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Chi Hoang and Italy Won the 2014 PHP Innovation Award Edition

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The results of the PHP Programming Innovation Award edition of 2014 were announced and the winner is Chi Hoang from France. Collectively Italy won the championship by countries. The site interviewed the winners to know them better.

Listen to the interviews, or watch the interview hangout, or read the transcript to learn more about the outstanding innovative packages that allowed them to win the 2014 award and how they can be contacted in case you are interested to hire them.

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Chi Hoang: Winner of the PHP Innovation Award of 2014

Italy: Winner of the PHP Innovation Award Championship by Countries

Interview with Chi Hoang (podcast audio, hangout video and transcript)

Chi Hoang: Winner of the PHP Innovation Award of 2014

Chi Hoang was born in Belgium from Vietnamese parents but lived in Germany and more recently in France where is works now as a PHP developer.

He won the 2014 PHP Programming Innovation Award edition with 9 nominated packages and 48 points. He actually submitted more packages in 2014 but not all were considered innovative.

Chi Hoang is available to be hired by companies interested in a developer with these skills. Interested companies should send a message to info at You may find more about his story and the nominated packages in the interview below in this article.

Here is the final ranking of the Innovation Award nominees of 2014:

1Chi HoangFrance948
2wapmorganRussian Federation325
3Orazio PrincipeItaly324
4pooya sabramoozIran222
4Jacob FoggUnited States322
6Patrick Joseluis LasoSpain220
7ettore morettiItaly219
8Andoitz Jordan MarmolejoSpain316
9Everton da RosaBrazil214
9Er. Rochak ChauhanIndia214

Italy: Winner of the PHP Innovation Award Championship by Countries

Italy is the winner country of the PHP Innovation Award Championship by countries thanks to the contributions of 7 Italian developers that submitted 10 packages and gathered 75 points.

All these developers were contacted and some accepted to be interviewed so we can know them better. Some of them are available to take new jobs, so if you are interested read below the summary of their interviews to learn how to contact them.

Here is the ranking of all the Italian developers that contributed for the victory of Italy:

3Orazio Principe24
7ettore moretti19
13Michele Locati10
24Luca Pacchiarotta8
26Enrico Anello7
48Michele Andreoli4

Here is the final ranking of the 2014 Innovation Award Championship by countries:

4United StatesUnited States854
7Russian FederationRussian Federation539
9United KingdomUnited Kingdom317

Orazio Principe

Picture of Orazio PrincipeWhere are you from? Where do you live? What do you work on?

I'm from Italy and I live in Turin. Actually I'm looking for a stable and exciting job. Until September 2014 I was employed from one of the biggest commerce company in Italy, then I left Italy to have an experience in Australia. Now I came back and by now I do some job for customers when they need it.

Italy won the innovation award by country thanks your interview. Did you somehow colaborate or encourage other Italian developers to also send innovative packages?

I often work with other programmers but usually they use my classes instead of creating new ones. I tried many times to explain to programmers that the key for a great developer is the passion to invent but rarely you can find people with an open mind mostly if it's free or open source job.

Tell us about what your innovative packages do and what motivated you to write them?

My innovative packages were made after a prior search regarding a specific feature needed by an office or a customer.

If I couldn't find anything about that, I usually create it. And if my contract rules permit me, I share the class on to help other developers to solve the same problem.

I think that my classes: PHP MySQL to Mongo and MySQL Hot Backup Tool can help a lot of people with the classic problems that a new developer can find in his road.

Do you think the nominations for the innovation Award can help you somehow in your career or your country to get more reputation in the PHP community?

I don't know, I hope so but mostly I developed these classes to help other developers rather than have a particular return.

Do you plan to send more innovative packages to get more prizes and recognition for you and your country?

I always create something new and if I consider my class innovative I will post it in the site.

Are you looking for more career opportunities? If so, how can interested companies contact you?

New career are always a good news for me and if somebody want to hire me just contact me by email orazio.principe at or telephone +393475208264.

Do you have any improvement suggestion for PHP Classes or any other comment? is a good site and can help a lot of developers. Personally I would like to find some video tutorial for the new features about PHP because many people know it as a very
old style language without knowing all improvements done by this fantastic language. 

Michele Locati

Picture of Michele LocatiWhere are you from? Where do you live? What do you work on?

Until 2008 I lived near Bergamo (Italy) and I worked in an IT company that produced corporate Windows applications and Asp.Net web sites.

