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Stitcher.io:
PHP Generics and why we need them
May 23, 2017 @ 09:48:56

On the Stitcher.io blog there's a post that's advocating the addition of a feature to the core PHP language that several others have: generics. The basic idea behind generics is to provide functionality that allows the definition of entity types that can be reused as a default (like a "collection" generic that could be used instead of a base collection class).

In today's blog post we'll explore some common problems with arrays in PHP. All the problems and issues listed could be solved with a pending RFC which adds generics to PHP. We won't explore in too much detail what generics are. But at the end of this read, you should have a good idea as to why they are useful, and why we really want them in PHP. So without further ado, let's dive into the subject.

They start off with a common use case in PHP: a collection of blog posts and getting information from them. There's no guarantee that the contents of the set are always post objects leading to specific checks to ensure data quality before use. The post then uses a common example from PHP, the creation of a collection class to handle a set of objects and then showing how (with pseudo-code as generics aren't in the language) how that same functionality might look defined as a generic collection instead.

tagged: generics language feature example rfc collection

Link: https://www.stitcher.io/blog/php-generics-and-why-we-need-them

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Creating Strictly Typed Arrays and Collections in PHP
Mar 27, 2017 @ 12:45:06

On the SitePoint PHP blog there's a new post from Bert Ramakers showing you how to create strictly typed arrays and collections in PHP.

One of the language features announced back in PHP 5.6 was the addition of the ... token to denote that a function or method accepts a variable length of arguments.

Something I rarely see mentioned is that it’s possible to combine this feature with type hints to essentially create typed arrays.

He starts with an example of a class/method that only takes in a certain type of objects as a collection (using the "...") with a fatal thrown if anything else is given. He also shows how to do the same thing with scalar types and the "..." operator with a typed input. He does point out one problem with this approach, namely that if more complex input is required the single type just wouldn't work. His solution involves custom collection classes where the settings are in the collection and not passed directly into the method. This collection then contains some of the base functionality (like getting an average value from a set of floats) and can be enhanced with other typical interfaces to work like any other collection. He also presents another option: using value objects for validation of the input.

tagged: collection array strict typing tutorial operator

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/creating-strictly-typed-arrays-collections-php/

Nicola Malizia:
Understanding Laravel’s HighOrder Collections
Mar 14, 2017 @ 09:11:59

Nicola Malizia has written up a tutorial that helps to explain Laravel's HighOrder collection functionality, a feature that was added in Laravel 5.4.

A new version of Laravel is available from 24 January 2017 and, as usual, it comes with a lot of new features.

Among them, there is one that takes advantage of the dynamic nature of PHP. Some out of there will contempt this, but I find it awesome!

He talks briefly about what the normal Collection class provides and provides an example of creating a collection and using the "map" function to return an average. With the new functionality the methods can be called directly on the collection with a simplified format. With the example out of the way he then dives into the source code for the feature, showing how it defines the "proxy" methods allowed and uses the __get and __call magic methods to map the method calls back to a collection.

tagged: laravel highorder collection tutorial introduction code

Link: https://unnikked.ga/understanding-laravels-highorder-collections-ee4f65a3029e#.uo1gmhbgu

Laravel News:
Laravel Collection “tap” Method
Feb 20, 2017 @ 10:05:55

In this recent post to the Laravel News site Eric Barnes introduces a new method that's included in Laravel 5.4.10: the "tap" method.

Laravel 5.4.10 introduces a new tap method on collections which allow you to “tap” into the collection at a specific point and do something with the results while not affecting the main collection.

He includes an example, showing a sample array of user data and how, after converting it into a collection, he can "tap" into it at any point. He tapping pulls out the name of the current record following a "where" to locate the matching value. The quick post ends with a look at how the "tap" method is different from "pipe". Essentially the difference is that using "pipe" returns a different collection, potentially with modified data while "tap" does not.

tagged: laravel collection tap pipe method introduction

Link: https://laravel-news.com/collection-tap

Fabian Schmengler:
Collection Pipelines in PHP
Dec 28, 2016 @ 12:24:24

In a new post to his site Fabian Schmengler has written up an introduction to collection pipelines and how it could be applied to a Magento-based environment.

If you read the book “Refactoring to Collections” or saw screencasts and talks by Adam Wathan about collection pipelines, but do not work with Laravel, you might have asked yourself how to apply these techniques to other PHP applications, for example Magento.

[...] This is very similar to Unix pipes, where the individual commands are the operations, and the lines passed through input and output stream, the collection.

He starts by illustrating the idea in Bash and Ruby, showing the three main types of collection operations: map, filter and reduce. He talks about the advantages these methods have over traditional looping and what kind of value they can provide in both Laravel and plain old PHP. He illustrates the PHP-only versions using the array_filter, array_map and array_reduce functions and some thoughts on when it's good to use them over normal looping (and when it's not). He then gets into the Magento-specific handling and making use of a package to handle collections: Knapsack. He shows how to use the library to work with collections and, as another option, a "home-grown" version that lives in a single class. The post wraps up with the Magento integration of this functionality, a brief mention of functional programming and "the hard part" of issues with debugging.

tagged: collection pipeline package knapsack magento integration tutorial introduction map reduce filter

Link: https://www.schmengler-se.de/en/2016/12/collection-pipelines-in-magento/

Adam Wathan:
Customizing Keys When Mapping Collections
Jul 19, 2016 @ 10:52:29

Adam Wathan has a new post to his site talking about mapping with collections and customizing the keys when injecting new data into your Laravel collections.

