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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Why Choose PHP Over Alternatives?
February 24, 2014 @ 11:25:45

On the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc has a new article with a few of the reasons why to choose PHP over other alternatives. It's a quick post with only a few points, but it's interesting for its choices of when not to use PHP.

It's a popular question. Why indeed should one pick PHP over one of the alternatives? After all, PHP has often been dismissed as a unusable and badly designed language. Why would anyone choose it, when starting a project from scratch? Instead of listing the reasons why people do choose it (mostly widespread availability), let's instead focus on why people should choose it. We can't talk about that, however, without first mentioning why they shouldn't.

Among their suggestions of when not to use PHP are things like building command line applications and "just because it's there" on your shared hosting. There's a section near the end of the article that talks about some of the work that's been done to try to dispel the "bad press" PHP has gotten and how other languages (his illustration is Javascript) have the same kind of taunting and nitpicking happening as well.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/why-choose-php/

Paul Jones:
Publish Your Failures; or, The Way Of All Frameworks
October 29, 2013 @ 12:19:59

Paul Jones has an interesting post on his site today talking about how how your "framework of choice" will eventually fail even if there is long term support for it. He points to another article about trial and error and emphasizes that (as Richard Feynman has said) failures are just as important as successes.

When it comes to expanding a body of knowledge, the failures are just as important as the successes, perhaps more so in some cases. (Be careful here; they have to be "honest" failures, where you had some reason to believe in advance that it had a good chance of working.) So what is it about the "Pipe Dream" article [here] that impressed me? It is that the the author first signals his tribe membership by mentioning his "framework of choice", then proceeds to try to do some work outside of that tribe.

Paul goes on to talk about the usefulness of stepping outside of your norm - your framework of choice - and getting a wider perspective on how others do things. He looks at some of the ways that current frameworks could fail in the future and figuring out how well it will deal with it when it does. He points out that several times the failure comes from "subsystem failures" and that systems that allow the swapping out of these components would handle things more gracefully. He gives the example of the Aura framework of this, being highly component-based.

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Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/4757

Greg Freeman:
Your PHP Framework Choice doesn't Matter
August 22, 2013 @ 11:45:18

In this new post Greg Freeman suggests something contrary to what most PHP developers (and framework supporters) believe - your choice of PHP frameworks doesn't matter...if you're basing it on speed.

I'm talking about the speed of PHP and more specifically, evaluating frameworks and tools based on "speed". If you have been in the PHP developer community for more than a few months, you would have seen at least a few discussions about what the fastest PHP framework is, as if this were one of the first key metrics you should evaluate first when choosing a framework for your team. You may even be contemplating switching from your current framework because you heard of a new framework that is faster. In the rest of this article, I'm going to do my best to show you why this not the best line of thinking and provide alternate and in my opinion better metrics for evaluating tools.

He talks about "frontend" versus "backend" PHP developers and how most PHP devs fit into the first category, not knowing how their applications really execute on the backend. This includes a pretty high-level concept of "speed." For his examples, he sets up a WordPress instance and fills it with some dummy content. He illustrates how, with a bit of tweaking on the "backend" side of things (server, environment, etc) the performance of the application can be greatly varied. He includes the specs for the environment he ran the tests in, some of the things he changed and a summary of the results.

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Link: http://www.gregfreeman.org/2013/your-php-framework-choice-doesnt-matter

Pixelstech.com:
Should we use Abstract class or Interface?
April 18, 2013 @ 09:22:23

On the Pixelstech.com site today there's a new post that talks about the differences between abstract classes and interfaces and when's the best time to use either (or both).

When we write programs, we may often get into a situation where we don't know whether we should use Abstract class or Interface when we want to define an abstract object. These two are very similar and they are interchangeable. On Stackoverflow, this question is asked many times, it's related to many programming languages. Also in the official documentation of PHP regarding the Abstract class and Interface, people are arguing about this. To understand this question, we need to understand their differences and use scenarios.

They provide examples of abstract class and interface usage with one of the main differences being that you can define functionality in abstract classes. There's also examples showing classes that extend the abstract class while implementing the interface at the same time, helping to define the object structure to an even finer level.

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Link: http://www.pixelstech.net/article/1366044255_Should_we_use_Abstract_class_or_Interface_

PHPMaster.com:
6 Things to Consider when Choosing a Framework
April 08, 2013 @ 11:29:07

PHPMaster.com has posted a list of six things they think you should think about as you're selecting the framework for your next application.

You've decided that it makes sense to use a framework when writing your next new application, and chances are that if you're already familiar with a specific framework, then you'll probably be leaning towards using that one when you start. But are you sure it's really the most appropriate for the task at hand? In the name of due-diligence, here are some of questions that you should ask yourself before settling on a particular framework to make sure you're not programming "against the grain" and also to make sure it will be able to meet your needs now and in the long-term.

