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Anthony Ferrara:
Tries and Lexers
May 18, 2015 @ 09:47:32

Anthony Ferrara has an interesting new post to his site talking about tries and lexers, two pieces of a puzzle that are used during script execution. In this case, he's tried his hand at writing a parser which, naturally, lead to needing a lexer.

Lately I have been playing around with a few experimental projects. The current one started when I tried to make a templating engine. Not just an ordinary one, but one that understood the context of a variable so it could encode/escape it properly. [...] So, while working on the templating engine, I needed to build a parser. Well, actually, I needed to build 4 parsers. [...] I decided to hand write this dual-mode parser. It went a lot easier than I expected. In a few hours, I had the prototype built which could fully parse Twig-style syntax (or a subset of it) including a more-or-less standards-compliant HTML parser. [...] But I ran into a problem. I didn't have a lexer...

He starts with a brief description of what a lexer is and provides a simple example of an expression and how it would be parsed into its tokens. He then talks about the trie, a method for "walking" the input and representing the results in a tree structure. He shows a simple implementation of it in PHP, iterating over a set of tokens and the array results it produces. He then takes this and expands it out a bit into a "lex" function that iterates over the string and compiles the found tokens.

From there he comes back to the subject of Javascript, pointing out that it's a lot looser than PHP in how it even just allows numbers to be defined. His testing showed a major issue though - memory consumption. He found that a regular expression method consumed too much and tried compiling out to classes instead (and found it much faster once the process was going).

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lexer parser example javascript tries tree data structure

Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2015/05/tries-and-lexers.html

Eric Barnes:
How To Validate an array of form fields with Laravel
April 07, 2015 @ 09:48:34

Eric Barnes has a new post to his site showing you how to validate form input in a Laravel application using the form requests feature.

If you've used Laravel's form validation for any length of time, then you know it's a powerful system. It makes the tedious task of validation very simple while still keeping the door open for complex rules. In this tutorial, I want to show you a simple and easy way of validating forms that contain dynamic fields. A common use case for these types of forms is when you would like to allow a user to add more fields to a form.

His example uses a form with a handful of text fields rendered with a simple "for" loop in the template. He then helps you make a new Request instance (OrderRequest) and adding custom validation rules into its "rules" method. In this case, he sets a rule that the content is required and can be no longer than 255 characters. He also shows how to use the custom messages functionality, defining custom values for each of the form's fields.

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validate form data laravel formrequests example tutorial

Link: http://ericlbarnes.com/laravel-array-validation/

Edd Mann:
Implementing Streams in PHP
January 16, 2015 @ 10:09:22

Edd Mann has a new post today looking at implementing streams in your PHP applications. In this case we're not talking about the streams built into PHP but the concept of a source of information that only produces the next item when requested (aka "lazy loading").

Typically, when we think about a list of elements we assume there is both a start and finite end. In this example the list has been precomputed and stored for subsequent traversal and transformation. If instead, we replaced the finite ending with a promise to return the next element in the sequence, we would have the architecture to provide infinite lists. Not only would these lists be capable of generating infinite elements, but they would also be lazy, only producing the next element in the sequence when absolutely required. This concept is called a Stream, commonly also referred to as a lazy list, and is a foundational concept in languages such as Haskell.

He talks about how streams of data should be interacted with differently than a finite list of data and the promises they're based on to provide the right data. He shows two different approaches to implementing a an object to stream data from - a class-based method and one that uses generators. Sample code is provided for each with the generator approach being a bit shorter as they're designed to lazy load items as requested.

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stream data lazyload generator class iterator tutorial

Link: http://eddmann.com/posts/implementing-streams-in-php/

Michael Dowling:
Transducers in PHP
December 08, 2014 @ 09:28:48

Michael Dowling has a new post to his site announcing a project he's recent released to try to bring some of the functionality of Clojure to PHP with the introduction of transducers.

