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AppDynamics PHP Blog:
Predicting the Future of PHP Security – Part 3
Mar 24, 2016 @ 09:30:15

On the AppDynamics blog there's a post from Omed Habib where he looks at the current state of security in the PHP language and makes predictions about the future of it in PHP and where the language might be heading.

In some ways security is an infinite game of chess on a board the size of the world. For every move you make, the hackers have a countermove ready. They are highly motivated to take what you have, so the game never ends; it just switches players once in awhile. In this final blog in the series, we are going to review the game board, with a look at the most recent changes to security in PHP 7 and earlier supported versions. Then, we’ll try to look a few moves ahead with predictions for the future of PHP security.

In the article he talks about PHP's popularity and how it has somewhat worked against it and its reputation when it comes to secure development. He covers PHP 7 and some of the security-related updates that came with it including:

  • whitelisting classes on unserialize
  • the cryptographically secure random number generator
  • patches for buffer overflows and memory leaks

He ends the post looking at a possible future of the language based on comments made in this other article., suggesting that one possible place for the language to head is into the IoT (Internet of Things) space and interacting with the devices on the other end.

tagged: predictions security language php7 features patches iot direction

Link: https://blog.appdynamics.com/php/predicting-the-future-of-php-security/

Toptal Blog:
Introduction To PHP 7: What's New And What's Gone
Mar 14, 2016 @ 12:04:12

The Toptal blog has a new post talking about PHP 7 including some of the new things it includes (and what's gone from previous versions of the language).

One of the most exciting events in 2015 in the PHP world was the release of PHP 7, 10 years on from the release of the last major version, PHP 5. With a major step forward, PHP 7 introduces plenty of new features and performance upgrades. [...] This guide should serve as a quick tour on what to expect if you plan on moving your existing applications, or building new ones, on top of PHP 7.

He starts with a topic quite a few people wondered about - "where did PHP 6 go?". Following this he gets into some of the performance boosts that PHP 7 brings with it and updates to the "syntactic sugar" it offers developers to make their lives easier. He then gets in to the new features in this version like:

  • Scalar Parameter Types & Return Type Hints
  • Engine Exceptions
  • Anonymous Classes
  • CSPRNG Functions
  • Unicode Codepoint Escape Syntax

He finishes off the article looking at the migration from PHP 5 to PHP 7 and highlights some of the potential compatibility issues that could pop up during the migration.

tagged: php7 introduction features compatibility overview language php5

Link: https://www.toptal.com/php/php-7-performance-features

Freek Van der Herten:
A modern backup solution for Laravel apps
Mar 09, 2016 @ 11:15:54

As Freek Van der Herten mentions in this post to his site the latest release of the Laravel backup package has been released - version 3 - with some major improvements over previous releases.

Today our team released a new major version of laravel-backup. It can backup the files and databases of your application to one or more external filesystems. It uses Laravel’s native cloud filesystem to do this. The package can also notify you via Slack and/or email when something goes wrong with your backups. We’ve also created a dedicated site with full documentation. In this blogpost we want to give you some background of why and how the package was created.

They start out with a bit of history about the package, talking about how they created it to fill their own needs and how its risen in popularity since its release. Following this the post talks about new features in version 3 including:

  • Taking backups
  • Cleaning up old backups
  • Monitoring the health of all backups
  • Sending notifications

There's also some brief mentions of other new features around event hooks and adding additional information to the backup file. There's a bit of code shared to show the quality/readbility of the code and links over to various resources on the documentation site as well. Finally they mention some information about the use of the package in PHP 5 (it has become PHP 7 focused with this release) and some of the alternatives that are out there.

tagged: backup laravel package php7 release improvement features history php5

Link: https://murze.be/2016/03/a-modern-backup-solution-for-laravel-apps/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Learn PHP 7, Find out What’s New, and More
Dec 04, 2015 @ 11:16:24

Now that PHP 7 has been released, it's time to catch up with what this new major version has to offer. In this tutorial from SitePoint you can learn about what the latest features and changes are in this release (including what happened to PHP 6).

