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How to Find, Hire, and Retain Developers - Interview with Cal Evans
May 15, 2015 @ 08:58:54

On they've posted a new interview they recorded with PHP community member Cal Evans about how to find, hire and retain developers for your business.

We've interviewed Cal Evans, author of 'Culture of Respect', and we discuss how to find, hire, and retain Developers. He gives tips on where to find great developers, how to write job ads which appeal to them and how best to interview them. We also discuss ways to build a great team culture that can help startups and growing businesses compete with the big guys for talent.

You can catch the interview in a few different ways - either through the in-page video recording, audio-only over on SoundCloud or you can download it for listening offline.

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calevans interview video find hire retain developer cultureofrespect


BitExpert Blog:
Processing CSV files in a memory efficient way
April 23, 2015 @ 10:50:59

In their latest post Florian Horn shares some of his experience in using the PHPExcel tool to parse CSV files and the performance issues he ran into. Fortunately, he found a the form of another library.

A little while ago I had to dive deeper into the performance optimized usage of PHPExcel. Our users are uploading files like Excel or CSV with a lot data to process. Initially we used the PHPEXcel instance without any tuning of the default configuration which lead to heavy memory issues on relativly small files. So I had to avoid reading all file content at ones to the buffer (like file_get_contents does).

In my research mainly optimizing the usage of PHPExcel I came across a tiny library I am grown really fond of. It is called Goodby/CSV. Both tools have a very well grounded documentation to read in and understand the basics and the usage.

He describes some of the main differences between the two tools and includes some basic benchmark results comparing memory consumption and overall speed.

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phpexcel csv file goodbycsv process performance memory benchmark

Understanding php.ini
April 03, 2015 @ 11:05:55

The site has a recently posted tutorial helping you understand the php.ini, the main configuration file PHP uses to set up its own internal features and settings.

our php.ini file provides a considerable amount of power over the behavior of your PHP application ecosystem. Let's jump into some of the most common declaratives and discuss how they impact your application performance and behavior. I won't go into an explanation of each setting that is available, but I'll cover the fundamental options that you should be aware of. Please keep in mind that changing any of the settings on in your php.ini can and may very well change the behavior of your application, whether positive or unfavorable. Please use caution when adjusting your settings, consult with your team, do your research, understand the implications, and, of course, test, test, and test again before deploying anything into production!

He starts with a brief introduction to what the php.ini file is and how you can use the phpinfo function to find the current settings in HTML form (on the command line it's "php -i"). He then goes through and covers some of the basics from the standpoint of security, memory handling and some general settings.

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Protecting Your Keys From GitHub
March 05, 2015 @ 12:03:05

On the site there's a new post talking about protecting your keys when using a public site like GitHub. This relates to an easy thing to forget - removing hard-coded credentials from code before pushing it public.

In December 2014, Slashdot ran an alarming story Bots Scanning GitHub To Steal Amazon EC2 Keys, based on developer and blogger Andrew Hoffman's experience trying out Ruby on Rails on Amazon with AWS S3. He inadvertently committed an application.yml file with his AWS keys. [...] It's an easy mistake and most of us have probably done a similar thing at one point or another. And it's not just AWS keys that are at risk. As our use of cloud-based services increases, the expanding use of a broad variety of service API keys can be leveraged by hackers and spammers alike.

He goes through a solution he's found to help protect those credentials, in this case working with the configuration of a Yii framework-based application. He starts with a mention of .gitignore but points out that it could have unexpected results from "quirks" in its handling. He suggests a different option - using a configuration file that lives someplace outside of the main git directory and can be referenced directly from inside the application. He provides two kinds of examples: one using a PHP-based configuration and another based on an INI file. He finishes the post with a mention about WordPress plugins and the fact that they're (usually) stored in a database and open to exposure if a SQL injection vulnerability is found.

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Derick Rethans:
Xdebug 2.3 Moar var_dump()
February 27, 2015 @ 09:58:40

Derick Rethans has a new post to his site starting a series of posts about the new features of Xdebug 2.3. In this new post he talks about an improvement that's been made to the output provided by var_dump with more information than before.

