PHP is STILL King of the Server Side!

PHP was not the first language I learned (it was JavaScript) and PHP is not the prettiest language out there … but it is overall the most utilitarian.

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PHP, Zend Framework, Ruby and Web App Frameworks.

May 20, 2012

I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine who has his finger on the pulse of the web app developer community – whether it be PHP, Ruby and even .Net.

So I asked:

Last we spoke, you mentioned that the Zend Framework was in a do or die situation?

Can you elaborate on that? I am just curious.

Stef

His answer:

Something I’ve noticed is that the idea of a monolithic framework is kind of dying. If you look at ruby on rails, it started off as a monolithic code base maintained by 37 Signals. Because of that, they wrote the Javascript layer, the ActiveRecord implementation for persistence, the view-controller architecture etc…

Rails 3.x is a completely different monster. They replaced their JS layer with jQuery. They replaced their ORM with Arel and ActiveRecord is now a thin wrapper around Arel. They replaced their web server archictecture with “rack” middleware. What this has done is standardized certain portions of the framework to the point where they are truly modular. In the rails community another framework will advertise that it’s “rack compliant” or “built on top of Arel”. What this means is that 37 Signals isn’t *the* ruby company and so they can specialize and delegate, while providing a strong brand that promotes software development best practices.

In the ZF community, ZF 1 worked ok, but it relied on a few anti-patterns (heavy use of singletons in order to ensure that performance wasn’t abismal). ZF 2 is trying to address that, but they have a really small team of strong PHP developers that are working on the core pieces (like the MVC implementation and the persistence). This has made the release of ZF 2 “just around the corner” for about 6 months now.

Also, because the people doing the rewrite wrote the first ZF, they want to clean up all their mistakes and so there’s a bit of ivory tower engineering going on (heavy use of dependency injection and inversion of control patterns), which will make the framework less friendly to beginners. Add to that the fact that Zend_Db was a huge face-palm and that people want integration with Symfony (a competing PHP framework) components, Zend is going to have to give some ground and start making some tough calls to deliver.

Finally, they HAVE TO DELIVER, because ZF 2 is written with the assumption that you’re using PHP 5.3+, which will be a huge shift for large code bases that haven’t seen a serious rewrite since PHP 4. If they don’t make ZF 2 a resounding success, the community around ZF will probably move to greener pastures (my money is on symfony or just not PHP).

my 2 cents,

… Some interesting thoughts, so I continue:

Very cool.

Now that a few years has passed, what do you think of Ruby vs. PHP these days? When we looked at it, I found the libs a little weak .. I imagine all those wholes are filled by now.

Stef

His response:

I think Ruby’s shaping up nicely for getting something done quickly and elegantly. There’s a huge aversion to ivory tower architecture, which I appreciate. I think that there are still performance issues on the whole that are being addressed, but now there are a lot of different ways of dealing with it (or even not dealing with it by using a cloud service like Heroku).

I would also look at erlang. Erlang is a whole different paradigm, but I could see it growing in terms of handling middleware development or places where you need high-volume, high-concurrent systems that are scalable. This is a language that I’m hoping to dive into in 2013, but I think Ruby / Javascript will be my bread and butter.

The Javascript framework wars have really heat up lately, and I would be looking at BackboneJS. It builds on top of jQuery to provide a very nice model for wiring events and writing views / models / controllers in the browser.

My final thoughts

My buddy has been developing web apps for years and has worked with several technologies – he like me, is language agnostic. We pick the best tools/language for the job, and we don’t get too religious about anything in particular.

So does this mean PHP is on its’ last legs or am I advocating Ruby? No, PHP is not going anywhere. I decided to post this just as food for thought … something that you can keep in mind as you develop your skills and your career.

Stefan Mischook
killerphp.com

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Why did I Drop Java for PHP?

April 25, 2012

Hi,

I got a pretty good question today, something I may have never talked about before: why did I drop Java?

Short answer:

Speed.

… It is just so much faster to develop in PHP vs Java. Same can be said for Ruby, and in fact, many of those in the Ruby ranks, are disaffected Java programmers.

Also, Java web hosting on a shared server can be problematic because the JVM requires a lot of server resources and so if you are creating Java web apps, it is best to have a dedicated server to deploy too.

So does that mean Java is useless?

No. But it is something that you DON’T use for small and even medium size web application development. Best to use Java for larger systems and Android programming.

I did love Java once, but like a fat old girlfriend, you just have to give em’ the boot if they get too fat and too old.

😉

Stefan Mischook
www.killerphp.com

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HTML5 and the Rise of Pragmatism

April 21, 2012

Hey,

Anyone who has read anything I’ve written (or watched my video blogs,) knows I can’t stand academics. I was particularly vocal against the early 2000’s Web Standards movement’s zealotry, wherein reality was pushed aside in favor of code purity.

These nerds would ignore reality – for example:

  • They would ignore how the most popular browsers where interpreting code – often times in a method contrary to their nerd wet-dreams. And they would come up with harebrained hacks to jam in their ‘compliant’ code. Hacks that eventually broke in many cases, defeating the supposed original purpose of the Web Standards movement!
  • They would obfuscate what the actual browser use was in terms of real people surfing the Web. They would come out with numbers that did not reflect the reality they were desperately trying to ignore: that the vast majority of people surfing the Web were using web browsers (Internet Explorer) that did not play nice with their ideas of how a web browser should read code.

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The Trend is Zend … in PHP

February 9, 2010

zend framework logo

Hi,

People ask me from time to time, what PHP framework is the best one to learn?

Well, I always look at technology choices with two things in mind:

  1. How capable is the technology?
  2. How accepted is the technology?

If you look around, it becomes pretty clear, that if you want to learn an effective web application framework, you want to learn the Zend Framework – indeed, the trend is with Zend.

Zend framework being used by companies large and small

I know from first-nerd experience that the Zend Framework is being widely adopted. Just recently for example, Intuit and the BBC have implemented new web apps that are Zend Framework based.

… I know because my good buddy Jon Lebensold of Zendcasts helped build one of them.

There are plenty of other examples out there I’m sure … and I am confident that the trend will continue towards the adoption of the Zend Framework. With the PHP company (Zend) and IBM behind it … it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that one out.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook
www.killerphp.com

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