List of free pomodoro apps to improve your productivity as a web developer

Looking for a pomodoro app, to help keep you on task and productive?

Below is a list of different options for different OS’s

Windows

Mac

Android

Web based / online

iOS

Chrome apps:

  • Pomodo’more is a lightweight app you can add to your Chrome Browser.

You can read more about Pomodoro here: Why breaking time and tasks in to small blocks will increase your productivity as a web developer

What alternatives database engines are there to MySQL?

Unsure what alternatives there are to MySQL?

Looking for increases in MySQL performance?

You might not realize that there are some compatible relational database engines. That you can drop in to replace MySQL.

You can even run SQLite without needing a server stack.

SQLite is the most widely deployed database engine in the world

Each engine has it’s own pros and cons to consider before switching from one to another. Most are available as a drop in replacement for MySQL, but yet dropping out and back to MySQL may not be as smooth. Development of new versions means the code bases and features diverge from each other.

MariaDB, Percona Server and Amazon Aurora all offer performance improvements over vanilla MySQL. All for free:

Relational Database Engine Details Costs Link
Amazon Aurora Amazon Aurora is a MySQL-compatible relational database engine that combines the speed and availability of high-end commercial databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases. Amazon Aurora provides up to five times better performance than MySQL with the security, availability, and reliability of a commercial database at one tenth the cost. AWS has a free usage tier, otherwise costs depend on server spec x usage. Amazon Aurora
MariaDB One of the most popular database servers. Made by the original developers of MySQL. Guaranteed to stay open source. Free https://mariadb.org/
MariaDB subreddit
MySQL MySQL is the world’s most popular open source database. Whether you are a fast growing web property, technology ISV or large enterprise, MySQL can cost-effectively help you deliver high performance, scalable database applications. Community Edition is free. MySQL
MySQL subreddit
Percona Server Is a free, fully compatible, enhanced, open source drop-in replacement for MySQL that provides superior performance, scalability and instrumentation. Percona Server’s self-tuning algorithms and support for extremely high-performance hardware delivers excellent performance and reliability. Free Percona Server
Percona Server subreddit
SQLite SQLite is a software library that implements a self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine. SQLite is the most widely deployed database engine in the world. Free SQLite
SQLite subreddit

How to hire a developer when you don’t know code at all

Need a developer for your startup and don’t know where to start?

Hiring a developer can be daunting without technical knowledge.

I don’t know code at all.

Even with technical knowledge, are you aware of all the latest trends and platforms?

What kind of developer should I be hiring?

Wondering what the difference is between a front end developer and a back end developer?

Or maybe you need a full stack developer?

How do I know I’m getting what I pay for is good?

If you or your company doesn’t have the technical knowledge. You need to find someone who does.

An independent consultant can asses your needs and offer you valuable recommendations.

Saving you wasted time and money, putting you on the right track to hiring the right skills or the right developer.

If you found the above helpful, please subscribe below for more help direct to your inbox!

How to join a table many times in a single SQL query statement?

Having more than one join to the same table within a query can be confusing.

More than one join can create a messy SQL statement.

If you don’t use aliases they can be difficult to read.

If your database tables need to have many columns with the same relationship to another table. You can join them with aliases in a single efficient query.

Need a working example, with sample SQL statements? Check out my other post: How to join the same table twice in a single SQL query statement?

For more about MySQL please check out the MySQL terminology guide

Interested in more SQL tips? Please subscribe in the box below, for a weekly update of my newest posts every Tuesday!

How much can you save by hiring a Freelancer vs an employee?

How much can you save by hiring a Freelancer vs an employee?

Finding good employees is difficult in general.

There are lots of overheads for full-time employees. If you are a small agency and not confident of continuous work. Adding full-time employees can increase your risks.

Could you be saving money by hiring a freelancer?”

Then you have a project come in, which has a fixed length. Hiring a freelancer may look expensive in the short term whilst your paying them.

Once the project is complete, you can “fire” them as easily as you hired them.

Freelancers cost us more, but are lower risk.

Hiring the right freelancer. Allows you to hit the ground running, executing a project faster.

Depending on the region / country you operate in. Here are some of the overheads for employees to consider:

  • Training
  • Paid sick days
  • Paid vacation
  • Dental / Health plans
  • Office rent
  • Equipment (Computer, Desk, etc.)
  • Cost of hiring employees
  • Insurance
  • Payroll / accounting / taxes costs for an employee

A freelancer may have a higher hourly rate in the short term. However over the longer term, using freelancers should save your company money.

Certain regions and countries may also limit the length of time a freelancer or contractor can be employed. Before they are considered a full-time employee.

Did you like this post about Freelancers and saving money? Stay tuned for more, with my weekly email by subscribing below:

Do you really need a custom e-commerce website developed for your small business?

The perfect custom e-commerce website for your business may be best left as a dream for now.

