Planning Center Online

This morning I woke up very early, feeling pretty excited about really diving into doing development on the band site and the iPhone application for it.

I did some searching through the App store looking for drum related applications and got about a hundred hits. None of the existing applications do what I had planned, but it worries me that with so many drum related applications, a new drum application would get lost.

So I started searching for band lineup related applications, which is a bit difficult because I couldn’t think of any unique search keys. However, I finally located an iPhone application that referred me to their associated website www.PlanningCenterOnline.com.

OMG! This site has done just about everything that I had hoped to do with my band site, including an iPhone application and Facebook integration. This is a very sweet site, very well done. I am very excited about it, and looking forward to bring out own band up on it. I’m fighting off being disappointed that someone else beat me to the idea, and did it so well!

One of the really coincidental aspects of this site is that the creator of the site is a music minister at Central Christian Church in Henderson near Las Vegas. I had written the song “A Place in Sin City” shortly after visiting that church early last year. I’ve also recently been in touch with my ex-brother-in-law, and he has become very active at that church.

This whole thing has the appearance of having God’s hand all over it. Now I just need to figure out what He wants me to do with it. I’ll probably start by sending a letter over to PCO and see if they need any help.

Improving my Skills for a new line of work

In trying to discern where God is sending me, I’ve had the feeling that there are 2 strong possibilities:

  1. Utilize my web programming skills in order to extend our band site.
  2. Brush up my Cocoa skills and get involved in iPhone development.

I’ve been playing with our church’s band website for several years, and it occurs to me that this might be something that I could extend to allow other churches or music related organizations to use. I think that some of the key features are the ability to create lead sheets, reuse them in lineups, and transpose them. The ability to strip out the chords for use by singers is also very useful. I had originally implemented this as a WordPress plugin, but then converted it to a Zend Framework based custom application, eventually adding Dojo support. I’m thinking about moving it back into WordPress.

iPhone development has always appeared very appealing also. I’ve recently started refreshing my Mac Cocoa programming skills, and these are exactly the same skills needed for iPhone development. Earlier this week I had joined the iPhone development program. I have some ideas about a simple application to use with my drumming. My primary motivation for doing this though is to work on an iPhone application which would access the band site to display the current week’s lineup and allow playing the MP3s.

I plan on using my C# skills to create similar applications for the PC in addition to a Mac Cocoa application which would use the same web service for listing the current week’s lineup using a PC or a Mac.

Opportunity for a change

This morning they closed down the software development office here in Austin where I was working. We’ve been expecting this to happen, so this didn’t really come as much of a surprise. I’ve been feeling for awhile now that God has had some other things in store for me, although I don’t know what yet.

The severance package is pretty good, so I’ll have some time to figure out what God wants me to do, perhaps learn some new skills, or brush up some old skills.

I have a vague feeling that God wants me to do something different than the big enterprise software development that I’ve been doing for most of my life.

I’m feeling pretty good about the change. I just wish I knew where God is sending me 🙂

My only fear at this point is that I might not discern correctly God’s direction for me, and/or that I’ll end up squandering this time off instead of using it to prepare for God next thing for me.

Common ZendServer and Zend Studio Directory

One of the problems that I’ve been having with using Zend Server CE and Zend Studio 7 is understanding and managing where the files are located.

Since I’m developing on Mac, I naturally started with trying to use the ‘Sites’ directory. This meant that I had to switch the ZS7 workspace, which for some reason is a bit flakey. I would then need to reroute Apache’s documentroot or better create a vhost to point to the project in Sites.

It appears that ZS7 can automatically detect ZSCE and will create projects in its documentroot directly if ‘Create project on a local server’ is selected during the project creation process. This results in the new project appearing in the ZSCE documentroot directory, by default /usr/local/zend/apache2/htdocs.

It will probably be a lot less confusing to leave the ZS7 workspace and ZSCE documentroot in their default location and simply create a link in ~ (‘ln /usr/local/zend/apache2/htdocs DocumentRoot’) to the ZSCE documentroot folder instead of using the Sites directory.

Another confusing thing is the relationship between the Workspace, ZS Projects, and actual file locations. The Workspace is where ZS will create Project folders. Projects can reference files located elsewhere as implied by the above note. So files can be located in the Apache documentroot (wherever that is) and projects created in a separate Workspace. They don’t have to, and probably shouldn’t be the same location.

Start of WordPress Blog

Having up until now been creating web pages mostly from scratch, I’ve decided to take the plunge and try using a blog engine.  After some searching around, I’ve chosen WordPress based upon the dozen or so comments that I found online. This was by no means a thorough analysis. I’m basically lazy, and don’t want to spend a lot of time on this. WordPress appears to do everything I think I want to do, and since it is PHP based I’ll be able to extend it to do additional things if needed.

I’m planning on blogging my activities with MIDI/Music notation programming and my recent dive into composing music.