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PHP Town Hall:
Episode 23 VirtPHP - Managing Your Herd of ElePHPants
April 10, 2014 @ 13:37:50

The PHP Town Hall podcast has released their latest episode, Episode #23 - "VirtPHP - Managing Your Herd of ElePHPants" with special guests Jacques Woodcock and Jordan Kasper to talk about a tool they've created to help create isolated PHP environments, VirtPHP.

virtPHP is a tool for managing multiple environments on your development machine. It is similar to Python's virtualenv or Ruby's rbenv, but for PHP.

You can catch this episode in a few different ways: either just the audio through the in-page player or by downloading the mp3 or you can watch the video of the live Google Hangout recording.

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Matthew Turland:
Travis and Composer and virtPHP, oh my!
March 27, 2014 @ 10:28:55

Matthew Turland has a new post today to his site looking at the combination of three different technologies - TravisCI, Composer and VirtPHP - and an odd error he was getting from his build about a missing requirement "php".

In the first build, everything worked fine under 5.4 and 5.5, but upon getting to the composer install instruction to install project dependencies and PHPUnit, the job for 5.3 failed with some rather unintuitive output from Composer that implied it didn't recognize the platform package requirement that I'd provided for the minimum PHP version. [...] Since the cause of my issue wasn't immediately obvious from Composer's output, my first thought was that I needed to begin my attempt at troubleshooting the issue by replicating it on my local machine.

This is where VirtPHP came in. This tool provides an environment where you can install and configure multiple PHP configurations and switch between them easily. It provides a "glue" between the phpenv and php-build projects to make management of the results simpler. He talks about how he configured and set up his environments...and figured out his Composer problem.

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Create The Perfect PHP Development Environment In Android
March 05, 2014 @ 10:39:17

On the MakeUseOf site there's a recent post showing how you can create the "perfect PHP development environment" on your Android-based device. Obviously, it's much more useful on a tablet, but in theory it could be used on a smartphone.

It turns out you can actually code on Android productively. For the longest time, it has been accepted that whilst computers are for productivity and creativity, Tablets exist purely to allow the passive consumption of content. I believed that as well. I'm a software developer by trade, and I use a 13" Macbook Pro to write all my code. I wouldn't have it any other way. OS X comes with everything I need to be productive as a developer, and I've built my workflow around that. Android on the other hand? I've never really thought about writing code on Android. [...] But then I bought a decent Bluetooth keyboard, and everything changed. I've now built a PHP development environment around my 2012 Nexus 7 tablet, and I love it.

He breaks it down and shows some of the tools he uses for his development including the use of VIM Touch for editing and the Palapa Web Server for local hosting of his applications. Screenshots of the setup and configuration are also included.

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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Build Virtual Machines Easily With PuPHPet
December 19, 2013 @ 11:42:32

On the SitePoint PHP blog today Matthew Setter introduces you to a tool that can help make the setup and configuration of your Vagrant/Puppet development environments a lot easier - PuPHPet.

I can't speak for you, but one of my pet peeves about software development is environments. Whether it's creating and maintaining them for different projects with different needs; ensuring environment parity across a development team, (especially when they're remote); or between environments such as development, testing, and production. Across all of these, it can be a laborious task, especially when done manually. [...] In pursuit of ending this pain and making the entire process as efficient as possible, I set about the task of learning Vagrant & Puppet. [...] However, like most people in the modern world, I'm impatient. Like you, I have a lot going on, plus I was not seeking to become a guru. I felt there must be a way to come up to speed quickly but without becoming an aficionado.

This "better way" cam in the form of PuPHPet, a GUI tool (web-based) that lets you specify the options you want included in the configuration and generates the needed configuration files for you. This tool (created by Juan Treminio) makes it a lot simpler to get up and running quickly. Matthew walks you through a sample configuration and, with screenshots, and show you how to specify options for things like the web server, server software to install and PHP extensions to include.

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Konrad Podgórski:
Step by Step Guide How to Configure Server for PHP / Symfony Project
October 23, 2013 @ 10:15:25

If you're looking into using Symfony2 for your application and want to be sure your environment is set up correctly, you should definitely check out this new post from Konrad Podgórski. It's a very detailed guide to getting the full environment set up, also including setup of NodeJS and Capifony for deployment.

I decided to publish notes that I have been gathering lately about configuring servers. This is a complete guide how to configure server for production usage with Symfony or any PHP project. Instruction might seem to you very long and I totally agree with you. It took me few months to finish.

His installation includes the full commands and configuration for setting up:

  • Nginx
  • PHP (5.4)
  • MySQL
  • NodeJS
  • Twig
  • Git

He also includes the optional instructions to add in an opcode cache like APC or the Zend OPCache.