Since 2009 I moved to Como (Italy) and I started working for another IT company that produces and sells CAD software. I'm administering the company web sites and intranet (PHP), as well as many internal utilities written in C#.

I spend my spare time mainly in some open source project. The main project in which I'm involved is concrete5: I contributed in many core components, but my main role is the internationalization-related stuff (including but not limited to gettext-related stuff and Transifex integration). 

Tell us about what your innovative packages do and what motivated you to write them?

The concrete5 core team wanted to switch from ZendFramework 1 to ZendFramework 2. But ZF2 misses a lot of internationalization-related stuff, so I looked around to see if other existing projects could solve this problem. I didn't find any.

Since I collaborate with Unicode to maintain the CLDR project, I thought it could be great to use the CLDR data to localize a lot of stuff in almost any language on Earth.

So I developed Punic (the package that I submitted to PHPClasses), and it grew quite a lot. I'm very happy about it  (ownCloud 8 too adopted Punic!).

Currently it can localize dates (with support to timezones and any format you can think of), language names, territory/country names, number formatting, units translations, currency names. It also offers many country-specific info (like population, Gross Domestic Product, most spoken languages)... It's a really useful project IMHO.

Do you think the nominations for the innovation Award can help you somehow in your career or your country to get more reputation in the PHP community?

I hope so! ;)

Do you plan to send more innovative packages to get more prizes and recognition for you and your country?

In my localization projects I always had problems in finding a reliable and complete definition of the gettext plural rules for every language.

So I recently I developed a tool that can generate gettext plural rules starting from the CLDR data. It's very complete and reliable.

I just got in touch with Daiki Ueno (head maintainer of gettext tools) and we're talking about integrating the data generated from my tool in the gettext official tools and website.

And soon I'm going to publish this tool in PHP Classes.

Are you looking for more career opportunities? If so, how can interested companies contact you?

I hate closing doors: I evaluate every opportunity. A simple email to mlocati at can be enough.

Do you have any improvement suggestion for PHP Classes or any other comment?

I find the PHP Classes web site quite old-style and often it offers too many/messed up info and details.

I love the simplicity, the tidiness and elegance of sites like github or google.

Luca Pacchiarotta

Where are you from? Where do you live? What do you work on?

I'm from Italy. Now I live near Milano.

I work as PHP programmer, and I am involved in a big project for schools, to help children with disabilities.

Tell us about what your innovative packages do and what motivated you to write them?

The package PHP IP Sorter is an utility. I needed a solution, I have coded it, and I was pleased  to share it with the community.

Do you think the nominations for the innovation Award can help you somehow in your career or your country to get more reputation in the PHP community?

For my carrer, I don't know, but I don't believe it could. For my country I think yes.

Do you plan to send more innovative packages to get more prizes and recognition for you and your country?

As soon as possible.

Are you looking for more career opportunities? If so, how can interested companies contact you?

Yes, now I'm looking for a new job opportunity. The companies can contact me with the email address luca450mhz at

Michele Andreoli

Picture of Michele AndreoliWhere are you from? Where do you live? What do you work on?

I come from a town in the north of Italy called Viadana, near Parma and Mantova. I work as analyst programmer in a software house in Italy and principally we provide consulance for a financial company. For my work, I develop in C#, .net and javascript and a little of PHP, but in my spare time I like developing Web applications and sites in PHP and JavaScript.

Do you think the nominations for the innovation Award can help you somehow in your career or your country to get more reputation in the PHP community?

Yes, I think that is a great opportunity to get more reputation and I have seen that these awards are appreciated by companies during my work interviews.

Do you plan to send more innovative packages to get more prizes and recognition for you and your country?

Today I haven't packages to submit, but in the future I hope and I will happy to submit other innovative packages to win prizes for me and for my country.

Do you have any improvement suggestion for PHP Classes or any other comment?

I think that PHPClasses is a great community and it is very useful when you need a particular class because it saves a lot of developing time.

Interview with Chi Hoang (podcast audio, hangout video and transcript)

Click on the Play button to listen now.

Introduction music Harbour used with explicit permission from the author Danilo Ercole, from Curitiba, Brazil

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Note that the timestamps below in the transcript may not match the same positions in the video because they were based on the audio timestamps and the audio was compacted to truncate silence periods.

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Manuel Lemos: Hello. Now, we are recording a special interview with the Innovation Award winner of the PHP site, Chi Hoang. He's here, and I would like to thank him for accepting to participate in this interview. Every year, when we announce the Innovation Award winners, we try to interview the winners to know a little more about him.

Hello, Chi. How are you doing?