People often ask me, “how do I specify keys when I’m mapping a collection?”

It actually ends up being a pretty interesting topic, so I decided to cover it in a short screencast, as well as in written format below.

He shows how to translate a simple set of data into a much more slimmed down version. He points out that the "map" function could be used but it doesn't allow for setting keys. Instead he talks briefly about how the problem could be solved in Javascript (returning an object instead of an array) and how to use the "reduce" method to filter and reset the data as it goes through the array. He finishes out the post talking about learning from other languages, the "toAssoc" macro on Laravel collections and mapping the data back to an array with a custom macro.

tagged: customize key mapping collection laravel object javascript example screencast

Link: https://adamwathan.me/2016/07/14/customizing-keys-when-mapping-collections/

Matt Stauffer:
Advanced operations with Collection::where in Laravel 5.3
Jul 15, 2016 @ 11:35:44

Matt Stauffer has continued his series looking at new features in Laravel 5.3 with a look at advanced operations on collections, specifically related to the "where" handling.

If you want to filter a Laravel collection to only those records which meet particular criteria, you're most likely going to reach for filter() or reject(). [...] You might not know it, but there's also a where() method that's pretty simple that gives you the same functionality.

He points out the main difference in Laravel 5.3 - the change from a strict check (the ===) to looser checking (==) and the ability to modify the operation to your liking. He also links to more information about this and other methods in the Laravel code on GitHub.

tagged: laravel collection where laravel53 feature series part6

Link: https://mattstauffer.co/blog/advanced-operations-with-collectionwhere-in-laravel-5-3

Laravel News Podcast:
LN 21: Laracon Live Stream, Laravel 5.3 Collection Where Changes
Jul 13, 2016 @ 09:15:02

The Laravel News podcast has posted their latest episode today - Episode #21: Laracon Live Stream, Laravel 5.3 Collection Where Changes.

In this episode, we discuss Laracon Live Streaming, the new advanced where for Collections, and a few new apps and packages.

Other topics mentioned include the release of the first stable version of the OctoberCMS, the Laravel Password package and an article about anonymous functions. You can listen to this latest show either using the in-page audio player or by subscribing on iTunes or Google Play and also get future episodes as they're released.

tagged: laravelnews laravel podcast news ep21 ericbarnes laraconus collection packages

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2016/07/ln-21-laracon-live-stream-laravel-5-3-collection-changes/

Freek Van der Herten:
Debugging collections
Jun 17, 2016 @ 09:47:42

Freek Van der Herten has a post to his site with a guide about debugging collections in Laravel applications. He quickly shows how to use the "macro" functionality to gather more insight into what's happening inside.

Lately I’ve been working a lot with collections in Laravel. If you’re not in the know: a collection is a sort of super charged array with a lot of powerful functions to transform the data inside it. The only thing I found a bit of a hassle is how to debug the various steps in a collection chain. Here’s how I improved the workflow.

He shows a simple collection setup with a chain of functions being applied to transform the data inside (ex: filter, map, sortBy). He was able to get a bit more information by using the dd helper Laravel provides but it's not the most "clean" way to just wrap the collection on it. Instead he proposes he use of a "macro" to call the dd function and keep it in the flow of the methods called on the collection (as ->dd()).

tagged: debug collection laravel dd helper function macro

Link: https://murze.be/2016/06/debugging-collections/

Tideways.io:
PHP Session Garbage Collection: The unknown performance bottleneck
May 09, 2016 @ 12:49:22

On the Tideways.com blog there's a tutorial talking about the "unknown performance bottleneck" that can be caused by PHP's own session garbage collection. This garbage collection happens when sessions expire and they need to be removed from the current set/data source.

Here is one performance setting in your PHP configuration you probably haven't thought about much before: How often does PHP perform random garbage collection of outdated session data in your application? Did you know that because of the shared nothing architecture PHP randomly cleans old session data whenever session_start() is called? An operation that is not necessarily cheap.

It's his general advice to avoid PHP's random garbage collection (it happens one in every 1000 requests, randomly) and opt for a more consistent method using background scripts. He gives an example using the Laravel framework and it's modified session garbage collection happening every 50th request (making use of the Symfony Finder component). He points out the problem with its implementation and the negative impact it could have on large, highly used applications. They share some of their own statistics and how to change this default (modifying the lottery option and making a custom "cleanup" command).

tagged: session garbage collection performance bottleneck unknown modify laravel symfony

Link: https://tideways.io/profiler/blog/php-session-garbage-collection-the-unknown-performance-bottleneck