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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Top 10 Z-Ray Features to Check Out
March 26, 2015 @ 09:50:23

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today from Daniel Berman (of Zend) with the top 10 features of Z-Ray to be sure to check out. Disclaimer: Z-Ray is a tool provided by Zend, a part of their Zend Server product.

Necessity is the mother of invention goes the famous saying. For PHP developers, there is no greater need than visibility. But developers today have a tough choice to make as they develop and debug their apps. Either use crude methods such as printing, debugging information, or storing it in a log file, or - use multiple debugging/profiling tools that are awkward and require a lot of work from the developer's side. [...] This article introduces the top 10 features of Z-Ray - an innovative new technology from Zend that makes PHP development a whole lot quicker and easier by giving developers unprecedented insight into their code - and the visibility they need to develop top-notch apps.

Among the items on their Top 10 list are things like:

  • Viewing information about page requests
  • Execution time and memory consumption
  • Showing errors and warnings
  • Viewing functions called during execution
  • Debugging features for mobile apps and APIs

Check out the full post for a list of more features and screenshots/detail on each one.

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zend zray zendserver top10 list features screenshot

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/top-10-z-ray-features-check/

Slashdot.org:
Book Review - Modern PHP New Features and Good Practices
March 24, 2015 @ 11:29:28

On Slashdot today Michael Ross as posted a book review of Josh Lockhart's recently released O'Reilly book "Modern PHP".

In recent years, JavaScript has enjoyed a dramatic renaissance as it has been transformed from a browser scripting tool primarily used for special effects and form validation on web pages, to a substantial client-side programming language. Similarly, on the server side, after years as the target of criticism, the PHP computer programming language is seeing a revival, partly due to the addition of new capabilities, such as namespaces, traits, generators, closures, and components, among other improvements. PHP enthusiasts and detractors alike can learn more about these changes from the book Modern PHP: New Features and Good Practices, authored by Josh Lockhart.

In the rest of the review Michael provides an overview of the topics covered in the book and how it's divided up. He then covers each of these three sections, commenting on the contents and making a few recommendations for those not immediately familiar with the topics. He does point out that he felt there was some critical information missing on some topics that "would allow one to begin immediately applying that technique or resource to one's own coding." Overall, though, he found the book a good resource and recommends it to those looking for a source to learn about new trends and tools in PHP.

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book review modernphp joshlockhart features practices

Link: http://books.slashdot.org/story/15/03/22/1447230/modern-php-new-features-and-good-practices

Jordi Boggiano:
Composer 1.0 alpha9
December 09, 2014 @ 13:22:10

In this new post to his site Jordi Boggiano talks about the tagging of the 1.0 alpha9 release of Composer and some of the updates that will be coming along with the release.

I tagged Composer's 1.0.0-alpha9 release yesterday and wanted to write down a more detailed update on the highlights of this release. It includes many changes as the last tag was almost one year old. You can also check the full changelog if you want more details.

The updates (so far) include:

  • Requiring packages from CLI just got easier
  • Installing dependencies on the wrong environment is now possible
  • You now get warnings when installing abandoned packages
  • Custom composer commands via scripts
  • Autoloading tests and related files
  • Performance improvements

He also includes a brief note of thanks to all of those that have contributed to the project and for the support from Toran Proxy customers to help pay for the time he spends working on the tool.

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composer v1alpha9 features improvements list toranproxy

Link: http://seld.be/notes/composer-1-0-alpha9

Frank Karlitschek:
A possible future for PHP
October 03, 2014 @ 11:57:06

In a recent post from Frank Karlitschek he speculates about the future of PHP and what when into their (ownCloud) decision to go with it as a primary language. The post also proposes several changes he'd also like to see in the language to help improve it in the future.

PHP is not the most hip programming language in the world. Actually the opposite. It has a relatively bad reputation. I personally was never a big fan of choosing the technologies based on what is cool or "modern" or in vogue. I think there are different technology for different jobs and they should be evaluated objectively and choose without to much emotion involved. So I don't understand the religious discussions why tool x is always better than technology. I think it is all about the right technology for the job after a fair assessment of course. So I'm still very happy with this decision to use PHP. So far we have not seen any bigger architectural technical problems [for ownCloud] that we can't solve with PHP.

Among his suggestions for change are things like enhanced security features (and better teaching around best practices on the topic), a simplified compile and runtime configuration, function/class naming inconsistencies and the introduction of static typing. It's his opinion that this list can help PHP "move to the next level". There's plenty of comments on the post, both supporting and refuting the opinions Frank has included in his list...be sure to give them a read.

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future language opinion features update owncloud

Link: http://karlitschek.de/2014/10/a-possible-future-for-php

Halls of Valhalla:
From PHP 5 to 7
September 22, 2014 @ 10:56:32

On the "Halls of Valhalla" site there's a new post the tries to explain the jump from PHP5 to PHP7 and what all that means for the language (and community around it).

Since around 2005 we've heard talk about PHP 6 development. There have even been books sold about it. But where is it? As of July of this year it was decided that there won't be one and that PHP will skip directly to version 7. Why is it skipping to the next major version, and what ever happened with PHP 6? And if we're already jumping to PHP 7, what kinds of features will it have?

They start with a "brief history" of PHP since its inception back in the mid 1990s and follow its evolution at a high level through the years. Then comes the topic of PHP6 and the work that was already being put towards it and integrated Unicode support. It talks about some of the difficulties of this conversion and the delays that ended up happening. Instead, it was decided that things would stay in the PHP 5.x series and 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5 have been created since. The jump to PHP7 came from this vote with several different reasons influencing the decision.