Chi Hoang: Hello, Manuel. Thank you. I'm doing very well.

Manuel Lemos: OK, first, congratulations for your Innovation Award. It was well deserved. This year, you ranked very well, well above other contestants. Let me even show here the final rankings of the Award.

Let's see. OK, I'm showing the screen here. So as you may see here, you... Chi Hoang, from France, with 9 packages and 48 points... were in the first place, well ahead of the second place, wapmorgan, from Russia with 3 packages and 25 points; Orazio Principe (3 packages and 24 points), Pooya Sabramooz from Iran with 2 packages and 22 points, Jacob Fogg (3 packages and 22 points). Actually, Jacob Fogg is from the United States.

Patrick Joseluis Laso with 2 packages and 20 points, he's from Spain. Ettore Moretti with 2 packages and 19 points is from Italy, and then, Andoitz Jordan Marmolejo from Spain with 3 packages and 16 points; Everton da Rosa with 2 packages and 14 points from Brazil; Er. Rochak Chauhan with 2 packages and 14 points.

Well, there were other people that participated but these are only the top ten in the final ranking. Apart from the individual ranking, there was also a championship by country, on which this year, the winner is Italy with 10 packages and 75 points, followed by Iran (7 packages and 65 points). Iran was very close, did not win, but was very close. Then, France with 12 packages and 58 points, United States (8 packages and 54 points), Spain (8 packages and 47 points), Brazil (9 packages and 46 points), Russia with 5 packages and 39 points, India with 5 packages and 31 points, Germany (4 packages and 17 points) and the United Kingdom with 3 packages and 17 points.

Well, this is a very interesting year for the Innovation Award because many, many participants participated this year more than in the previous years. What I think that many was motivated by the Innovation Award competition by countries, so more people from different countries participated.

And for that, they are going to win first the elePHPant, as you may see here. I'm not going to pick it because I may throw down all these trophies. These trophies are for the winners.

So, in front, we have here the trophy for Chi Hoang. Chi Hoang, you'll get this trophy by postal mail soon, but consider it as if I'm delivering it to you personally now. OK, accept this trophy. As you may see there, there is your name here and the year, and the Innovation Award winner for the PHPClasses. So congratulations.

All the other trophies are each one for the nominated authors of Innovation Award by country, that are from the winning country which is Italy. So, in this case, this one is for Enrico Anello from Team Italy. Here, it says "Championship by Country". I don't know if in the recording, it will be very readable because sometimes, Google Hangout degrades the quality of the video. But I hope all people will get them soon.

There are seven of these winners that did not... I try to contact them so they can give their addresses. They will get a trophy and also, each one will get their own elePHPant. So congratulations to all of you.

These are symbolic prizes, of course. This is a friendly competition. It's just to provide some recognition to the winners.

So let's just review very quickly the names of the winners by country. Let me share the screen here, and the winners by country from Italy... Orazio Principe ranked 3rd with 24 points. Ettore Moretti ranked 7th with 19 points. Then, Michele Locati was in 13th with 10 points. Luca Pacchiarotta, 8 points, he ranked 24th. Then, 36th, Enrico Anello from Italy, 7 points. Then, Michele Andreoli with 4 points, ranked in 58th. And then, an author that calls himself just jstar8... obviously, this is not his real name... and he has 3 points.

So moving on with this interview, we are here to know more about Chi Hoang. Can you tell a bit more about yourself? I mean, where did you come from, where do you live, and what do you do?

Chi Hoang: Yes. I was born in Belgium, Europe and I lived in Germany and in France. For living, I do programming, particularly Web development.

Manuel Lemos: But, of course, I suppose you program in PHP, right? Or you program also in other languages?

Chi Hoang: Sometimes in JavaScript, but PHP is mostly my forte.

Manuel Lemos: OK, that's great. Certainly, that motivate you to share some of your work. Most of it was considered innovative. I noticed that many of your packages are somehow related with geography applications. I don't know if it is your favorite subject or something that you have been doing a lot in your work, right?

Chi Hoang: Yes, you're right.

Manuel Lemos: OK, so can you talk about briefly about each one of your nominated packages. It would be interesting if you could...

Well, I'll share the screen here and you keep talking about each one of them because it would be easier. I don't know if you are familiar with sharing the screen. OK, it's easy to search. OK, let me share the screen here again.

OK, first you have a package named the PHP Weighted Voronoi Diagram, right?

Chi Hoang: Yes.

