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APIs and Software Engineering Best Practices w/ Devon O'Dell

Devon is back for his second part of his software engineering best practices talk! The theme is how to avoid writing bad code, which is something that is seen quite frequently in examples, tutorials and in other peoples' professional work (quite especially in PHP). This isn't something along the lines of "you should follow OO-programming paradigms because they're so much cooler," nor is it something damning of procedural flow (especially since many familiar OO paradigms are simply wrappers over procedural concepts).

Topics include:

* Why we write bad code

* How to identify it

* Approaches to overcoming it

* Error handling versus exception handling

* Using negations in a sane way

* Coding style (there's just one slide on this, don't worry)

* A few anecdotes about over-engineering (factory factories and yak shaving)

* A couple more tidbits here and there

This isn't intended to be a religious speech (a la OO-versus-procedural, errors-versus-exceptions or spaces-versus-tabs -- in fact, I don't take a stance in any form in this talk), mostly anecdotes and observations from my time as a software engineer.

Devon O'Dell is a software engineer team lead for Message Systems.  He has 12+ years of PHP experience and 10 years of professional experience.  He contributes to many open source projects including PHP itself, FreeBSD, and Google's Go. Along with those experiences, he has also authored Professional PHP4 Programming and Professional PHP4 Multimedia Programming.

The meeting starts at 6:30, and we'll get on the code review around 7:00. 6:30 - 7:00 is reserved for chit chat, socializing, pizza and beer! :)

7:00 we'll get under way with the code review!

As usual, we’ll continue our tradition and conversation over a few beers.  We'll be going to our usual Columbia spot, Frisco Grille.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Crowd was friendly and I caught some really good questions and suggestions.

    January 19, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Slides are available at -- for those who missed the previous talk (which seems like it was most people), those slides are at Thanks for the warm reception; hope the talk was useful for all of you!

    January 19, 2012

  • Anthony D P.

    Our holiday beer supply has dwindled down to Bud, Miller, etc. If you want better beer, bring a 6-pack to share!

    January 18, 2012

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