Building with Web 2.0

I meet a lot of New Zealanders – young and old – who do some web development projects on the side. I thought I’d put up a post I can point them to that serves as introduction to some of the “web 2.0” tools and concepts we use.


Ruby is an awesome programming language, Rails is a fantastic framework. Stop doing PHP / ASP now and start doing rails. Today. Now. Right now. Install it!


Use mysql or postgresql (we use pg) and get phppgadmin / phpmyadmin so that you can easily modify the database. Normalize everything you can. It makes housekeeping simple. Keep everything in a db – don’t store any data (except for BLOBS/images) outside of the DB.


Don’t use tables for layout. Don’t put any style tags into your layout either – use CSS all the way.


Use Javascript (aka AJAX) sparingly to make your site better. Don’t put in any javascript until you’ve got the site working in a non-javascript way first. Use javascript to reduce ultra-annoying round-trips to the server. Use behaviour to apply your styles.


We like the design of flickr / odeo / 43things and Digg.

The fundamentals are big fonts – minimum of layout or markup. Make your site fun to use. I play Super Mario or Donkey Kong to warm myself up to UI design – I like being reminded of all the simple rewards you get for exploring the game. Your site should be the same – reward people for using it.

Staying current

Get a bloglines account and subscribe to some blogs that discuss topics you’re interested in. Set up your own blog and post to it regularly – even if it’s just rubbish like I post to my blog – it builds up a profile of you on the net – so that potential partners / employers / etc can see that you’ve been around the block.

Join NZ2.0 and chat with the other nz entrepeneurs. And finally – bowl up to Creative HQ on a friday afternoon and come say hello.

There’s always someone around who’s keen to chat. Especially if you’ve got something live on the net to show us! 🙂

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