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Yannick Mahe:
The Walking Dead the consequences of living with a legacy PHP framework
August 20, 2013 @ 13:51:21

Yannick Mahe has posted some thoughts (from personal experience) about living with a legacy framework and some of the consequences that come with it. In his case, it's a Symfony 1.0-based application that would require a complete rewrite to migrate even up to the Symfony 2.x range.

At our company, our main web app is based on Symfony 1.0, a PHP framework released in 2008. It was developed by a company called Sensio and open-sourced shortly after. It was a great framework when it came out, with all the good ideas from Ruby On Rails, CakePHP, etc. as well as great documentation, tutorials and a growing community.

[...] Since that framework came out, its subsequent versions, Symfony 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 came out and died out. The 1.4 version came with a 3 year long term support promise from Sensio which ended in 2012. All the 1.X versions are based on the same overall architecture, and same principles. Sensio also released Symfony 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 and very recently, 2.3. which have a whole new architecture.

He talks about some reasons why they're not migrating (the risk involved, the product focus, etc) and some of the trials they did to see what kind of effort would be involved. He then puts some context around working with a legacy framework, pointing out that:

  • You can no longer rely on the community and time is lost figuring things out yourself
  • Documentation is harder to find
  • The ecosystem (ex. plugins) is no longer seeing new features or updates
  • The compatibility issues with newer versions of PHP
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Link: http://blog.yannickmahe.com/symfony/2013/08/19/the-walking-dead.html

Francesca Krihely:
On the Developer Experience
May 03, 2013 @ 09:22:07

In a new post to her site Francesca Krihely starts looking at the developer experience - how developers relate to your service and product and what kinds of things you need to be doing to help engage them.

I had a great brainstorm a few weeks back with the members of the Developer Evangelists meetup on the topic of the User Journey, or as I'll call it now, the Developer Experience. The main problem we wanted to solve was how we convert new users into experts or awesoms users. In many ways, a Community Manager and/or Developer Evangelist is responsible for driving user adoption and making users successful, so this is a topic near and dear to all of our hearts. I walked away with three key things that help improve the developer experience: Great Product, Great Support and Empowerment.

This post talks about the first point - the "great product" - and notes that, if the product isn't useful and enjoyable to use, even developers won't bother with it. She also talks some about the need for quality documentation and how it can be seen as a sort of "marketing" to developers.

Work on making your product fit for an awesome developer experience. If you build it, they will come.
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Link: http://francescak.me/blog/2013/05/02/on-the-developer-experience

Rafael Dohms:
Of Creating User Groups and Physics
February 14, 2013 @ 12:53:00

Rafael Dohms has (re)osted an article of his that previous appeared in php|architect magazine about creating user groups for technology communities and how it relates to physics (well, vacuums at least).

Some developers may notice this absence of "particles" and interaction between them in their local area, this may even cause them enough of an itch that it needs to be scratched, and thus a User Group starts forming. But how hard is it to start a group? Can anyone do it? what really am I going to have to do to get all these particles into my vacuum and end this "empty space" in my region?

He offers some suggestions of things he's done in the past to help start up user groups including things like:

  • Finding local developers interested in meeting up
  • Spreading the word via coworkers/other companies using PHP
  • Having more than just a "one man operation" running the group
  • Looking for partners/sponsors for the group and its activities
Come join the fun, being in a user group and participating is a very good, professionally and personally, you are not just helping others, you are learning, teaching and expanding you set of tools.
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Slava Vishnyakov:
PHP the Nice Way (Ever-evolving Huge Retailer Website Story)
November 21, 2012 @ 12:10:00

Slava Vishnyakov has an excellent (and long) post today to his site detailing some of his travels through his years of PHP development and some of the things he's learned along the way:

I was learning on my own, so I studied PHP from resources such as php.net. It's a great resource when you consider abundance of the information, but it's terrible, when you look at the quality of advise. I'll start explaining how things evolved in my head in a hope that people will catch up where they are now to understand some things further. By no means this is a "definitive" guide to PHP. Just a few tricks that might help you save your precious time and nerves.

The post includes a lot of helpful hints covering things like the inevitable evolution of the codebase and the growing pains he worked though, the use of static methods, autoloading, bad variable naming, unit testing and MVC restructuring.

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Matthew Weier O'Phinney:
OpenShift, ZF2, and Composer
November 02, 2012 @ 11:15:43

Matthew Weier O'Phinney was recently looking around for a cloud host that he could test out a few things on. He's shared some of that experience in his latest post to his site, specifically in dealing with the OpenShift service from RedHat.

I considered Amazon, Orchestra.io, and a few others, but was concerned about the idea of a ~$50/month cost for something I'm uncertain about. When I asked in #zftalk.dev, someone suggested OpenShift as an idea, and coincidentally, the very next day Zend announced a partnership with RedHat surrounding OpenShift. The stars were in alignment. In the past month, in the few spare moments I've had (which included an excellent OpenShift hackathon at ZendCon), I've created a quick application that I've deployed and tested in OpenShift. These are my findings.

