Placement with Fishrod Interactive

May 1st, 2011

Did you have a nice Easter? Really? Aw, wow that sounds great! Me? I spent it away from family working in an office. Why are you saying sorry? I loved it!

Over Easter I spent three weeks with Fishrod Interactive, a small company in Bournemouth specialising in iOS apps and cool sites. Fishrod introduced me to the greatness that is Zend Framework, something that I will definitely pursue if I’m using PHP for a project; Symphony, and by extension, XSLT, a language I’ve only flirted with briefly in the past along with a host of helpful tidbits throughout the week that I hope to keep in my brain long enough to find uses for.

On the first day myself and Jon (a coursemate that was also interning at the same time) were greeted with this lovely message that sparked warm fuzzy feelings, knowing we were in the right place:

Jon and Tim on a whiteboard

One of the things that I’m quite proud of was that, in a day, using jQuery Mobile and Zend Framework we made a mini-application that allowed users to login and flick through pictures pulled in through Flickr on any touch device. This was just to familiarise ourselves with the technologies we’d be using for a bigger project but this never came to fruition.

Instead we got to work on a different project: converting an existing static site to a CMS-driven site. The CMS we were using was Symphony, something I’d been interested in in the past but only got as far as installing it on my server, thinking ‘that’s cool’ and promptly forgetting about it. It was at this point I realised how much of a mistake that was! As before, we were given stabilisers and did a ‘taster’ of Symphony, our training wheels this time meant for me, building a blog (with a functioning comment system) from scratch and for Jon, to design it. This was pretty fun and meant I finally got to play with XSLT. Something I didn’t anticipate was how long it would take to implement the front-end work with the stuff I had made and this was an issue that kept recurring but I’m assured the more you do it the easier it becomes.

Working with Zend Framework and Zend Studio presented a big challenge. Every night I’d go home and read more about them. Although I had heard of the MVC pattern I hadn’t actually used it yet and Zend also uses the Front Controller model so it was hard to piece together what was automagically done and why. I have a better understanding of this now, but still far from complete but this will come through practice.

As if learning wasn’t enough the rest of the experience was awesome too. From the first lunch at 60 Million Postcards, the sunny mornings of tea and a Danish every other Friday on the sunny veranda to Siobhan bringing in Lola and buying us all cupcakes.

It was a genuinely inspiring three weeks and I can’t wait to go back in June!


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