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TutsPlus.com:
Building Your Startup: Approaching Major Feature Enhancements
May 30, 2017 @ 11:57:50

The TutsPlus.com site has continued their series covering the use of PHP and the Yii2 framework to build an application from the ground up (a "startup"). In this latest post the author covers some major feature enhancements, how to handle them and the code to add in the one he chose - an "Activity Planning" feature.

These days I'm most often working to add small incremental improvements to Meeting Planner. The basics work pretty well, and I'm trying to gradually improve the application based on my vision and people's feedback. Sometimes, my vision is for a bigger change, and that can be harder now that the codebase has grown so much.

In today's tutorial, I'm going to talk about ways to think about making bigger changes to an existing codebase. Specifically, I'll walk you through the impacts of adding the ability for meeting participants to collaboratively brainstorm and decide on activities, i.e. what we should do when we meet up.

His intent is to expand the scheduling support for the product to add the idea of "activities" to the invitations. These are suggestions of things to do during the time specified (if there's not only one option). He starts off by scoping out the changes that will be required including both the customer and code facing impacts. The tutorial then goes through some of the highlights of the code added to include this new feature. Finally he loops back around and reflects on the changes made during this latest addition and how his expectations measured up against the reality of the work done.

tagged: startup build tutorial series yii2 major feature enhancement

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/building-your-startup-approaching-major-feature-enhancements--cms-27850

Stitcher.io:
PHP Generics and why we need them
May 23, 2017 @ 09:48:56

On the Stitcher.io blog there's a post that's advocating the addition of a feature to the core PHP language that several others have: generics. The basic idea behind generics is to provide functionality that allows the definition of entity types that can be reused as a default (like a "collection" generic that could be used instead of a base collection class).

In today's blog post we'll explore some common problems with arrays in PHP. All the problems and issues listed could be solved with a pending RFC which adds generics to PHP. We won't explore in too much detail what generics are. But at the end of this read, you should have a good idea as to why they are useful, and why we really want them in PHP. So without further ado, let's dive into the subject.

They start off with a common use case in PHP: a collection of blog posts and getting information from them. There's no guarantee that the contents of the set are always post objects leading to specific checks to ensure data quality before use. The post then uses a common example from PHP, the creation of a collection class to handle a set of objects and then showing how (with pseudo-code as generics aren't in the language) how that same functionality might look defined as a generic collection instead.

tagged: generics language feature example rfc collection

Link: https://www.stitcher.io/blog/php-generics-and-why-we-need-them

Tighten.co:
The Magic of Laravel Macros
Apr 13, 2017 @ 11:18:50

On the Tighten.co blog there's a recent post showing off some of the magic of Laravel macros and how they can make extending the basic framework functionality simpler.

Ever wanted a piece of functionality in a part of Laravel that doesn’t exist? Let me introduce you to Laravel macros. Macros allow you to add on custom functionality to internal Laravel components.

He gives an example of adding a simple "introduce" macro on the Request facade and how to put it to use. He refactors this into something more useful: returning a true/false result when checking the TLD on the current domain. He includes the code to set up the macro in the AppServiceProvider and the addition of an enhancement that adds a "where" clause to a model query when the TLD matches. He wraps up the post giving some guidance on where they should be defined and what components in the Laravel framework are "macroable".

tagged: laravel macro feature provider functionality extend tutorial

Link: https://blog.tighten.co/the-magic-of-laravel-macros

PhpStorm Blog:
Working With PHPUnit and PhpStorm
Mar 23, 2017 @ 11:50:12

On the PhpStorm blog (from JetBrains) Gary Hockin reflects on a post from Adam Wathan with tips for combining PHPUnit and PhpStorm for more effective debugging.

Community stalwart and Laravel aficionado Adam Wathan blogged on his PHPUnit workflow in Sublime text.

Gary then goes through the points in Adam's post and shows how they can (mostly) be accomplished directly in PhpStorm:

  • Generating unit test boilerplate for a class
  • Using "snippets" to create shortcuts for reusable code
  • Running the tests in just one file directly from the IDE

Each section comes with a brief description and animated screen grabs showing the flow of the setup and use for each.

tagged: phpstorm debugging unittest feature generation snippets singlefile tutorial

Link: https://blog.jetbrains.com/phpstorm/2017/01/working-with-phpunit-and-phpstorm/

Sameer Borate:
New features in PHP 7.1
Feb 13, 2017 @ 10:57:45

The PHP 7.1.x releases are some of the latest versions of the language. There's plenty of new features that came along with this new release. In this new post to his CodeDiesel blog Sameer Borate looks at some of these new features (including code snippets to illustrate).

The PHP development team announced PHP 7.1.0 on 01 Dec 2016. This release is the first point release in the 7.x series. There are a few features – like the void return type – which have been introduced. Below are a few new selected features in PHP 7.1.

In the post he covers:

  • void functions (return type)
  • nullable types
  • symmetric array destructuring
  • class constant visibility

For each, code samples are provided and some of the benefits (and limitations) that come along with them.

tagged: feature php71 void nullable array class constant summary

Link: http://www.codediesel.com/php/new-features-in-php-7-1/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
How to Make Modern PHP More Modern? With Preprocessing!
Feb 03, 2017 @ 11:20:47

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted another tutorial from author Christopher Pitt sharing another one of his "interesting things" you can do with PHP. In this latest article Christopher returns to the idea of "macros" to help with some pre-processing in PHP applications and, ultimately, creating a new language feature without some of the usual overhead.

