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“Uncle Cal’s Career Advice for Developers” book has been released

Dear Reader,Book cover for Uncle Cal's Career Advice for Developers

This past year at php[tek], it was my honor to be the closing keynote speaker. I wrote a talk just for tek called “Uncle Cal’s Career Advice for Developers”.  At the end of the event, since I never release my slides, I offered a free copy of the transcript to anyone in attendance. I sent that out about a month ago. Now I am finally getting around to publishing it for everyone else who may want it.

Two Options for Career Advice

I’ve packaged the book two ways.

For those of you who were at tek, I hope you enjoyed the talk. For those that weren’t there, you can still get the advice.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

My latest book, “Iterating PHP Iterators”

PrintDear Reader,

I am happy to announce the latest in my “Learn One Thing” books series, “Iterating PHP Iterators”.  My friend Christopher (@assertchris) Pitt summed it up best in his review of the book.

This is a great book for beginners and intermediate developers. It’s a comprehensive introduction to iterators and some of the implementations that ship with the SPL.

That is exactly what I was going for, a book for beginner and intermediate developers. I hope it helps someone along their journey.

Early Adopters Save

As is my tradition, this book is available to early adopters at a lower rate. Until April 11th, 2015, this book is available for $5.99. After that it goes to it’s retail price of $9.95.

Back Story

Each book has a story. This one almost didn’t happen. I started this book over a year ago. I wrote about 75% of it and then got distracted with another project. I set it aside and forgot about it. I’ve even written another book, “Culture of Respect” between when I started this one and finished it.

While I was writing “Culture of Respect” I noticed it in Dropbox and remembered that I never finished it. So in Feb of this year, I picked it back up, finished it, fleshed out the code, polished it up, and pushed the button.

Thank you

I have to say a huge thank you to Christopher Pitt.  I sent him a copy for review, he sent me back 12 PRs with formatting issues. Thank you Chris for embodying the PHP Community’s “Pay It Forward” attitude. I hope to be able to repay the favor one day.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Help Build a Culture of Respect

Book Cover: Culture of RespectDear Reader,

I am in the final steps of producing my next book, “Culture of Respect: How to Find, Hire, and Retain Developers”.  It is based in large part on my own experience, as well as advice I have received from other managers and talks I’ve had with both developers and managers.


Be a part of my latest book

The final piece I want for this book is advice from developer managers, team leaders, directors of IT. I want your best tips for other managers to help them build a better team or department.  So I’m asking you. Are you a manager? Director? Team Lead? Do you want to be part of my latest book? Drop me an email.


How you can help

If you would like to submit to be considered here is what I am looking for from you.

  • Send an email to cal at calevans dot com. In the subject line put “Culture of Respect”
  • In the email put your best advice for managing developers, building a team, finding developers, hiring developers or building your team’s culture.  No more than 3 paragraphs, please.
  • Give it a title, a good title

If I select your submission, I will drop you an email letting you know and asking you for a high-quality head shot to go on the book.

I am hoping to get 10 good submissions for the book. If I get more than 10, I will write those I don’t use in the book and ask if I can use them as guests blog posts on this blog.


The Fine Print

  1. My judgement is final on what goes into the book. You do not have to agree to let me use it as a guest blog post if it doesn’t make the book, but you can’t argue with me about whether it makes it into the book.
  2. This is not a paying gig. If you want to share, to help others build teams and manage developers then I want your submission. You will get attribution for your contribution. I’ll list your name, twitter, and blog should you want it. You will have to confirm that what you submit is your own and you will have to agree to allow me to publish it in my book.
  3. You will get a free copy of the eBook and a coupon to give to someone else for a free copy. I am not currently planning a dead-tree edition of this book but if I do, those selected will get a free signed copy for your collection, and a second free copy to give away to someone.


The Call to Action

So, help me, and  help others. Submit your best tips to share with other developer managers, team leads, and IT managers. Let’s see if we can change things for the better.

Until next time,

I <3 |<

Help me make my book better, please.