He doesn't get into any specifics of any PHP frameworks out there, but suggests general questions to ask even before getting too deep into the technology:

  • What do I need from the framework?
  • Do I expect the framework to help manage consistency?
  • Is good documentation available?
  • Is the framework actively developed, and does it have an active user base?
  • Does the framework work in what I run in production?
  • What business factors are influencing my decision?
Not every application needs to be written using a framework. But if you've decided that yours does, then it's beneficial to compare your needs against the features and benefits of the various framework offerings.
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Link: http://phpmaster.com/6-things-to-consider-when-choosing-a-framework

Brandon Savage:
Languages Don't Matter (Part Deux)
January 16, 2013 @ 11:54:29

In a follow-up to his previous article about why languages don't matter, Brandon Savage has a new post (part two) carrying on the theme but getting more into the thought patterns behind language selection and use.

Developers like to think that companies hire developers to write code. But companies do not hire developers to write code; they hire developers to solve problems. They hire developers with the expectation that the developer knows about, or can learn about, the problems of the company, and find a creative solution to those problems at minimal cost.

It is therefore up to the developer to choose what tools they will use to achieve the outcome. The customer doesn't much care what tools the developer uses; they only care that the outcome they desired is achieved.

He goes on to talk about preferences in the tools "used by craftsmen" and why they're less important than the result of the work they create. He notes that languages matter, but only in a certain context - as a piece of a puzzle, a part of a whole to reach an objective of functioning software.

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Phil Sturgeon:
Understanding Circumstance
August 22, 2012 @ 10:15:08

Phil Sturgeon has a new post to his site today comparing a few different types of developers and discussing language/tool zealots among them (and a plea for tolerance and understanding).

What is it you do as a developer? As I see it in web dev there are a few different types: Hobbiest, Client Web Dev, Distributed Application Devs, Web App Developer (SaaS) and Corporate Dev. What do they all have in common? They're all using some sort of language to make some sort of system for somebody somewhere. That is about the last connecting factor that most of us developers actually share. [...] The crazy thing here is that most developers who are in a situation where they can use whatever system they like, often end up picking a specific tool and using it to death. This is ridiculous, as every developer should use the best tool for the job.

He talks a bit about each of the different categories of developers and where he sees their place in the world of development. He points out some of the restrictions of each type of position (required technologies, dependencies, etc) and comes to his point about their choices:

The point I am trying to make in all of this, is that while you might have really strong opinions about what language, framework, version of the framework or version of the language you use, EVERYONE has a totally different situation to you.
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Grzegorz Godlewski's Blog:
Choosing your Source Code Management System
June 11, 2012 @ 10:10:53

In a recent post to his blog Grzegorz Godlewski talks about some of the criteria to consider when selecting your source code management tool (between Subversion, Git and Mercurial).

Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages so the project's requirements, development environment and team members receptivity should be taken into consideration. Relying on my own experience in project management and using version control systems to manage the development process I've formed the conclusions listed below that may be helpful while considering usage of one of described SCM's in your own projects.

He talks about how the size of the project can effect the decision and a bit more detail about what each of the version control systems are good at. The PHP project itself has recently made the shift to git away from Subversion (you can find more information on the PHP.net site).

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source code management choice advice opinion subversion mercurial git


PHP-A-Day Blog:
Commentary Why Do People Hate PHP?
June 01, 2012 @ 08:49:16

On the PHP-Tip-A-Day site today Greg Bulmash shares some of his thoughts about why people hate PHP.

I recently read Kevin Schroeder's blog post about 10 Reasons To Use PHP. Then -- silly me -- I started reading the comments. It only took a few before the obligatory anti-PHP hater came out and started insulting the language and the people who use it. That made me think about why that hate exists.

He points out that some of it probably has to do with people not really understanding what PHP is all about (no, reading a blog post dosen't make you an expert on it) and mentions PHP's dynamic typing as a sticking point with several developers.

Usually someone hating on PHP does so because they don't understand it, are upset by what it lets people get away with, feel it makes it too easy for someone to earn the title of "developer," or because they're dicks who have to insult other people because they can't simply be happy with their own choices.
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Court Ewing's Blog:
Create and Validate a Choice List in a Symfony 2 Form
August 17, 2011 @ 08:28:21

Court Ewing has written up a new post to his blog about creating a "choice" list (a select list as defined by Symfony 2) with dynamic options and validating the resulting submission. His example uses Doctrine 2 entities to work with most of the data handling.

A standard select list can be created using Symfony's choice field type; it is pretty clear how to create a new choice field with simple, non-dynamic options (e.g. gender), but it gets a little more complicated when you want to create and validate a dynamically generated choice list.

He includes the code for a simple entity, a Post model to fetch the category information and the set up of the form element - a select list of post types/categories. He also includes a bonus section showing how you can achieve the same thing without a model to bind to. The code's a little bit more complex than the previous example, but it's basically just reproducing some of the validation and fetching logic manually.

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