Manuel Lemos: It says to render an additively weighted Voronoi diagram. Most people don't even have an idea what is a Voronoi diagram. Can you tell a bit what is that. Is that something related with geography, too?

Chi Hoang: Yes, the Voronoi diagram is a dual of the Delauney triangulation, and it is useful to find the minimum spanning tree of...

Manuel Lemos: That's probably to compute optimized routes, no?

Chi Hoang: Yes, it's for routes. Yes, it's for routes. Basically, you use it for... If you have, for example, electricity or water pipelines or oil pipelines, and you have a city and you need to find the farthest point, wherever you reach every point, shortest route, you reach every points, you use this diagrams to compute. And there are some variations of this with weights and cost and so on.

Manuel Lemos: OK, that's a bit advanced but most people probably don't understand much about that, but I'm sure it is useful for people working on those areas.

So another interesting package that you've written is the PHP RLE Compression Algorithm. This is for compressing data. It was a relatively simple algorithm but there was no implementation on the site, at least in PHP.

Can you talk a bit more about it?

Chi Hoang: Yeah, this was an interview question. I have done the programming and was proud of it. I thought it may be useful for your site.

Manuel Lemos: Right. But, it was not really an advanced topic. It was more somebody asked you to solve some problem and then, you used this class, right?

Chi Hoang: Yeah, yeah. Somebody ask for an interview, for a job interview. Somebody asked me for a job interview to do this, and I have done this. In this case, it wasn't in the PHP Classes site, so I thought maybe it's useful.

Manuel Lemos: OK. So another package is this PHP Sweepstakes. It is for calculating the days of periodical events. Like you're given a specification and then it calculates the date, the period cycle, but although it's not really innovative by itself, there was a detail that you make it consider your holidays that may happen in such a date. Right?

Chi Hoang: Yeah. This is special one... I have made it for a client, and I thought it was useful too for other people... because it was quite difficult. It also computes duration. It's not simply one day but you can use it for many days.

Manuel Lemos: Oh, I see. That's interesting because that happens with some kinds of events.

Chi Hoang: It's not the same like the others. There is a Linux application, I forgot it.

Manuel Lemos: I mean, Cron or something?

Chi Hoang: Yeah, Cron. There is only some special version of Cron that can do the same. It's quite difficult to make this also with Cron, because Cron only has one day up, you know. It repeats it but only for one day. But here, you can say the appointment, also the length of the appointment.

Manuel Lemos: Yeah, that makes the algorithm more complicated.

Chi Hoang: Yeah, that makes this far more complicated.

Manuel Lemos: So the next one is PHP Vehicle Routing Problem. So it computes routes and checks the delivery clients to order as well. This is not exactly a new problem. There are a few other solutions for that, but in this case, your class implements an alternative that is very accurate as it computes the Euclidean distance between client sites.

What is this Euclidean distance that makes your class stand out?

Chi Hoang: I think that the fact that it uses the Euclidean distance, it makes it better, and also use some special algorithm to make it really fast, and with that, very accurate.

This is something I made for client, too, and it was a lot of work. It's a bit of a problem, and it's big problem, and it's a lot of work and there are different approaches.

Manuel Lemos: OK, so moving on with the next class, which is the Nearest Neighbor, which is a class that can find the nearest neighbor of a set of location points. So, you have a start point, and then you need to see which neighbor is closest, right?

Chi Hoang: Yeah, actually, this is a class for the car nearest neighbor problem, because you can... It's like a grid, you can choose what grid you want in the cell for the nearest neighbor.

Manuel Lemos: Many classes for geographic-related purposes.

Then, there is another one, which is the PHP Mercator projection. It's to render coordinates with the Mercator projection. What is this Mercator projection for those that are not familiar with this type of the problem?

Chi Hoang: Well, this is one of the most simple way to view the earth at a two-dimensional map.

Manuel Lemos: Oh, I see. So you project points in the way that they can be viewed as if they are in perspective for the user, right?

Chi Hoang: Yeah, that you can use it as a map. It's a two-dimensional map.

Manuel Lemos: Right. It calculates the coordinates of the points on a map to a two-dimensional image.

Chi Hoang: From three-dimensional, it projects to a two-dimensional. This is the most simple and the most common.

Manuel Lemos: And the next one is PHP CPU Frequency Tuner. This one is a bit different. It can populate approximate frequency of an AMD CPU. This is a bit different. What is this class for?

Chi Hoang: This is personal thing of me, because I make a lot with my PC and I needed to some way to make it faster.

Manuel Lemos: Yeah, so overclock the CPU.

