The Technology City

If you are in the technology or internet business you might have noticed all the adverts for PHP programmers in Milton Keynes. What are they all doing there? The city of the concrete cows and the Open University is now the technology city. There are now numerous information technology and telecom companies in the city and both young and experienced IT staff are being attracted to the area.

MK as it is known to its friends, is a short hop from both London and Birmingham has always been at the forefront of cutting edge concepts. From Bletchley Park, home of the Enigma, right up to being the first city to have fibre-to-the-premises and 4G technology, this city has always lead the way.

Whilst to some Milton Keynes may have been a joke, it is now competing with the likes of Cambridge for new technology companies. No surprise then, with its reputation, superb motorway connections, ease of getting around the city and its network infrastructure that the computing companies have moved in.

Take a stroll round the central shopping mall or sit in one of the many coffee shops or pubs and you will soon rub shoulders with computer designers, network engineers, project managers and PHP programmers in Milton Keynes. The Open University has a large school of Communication & Systems and the Computing Department both of which carry out international research alongside major and local businesses.

Cranfield University is just down the road with its world-class science, technology and engineering departments, meaning even more IT staff around.

So what are these PHP programmers doing? PHP is a scripting programme that is utilised in designing many websites as well as the applications that work behind the scenes. A few things that PHP can do is keep track of visitors, design WordPress themes, write WordPress plugins and publish items to specific areas on a web site.

PHP is an open source software which means it can be used by anyone and is maintained by volunteer developers. The rise of internet businesses has lead to a proliferation of PHP programmers. However the development software is so versatile that people can build up a high level of skill in its applications.

To be a great PHP programmer, it is always good to have a background in HTML, a web design software programme. The two software codes share a similar syntax and structure and of course they often intertwine in the internet world. There is no formal education required to be a good programmer, although there are numerous training courses available, many of them in this city. PHP is not easy to learn and its interfaces and complexities can take some time to understand.

So comparing the versatility and cutting edge nature of a PHP programmer with the technologically aligned and always at the forefront that characterises the city you can see the great match they must have. Keep an eye out for PHP programmers in Milton Keynes, you might be surprised as to how many you come across.

Evolving Internet Technologies

It has only been 15 years since the internet really took off and already we’ve seen some dramatic changes in website style, code development, and how they compete for user traffic. The web faces many innovations every year, creating new business niches that are claimed very quickly. With such rapid evolution in internet technologies, try to imagine what the internet will look like in 50 or 100 years. It’s unfathomable. One thing for sure, it won’t be the internet as we know it today but will transform into the epitome of convenience and information.

Websites started off simple because of the limited bandwidth that was available in the 90s. So the few images that were on any user-friendly website had to be small. With the advent of dsl, website content swung to the other extreme. Image buttons substituted text links, and websites became very busy and cumbersome. It became popular to fit so much content on a page, it would make your head spin. Even on the hyped up 250k modem, your download speeds were always a very small fraction of that because of so many bandwidth bottlenecks between your modem and the routing servers. Today, it’s nice to see so many websites taking a step back in favor of quick page loading. Thank you Google for starting the trend. I noticed many new sites use a similar style of very little and well organized content on the important pages and big fonts, especially noticeable in the forms elements. No matter what site you’re visiting, it always feels good when websites get to the point fast.

Browser support and SEO pretty much dictate which technologies should be used. Flash, for example, has a very sleek look and feel, but search engines have a difficult time parsing out flash elements. You probably noticed already that most sites at the top of search results use flash sparingly. Google is making some progress, but is still months away from effectively analyzing toward flash content. Javascript used to be a big browser compatibility issue. Now it’s becoming the industry standard in web applications combined with ajax and php. In a few years, you will probably never have to reload your page for an entire session while using a website! That is the ultimate optimization when you only have to load new content. So redundant content like site navigation never has to be re-processed through a request.

The server side of a website is where all the application processing takes place. In the 90s dynamic websites used mostly Perl, which is largely based on C. Then came java, php, ruby, and .NET. Most commonly used are php and java. The main semantic difference between them is that java is object oriented, whereas php was mostly a scripting language. However, php is becoming increasingly object oriented. Aside from the differences in their libraries, php5 semantics have practically become java. Most hosting companies prefer to support php because it is open source and very easy to set up on an Apache server. You’d be lucky to find an inexpensive host that supports jsp. Java and .NET are still mostly used by businesses in enterprise level applications mostly because of the nice development tools they offer. It’s important to stay organized when you have many people working on a project and java/.NET integrated development environments (IDE) help a lot. A couple of free java IDEs are Eclipse (also for php) and NetBeans.

Back in the early 90s, SEO was all about keyword stuffing, backlinks, and meta tags. Now everything seems to revolve around the blogosphere. It seems like I can’t go 10 minutes watching tv without hearing the phrase “follow us on Twitter”. It used to be just a fun app to have on your site, but now it is absolutely essential to have a well syndicated blog that pings blogging sites like Bloglines and Technorati. No matter what your business is, a popular blog is becoming a significant metric by search engines to evaluate how well you should be ranking in the search results. Search engines evaluate the quality of the content you provide based on how much traffic you drive to your site from article sites for example. Also, it’s a waste of time to build a bunch of low quality links to your site from irrelevant websites and directories with low page rank and traffic. Your energy is put to much better use to find a partner for your business who is already established in the online world. One link from your partner’s website is worth more than a thousand links from link farms.