Rich Hickey recently announced that transducers are going to be added to Clojure, and it prompted a bit brief announcement, Hickey followed up with a couple videos that describe transducers in much more detail: Transducers and Inside Transducers + more.async. Transducers are a very powerful concept that can be utilized in almost any language. In fact, they have been ported to various other languages including JavaScript (2), Python, Ruby, Java, and Go. And now…transducers are available in PHP via transducers.php!

He starts with an official definition of what a transducer is from the Clojure documentation then explains it in a bit more layman's terms as "a fancy way of saying that you can use functions like map and filter on basically any type of data source (not just sequences)" and can output any kind of structure as a result. He then gets into some code examples using his project showing eager and lazy evaluation, how they're composable and a list of the ones the library makes available (and what they do). He then gets into a more complete example of their application with a streams example, working with/modifying a string. He ends the post looking at how to create your own custom transducer and how they compare to generators.

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transducer conjure step data data structure introduction library

Link: http://mtdowling.com/blog/2014/12/04/transducers-php/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Getting Started with FigDice
November 21, 2014 @ 12:19:12

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted the second part of their series highlighting the FigDice template rendering system. In this latest article Lukas White focuses on FigDice's ability to "pull" data into templates as needed rather than having it injected.

Amongst the many templating systems out there, most work in pretty much the same way; variables are "injected" using some syntax or another, be it curly braces, percentage signs or whatever that library's convention happens to be. They'll usually have basic control structures, such as if...then and, of course, iteration. FigDice, however, takes an altogether different approach. Inspired by PHPTAL - the subject of a future article - it gives the view layer the responsibility of "pulling" in the data it requires, rather than relying on controllers to assemble and "push" it into the templates.

He walks you through the installation of the tool (via Composer) and how to create a basic FigDice view to work with (including template loading). He uses a sample Silex-based application for his examples, making a layout with the FigDice additions to the attributes. He then shows how to make the template for the main index page with a "mute" region for the include logic. He shows how to include this basic template into the view and render it directly as output. Next he shows how to integrate data with the template, pulling in "tweets" from an array dataset via a loop (walk) and a factory to provide the template the data.

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figdice template tutorial series part2 data integration

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/getting-started-figdice/

Paul Jones:
Action-Domain-Responder and the "Domain Payload" Pattern
October 01, 2014 @ 10:16:11

Paul Jones has a new post with more information about his proposed "Action-Domain-Responder" design pattern (a replacement for the typical MVC) and suggests a new piece, the Domain Payload pattern. This pattern would use a domain payload object to wrap the data and provide the responder with additional handling and context.

In Action-Domain-Responder the Action passes input to the Domain layer, which then returns some data for the Action to pass to the Responder. In simple scenarios, it might be enough for the Responder to inspect the data to determine how it should present that data. In more complex scenarios, though, it would make more sense for the Domain to pass back the data in a way that indicates the status of the data. Instead of the Responder inspecting the Domain results, the Domain should tell us what kind of results they are.

He shows a code example of this Domain Payload object in action, starting with some typical MVC code and refactoring it along the way into an ADR structure. He shifts from a typical model into a more domain-driven approach and describes the wrapping of the data in the payload, context for the contents (even just a class name helps) and how those relate to the actual output. You can find the resulting code in this example over on Paul's GitHub account.

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action domain responder mvc adr payload wrapper context data

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6043

Sameer Borate:
Data cleaning in PHP applications
September 22, 2014 @ 09:41:56

Sameer Borate has a new post today showing the use of a "cleaner" library to help sanitize the data input to your application. In this tutorial he introduces you to Mr Clean, an "extendible PHP Data Cleaner".

Scrubbers or data cleaners are an important part of the data transformation process. Whenever you are involved in some data import or export process, data scrubbers can help you clean and standardize your data elements before storing. There are many libraries that help in sanitizing and cleaning data. One such I recently found is mr-clean; it is a extendible PHP Data Cleaner that you can use in your PHP applications to clean heterogeneous data before storing it in your database or other persistent storage like CSV files.