Chi Hoang: Yeah, overclock this and so...

Manuel Lemos: So it performs calculations for AMD CPUs.

Chi Hoang: Yeah.

Manuel Lemos: OK, the next one if I-Ching. I'm not sure if this is the right way to pronounce it. It generates fortune telling with the Book of Changes. So this problem is something that already implemented. Most people probably are not aware what is this Book of Changes and fortune-telling?

Chi Hoang: Yes, this a bit long story, but people told me that the Chinese invented the binary system. Because this book is very old, it's 4,000 years old. They use symbols that looks a bit like a binary system.

And so I was interested in this, and I calculated all the possibilities. And basically, in this class, there are all possibilities of this binary system. I don't know if...

Manuel Lemos: Yeah, it's a bit abstract because for those that are not familiar with the topic, that's a bit vague. But I understand that fortune-telling is to tell something to the person what will be his life, right?

Chi Hoang: Yes, it's used for fortune-telling, but the mathematics behind it looks like it was a binary system from the Chinese. That's all I can say. I don't know if it's true, but...

Manuel Lemos: It's still a bit abstract but that's OK.

Well, this one is I think the last one. So congratulations once again for your great classes. They are very interesting, very unusual topics and probably one of the reasons they are considered innovative.

Now, I would like just to tell me a bit which classes of other nominated authors did you like? Any one that you remember that was interesting, and it was not from you, of course?

Chi Hoang: In this year?

Manuel Lemos: Yes.

Chi Hoang: I cannot remember to use something, but there was...

Manuel Lemos: Not necessarily you have used but some other class of other authors that you have seen and looked interested.

Chi Hoang: I was very busy to make my classes to finish for your site. I don't think I remember...

Manuel Lemos: Any other classes?

Chi Hoang: ... classes which really are outstanding. Maybe...

Manuel Lemos: That's OK. There are many other outstanding classes. Unfortunately, we don't have time to talk about them. I understand that you may not remember about any other because as you said, you're busy...


Manuel Lemos: ... sending like nine classes. Practically all months, you send in new classes. Only a few for some reason were not considered innovative, but many others were. And that's great.

Other than that, do you plan to send more innovative classes soon to the site? What are your plans? It seems that you have been enjoying participating in this Innovation Award.

Chi Hoang: Yeah, I enjoy much...

Manuel Lemos: Participating.

Chi Hoang: And I like also to program and the site and the community. I see also that the others are making efforts to make classes and so. Generally, I like it.

Manuel Lemos: So I hope that we can see more innovative classes from you and other authors soon.

One question also that I have is did your classes help you do better your job? I understand that actually, you already mentioned something like some classes were part of your job, right?

Chi Hoang: Well, actually, I have some contacts, but where it's not so far that we are doing something together.

Manuel Lemos: So some classes, you've developed to attend some, satisfy some necessity from a customer, right?

Chi Hoang: Yeah, I have some clients looking for me, but it's not so far that some real projects.

Manuel Lemos: No, I meant in the past. Some of the classes that were nominated, you used in projects?

Chi Hoang: Yeah, some of them, I used in projects, yeah.

Manuel Lemos: So do you think this Innovation Award will help you get better opportunities or you are not sure? I understand you are in Europe, and sometimes in some places, the circumstances are not as good as it used to be. Right?

Chi Hoang: Yes, I don't know. I hope so that it would make better. Maybe, I need to learn more something. I don't know. Of course, it makes me a better programmer to show them my skills and so on. And if I win something, it's makes me feel good.

Manuel Lemos: Right. So if there are any companies, anybody listening to this interview that would be interested to hire you, maybe that you can use your classes to help in their projects, how can they can they contact you to hire you?

How do you prefer to be contacted?

Chi Hoang: Well, they can contact me via PHP Classes.

Manuel Lemos: Do you want to leave an email address?

Chi Hoang: Yes, my email address is in my code also. It's info at and info at

Manuel Lemos: OK, I think this will be left on the interview article that would be posted soon. And whoever is interested to hire should be able to find you through those addresses that you mentioned.

Well, we practically reached the end of this interview. I'd like to thank you again for your participation. Congratulations for you awards. You'll get your prizes soon via postal mail.

I'm just wondering if is there any other thing, any other comment that you like to say that you did not have any opportunity. Anything else you like to say?

Chi Hoang: No, no. I don't think so. Keep the spirit.


Manuel Lemos: OK, well, thank you again for your participation, and that is all for now. Bye.

Chi Hoang: OK, bye.


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