Sunday, 7 November 2010

Another perspective of PHP as a programming language

Learning PHP wouldn’t be that difficult for beginners, if they have some prior exposure to other programming languages like C, C++ or Java. Most of the coding paradigms like conditional structures. Loop blocks are very similar to that of other high level languages. PHP runs with most of the webservers and run in many top operating systems. 

Ever since PHP is projected as a main stream programming language, it has been considered mainly for developing dynamic web pages. Apart from web applications, PHP is a strong contender for developing standalone applications also. PHP-GTK is a combination of PHP with Gimp Tool Kit (GTK) framework that enables development of standalone UI applications without the need of any webserver. Even more interesting, PHP scripts can also be used for embedded applications development. Unbelievable!, have a look here.

Recent releases of PHP also include support for object oriented programming. PHP provides many inbuilt libraries as reuse components and new libraries are imported easily. These libraries improve the robustness and flexibility of the language. This enables new developers to focus on the application logic rather than worrying about the functionalities. Having good knowledge of the available libraries enables rapid development of applications.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Google to block data from Facebook

Google Inc will begin blocking Facebook and other Web services from accessing its users' information, highlighting an intensifying rivalry between the two Internet giants.

Google will no longer let other services automatically import its users' email contact data for their own purposes, unless the information flows both ways. It accused Facebook in particular of siphoning up Google contact data, without allowing for the automatic import and export of Facebook users' information.

Facebook, with more than 500 million users, relies on email services such as Google's Gmail to help new users find friends already on the network. When a person joins, they are asked to import their Gmail contact list into the social network service. Facebook then tells the user which email contacts are also on the social network.

In a statement, Google said websites such as Facebook "leave users in a data dead end." Facebook did not immediately provide a comment on Friday.

While Google framed the move as an attempt to protect its users' ability to retain control of their personal data on the Internet, analysts said the move underscored the battle between Google, the world's largest search engine, and Facebook, the dominant Internet social network.

"The fundamental power dynamic on the Web today is this emerging conflict between Facebook and Google," said Gartner analyst Ray Valdes. "Google needs to evolve to become a big player in the social Web and it hasn't been able to do that."

"If people do search within Facebook, if they do email within Facebook, if they do instant messaging within Facebook, all of these will chip away at Google's properties."

Google said that while it makes it easy for other Web services to automatically import a user's contact data, Facebook was not reciprocating.

"We have decided to change our approach slightly to reflect the fact that users often aren't aware that once they have imported their contacts into sites like Facebook, they are effectively trapped," Google said in an emailed statement.

"We will no longer allow websites to automate the import of users' Google Contacts (via our API) unless they allow similar export to other sites," Google said.

Some technology blogs were reporting that Facebook still appeared to be allowing users to import their Google Gmail contacts into Facebook as of mid-day Friday.

A Google spokesman told Reuters that the company had begun enforcing the new rules "gradually."

Google also stressed that users will still be able to manually download their contacts to their computers in "an open, machine-readable format" which can then be imported into any Web service.

Google has coveted the wealth of information that Facebook's half-billion users generate and amass. Having access to that data could be especially valuable to Google, whose business model is based on allowing its users to find any information anywhere on the Web.

"Google is trying to use the leverage that it has to get as much access to the Facebook social graph (network of friends and interests) that it can, so it can provide the best search function that it can," said Wedbush Securities analyst Lou Kerner. "The more data Google has access to the better its search results are going to be."

Last month, Facebook announced a deal with Microsoft Corp allowing Facebook information -- such as Web pages that Facebook users have endorsed by clicking on "like" buttons -- to appear within Microsoft search results.

Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said in September the company would add social "layers" to many of its existing Web products in the coming months, following its less-than-stellar track record of developing stand-alone social networking products like Orkut and the recently shuttered Wave service.

Google also has acquired a slew of small social networking companies in recent months, including Slide and social payment company Jambool.

Gartner's Valdes said access to the explosion of new types of data generated by Web services, such as location-based services, would provide further flashpoints between Google and Facebook.

"It's one skirmish among many to come," said Valdes.

Google's shares closed Friday's regular session down 81 cents at $625.08.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Google sues US govt for favouring Microsoft

Google has filed suit against the US government claiming the terms for a large Department of the Interior contract favour rival Microsoft.

The lawsuit was filed by Google and Onix Networking Corp, a reseller of Google products, in the US Court of Federal Claims.

Google argues that the terms of the bid for an email, calendar and document collaboration system for some 88,000 Interior Department employees implicitly rule out a Google product and favor one from software giant Microsoft.

The company is promoting its Internet-based suite of office tools, Google Apps, for the contract over Microsoft's solution.

It said it was told there would be a "full and open competition" for the contract but the bid request "specified that only the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal could be proposed."

Google said it was bringing suit on the grounds "that such specification is unduly restrictive of competition" and in violation of US law.

The Internet giant said it was told its product was "not compliant with (Interior Department) security requirements," but that is not the case.

Google announced in September that three million businesses and more than 30 million people are using Google Apps, which are hosted on the Internet "cloud" as services on demand.

Google Apps include products or services such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs and are seen as the Mountain View, California company's challenge to Microsoft's popular Office software.

The Wall Street Journal said the Department of the Interior contract is estimated to be worth $58 million over five years.