He walks you through the installation (via Composer) and the creation of an instance of the main "cleaner" object. He then provides a few examples of some data scrubbing features it offers:

  • Basic scrubbing (trim, stripping HTML tags, etc)
  • Booleans
  • Filtering HTML
  • Stripping CSS attributes
  • Nullify
  • Null if repeated
  • Strip Phone Number
  • Pre/Post scrubbing handling

He finishes up the post with a look at creating a custom scrubber class, an "only numeric" handler that replaces any character that's not a number in a string with an empty string (removing it).

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data cleaning mrclean library introduction tutorial

Link: http://www.codediesel.com/data/data-cleaning-in-php-applications/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Build a Database with Eloquent, Faker and Flysystem
August 28, 2014 @ 11:55:09

In the latest post to the SitePoint PHP blog Aleksander Koko continues with his series about creating an application with PHP and EmberJS with a look at building databases. In the first part of the series he introduced the main toolset and set up a simple Laravel application inside of a Homestead instance. This latest post builds on that platform.

In this part, we will create the structure of the database. We will create the tables using migrations and seed the database using seeders. Also, you will learn how to grab some random images from LoremPixel and put them on the filesystem using Flysystem. You'll also be adding some randomly generated data using the Faker library. Much like with part 1, you can download this part's code from github.

He shows you how to get all the needed libraries installed and run the migrate command to create the needed tables. He also helps you set up a Dropbox application so you can use their API and configure the application with your API settings. Next he modifies the migrations and seeds the sample data. Next up he makes the models for each of the tables and integrates Faker to populate them with better seed data, making seeder classes to handle some of the more custom logic.

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database eloquent faker flysystem dropbox seed data tutorial emberjs

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/build-database-eloquent-faker-flysystem/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Data Validation in Laravel - Introduction & Custom Validators
August 12, 2014 @ 13:59:16

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted the first two parts of a new series looking at how to do data validation in Laravel, a popular PHP framework. Laravel comes with a set of included validators that can easily be used to check incoming data. This article series introduces them and the features they can provide.

If an app was a world then data would be its currency. Every app, no matter what its purpose, deals in data. And almost every type of app works with user input, which means it expects some data from users and acts on it accordingly. But that data needs to be validated to make sure it is of correct type and a user (with nefarious intent) is not trying to break or crack into your app. Which, if you are making an application which requires user input, is why you would need to write code to validate that data as well before you do anything with it.

In the first part of the series they start with an example of doing validation the "old way". They reproduce this same validation using the Laravel validators and show how to introduce it as a service to the overall application. Their "RocketCandy" validation service can then handle the same validations and make for a cleaner interface in the calling script. It's refactored even more to include exceptions when the validation fails and the HTML for outputting the error messages thrown. Unit tests are also included to ensure things are working as they should.

In the second part of the series they build on the examples from part one and introduce custom validators. An example of validation around dashes, spaces and alphanumeric data is included (using regular expressions) and how they can be defined as custom validation rules.

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data validation laravel introduction custom validator framework

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/series/data-validation-in-laravel-the-right-way/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Diffbot Crawling with Visual Machine Learning
August 01, 2014 @ 11:37:12

On the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc has posted a tutorial showing you how to use the Diffbot service to extract data from any page. He introduces both the service itself and walks you through a simple request via Guzzle.

Have you ever wondered how social networks do URL previews so well when you share links? How do they know which images to grab, whom to cite as an author, or which tags to attach to the preview? Is it all crawling with complex regexes over source code? Actually, more often than not, it isn't. [...] If you want to build a URL preview snippet or a news aggregator, there are many automatic crawlers available online, both proprietary and open source, but you seldom find something as niche as visual machine learning. This is exactly what Diffbot is - a "visual learning robot" which renders a URL you request in full and then visually extracts data, helping itself with some metadata from the page source as needed.

He uses a combination of a Laravel installation (via a Homestead instance) and a Guzzle request using a fetched token. The service offers a 10k call limit on a 7 day free trial, so you can sign up and grab your token there. He includes code for an example request fetching a SitePoint page and parsing out the tags. He also briefly looks at the custom handling diffbot allows based on CSS-type rules.

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diffbot parse data service api guzzle homestead tutorial introduction

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/diffbot-crawling-visual-machine-learning/


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