An Eclectic World Recode: Series Introduction

This will hopefully be the start of a series of posts on my latest personal web project, updating my personal website An Eclectic World.  This will be a big update, including:

  • Flipping from ColdFusion with the Mach-II framework to PHP with Zend Framework 2
  • Flipping the database from PostgreSQL to MySQL
  • Visual updates including moving to using Bootstrap and updating jQuery, DataTables, etc.
  • Adding a freaking administrative backend (seriously, all of these years I’ve maintained my three media databases manually or through simple import scripts…we always are laziest about our own sites, right?)

I decided to do a series of blog posts about it in part to chronicle the process, for any other CF developers who might find themselves in a similar position, to give me a chance to chronicle some stuff I’ve had to work out for the apps we’ve done at work over the last two years or so, and because I believe there will be some interesting challenges to deal with that I’ll want to record for my own reference later. 🙂

At minimum, a few new things with PHP and/or Zend that this project will require me to learn include:

  • Using Zend Framework in a virtual hosted environment
  • Interacting with PostgreSQL in PHP for the BD conversion scripts
  • Utilizing Amazon’s Product Services API (done in CF, but not PHP)
  • Dynamic referencing of Flickr albums, preferably without having to store the entire embed code in my DB
  • Evaluating caching options and using selective content caching to improve performance, particularly for remote content pulls

Why am I doing a recode?  Well, one, I want to add new features, particularly the admin which I’ve been “planning” for years and never get around to doing.  Two, the flip to PHP.  Now, I’m not flipping to PHP just because I am technically no longer a ColdFusion developer, though I would eventually want to make such a switch as my CF skills get rustier from no longer keeping up with the progress.

Rather, by flipping to PHP, I’ll have significantly more hosting options available to me.  ColdFusion hosting is generally rare, and seems to be getting rarer.  When you do find it, it’s usually significantly more expensive that a comparable normal PHP Linux configuration.  I get a great deal from my current host at $99/year for three sites, and its ColdFusion on Linux which is a boon, but if all of my sites were PHP, I could reduce that cost some more and have more freedom to switch versus feeling stuck with my current host because I can’t afford to move.

So keep an eye out for future posts, with the first planned ones being on the getting started/set up process and doing the DB conversion, which will hopefully go up soon since that part is already done! 😀