Most small businesses don’t need a custom e-commerce website. When an off the shelf product will work.

If your small business is tight on funds as most small businesses are. You don’t want to tie up your cash flow with a custom e-commerce dream site.

Think of it another way. Say you need to buy a car. Will you buy a car that’s already made and ready to go? Or would you order a custom made car, to your exact specifications? Are you prepared to pay for the extra cost and wait for it to be made for you?

And that’s after the time it will take to find a developer or company to make the site for you.

Almost everyone will choose a ready made car. So choose a ready made, easy to configure e-commerce solution.

There are many options:

  1. Don’t overlook the worlds largest e-commerce platform Amazon
  2. Ebay used to be about auctions, but now many buyers and sellers are just selling at a fixed price Ebay
  3. Etsy if you are selling craft / homemade style things Etsy
  4. Shopify has a great platform and even a POS solution for your small business Shopify
  5. Volusion is a competitor to Shopify Volusion and also has a 14 day free trial.

Don’t forget WordPress, Wix, Weebly and Squarespace also offer e-commerce integrations / plugins, but maybe at the end of the day all you need is a PayPal or Stripe button to accept payments?

So if you are looking to get going with e-commerce for your small business. Consider the options above, to get you transacting online

If you have any questions about the above and need any more help / advice, please contact me.

Do you have enough time for a custom e-commerce website to be developed?

Time, money and patience is required for custom software development.

Custom software development can really hurt, so do your research before committing to it.

Developing a customer e-commerce website can be very time consuming. Do you really need to try and “re-invent the wheel”?

The development process can also be annoying and irritating. More so if you don’t understand the technical aspect. Even seemingly small visual changes can seem to take way more time than you think they should.

You might start thinking…

“Am I being ripped off by my website developer?”

If you haven’t yet embarked down this process, pause and consider your options:

  1. Pay to develop custom software to exactly meet your needs. Which could be a long frustrating expensive journey or
  2. Use an existing e-commerce service like Shopify. Where in a few hours you could have a professional looking site live and ready to take orders.

I’m a software developer. Through years of experience of being paid to develop custom software. I recommend you avoid all the potential pains associated with option 1. Take option 2, start accepting orders today!

Save yourself the pain, take the easy way of using software. That you can then customize (within certain boundaries) for yourself!

If you liked this post about developing a custom e-commerce website, be sure to subscribe below for my next post

Acronym cheatsheet for Digital Nomads

If you are thinking about being a DN. You might be wondering what SEA stands for.

For someone unfamiliar or just starting out as a Digital Nomad. There are many acronyms, I’ve put together a list of some you might run across below.

Acronyn Meaning
AMA Ask Me Anything
DN Digital Nomad
DM Digital Marketer
EU European Union
LLC Limited Liability Company
PM Product / Project Manager
NYC New York City
RV Recreational Vehicle, an option to live and travel around in.
SAAS Software As A Service, one way to earn location independent income
SEA South East Asia, also refereed to as SE Asia. A popular part of the world for Digital Nomads, due to low cost of living + good connectivity.
US / USA United States of America

How to get started with PHP as a complete newbie

How do you get started with PHP as a complete newbie?

A common question that I get asked is

How do I get started with PHP?

The following is a simple recipe to get you started with PHP.

You’ll need the following basic ingredients for success:

  • A reasonably modern computer running Windows
  • A text editor, notepad for example
  • A web browser, like Chrome or Firefox

Then follow these instructions to cook up your first “hello world” PHP page:

  1. Setup a local webserver on your computer, by installing WAMPSERVER – download from here
  2. Once installed, right click on the WAMPSERVER icon in your Sys Tray and click on “www directory”.
  3. Create a new folder called “Project1”
  4. Enter the folder
  5. Create a new file, called index.php
  6. Edit the file with your text editor, notepad will do
  7. Enter the following code into the file, or copy and paste from here:
  8. <?php echo "Hello World!";
  9. Save the file
  10. Open your web browser and navigate to this URL: http://localhost/Project1
  11. You should see a page with the text “Hello World!” displayed in it
  12. Congratulations you’ve successfully made your first PHP page!

Reasons to switch from MySQL to MariaDB

Thinking of moving from regular MySQL to MariaDB?

MariaDB has a considerable performance gain over MySQL 5.6

Need any more reasons than performance to switch?

  1. Switching from MySQL to MariaDB is easy, it’s still considered a drop in replacement.
  2. MariaDB definitely has more of an open source attitude.
  3. Galera implementation is better.
  4. Maria comes by default with some distros, like the Red Hat series.

I recently found MariaDB 10 was available on my hosting environment. I saw that MariaDB was compatible with MySQL having not heard of it before then. I tried setting it up and switching was dead easy, just like MySQL and I didn’t have to make any code changes.

If you found the reasons above to consider switching to MariaDB helpful. Please comment and subscribe below so you don’t miss out on my next tips…