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Anna Filina:
Like Athletes, Developers Need Practice Before Performing
March 22, 2013 @ 13:51:55

Anna Filina has a new post to her site today suggesting that developers are like athletes, they need to practice before they can be good at what they do.

Think of a developer as an athlete. He or she is aiming for a medal in a competition. A figure skater can't just perform a triple axel in the Olympics after seeing it done on television. This requires a lot of practice, so that when the time comes, the performance is flawless. Of course, programming doesn't have to be flawless. One must remain pragmatic, yet it still requires practice before a concept can be safely implemented without breaking the project or missing deadlines. Who will pay for that practice?

She relates the development manager to the coach of a sports team, being the one that guides the developers into being all they can be and trying out new ideas in the process. She also recommends making use of idle time between projects to prototype, do R&D and learn in general.

Developers need a sandbox. If you don't give it to them, you can end up with one of the following issues. Your entire project could become a sandbox, making it unstable. [...] If you want your developers to get better, allow time for practice, not just learning. It's necessary, easy to do when planned and provides countless benefits to your company. Let me know how that advice worked out for you.
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Community News:
From the SunshinePHP Blog SunshinePHP is a PHP community event
January 09, 2013 @ 16:25:30

Over on the blog for the Sunshine PHP conference (happening next month, February 8th and 9th in Miami, Florida) they've posted a clarification about the intentions of the event and a reminder that it's a "by developers, for developers" event.

Recently we overheard SunshinePHP being grouped together with commercial "for profit" events and conferences, which prompted us to write this blog post to clear things up. The SunshinePHP Developer Conference is NOT a profit driven event, and is actually a community led event by developers, for developers. Early on we tried to make this more public, but it appears the message was lost with everything the conference contains. (we've made it too good)

They note that any profits made from the event will be going back into future events (as put on by the user group) and the PHP community. This kind of thing is similar to some of the other PHP user group-organized conference that have popped up over the last year - good to see the trend continue.

If you're interested in the conference itself, you can find out more on the main event site or just go ahead and register for the event. You can still pick up your tickets until February 1st for about $220 USD (General admission) or $160 USD (Student).

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PHPMaster.com:
The 8 Fallacies of Distributed Computing for PHP Developers
June 19, 2012 @ 09:19:05

If you're a PHP developer and are working on distributed applications (or might be in the future), you should probably read through this new article on PHPMaster.com with 8 common fallacies about these applications and their needs.

These fallacies directly relate to us as PHP developers since we build distributed applications each and every day. We build mashups, applications that interact with SOAP and REST services, authenticate users via Facebook, Google, or Twitter APIs, retrieve information from remote databases and caching services, etc. Make no mistake, we're building distributed computer applications. Given that we are building distributed applications, it's important that we understand the eight fallacies and how they affect us.

Among the list of their fallacies are things like:

  • The Network is Reliable
  • Bandwidth is Infinite
  • The Network is Secure
  • There is One Administrator

Check out the full article for the rest of them and summaries of each.

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Nikita Popov's Blog:
Understanding PHP's internal array implementation (Part 4)
March 29, 2012 @ 09:16:02

Nikita Popov has posted the fourth part of the "PHP's Source Code for PHP Developers" series he and Anthony Ferrara have been posting. In this latest article in the series, Nikita looks specifically at PHP's array implementation and how it's handed "behind the scenes".

Welcome back to the fourth part of the "PHP's Source Code for PHP Developers" series, in which we'll cover how PHP arrays are internally represented and used throughout the code base.

He starts with an obvious foundation: "everything's a hash table" (even properties, classes and yes, arrays). He describes what a hash table is and talks about two of the most commonly used versions of it in the PHP source - HashTable and Bucket. He gets into their usage a bit and compares this to the corresponding PHP code that uses a standard array.

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Nikita Popov's Blog:
Understanding PHP's internal function definitions (Part 2)
March 19, 2012 @ 08:17:48

Following this recent post from Anthony Ferraara about the source code of the PHP language itself, Nikita Popov is working with him and has produced the second part of the series, a look at finding the internal function definitions for the PHP functions you use every day.

In the previous part ircmaxell explained where you can find the PHP source code and how it is basically structured and also gave a small introduction to C (as that's the language PHP is written in). If you missed that post, you probably should read it before starting with this one. What we'll cover in this article is locating the definitions of internal functions in the PHP codebase, as well as understanding them.

