Hello, World!

Having finally set up a blog, I find myself struggling with an introductory post… so I’ve decided to start in the quintessential programming way…

Hello, World!

There! Now that I have that out of the way, I can start with the fun stuff. If you’ve read my about page, some of this post is going to seem redundant… but talking about myself and the motivations behind this blog seems like a good place to start.

My name is Chris Russell and I’ve been a professional programmer for just about 10 years. My main focus has been on PHP, but I view myself as more than just a “PHP guy”. Sure, I’ve done my share of JavaScript and have been known to code in Java from time to time… but really, I just love general programming concepts… the kind that transcend specific languages.

Over the last couple of years, I have become increasingly involved in my local PHP usergroup (@SoFloPHP). I was first introduced to the group when my workplace signed on as a routine venue with the local organizer (Adam Culp). At the time, my visits were really just limited to “the guy who stayed after work when the other guy couldn’t”… I was truly intrigued by the concept… a bunch of “strangers” getting together, on their own time, to listen to another stranger talk about something. Intrigued or not, I was always “too busy” to actually attend. (Shame on me!)

The group moved on as they outgrew my work’s 25-person conference room… I still followed them on Meetup and often said, “Ooh, that sounds interesting!”… and then came up with some reason why I couldn’t go. Eventually, I received an email from Adam asking if my work could step in and help out again while their usual venue ironed out some kinks. I graciously agreed… By now, I had taken over as as architect at work and I was the “guy who stayed”. So I stayed… and I observed… and I even spoke up every once in while. Thus, my actual participation in the community had began.

Sometime during all of this, a member/co-organizer (Diana Espino) of the usergroup joined my work’s PHP team. Over time, she tried to convince me that my thoughts and ideas had value to the community. It was a while before I actually believed her, but my first usergroup conference (@SunShinePHP 2014) completely changed my perspective. (All I can truly say to summarize the experience is, “Go to a usergroup conference!“)  It really was a turning point for me. As I had casual conversations with people, I learned that I had some truly unique perspectives and that other people found value in them. Oddly, this was a revelation for me. I had always put extreme value in other people’s perspectives, regardless of their comparative experience level… but I had never really considered that my perspectives had value to them. (I still often doubt it!)

Flash forward to my second conference (SunshinePHP 2015), earlier this month. After a solid year of routine usergroup meeting attendance, I felt like I had grown so much. My interest in participating had intensified. I’d even convinced myself that I should give some sort of talk for one of the local meetings. (But I have been, to this day, too busy to prepare one. Shame on me again!) This year’s conference stoked that fire… coming out of that conference I was convinced that this was the year I was going to become truly involved… among my goals was to start of blog. And, hey!… what do you know? I actually found the time!

It took me a while to decide on a title for the blog. Even thought it is most likely going to contain a fair bit of stream-of-consciousness-style ramblings, I wanted it to have a focus… a theme. Now, I’m not naive enough to believe that my way of thinking is some sort of “absolute truth”… I know I have an massive amount to learn about the programming world… but I’ve also gained enough confidence to know that my decade of experience (most notably, the mistakes I’ve made and witnessed throughout that decade…) has taught me some lessons worth sharing.  The question became, how do I summarize all of that and roll in my personal beliefs in the value of knowledge-sharing… then I settled on it:

Hello, World! My name is “Programming Perspectives”!

So here’s how this blog works. I’m going to throw out some thoughts… some more structured than others… hopefully, some people read those thoughts and find some value in them… heck, maybe they even share a link to a post with a friend or two… but what would be much, much cooler than “going viral” is if people share some thoughts of their own. If any of my posts spark an idea, start a conversation, or even inspire someone to expand (or counter) my thoughts in their own blog, then I’ll have truly reached my goal. We’re in this together… let’s teach one another!

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