Let’s have a bit of fun. A while ago, I experimented with PHP macros, adding Python range syntax. Then, the talented SaraMG mentioned an RFC, and LordKabelo suggested instead adding C#-style getters and setters to PHP.

Aware of how painfully slow it can be for an outsider to suggest and implement a new language feature, I took to my editor…

He starts with a brief refresher on macros to do some pre-processing on PHP scripts and allow you to make custom language features that then get interpreted into valid PHP (often with some interesting eval tricks involved). He starts by building a "base" to add in the C# style getters and setters in a special format inside of a class. He includes the macro definitions to set this up and the result once it is passed through the "yay" precompiler. To get around having to run that precompiler every time manually, he creates a custom autoloader to do the job dynamically. He then takes this logic and packages it up so it can be easily installed as a Composer dependency. With this structure in place, he moves on to the creation of a new language feature - the actual functionality for the getter/setters. He ends the post with a screen capture showing the language feature in use and some of the interesting things you can do with it.

tagged: precompile macro tutorial language feature getter setter

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/how-to-make-modern-php-more-modern-with-preprocessing/

Nikola Poša:
On structuring PHP projects
Jan 17, 2017 @ 10:17:18

Nikola Poša has shared some advice form his own experience on structuring PHP projects and some alternatives to some of the typical structures seen across many packages and applications.

An indispensable part of every programming project is how you structure it, which involves organizing files and sources into directories, naming conventions, and similar. As your application grows, so does the need for structuring it in way that it is easy to manage and maintain.

In most cases, structure of an average PHP-based application is dictated or influenced by the framework that is being used, which is something I'm opposed to. With no intention to be intrusive and without any bias towards specific framework, I'll share with you how I think about organizing my PHP projects.

He starts with a common directory structure seen in a wide range of projects in a framework agnostic way. He mentions the PHP-PDS project that tries to promote this same structure but also provides some alternatives:

  • grouping by archetype
  • grouping by feature
  • splitting out domain and general-purpose code

For each he provides an example of the directory structure and explains the rationale behind it a bit.

tagged: project structure applications grouping archetype feature domain

Link: http://blog.nikolaposa.in.rs/2017/01/16/on-structuring-php-projects/

TutsPlus.com:
Building Your Startup: Ajax for Meeting Times and Places
Jan 02, 2017 @ 13:10:42

The TutsPlus.com site has posted the next in their "Building Your Startup" series of tutorials covering the use of Yii2 to create a calendaring application. In this new part of the series they continue migrating some functionality over to use an Ajax-powered system, reducing the need for page reloads.

Last week, I delved deeper into Ajax to transform the meeting scheduling experience into a fully ajaxified model and eliminated the need for page refreshes. I got about halfway, focusing mostly on the straightforward elements.

In today's tutorial, I'll guide you through the more complex content panels that required a lot more troubleshooting, research, debugging, brainstorming, and recoding. [...] I'm also going to show you how I used Google's Chrome browser developer console to help me identify the broken areas—which can be especially difficult when working with Ajax between PHP and JavaScript. It's like light at the end of the tunnel of darkness.

The tutorial then walks through the updates needed to move over various pieces of functionality to the Ajax-driven model:

  • adding meeting participants
  • adding dates and times
  • adding meeting places

There's also a few screenshots included of the Chrome developer console and what some of the example request/responses look like, helping you debug your own development work.

tagged: startup ajax meeting time place series refactor feature tutorial

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/building-your-startup-ajax-for-meeting-times-and-places--cms-27327

Matt Stauffer:
Update to queue workers in Laravel 5.3
Dec 21, 2016 @ 09:47:38

Continuing his series about new functionality in Laravel v5.3 Matt Stauffer has posted this quick article covering updates to the queue worker functionality.

Queues are one of those tools in Laravel that everyone knows is there, but very few people understand deeply. It's understandable--Laravel is often the first place folks have run into queues, and to be honest, they're not simple.

Thankfully, very little has changed on a user-facing front with regard to how queues work in Laravel 5.3.

One of the main updates is that the "listen" command is now "work" and the action then runs as a daemon by default instead of requiring the command to be long-running. He talks about the difference in this shift and how something like Supervisor can now be used to manage the daemon (including some documentation specific to Laravel). He finishes the post looking at what has changed "under the hood" and the benefits the changes bring.

tagged: laravel v53 update feature queue worker daemon series part16

Link: https://mattstauffer.co/blog/update-to-queue-workers-in-laravel-5-3

Leonid Mamchenkov:
Feature Flags in PHP
Dec 20, 2016 @ 09:16:29

In a new post to his site Leonid Mamchenkov talks about feature flags, a handy tool you can use in your application to enable/disable features and or risky changes in your code allowing you more production-level control.

Today edition of the “Four short links” from the O’Reilly Radar, brings a quick overview of the different feature flag implementations. It touches on the following: Command-line flags, with the link to gflags, A/B flags, Dynamic flags [which are more difficult] and more complex systems.

I’ve dealt with feature flags before, but never found an elegant way to scale those. [...] These days, something more robust than that is necessary for some of the projects at work. Gladly, there are plenty of available tools to choose from – no need to reinvent the wheel.

He talks about some of the challenges that he had in his own feature flag implementation including naming of the flags and where the flags should be placed. He then links to the PHP Feature Flags site and various PHP libraries that implement feature flags slightly differently and cover cookie-based, IP-based and URL-based features. He ends the post by pointing out that the lack of feature flags in any complex application is usually considered toxic when it comes to being able to scale an application correctly.

tagged: feature flag example challenge library naming location introduction

Link: http://mamchenkov.net/wordpress/2016/12/20/feature-flags-in-php/