You may recognize this issue as the “January 2007” issue of php|architect, which it is, but we also refer to specific issues (mostly internally), by their volume and issue numbers. This issue, for example is “Volume 6, Issue 1.” Most magazines adopt this convention, and it helps us keep track of exactly which issue someone is referring to, numerically. Issue 1 of each Volume is the first issue of the year, or “January” (except in Volume 1, where we cheated—Volume 1, Issue 1 was the December 2002 issue).
Hopefully I haven’t lost you in a big cloud of irellevance. I always enjoy turning my magazine directory structure over from (for example) V5I12 to V6I1, just as I take pleasure in turning my wall calendar over from (again, for example) December 2006 to January 2007. This particular issue has special significance, though—not just because it leads a new volume. I didn’t believe Marco, when he mentioned—almost in passing—a few weeks ago, “January will be our 50th issue.” He then proceeded to demonstrate to Arbi and I, not without the use of both handfuls of fingers, that this is, in fact, number fifty. We were astonished.
In the nearly two years that I’ve been editing the magazine (and in the time before that when I was (blissfully) just a subscriber), we’ve managed to somehow convince exceptional authors to write some really incredible pieces. I thought, as the tradition of changing years and creating lists goes, I’d pick out a few of my favourites.
Now, this may sound like I’m sucking up to my boss, but I can assure you that I’m not. One of my favourite php|a articles was written by our publisher, Marco Tabini, entitled Doing it Japanese Style, in which he covers the art of poka-yoke and how
to apply it to handling user data (and coding in general). (See the February 2006 issue, or Volume 5 Issue 2.) The gist: design main elements of your code in such a way that anyone using it (including yourself), has no choice but to make proper
decisions: poka-yoke means a “fail-safe mechanism.”
Another of my favourites covered the issue of manipulating Open Office (OOo) documents with PHP. Written by Bard Farstad of eZ Systems in the October 2004 issue (well before I started editing), this article gave me all I needed to get working on handling OOo documents in a way that I only dreamed of with MS Word documents—the best part is that I didn’t have to meddle with COM.
I think my all-time favourite article was a recent one. Last summer, we were approached by Andi Gutmans (of Zend fame) about the possibility of publishing an aritcle on the speed differences between PHP 4 and PHP 5. The piece was published in the September 2006 issue, and is in my top picks because Andi and Dmitry Stogov managed to put together not only a solid argument for PHP 5, but backed it up with relevant data, and knowledge of engine internals that very few people have knowledge of.
I can think of no way more appropriate to ring in the new volume than to, for the second year, publish Derick Rethans’ PHP Look Back, for 2006. Enjoy it in this issue.
To our wonderful authors: thank you for the ride, and keep the excellent content coming! To them, and to everyone else: happy Volume 6!