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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Google's BigQuery Provides Free Access to GDELT
June 03, 2014 @ 10:19:31

In this recent post to the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc points out a recent announcement from Google that the GDELT database information is now available via their BigQuery functionality.

The Global Database of Events, Language and Tone is one of the largest datasets on the planet. It is the quantitative database of human society, relying on thousands of news sources from every corner of the globe dating back to 1979. [...] Google BigQuery, "Google's powerful cloud-based analytical database service" is, basically, the world's fastest SQL engine, and it's completely free for any and all uses of GDELT. Due to the sheer power of BigQuery, you can get results on GDELT queries in near real-time and any permutation of fields and values you can think of won't be enough to bog it down to a halt - unless you really mess things up and go against the grain.

He goes on to describe the GDELT database and what kind of information it contains. He also includes an example query and the kind of data it returns (screenshot). He also links to a PHP-based library that you can install via Composer and use API keys to access their search endpoints.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/googles-bigquery-provides-free-access-gdelt/

Sameer Borate:
PHP applications on Google App Engine
April 17, 2014 @ 10:40:02

Sameer Borate has posted a guide to his site today showing you how to get started with PHP applications on the Google App Engine now that it natively supports it (well, mostly).

A couple of years back if you needed to run PHP on Google App Engine you were required to use a open source tool like Quercus, a 100% Java implementation of PHP, to run your PHP applications on the App Engine. However, as you would have guessed, it was not easy to work as with using a native PHP implementation. Now that App Engine natively supports PHP and MySQL, you can easily write PHP applications.

He walks you through the setup and configuration of the App Engine SDK to interact with the service and shows how to create a simple "Hello World" PHP application and deploy it. He talks some about the overall advantages of using the Google App Engine for your application including the scalability it offers and the secured infrastructure it runs on. He finishes the post looking at the different options for data storage and how sessions should be handled (hint: memcache).

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Link: http://www.codediesel.com/php/php-applications-on-google-app-engine/

AWS PHP Development:
Receiving Amazon SNS Messages in PHP
April 01, 2014 @ 10:53:14

The Amazon Web Services PHP Development blog has a new post from Jeremy Lindblom showing you how you can receive inbound SNS messages via a webhook on your application.

Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) is a fast, fully-managed, push messaging service. Amazon SNS can deliver messages to email, mobile devices, Amazon SQS queues, and HTTP/HTTPS endpoints. [...] Though you can certainly subscribe your email address to receive SNS messages from service events like these, your inbox would fill up rather quickly. There is great power, however, in being able to subscribe an HTTP/HTTPS endpoint to receive the messages. This allows you to program webhooks for your applications to easily respond to various events.

Using the AWS SDK for PHP you can set up a listening script that can receive the message and handle subscription confirmations, message signature validation and handling the notifications.

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Link: http://blogs.aws.amazon.com/php/post/Tx2G9D94IE6KPAY/Receiving-Amazon-SNS-Messages-in-PHP

Phil Sturgeon:
CurlFile and the Facebook SDK in PHP 5.5
August 30, 2013 @ 11:19:04

Phil Sturgeon has a new post to his site today looking at a new feature that's included with PHP 5.5, Curlfile, and how he uses it with calls to the Facebook API (and a fix to make it cooperate).

One of the features implemented in PHP 5.5 was CurlFile, a nice addition to the Curl extension to allow you to specify specific arguments as a file for upload. In previous versions (pre-PHP 5.5) the syntax looked like this: [@/foo/bar.jpg]. A little digging around lead me to try this syntax: [new CURLFile('/foo/bar.jpg','image/jpeg')]. Sadly while Curl was happy with this, the Facebook PHP SDK (v3.2.2) was not. It turns out the SDK will turn ANY value you send it in that params array into a string.

To get around the issue, he worked up his own fix to the Facebook PHP SDK and submitted a patch to get it introduced into the tool. He also includes a reminder to filter incoming user data for things containing the "@" too to prevent unwanted file transfers.

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Link: http://philsturgeon.co.uk/blog/2013/08/curlfile-and-the-facebook-sdk-in-php-55

Amazon Web Services PHP Blog:
Provision an Amazon EC2 Instance with PHP
August 23, 2013 @ 09:15:23

On the Amazon Web Services blog today Jeremy Lindblom shares a quick way you can use the AWS SDK to create an EC2 instance directly from PHP in just a few lines of code.

Amazon EC2 is a powerful AWS service that includes the ability to provision on-demand servers. While you can easily do this through the AWS Management Console, in this post, I want show you how to use the AWS SDK for PHP to do it programmatically by interacting with the Amazon EC2 API.