He starts with a basic example - a string function, strpos. He shows a handy searching trick to help find the actual function definition and which matches should be given priority. He lays out a typical skeleton of a PHP function definition and gets into some detail as to what this particular function does (in C). He briefly mentions the Zend Engine functions and a look ahead to finding classes and methods.

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DZone.com:
DevOps for Devs in 3 Steps (Presentation)
October 19, 2011 @ 10:57:25

In the "DevOps" section of DZone.com today Mitchell Pronschinske has posted the slides for a presentation he gave at the WebTech 2011 conference titled "DevOps for Developers". It gives a good perspective for those used to the coding side of things on what's out there for the server an beyond.

A presentation entitled "DevOps for Developers" was given at the WebTech 2011 conference and now the slides are up online for all to see. I'll summarize the show and let you know where the better slides are so you don't have to flip through the whole thing. It starts out on an introductory level, but then it gets into some tools and techniques that are talked about less often.

Technologies mentioned in the presentation include more familiar development tools like PHP, Apache, HipApache, Gearman, NoSQL and Memcached. There's also some examples of more "devops" things like Vagrant, Puppet and WetWare.

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PHPClasses.org:
Lately in PHP Episode 16 - APC in PHP, MODX CMS, Top Developers
September 30, 2011 @ 09:11:53

PHPClasses.org has posted their latest episode of their "Lately In PHP" podcast today - PHP 5.4.0 Will not Include APC, Is MODX CMS better than Wordpress? Top PHP Developers in Every Country.

PHP 5.4 beta 1 was released but APC is not going to be included at least in PHP 5.4.0. Manuel Lemos and Ernani Joppert discuss this and other happenings in the PHP world, like the adoption of more robust Continuous Integration methods to prevent shipping buggy PHP versions like what happened with PHP 5.3.7.

The podcast also features an interview with Bob Ray, an author and contributor to the MODX CMS platform project. You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page player, by downloading it directly or by subscribing to their feed and getting this and past shows automatically.

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Cal Evans' Blog:
How do I find good PHP developers?
September 14, 2010 @ 12:22:14

If you or your company is looking to hire on PHP developers but are having trouble finding good, qualified people, you should check out some of the advice that Cal Evans has posted to his blog to help you out.

Twice this week I got asked a similar question, "How do I find good PHP developers to hire?" The first one was a recruiter who had originally tried to hire me because she "read my resume". [...] The second one, however, was a just someone trying to find PHP developers for his team. Since he wrote me a nice email asking advice, I decided to reply in kind. Three pages and one thousand words later, he had my answer.

His answer included seven different points companies/recruiters could possibly follow to help them get the right people on board:

  • posting jobs on phpdeveloper.org (yes, shameless self-promotion)
  • PHP User Groups
  • Getting involved in the community
  • Considering telecommuters
  • Attending conferences
  • Getting your developers to write about your company/work environment
  • Do things that make your developers want to sing your praises
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Chris Hartjes' Blog:
Twitter Asks Continuous Integration Landscape for PHP Developers
September 08, 2010 @ 10:42:42

After asking for topics to blog about on Twitter, Chris Hartjes has posted the first response to the suggestions - a look at continuous integration (CI) in PHP environments.

For those not familiar with the concept of Continuous Integration, I can sum it up with one very glib phrase: it lets you break your code before you buy it. [...] If I were to design a Continuous Integration (hereafter referred to as CI) system, what would it look like?

His requirements include version control integration, easy unit test execution, a web interface and be able to automate it all at a moment's notice. He talks about the importance of unit testing in CI and the tools that are available for the job like phpUnderControl, Xinc and Hudson. He also looks at the build process, from check-in through a successful build result and how he handles bugs when they do pop up.

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WebHostingHero Blog:
A Look at the Original PHP Developers
July 28, 2010 @ 09:44:23

On the WebHostingHero blog today there's a new post going back to the roots of the PHP language and some of the original contributors like Rasmus Lerdorf, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans.

When PHP began in 1995, it represented a fork on common object oriented programming languages. Designed to help provide scripting for the web, the language took on a life of its own as it became one of the primary web development standards. Today, PHP is used by millions worldwide and powers a majority of sites.

They talk about how some of the original developers are active in helping to better the languages (directly and indirectly) and how the advocacy of the community has helped it grow even stronger over the years. There's also mini-spotlights on each of the three mentioned above.

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