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SitePoint PHP Blog:
9 Development Workflow Upgrades You Should Know About
Feb 04, 2016 @ 11:39:10

On the SitePoint PHP blog editor Bruno Skvorc shares 9 development workflow upgrades that can help to make you a more efficient (and informed) developer. This is a list of handy tools and changes you can make to current software to help make you more productive.

Every once in a while I run into a tool or plugin so useful I can’t not add it to my arsenal. I usually shout out tweets and try to spread the word that way, but this time I believe I’ve got such a neat (and somewhat random) collection of productivity boosting entries, they deserve a collective article.

Included in his list of helpful tools and tips are things like:

  • git-fresh
  • [Composer changelogs](Composer changelogs)
  • Changing PhpStorm's configuration for faster rendering
  • Parallel downloads [with Composer](Composer parallel downloads)

There's also something he's called the "comfort collection" that can help you and your body feel less of the pains usually associated with long hours in front of the keyboard.

tagged: workflow upgrades development tools configuration tips comfort

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/9-development-workflow-upgrades-you-should-know-about/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Appserver – Server Configuration, Dir Structure and Threads
Feb 01, 2016 @ 09:25:05

The SitePoint PHP blog continues their series looking at the features of the appserver.io project in this second post covering its server configuration, directory structure and how it handles threads during processing.

In the first part of our Appserver series, we discussed the very high level differences of Appserver’s architecture to standard web server stacks and got you up and running with an Appserver instance.

[...] In this part, we will be exploring the Appserver architecture a bit more in depth. We will go through the concepts of the different contexts and the parts of Appserver you get out of the box, which cover some of the ground most of the popular PHP frameworks offer. We will also configure the web server and look into an application’s structure. Once we are finished, you should have a fair understanding about Appserver’s contexts in relation to threading, the web server, and its setup.

They start with the threading functionality, showing how "contexts" come in to play and how the code executes as long as this context is alive. The post then gets into some of the code-related differences with using appserver such as extra annotation handling and AOP (aspect oriented programming) practices. From there they get into the tech behind the scenes: configuring the web server, setting up a virtual host and pointing it at the sample application. Finally they talk about the servlet engine and the server's directory structure underneath.

tagged: appserverio project opensource server configuration directory structure thread processsing

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/appserver-server-configuration-dir-structure-and-threads/

Toptal.com:
Data Encoding: A Guide to UTF-8 for PHP and MySQL
Jan 28, 2016 @ 13:22:56

The Toptal.com blog has posted a guide to data encoding in PHP and MySQL looking specifically at the use of UTF-8 and related handling. They talk about some of the updates you'll need to make to configurations, code and the MySQL settings to fully support this character set.

As a MySQL or PHP developer, once you step beyond the comfortable confines of English-only character sets, you quickly find yourself entangled in the wonderfully wacky world of UTF-8.

[...] Indeed, navigating through UTF-8 related data encoding issues can be a frustrating and hair-pulling experience. This post provides a concise cookbook for addressing these issues when working with PHP and MySQL in particular, based on practical experience and lessons learned (and with thanks, in part, to information discovered here and here along the way).

They start with the changes on the PHP side, updating the INI settings to make UTF-8 the default character set and which functions you'll need to update and replace. With those changes out of the way they move to the MySQL side, changing up settings in the my.cnf file and a few other things to consider on the database side (including that the MySQL support for UTF-8 is only a partial character set).

tagged: toptal data encoding mysql utf8 update configuration code

Link: http://www.toptal.com/php/a-utf-8-primer-for-php-and-mysql

Rasmus Lerdorf:
Upgrading PHP on the EdgeRouter Lite
Jan 26, 2016 @ 10:30:33

Rasmus Lerdorf has shared a post to his site detailing how he upgraded his EdgeRouter Lite router (hardware) to use PHP 7 for the uI handling and processing, upgrading it from the PHP 5.4 it came installed with.

After nearly 7 years of service I retired my Asus RT-16 router, which wasn't really a router, but a re-purposed wifi access point running AdvancedTomato. In its place I got a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite. It is Debian-based and has a dual-core 500MHz 64-Bit MIPS CPU (Cavium Octeon+), 512M of ram and a 4G removable onboard USB stick for < $100. The router is completely open and, in fact, any advanced configuration has to be done from the command line. The Web UI has been improving, but there are still many things you can't do in it. In other words, exactly the type of device I prefer.

He made use of the open platform the router has to upgrade both the PHP installation and a bit of the web UI code to make things work happily with PHP 7. There's just three steps in his process:

  • Getting a Big-Endian MIPS64 build of PHP 7
  • Configuration (php.ini)
  • Fixing broken stuff

The "broken stuff" in this last item was only a few small changes that needed to be made to the web UI code for raw POST data fetching and session writes. He ends the post with a little summary of the performance post-changes and some about the opcode handling and memory use per request.

tagged: router edgerouter ui version language install upgrade configuration bigendian mips64 php7

Link: https://toys.lerdorf.com/archives/59-Upgrading-PHP-on-the-EdgeRouter-Lite.html

TutsPlus.com:
Fortifying Security in WordPress, Part 1
Jan 25, 2016 @ 11:19:15

The TutsPlus.com site has posted the first part of a series wanting to help you secure your WordPress installation even more effectively. In part one of the series they cover some of the basics of securing the installation itself and the environment it lives in.

Do you think WordPress is secure? It's OK if you don't, because many people think WordPress is an insecure content management system, yet it's very far from the truth... at least today. [...] I'm sorry if you think the other way, but it doesn't. Frequent patches don't necessarily mean that a piece of software is poorly coded against security threats.