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Greg Freeman:
Your PHP Framework Choice doesn't Matter
August 22, 2013 @ 11:45:18

In this new post Greg Freeman suggests something contrary to what most PHP developers (and framework supporters) believe - your choice of PHP frameworks doesn't matter...if you're basing it on speed.

I'm talking about the speed of PHP and more specifically, evaluating frameworks and tools based on "speed". If you have been in the PHP developer community for more than a few months, you would have seen at least a few discussions about what the fastest PHP framework is, as if this were one of the first key metrics you should evaluate first when choosing a framework for your team. You may even be contemplating switching from your current framework because you heard of a new framework that is faster. In the rest of this article, I'm going to do my best to show you why this not the best line of thinking and provide alternate and in my opinion better metrics for evaluating tools.

He talks about "frontend" versus "backend" PHP developers and how most PHP devs fit into the first category, not knowing how their applications really execute on the backend. This includes a pretty high-level concept of "speed." For his examples, he sets up a WordPress instance and fills it with some dummy content. He illustrates how, with a bit of tweaking on the "backend" side of things (server, environment, etc) the performance of the application can be greatly varied. He includes the specs for the environment he ran the tests in, some of the things he changed and a summary of the results.

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Jordi Boggiano:
Composer Installing require-dev by default
July 16, 2013 @ 13:34:56

In this latest post to his site Jordi Boggiano talks about the change in Composer a few months back that made it install development resources by default. This was recently argued against by Jeremy Kendall so Jordi wanted to clear the air a bit on the subject.

A couple months ago when releasing alpha7 I took care to note in the changelog that the install command would also start installing dev requirements by default in the next release. I did that change some weeks ago and now people started to notice. The rationale behind the change is fairly simple, it's about consistency and ease of use. Consistency between the various commands which now all default to have require-dev enabled. Ease of use because in 99% of the cases, when you type a composer command by hand you should be doing so on a dev machine where it makes sense to have dev requirements enabled.

He points out that, when deploying to production, it's usually an automated process and adding the "no-dev" flag to the script is pretty simple. He notes that "install" is not only meant for production package management and, while it's used less in development it's not targeted towards one particular environment.

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Erika Heidi:
A beginners guide to Vagrant - getting your portable development environment, part 1
July 03, 2013 @ 11:15:03

Erika Heidi has posted the first part of a series about using Vagrant to build development environments - a portable one that can be dropped onto any machine as a VM.

If you never heard about Vagrant, this is the right moment to get acquainted to it. Vagrant is getting very popular amongst open source projects, because it provides a portable and reproducible development environment using virtual machines. You will never be hostage of the "works on my machine" statement again; the environment is exactly the same for all the developers, regardless of the operational system running as the host machine (although everything can get messy with Windows).

She walks you through the typical Vagrant installation (via apt-get) and mentions the need for VirtualBox separately on OSX. She talks about providers, provisioners and the configuration Vagrant uses to define the boxes it builds - the Vagrantfile. When the "vagrant up" is run, the box is downloaded from the provider, configured and set up as a complete VM, ready for use.

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Setting Up A Staging Environment
February 15, 2013 @ 10:49:39

On today Gabriel Manricks walks you through setting up a staging environment using Vagrant to install and setup a virtual machine running Apache 2 and PHP 5.4.

Creating a staging environment is specific to your production environment. There is no magic solution that works in every situation. But most cases follow a similar pattern, and I'll cover all the key points as we go along. It's fair to assume that most people deploy their apps with some kind of versioning tool (like GIT). [...] Besides GIT, you have to think about the languages, software, and "special" features your production servers offer.

All of the commands and configuration files you'll need to make the automatic setup work are included in the article. It's based on a Debian (Squeeze) base image and uses packages to install the needed software. They also install other PHP extensions like mycrypt, GD, curl, APC and database support (MySQL, SQLite and Postgres). They help you get Apache set up to serve the application and work with git and its hooks to push the code and run Composer.

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Aaron Pollock:
Setting up a PHP development environment on a VPS
January 29, 2013 @ 12:57:50

Aaron Pollock has posted a detailed guide that will help you get a full PHP development environment set up on a VPS, complete with a domain name and self-signed certificate.

I've been developing PHP apps for over eleven years. PHP remains 85% of what I do on a daily basis. Over that time, I've tried lots of WAMP packages to run sites on my Windows computers and, since going Mac, I've used the native Apache install that comes with Mac OS X. Six months ago, I decided to try out a remote VPS for my development. The results have been so good that I forget the pain I used to experience on a daily basis doing it any other way.

He walks you through the entire process (you'll need a VPS first) - it uses an Ubuntu-based setup, but the instructions are relatively easy to port over to other distributions. He helps you set up the system's hostname, install all needed packages/tools and generate the wildcard self-signed SSL certificate. Finally, he shows how to configure Apache's virtual hosts and set up a basic site.

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