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What About PHPJ ?

This essay tries to answer the question "What About PHPJ" ? Or "What should be on PHPJ?".  It was written after there seemed to be a less than perfect plan for the PHPJ content (note – there may well be a plan that is just undisclosed; no matter, if so then it's only a thought experiment and still useful).

What Should PHPJ Do?

If I was responsible for phpj, here's what I'd do (in an order that is clearly post shower stream of consciousness).  I'd also implement these NOT all at once but on an over time basis to give people reasons to come back and give you reasons to email them about the new changes.  As much as possible I'd structure the content and technology so that end users are creating content with phpj providing management.  Organic content growth is vital given the obvious staffing issues.  Features where an individual RSS feed should be made are indicated.  I'd also keep in mind the idea of "RSS ads" where by a text ad for a company that "sponsors" the feed is listed.

  • MySubscriptions.   A MySubscriptions feature which lets me track and control my subscriptions to PHPJ and Linux Magazine.  Implementing a change of address option would be nice as would a "Put my Subscription On Hold Since I'm Traveling" option.
  • Regular Content.   Allow content to be regularly posted that isn't in the magazine.  With a quarterly publishing schedule, it will be hard to hold people's attention – at least at first.  People will get distracted and lose focus on PHPJ not because they don't care but because 60 days is a long time in today's world.  I was a writer for PHP Beginner and all of us regularly contributed content to PHP Beginner for free.  Over this past summer Maxim essentially shut down content acceptance when he got busy and seemed to lose interest in the site.  All of us were more than a bit frustrated and, at least I, would be willing to contribute my php beginner content (we all retain our copyrights) to phpj.  I'd also be willing to contact the other writers and ask them if they'd either let existing content be reposted or contribute new content.   RSS feed available.
  • Product and Service Directory.   There are a growing number of php specific products and services.  A topical directory is clearly useful.  You could make the directory based on user contributions and this provides a google like ad word opportunity as well as a pay for placement opportunity.  I think the $ here are small but getting people to pay you for anything is always good.  You could also implement a rating system so that while there might be 13 php specific editors, we could see which ones people like.  RSS feed available.
  • UserGroup Listings.  There is a real need for this.  I'd be interested in helping set up a Boston user group but I can't seem to find if there already is one or not.
  • Events Schedule.  Where else are we going to find out about this conference?  Or a php track at another web conference?  Clearly your events should be "first among equals" but the other events need to be listed for credibility.  RSS feed available.
  • Forums.  With the simplicity of forum software like phpBB, there is no excuse for no having a set of forums.  RSS feed available.
  • Proceedings.  A set of links to proceedings.  I don't know if I'd bother hosting the content as much as a series of links to the content with different links for different formats (HTML, PDF, PPT, etc).
  • Seen on the Net.  A single web page where current php related stuff is quickly linked to.  RSS feed available.  (Yeah it's a blog by another name).

Comments and Conclusion

If you need design or development assistance, let me know.  My partner and I would be happy to pitch in based on deadline and schedule issues.


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