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Evert Pot:
The problem with password_hash()
February 25, 2015 @ 10:51:04

Evert Pot has shared some of his thoughts about why he has a problem with password_hash (and friends). His thoughts are initially about this particular feature but they're actually wider than that.

The initial introduction and rfc for these functions made me uneasy, and I felt like a lone voice against many in that I thought something bad was happening. I felt that they should not be added to the PHP engine. I think that we should not extend the PHP engine, when it's possible to write the same API in userland, or there are significant benefits to do it in PHP, such as performance. Since the heavy lifting of the password functions is done by underlying libraries that are already exposed to userland-PHP, it didn't make sense to me to expose it as well in the core.

He includes a list of things he sees as drawbacks for new C-based functionality in PHP including the fact that it extends the "PHP specification" and forces other projects to implement it (like HHVM). He does include a few positives, though, such as the increased visibility and legitimacy, but still thinks they don't outweigh the negatives.

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Link: http://evertpot.com/password-hash-ew/

Voices of the ElePHPant:
Interview with Liz Smith
January 14, 2015 @ 10:24:22

The Voices of the ElePHPant podcast has posted their latest episode in their series of community interviews. This time host Cal Evans talks with Elizabeth Smith, a well-known PHP community member, speaker and core developer.

Cal and Elizabeth talk about her work contributing to the core of the PHP language and the PHP Mentoring organization she's currently involved with (and helped start).

You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page audio player or by downloading the mp3 for listening at your leisure. If you enjoy the episode, be sure to subscribe to their feed.

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Link: http://voicesoftheelephpant.com/2015/01/14/interview-with-liz-smith/

Cal Evans:
Five influencers you should thank this year for making the PHP community so awesome
December 22, 2014 @ 11:47:56

Cal Evans, PHP community member extraordinaire, has a new post sharing his suggestions of the top five influencers in the PHP community that "make it awesome" and help make it one of the best he's been involved in.

It is no surprise to anyone who has talked to me for more than five minutes that I think the PHP community is the most vibrant and engaging developer community out there. So as we approach the end of the year, I am going to list out the influencers that help keep this community at the top. These are the people that you need to seek out and thank because without them, the PHP community would not be what it is today.

He goes with categories rather than mentioning names (because, really, there's way too many too name them all):

  • 5: Core Developers
  • 4: User Group Leaders
  • 3: Conference Organizers
  • 2: Conference Speakers, Bloggers, and Teachers
  • 1: Any developer using PHP

That last one, while it might seem like an "everyone else" kind of category, is one of the most important in my opinion. After all, what is a language without its users. Core developers and community group/event leaders wouldn't have anything to talk about if no one was there to talk. There would be no one to teach or be taught to and the core developers wouldn't have any reason to drive the language forward. Even if you're not well-known in the PHP community, you and your code are making a contribution to the community, even if only in a small way.

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Link: http://blog.calevans.com/2014/12/21/five-influencers-thank-year-making-php-community-awesome/

Voices of the ElePHPant:
It's the Booze Talking #5 Core Developers
February 04, 2014 @ 13:56:36

The Voices of the ElePHPant podcast has released its latest episode, the next in their "It's the Booze Talking" roundtable series - Episode #5, "Core Developers".

This episode was recorded live at last year's ZendCon PHP Conference in Santa Clara, California. Guests for the episode were:

  • Sara Golemon
  • Derick Rethans
  • Illia Alshanetsky
  • Ben Ramsey Liz Smith
  • David Stockton

There's also mention of the PHP Mentoring project and the PHP RFC process. You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page player or by downloading the mp3 for listening at your leisure.

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Link: http://voicesoftheelephpant.com/2014/02/04/its-the-booze-talking-5-core-developers

7PHP.com:
PHP Interview With Michael Wallner A Full-Time Core PHP Developer
October 21, 2013 @ 09:51:14

On 7PHP.com today another community interview has been posted - this time it's with Michael Wallner, a full-time PHP core developer working at SmugMug.

Today I bring you an interview with someone (named Michael Wallner, @_m6w6) who has been hired to work full-time on PHP. Yes you heard it right: this guy is paid to work on The Core of PHP. As you know PHP is open-source, so why would a company hire someone to work full-time on such a free technology? (I let you get the answers from Mike himself). Besides since he is highly involved with PHP and it's core, it's a good opportunity to learn from his experience and know-how, so let's hear from him!

He answers questions about his past, how he started with PHP and what he thinks of the language now versus when he started out with it. He gives some advice to budding PHP developers and some of the libraries/projects he suggests. They then talk some about his work at SmugMug and how much time he'll be spending dedicated to working on the PHP core. There's also a bit answering the "why" question of why SmugMug would hire him to work on the core...but you'll have to read the interview to find out that answer.