The post finishes with a look at some of the new things that will be coming in PHP7 including major performance improvements, abstract syntax tree functionality and asynchronous programming, allowing for the execution of parallel tasks in the same request.

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php5 php6 php7 community unicode language history features

Link: http://halls-of-valhalla.org/beta/news/from-php-5-to-7,146/

Leonid Mamchenkov:
CakePHP 3, here we go again.
July 02, 2014 @ 13:18:55

In this new post Leonid Mamchenkov looks at the latest version of a PHP framework that's been around since the PHP4 days, CakePHP, and some of the improvements that will come with version three.

Currently, I am at the start of a couple of projects, which require a bit of the future support. CakePHP 2.x can handle the job now, but I'm looking more into the next 3-5 years. And that's why I'm looking at CakePHP 3, which is still in the early development stage, with an alpha release coming not too long from now (have a look at the CakePHP 3 roadmap document). Let's have a look at the high level goals for CakePHP 3.

Among the items he mentions are things like:

  • The adoption of broader PHP community standards
  • An increase in modularity
  • Developing for PHP 5.4+
  • Composer support (and using PSR-4 autoloading)
  • The removal of some more complex, brittle code in favor of simpler, easier to extend options

Check out the roadmap and migration guides for full information.

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cakephp v3 framework refactor features roadmap goals

Link: http://mamchenkov.net/wordpress/2014/07/01/cakephp-3-here-we-go-again/

PHP.net:
PHP 5.6.0RC1 is available
June 20, 2014 @ 09:09:28

On the PHP.net site a new announcement has been posted about the release of PHP 5.6.0RC1, the first release candidate in the PHP 5.6.0 series.

The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of the first release candidate of PHP 5.6. As we entered the feature freeze with beta1, this is a bugfix-only release. All users of PHP are encouraged to test this version carefully, and report any bugs in the bug tracking system.

As this is a release candidate, it is not valid for production use but any testing that can be done is appreciated. There's several new features coming in PHP 5.6 including constant scalar expressions, variadic functions, argument unpacking, "use const"/"use func" and many more. Check out this page in the manual for full details and code example of each. As always, you can download this preview release from the QA downloads page or here for the Windows binaries.

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php56rc1 language release candidate features download test

Link: http://www.php.net/archive/2014.php#id2014-06-19-1

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Enable PhpMyAdmin's Extra Features
June 13, 2014 @ 13:53:48

On the SitePoint PHP blog there's a new post introducing you to some of the extra features in the popular phpMyAdmin tool, how to enable them and their use.

PhpMyAdmin is one of the most used tools when it comes to managing your databases. By default, PhpMyAdmin does a great job. However, it comes with a lot of handy extra extensions which can be easily activated. In this article, we will activate these extensions and see what they can do for us.

Among the extra features he talks about are things like:

  • Bookmarking
  • Clickable links for relations
  • Exporting relation information to PDF
  • Adding comments to column names
  • Viewing a history of queries run through the tool
  • Working with users and groups

There's lots more he covers too, so be sure to check out the rest of the post for more details and screenshots of the UI changes that come with them.

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phpmyadmin extra features enable tutorial summary

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/enable-phpmyadmins-extra-features/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
PHP 5.6 End of Beta
June 09, 2014 @ 12:08:15

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post from editor Bruno Skvorc looking at the final beta for PHP 5.6, the latest bugfix release for this upcoming version. He talks about some of the major changes, security upgrades and other fixes included in the release.

On June 5th 2014, the PHP group announced the fourth and final beta of the 5.6 version. This milestone ends the beta program and begins the RC program (currently planned for June 19th), which will from now on focus exclusively on making sure the version is stable enough for release. As is customary with a beta program, no new features were added since beta 1 - all the releases were bugfix and improvement patches only.

New features coming in PHP 5.6 include exponentiation via the "**" operator, the change of the default character set to UTF-8 and several security updates (based on releasely released vulnerabilities in underlying libraries PHP uses). There are a few backwards compatibility breaks that come with the new release as well as deprecated features and various other smaller updates.

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beta php56 changes features bugfix release

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/php-5-6-end-beta

Allan MacGregor:
Swiss Army Knife Syndrome
May 21, 2014 @ 10:47:12

In his latest post Allan MacGregor talks about something commonly referred to as Swiss Army Knife Syndrome, a common problem in software development where features and functionality are added "just in case" and aren't needed.

The inspiration for the "Swiss Army Knife Syndrome" came from my frustration in dealing with project managers, clients, and even other developers, that think in too much of a narrow, particular way. I call it the "Swiss Army Knife Syndrome". [...] The term 'Swiss Army Knife' is often used to describe a collection of useful items or tools that are able to perform well in multiple scenarios. While this may be useful, there are risks to be aware of as well.

He points out that not only can software with unnecessary features become cumbersome over time, it can also have the potential for being mostly useless (and unmaintainable). He suggests a few ways the syndrome can show up in your process including scope creep, early optimization and anything that assumes that "more features" is the same as "more value" in the product. In his opinion, software with a clear purpose and that does its job well is more valuable that one packed with features, especially ones no one wants to use.

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swissarmy knife syndrome features scope risk

Link: http://coderoncode.com/2014/05/20/swiss-knife-syndrome.html


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