[...] The important thing here is to be responsive and preemptive, and that's something that WordPress excels at. [...] Yet, nothing is a hundred percent secure. We're living in times in which scientists are about to crack the code in our brains! Nothing is impenetrable, including our brains apparently, and WordPress is no exception. But the impossibility of 100% security doesn't mean we shouldn't go for 99.999%.

The remainder of the post is broken down into two different tips with the code/configuration changes and descriptions for what you need to update:

  • Securing the .htaccess File
  • Security Tricks for the wp-config.php File and Its Contents

The second item on that list also gets into some of the constant definitions and some advice on generating good "salt keys" for the configuration.

tagged: tutorial wordpress security series part1 htaccess configuration

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/fortifying-security-in-wordpress-part-1--cms-25403

Freek Van der Herten:
Some Laravel Homestead tips
Jan 18, 2016 @ 12:27:30

Freek Van der Herten has a post to his site sharing some Laravel Homestead tips you can use to optimize and customize your current Homestead installation.

Homestead is a pre-packaged Vagrant box that includes a good development environment. It was made and is maintained by Taylor Otwell, the creator of Laravel. In this post I’d like to share some tips regarding this box.

His list of tips includes:

  • Map all sites at once
  • Use a bash function to work with a globally installed homestead
  • Map your dotfiles directory

Each tip comes with a bit of code/configuration changes to make to be able to use the functionality and configure the instance correctly.

tagged: laravel homestead tips configuration command example

Link: https://murze.be/2016/01/some-laravel-homestead-tips/

Laravel News:
How To: Optimizing SSL on Laravel Forge
Jan 14, 2016 @ 09:27:59

On the Laravel News site there's a post showing you how to optimize your SSL support on Forge, the Laravel-related tool that makes creating and configuring servers simpler. The post focuses on a recently added feature to Forge, support for Let's Encrypt certificates, and other SSL optimizations.

Laravel Forge was recently to allow one-click installations of Let’s Encrypt certificates. It is now easier than ever to have your own SSL!

Let’s take a few extra minutes to optimize your server and help it perform faster and be more secure. In this tutorial we will look at using SSL session caching, HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), and Hypertext Transfer Protocol 2 (HTTP/2).

The example they give are more Force-centric but the SSL changes and optimizations themselves could be used on any server running Nginx. They talk about:

  • the SSL Log-Jam Fix
  • SSL Optimizations (optimized cypher suite, OCSP stapling)
  • HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)
  • HTTP/2

The post ends with a screenshot of how to test the new configuration and how to restart the web service to put it all into effect. There's also a link to an SSL checker that can help you verify things are set up correctly.

tagged: ssl forge laravel tutorial session cache hsts http2 nginx configuration

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2016/01/optimizing-ssl-laravel-forge/

Cees-Jan Kiewiet:
Phergie Slack setup and configuration
Jan 05, 2016 @ 10:27:28

Cees-Jan Kiewiet has posted a tutorial to his site showing how to connect Phergie to Slack through a custom gateway. Phergie is a popular PHP open source IRC bot project in use in several channels on the Freenode.net IRC network.

Ever since the rise of Slack and the Phergie v3 connecting them has been on my to do list. And while Slack API is the better alternative this was fun nontheless.

He walks you through some of the prerequisites for the setup including a working installation of the Phergie bot (installations instructions not included). From there he helps you make the custom Gateway and make a user for the bot to operate under. He then includes the settings and configuration you'll need to configure on the bot to allow it to join the Slack instance.

tagged: phergie slack configuration setup tutorial bot irc

Link: http://blog.wyrihaximus.net/2016/01/phergie-slack-setup-and-configuration/

Yappa Blog:
Docker PHP development flow
Dec 16, 2015 @ 11:14:57

On the Yappa blog there's a new post about their "trip" towards a PHP and Docker based development environment and the steps they took along the way. The post even includes the full commands and configuration changes you'll need to replicate it.

During a regular work day we work on several PHP projects. Sometimes new projects, but also legacy code which still require earlier versions of PHP. We all work on Macbooks and want to switch quickly and easily between projects. The project requirements vary, the PHP version may be different, or additional services may be required (such as Redis, Elasticsearch, ..).

Unable to mimic the production environment without spending countless hours installing packages on a virtual box for each project.

They start with some of the initial steps they tried including a single local development server and remote servers but points out the issues with each. Ultimately they decided to give Docker a try and came up with their ("almost perfect") development environment. From there they get into the steps to reproduce, the more technical parts, and list the requirements you'll need and the steps in the setup process.

tagged: docker development flow environment tutorial reproduce commands configuration

Link: http://tech.yappa.be/docker-php-development

Loggly.com:
The Ultimate Guide - PHP Logging Basics
Dec 08, 2015 @ 11:34:32

Loggly, the online logging management service, has posted a guide that aims to help you get up to speed with logging in PHP starting from the basics out to more recent changes in PHP 7.

This guide explores the basics of logging in PHP, where to find PHP logs, and how these logs help you more effectively troubleshoot problems and monitor your PHP application. There are a couple of different elements you’ll want to consider logging: errors emitted by the PHP engine itself when a core function fails or if code can’t be parsed, custom errors that your application triggers, usually caused by missing or incorrect user input and activities in your application that you may want to analyze at a later time, such as recording when a user account is updated or content in a CMS is updated

They start with a look at the configuration settings you can change to modify how and what your application logs. They also mention run-time configuration changes and the default error log locations (file-based). From there they get into some of the basic, built-in logging functions and the format of the logs they write. The next section talks about application error logs (logs based on failures in PHP itself) and an example of writing logs with JSON instead of plain text. The post ends with a look at exception handling and logging for base, custom and SPL exception types, pointing out the change in PHP 7 around the Throwable interface.

tagged: logging basics application custom tutorial function introduction configuration

Link: https://www.loggly.com/ultimate-guide/php-logging-basics/