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Link: http://7php.com/php-interview-michael-wallner/

WordPress.org:
A New Frontier for Core Development
August 07, 2013 @ 10:21:32

WordPress, by far one of the most popular PHP-based applications out there has a new post to their site officially stating a change in core development practices:

In a little over a decade, we've made twenty five thousand commits to WordPress. WordPress (along with the web itself) has come a long way, but our development workflow has remained largely the same.

As a part 3.7, I'll be leading an effort to revamp and streamline our development workflow. We're going to bring all of our core components - our code, our tests, and our tooling - under one roof. Developers will be able to use and improve the tools we're already working with day-to-day, and we'll be able to add new tools to make working with WordPress even easier.

We're also making sure that any changes are compatible with our current workflow, so you won't have to change the way you work. These changes won't break any existing checkouts or scripts that use core.svn.wordpress.org.

The post also details some of the new things they're doing to improve the development and deployment process. This includes the creation of a "develop.svn.wordpress.org" SVN repository to hold all new WordPress development. There's also a new build process involving a tool called "bumpbot" and the new addition of Grunt.

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Link: http://make.wordpress.org/core/2013/08/06/a-new-frontier-for-core-development

Ben Ramsey:
Contributing to PHP Core
July 12, 2013 @ 11:31:06

Ben Ramsey has a new post to his site today related to a talk of his that was accepted at this year's ZendCon conference about contributing to the PHP core:

I've been accepted to speak at ZendCon this year. One of the three talks I'll be presenting is a new one: "Contributing to Core: My Journey to Add array_column() to the PHP Core." While PHP conferences sometimes include talks or tutorials on creating PHP extensions or the intricacies of the PHP internals, I've never seen a talk about one's personal experiences contributing to core, from start to finish, and how one would go about getting started. That's what this talk is about.

He also shares a tool that he used when he was doing his own work on the array_column function - a PHP development Puppet setup that could be spun up and reproduced as needed. He also spends some time talking about the build cycle, how to run tests and a link to the Puppet Cookbook he kept close for reference.

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Link: http://benramsey.com/blog/2013/07/contributing-to-php-core

Pádraic Brady:
PHP Escaper RFC Consistent Escaping Functionality For Killing XSS
September 19, 2012 @ 13:02:59

There's been a lot of chatter about a recent RFC from Pádraic Brady on the php.internals maling list - his proposal to add native escaping to the PHP core. He shares some of his own thoughts about the proposal in a new post to his site.

A short time ago today, I submitted a PHP RFC for discussion which proposes adding an SPL Escaper class and, quite possibly, a related set of functions dedicated to escaping data for output to HTML/XML to PHP: https://wiki.php.net/rfc/escaper. The RFC itself should be a good read if you want to understand why I'm proposing this but the basics are quite simple. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is one of the two most common security vulnerabilities in web applications - the other being SQL Injection. Despite this, PHP's offering of escaping functions is extremely limited.

He talks about what problems the proposed solution solves and how it could help protect PHP programmers more effectively than the more complicated methods they have to go through now. If you're interested in reading the conversations so far, you can start here and walk through the messages.

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PHPClasses.org:
Lately in PHP, Episode 22 - Will the Git Move Encourage more Non-Core Contribution?
April 05, 2012 @ 12:58:40

On the PHPClasses.org site there's a new episode of their "Lately in PHP" podcast wondering if the move of PHP to git will encourage more non-core developers to contribute to the project.

The PHP development migrated to a Git repository. With the integration with GitHub it became easier for non-core developers to submit pull requests with bug fixes and new feature improvements to PHP. Will this new possibility make it PHP core developers accept more contributions from non-core developers?

The episode also looks forward to the next release in the PHP 5.4.x series (5.4.1) and some of the stir that a recent post (to PHPClasses) about OOP caused in the community.

You can listen to this latest episode either via the in-page player, by downloading the mp3 or by subscribing to their podcast feed.

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Chris Hartjes' Blog:
How Not to Suck at PHP
February 07, 2012 @ 12:48:47

In this recent post to his blog, Chris Hartjes answers his request for a "rant topic" by responding to a question about "how to not suck at PHP" (from Travis Northcutt).

I thought about this question for a while and have some thoughts on what it really means to know how to not suck at building things using PHP. In my never even remotely humble opinion I think the key is to understand what PHP is really good at.

He talks about how PHP had the early-adoption advantage at first with Apache, but how things have changed so much since then. Now, he proposes, PHP's popularity and usefulness is based on what it can do as a language without messing with frameworks at all. He's worried that, once someone picks up a framework, it'll become so ingrained that they won't know what "plain old PHP" can do (or how to work with it).

So my advice to Travis is that he should worry about learning to use PHP like glue and correctly identify the problems he is trying to solve NOW instead of worrying about the problems he might have to solve later. There will be time to fix your problems. Some of those will be solved by using tools that are not written in PHP, but PHP can still glue them together.
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