He starts with an outline of the steps (requiring a little bit of EC2-side configuration first) and shows how to use the SDK. His code sets up the client, creates the key pair and security group then is ready to make the instance. You can give the "runInstances" method a configuration that includes number of instances and what type. There's also some hooks back into the request that can tell you when the instances are running and how to get the path to the new instance (for ssh access).

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Link: http://blogs.aws.amazon.com/php/post/TxMLFLE50WUAMR/Provision-an-Amazon-EC2-Instance-with-PHP

Amazon Web Services Blog:
Version 2 of the AWS SDK for PHP (now with Guzzle)
November 15, 2012 @ 14:57:49

The Amazon Web Services group has recently released an updated version of their SDK for PHP and at it's heart is the open source project Guzzle (a HTTP client framework).

The new SDK is built on top of the Guzzle HTTP client framework, which provides increased performance and enables event-driven customization. Each AWS service client extends the Guzzle client and describes operations on the service using a service description file. The SDK now manages persistent connections for both serial and parallel requests. It detects transient network failures, with automatic retries using truncated exponential backoff. Support for event hooks (via the Symfony2 EventDispatcher) allows you to implement custom, event-driven behavior.

In the AWS post about the update, they give you a few code snippets showing this updated version in use. This completely reworked version of the SDK is not compatible with the previous version, so you'll need to consult their migration guide to bring things up to date.

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PHPMaster.com:
Compiling PHP from Source on Windows
September 20, 2012 @ 10:56:21

For most PHP developers, when they hear "compile from source" they automatically assume that the person talking means they're working with a unix variant-based system. In this new tutorial from PHPMaster.com, though, they show how to "compile from source" on a different platform - Windows.

Those working in a Windows environment are more likely to download and install PHP from precompiled packages. And while I don't disagree it's easier to use a precompiled solution, even on Unix systems, there are some advantages that can come with compiling a binary from source. [...] But be forewarned: compiling can be a frustrating task, especially on Windows! You must ensure your build environment is set up correctly, learn how to use the compiler and other build tools properly, and satisfy any library dependencies. Hopefully this article is your first step in overcoming many of these obstacles.

The tutorial walks you through the steps you'll need to take to get your environment set up, including the tools you'll need to be able to perform the compile (including Microsoft's Visual C++ Express and the Windows Software Development Kit). Screenshots and commands are all included in the post to make the compile work. There's even a few instructions on compiling in the extensions you might need.

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DZone.com:
Selenium on Android
April 18, 2012 @ 12:43:04

On DZone.com there's a recent post from Giorgio Sironi looking at running Selenium tests on the Android platform via the PHPUnit Selenium interface.

Testing web applications is not only based on unit and functional tests for the server-side (PHP, Java) and client-side (JavaScript) components, but also on end-to-end tests like the ones performed with Selenium. Selenium is capable of driving a real browser like Firefox in the same way a user would do, letting you express a test with a series of page to load, element selections, clicks and typed characters. [...] In this tutorial, we'll experiment with the Android Driver and set up a couple of tests to run inside an Android virtual device.

He walks you through the basic setup of an Android environment (based on the Android SDK) and how to start up the Android driver installed from the Selenium site. An example test is included, showing how to make a request for a test page and checking its title as well as checking that the input from the "keyboard" is successful.

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Michael Nitschinger's Blog:
Getting Started with Couchbase and PHP
March 12, 2012 @ 08:35:06

In his most recent blog post Michael Nitschinger introduces you to Couchbase, a document-oriented database, and how to use it with PHP.

As there were a lot of merges, renamings and releases, it was pretty hard to follow up with the current/best database version and SDK to use for your project. Now as the dust has settled a bit, here's what I've come up with: Couchbase 2.0 will be the next major version and is already pretty stable, so I'll jump straight onto it and skip 1.8.

He recommends using the php-couchbase libraries or the php-ext-couchbase extension. He walks you through the whole process of getting Couchbase installed and running and the PHP support installed via the aptitude package manager. A sample script and some basic usage information is also included.

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NetTuts.com:
Wrangling with the Facebook Graph API
December 02, 2011 @ 13:37:09

On the NetTuts.com site today they have a (very complete) guide to help you wrangle the Facebook Graph API and make it useful for your application. It makes use of the official Facebook PHP SDK to interface with the Graph API.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your applications more social with Facebook? It's much easier than you think! In this tutorial, we'll be building an application that reads and publishes data to and from Facebook using Facebook's Graph API.

The tutorial helps you get signed up on the Facebook developer site, create a first sample application, set up the SDK and make a simple page (with an added bonus of using the Twitter Boostrap for look/feed). There's a section covering permissions, what kind of data you can expect publicly for both users and posts. They wrap it up with an example of posting back to Facebook though the API and updating the status on your account. The complete code for the tutorial is also available for download.

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