Photo by: centralasian

Dear Reader,

Photo by: centralasianI need help with my book. I am looking for 3-5 small business owners who are considering having a website designed for their company. My book helps small business owners understand the process and get the most for their money by not wasting it.

If you are a small business owner and want to participate, please email me at cal [at] calevans [dot] com. For your time, you will received one of a very limited run of printed copies of the book, signed by me expressing my thanks to you personally.

Most of the people that read this blog (outside of my family…and I’m not entirely sure they read it) are technically oriented. THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU. However, you probably know someone who could help me. If you do, please put them in touch with me.

Thank you for any help you can give me on this exciting project.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Book Report: You Want to Do What with PHP?

[Note: This was originally published on Zend’s DevZone. Yes, I’m that lazy.]

You Want to Do What with PHP?
Kevin Schrorder
MC Press


I hate getting books for review that are written by friends of mine. I have a strict policy that I won’t review a book I don’t like. This leads to awkward conversations if, after skimming the book, I decide not to review it. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with this book. Today I want to talk about “You Want to Do What with PHP?” written by my friend and former co-worker, Kevin Schrorder. (I used to work at Zend, Kevin still does.)

“You Want to Do What with PHP?” isn’t your usual PHP book. I am guessing that even advanced PHP developers don’t have a book like this on their shelves as I’ve never read one that covers quite this variety of material. Kevin talks about a lot of topics that we politely call “Edge Cases” for PHP developers. (in impolite company, we use other terms that are sprinkled with profanity to express the mental instability of any programmer that would do some of these things with PHP) This book guides you through building things like your own stream handler, asynchronous operations and my personal favorite, writing Daemons in PHP. (Yes, all of these things are possible in PHP) These aren’t tasks that most PHP think about or ever attempt; as Kevin points out in the introduction, PHP is most often used for building web applications. However, PHP is a powerful tool and if you dive below its web exterior, you find that you can do a lot more than just build the next social media platform.

The Bad

This book throws you into the deep-end immediately. Chapter 1, “Networking and Sockets” is intense and Chapter 2, “Binary Protocols” makes Chapter 1 look like a dummies guide. This is not a book that PHP beginners will use, or even enjoy. Not only are the topics highly technical but the examples are not your standard “Hello World” variety. (What do you expect from a book whose first few pages whose first few pages are spent discussing the seven layers of the OSI stack?) Kevin doesn’t ease you into the topics, he assumes a deep knowledge of programming, and at least in the first couple of chapters, networking.

Another problem I have with “You Want to Do What with PHP?” is that Chapter 9, “Debugging Profiling and Good Development” , starts off reading like an ad for Zend Studio. Kevin spends a great deal of time talking about the profiling and debugging tools built into Zend Studio. Given that he works at Zend, it’s easy to overlook this. However, I would have preferred to see equal coverage of xDebug as well. Later in the chapter though, he does delve into non-Zend tools to help with debugging and profiling but this is a glaring omission, especially for those who do not routinely use Zend products.

Other than those criticisms, the only other thing I would say is that this book needs a big red sticker on the cover “WARNING: Here there be dragons.” If a casual programmer pick up this book it would twist their minds into pretzels.

The Good

If you are a serious PHP programmer (insert your own replacement for “serious”, Enterprise level, Professional, hard core, etc. ) you will want this book and you will want to dedicate a weekend to each chapter. The style is easy to read, even if the concepts are deep. Some of the chapters are light and won’t take that long to master but once you’ve mastered them, you’ll find that you want to implement them in your own projects.

Chapter 5 is one of the light ones, it covers SPL. Honestly, if you made it through the first four chapters, you probably are already familiar with SPL. If not, the concepts aren’t going to be difficult for you to master.


This is a great book. It’s not a cookbook and it’s not a beginner’s guide. It assume you are a programmer and treats you like an adult. There is a market for beginner books, books that help people learn PHP and build their first web site. However, the list of books aimed at serious PHP developers is very short. I appreciate Kevin and MC Press for helping fill this void.