He talks about getting a Zend Framework 2 application up and running with a few changes to the default directory structure they provide. He also talks about using Composer as a deploy task. He mentions a few of the tricks to watch out for as you're deploying your app and some of the "good parts" he found about the product and experience (like being able to use CNAMEs and having SSH access to the instance by default.

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Miro Svrtan:
Starting/organizing a developer community ZgPHP meetup
September 19, 2012 @ 09:22:05

In a recent post Miro Svrtan talks about a PHP developer community he started up in the Zagreb, Croatia area, the ZgPHP user group, and some of the lessons he learned in the process.

The year 2011 was a great success for developer communities in Zagreb. Although mobile developers started in 2010 with Mobile Monday, web developers were a bit shy and Ruby developers started first, then python meetups started and in the summer few people urged/pushed me to start organizing PHP Meetups. Besides colleagues I did not know a lot of PHP developers so I needed to spread the word about it. Twitter was the first step and it paid off. With only a few retweets there were already 10-20 people interested.

The post talks about the growth of the group, things they wish they'd done better (like involving local companies) and their work to create a custom logo for the group. If you're in the area and want to find out more about the group, check out their main page.

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Matthew Weier O'Phinney:
On Microframeworks
August 17, 2012 @ 11:27:18

Matthew Weier O'Phinney has been doing some research into PHP microframeworks lately and has shared some of his thoughts in the latest post to his site.

PHP has had microframeworks for quite some time, though I only really first saw the term being used around 3 years ago. The "grand-daddy" of modern-day microframeworks can actually be traced to Ruby, however, and specifically Sinatra. [...] Since around 2009, I've seen an increasing number of new PHP microframeworks4 that follow in the steps of Sinatra and Horde. In the various implementations I've looked at, instead of using a DSL, the authors have all opted for either a procedural or OOP interface.

He gives some code examples showing how the typical routing has been handled in most of the frameworks he's seen and how they handle passing values back to the handler. He sees three use cases for frameworks like this including small, mostly static sites and APIs. He also mentions his efforts to create a microframework using components from the Zend Framework 2 (not released). He finishes up the post with some of his own conclusions about microframeworks and the lessons he learned from his efforts.

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Reddit.com:
History Lesson What PHP coding was like in 1996
July 13, 2012 @ 09:46:15

On Reddit.com there's a new post that throws you back to a different time in PHP's life - back to 1996 when PHP was still in version 3:

I was lurking one day on Usenet Perl forums when I saw an announcement about the release of PHP 2.0/FI, the first truly public version of PHP. I was growing weary of trying to get PERL working via CGI and fell in love immediately with how simple and fault-tolerant mod_php with Apache was compared to CGI hell. In 1996, they didn't have sites like reddit when I was a noob. They didn't even have Google when I first learned PHP (years before google existed). Hell! php.net's search functionality barely worked. I don't remember there be any real documentation until after PHP 4 came out in mid-2000.

Other people have added their own memories to the post, mentioning how they started out with the language and some opinions on its current state.

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Phil Sturgeon's Blog:
My Thoughts on CICONF 2012 UK
February 24, 2012 @ 09:19:36

Phil Sturgeon attended this year's CICONF 2012 (UK) and has shared some of his thoughts and experiences in a new post to his blog.

It's been a few days since CICONF and this is my first chance to get my thoughts together after a few busy days. In all I am extremely pleased with the event, and so far I have seen nothing but positive feedback on the #ciconf hash-tag and not heard any complaints. Winner!

He goes through both days of the conference - Friday and Saturday - describing things from his perspective (an organizer), some of the speakers that presented and some of the evening activities.

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John Conde's Blog:
My experience seeking employment as a PHP developer
February 14, 2012 @ 10:07:08

John Conde has shared some of his recent experience when he began job hunting as a PHP developer. If his experience is any indication, it's clearly a good time to be a (qualified) PHP developer.

I created my profile on monster.com on a Monday and made it public that night. The following Tuesday morning my telephone went nuts and my email inbox blew up with recruiters reaching out with positions that I was "perfect for". Over the course of the next week and a half (not including weekends) I spent 10-12 hours a day receiving and returning phone calls, and reading and responding to emails from recruiters.

He received calls from all over the country as well - "apparently experienced PHP developers are in short supply". He points out a few things he found interesting about the search like the fact that unit testing was never listed as a requirement (or even a "plus") in descriptions, only a few descriptions talked about memcache and that PHP wasn't the language over half of the employers were looking for.

He also shares a few hints for those looking for jobs right now, things to add to your resume or look for as far as skills most in demand:

  • Have experience with frameworks
  • Joomla was very commonly being used so being familiar with it is definitely a plus
  • Have sample code to show your coding skills
  • There's more to the world then PHP
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