PHP 7, the next version of the world’s most popular programming language, has been released. We’d love to shoot fireworks and get drunk with our newfound power (seriously, the language is in the true big leagues now, functionality and performance-wise) but we’re sure the rest of the internet will do this for us. Instead, we’ll focus on compiling a (perpetually up to date) list of resources to get started with version 7 – posts describing what’s new, books helping you kick things off, and more.

The post starts by answering the "what happened to PHP 6?" question, listing a few resources with some more information on the topic. Following this it gets into the "what's new" of PHP 7 including:

  • Links to guides to the features themselves
  • Tools to help you get a PHP 7 environment set up
  • Other PHP 7-related tools

There's also some other miscellaneous things mentioned including the gophp7-ext project trying to get as many extensions PHP 7 compatible and some sources for more "live" help for your questions.

tagged: php7 whatsnew features links resources tools gettingstarted gophp7ext

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/learn-php-7-find-out-whats-new-and-more/

Developer Drive:
Looming PHP 7 and its effect on WordPress
Nov 26, 2015 @ 11:54:15

On the Developer Drive site they've posted an article for all of the WordPress users (and other curious folks) about the impact PHP 7 will have on the current WordPress system.

It’s no big secret now that PHP 7 is just on the horizon, and with that development comes questions on how it affects sites that run on WordPress. PHP 7 is a massive update to the server-side web development language called PHP, yet it’s also going to have an impact on any PHP-powered CMS like Drupal, Joomla and Magento.

They go through some of the major changes in PHP 7 and talk briefly about what kind of effects they'll have on those running this popular CMS including:

  • Performance upgrades
  • New and improved operators
  • Continuous 64-bit support
  • Anonymous class support

They recommend that you keep an eye out for messages from your host that they might be upgrading, backing up your site to prevent loss and update your plugins/themes prior to any PHP 7 switch over.

tagged: php7 wordpress features update recommendation hosting

Link: http://www.developerdrive.com/2015/11/looming-php-7-and-its-effect-on-wordpress/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
PHP vs Ruby – Let’s All Just Get Along
Nov 23, 2015 @ 09:36:09

On the SitePoint PHP blog Phil Sturgeon has written up a comparison of the PHP language versus Ruby suggests that we all just get along from the perspective of a developer that works with both happily.

Quite often you see developers who have a lot of experience in one language try to play with another, then make a rather quick comparison between the two. This comparison is usually quite worthless, but the clickbait titles get them a lot of traffic.

Instead of doing that, I thought it would be interesting to have a slightly more fair comparison, from the perspective of someone who really enjoys writing both PHP and Ruby, and has done so for years. The aim here is not to find out which is “better”, but to point out a few key things I like about Ruby and its ecosystem.

He starts with some of the basics conceptual differences between the two languages including the differences with methods/variables/properties and type hinting versus duck typing. He also covers some "fun features" of each language including:

  • Nested classes
  • Using debuggers (and the tools offered)
  • "Unless" handling
  • Predicate methods
  • Shorter array syntax (in Ruby)

There's many more mentioned through the end of the post too, so be sure to check out the rest in the remainder of the article. Each point come with some brief code examples show how the feature is implemented depending on which language is being discussed.

tagged: ruby language comparison features differences

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/php-vs-ruby-lets-all-just-get-along/

PHP.net:
PHP7 Migration Guide Posted
Aug 17, 2015 @ 11:29:48

The official PHP.net has posted their PHP 7 migration guide for those already on PHP 5.6.x and wanting to prepare their applications for PHP7.

Despite the fact that PHP 7.0 is a new major version, efforts were put in to make migration as painless as possible. This release focusses mainly on removing functionality deprecated in previous versions and improving language consistency. There are a few incompatibilities and new features that should be considered, and code should be tested before switching PHP versions in production environments.

The guide includes links to other pages showing things like:

  • Backward incompatible changes
  • New features
  • Deprecated features in PHP 7.0.x
  • New functions/classes/interfaces/global constants
  • Removed Extensions and SAPIs

There's also a link to some other various changes that's not completely fleshed out yet, but is evolving as PHP 7 gets closer to a final release.

tagged: php7 migration guide php56 changes update deprecation remove features

Link: http://php.net/manual/en/migration70.php

Amasty.com:
PHP 7 and script languages future: insights from lead Zend.com developer
Jul 13, 2015 @ 11:21:02

The Amasty.com site has posted an article featuring an interview with Dmitry Stogov about his background and the next major release of PHP - PHP 7.

PHP is used on 81.9% of websites all over the world and has celebrated its 20th birthday some time ago. We talked to the PHP 7 lead developer and Zend Technologies Chief Performance Engineer – Dmitry Stogov. He spoke about the newest trends in PHP development and the world of script languages.

He answers questions about:

  • How and why he started coding
  • Why he chose PHP and ended up at Zend
  • The work he's contributed to PHP and more specifically PHP7

This includes the work done on the PHPNG performance improvements for the language that was integrated into the main codebase. He talks about some of the testing and development hurdles they had to overcome and what the most important features are to an end user. They also talk some about the future of PHP, it's overall perception in programming communities and some of the features he finds best in modern PHP development. They end the post asking Dmitry about some of his own interests and any advice he can give to more junior developers.

tagged: dmitrystogoy interview php7 phpng performance background features language

Link: https://blog.amasty.com/php-7-and-script-languages-future-insights-from-lead-zend-com-developer/

SitePoint Web Blog:
SitePoint Smackdown: PHP vs Node.js
Jul 08, 2015 @ 11:09:25

The SitePoint Web blog has posted a "smackdown" comparing two popular languages, PHP and Node.js, based on several different points.

The web is ever-changing technology landscape. Server-side developers have a bewildering choice of long-standing heavy-weights such as Java, C, and Perl to newer, web-focused languages such as Ruby, Clojure and Go. It rarely matters what you choose, presuming your application works.

But how do those new to web development make an informed choice? I hope not to start a holy war, but I’m pitting two development disciplines against each other: PHP and Node.js.

He goes through ten "rounds" of evaluations on various points including how easy it is to get started, help & support options, development tools available and hosting & deployment options. In the end, it's his opinion that the winner overall (it was close) is Node.js. However, he does end with one word of advice:

My advice: assess the options and and pick a language based on your requirements. That’s far more practical than relying on ‘vs’ articles like this!
tagged: smackdown nodejs language features comparison winner

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/sitepoint-smackdown-php-vs-node-js/

Matt Stauffer:
Sublime Text (3) for PHP Developers
Jun 29, 2015 @ 09:25:55

Matt Stauffer has posted a set of helpful hints for developers using Sublime Text (3) to help make them more efficient and writing code much easier.

A lot of folks in the PHP community have been checking out PHPStorm lately, including myself and most of the developers I work with. We love the code intelligence we get from PHPStorm, but still miss the speed, quick boot-up, and convenience of Sublime Text. Before I blindly assume PHPStorm is the only way to go, I wanted to see: Can I bring the things a PHP-focused IDE provides PHP developers back to Sublime Text and get the best of both worlds?

He starts with a list of "must haves" for him to be able to move from PHPStorm, features it provides that Sublime, an editor not IDE, might not come with out of the box. Most of his suggestions use the Package Control functionality in Sublime so you'll need that installed to try out his examples. He then shows several tools you can install including:

  • Sublime PHP Companion (package)
  • AllAutocomplete (package)
  • Cmd-click for function definition
  • Integrating Code sniffing and PHP_CodeSniffer
  • DocBlockr (package)
  • Git helpers

...and many more. If you're a Sublime Text user, definitely take a look at his list and see if you can find something to help make your development easier.

tagged: sublimetext phpstorm editor ide features package tips integration

Link: https://mattstauffer.co/blog/sublime-text-3-for-php-developers