One of the new features relates to one of the first things that I added in the original Xdebug: making the var_dump() output "pretty". Xdebug replaces PHP's standard var_dump() function with its own version, as long as the xdebug.overload_var_dump setting is not set to 0. [...] Xdebug 2.3 enhances the overloading of var_dump() with the inclusion of the file name and line number where var_dump() is called at. This has been a long standing feature request.

He provides a few sample screenshots comparing the old and new output formats and mentions another handy setting, xdebug.file_link_format, that makes the resulting filename a link in a browser and lets you customize the format.

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xdebug vardump overload file path information output improvement release


Phil Sturgeon:
Composer It's ALMOST Always About the Lock File
November 05, 2014 @ 11:44:49

In his latest post Phil Sturgeon talks about a point that's been argued on both sides of the Composer users out there - whether or not to commit the "composer.lock" file. Phil talks some about it in his article and suggests that you should commit it for applications but not for components.

If you and your employees are a little vague with your composer.json specifications and you don't have a composer.lock then you can end up on different versions between you. Theoretically, if component developers are using SemVer and you're being careful then you should be fine, but keeping your lock in version control will make sure that the same version is on your dev teams computers. This will happen every time you run $ composer install. If you are on Heroku or EngineYard then this will be used for the deployment of your production components as a built in hook, which is awesome.

He mentions an article from Davey Shafik, this being his reaction to it. He suggests, though, that an absolute of "always commit for components" may be too much and could potentially cause other problems. He points out that since the "composer.lock" handling is local to the directory, you can hit up against version requirement issues between them in your application as a whole. He wonders "how strict is too strict" when defining dependencies and some things to think about (like your users) when making the choice to upgrade the libraries you use.

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Zumba Tech Blog:
Caching CakePHP 2.x routes
October 28, 2014 @ 10:47:02

On the Zumba Tech Blog today there's a new post with some helpful hints around caching routes in CakePHP 2.x to help optimize the requests and response time even further.

At Zumba we are continuously looking for optimization in our applications. These optimizations help to reduce the server loads, consequently reducing the number of servers and saving money. Besides that, it gives a better user experience for the end user by serving content faster and in some cases saving on consumer bandwidth (specially for mobile users). This week we profiled our app using Xdebug profiler and we identified the router was responsible for a big part of the request time. [...] In order to optimize the routing time, we started looking at options to optimize our routing process. After some research and deep checking in our codebase as well as CakePHP's code, we found we could cache the routes easily.

Taking a cue from how FastRoute does their caching, their implementation uses a temporary file with the routes completely resolved and written out for easier handling. Since the routing is relatively static, this method works well and can be much faster than resolving them every time. They talk about some of the work done to optimize their method and some of the issues they came across during the process.

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Rob Allen:
Throw an exception when simplexml_load_string fails
September 09, 2014 @ 09:27:13

In a quick post to his site Rob Allen shares a class that he's created to handle and throw an exception any time that the load from a SimpleXML parsing fails.

I keep having to look up how to stop the warning that are emitted when simplexml_load_string & simplexml_load_file fail, so this time I've written the world's simplest little class to take care of it for me from now on.

His "Xml" class wraps around the SimpleXML functionality and checks to see if the resulting object is false. If it is, it uses some internal error handling to fetch the error message result and throws it as a "RuntimeException". This error string comes from a "getXMLErrorString" function that uses the libxml_get_errors function to get the resulting error list.

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Master Zend Framework:
Create a Simple File Upload Form in Zend Framework 2
June 04, 2014 @ 11:51:06

On his "Master Zend Framework" site today Matthew Setter has a new tutorial showing you how to create a simple file upload through the forms handling in Zend Framework 2. The form will include three parts: an input filter, a form class and a controller action to request to show the resulting form.

Having trouble getting file uploads integrated into your forms in Zend Framework 2? Or are you just curious about how to do it, and you want a quick rundown? If either of these is you, come walk through today's post with me as I show you a simple example of how it's done - along with how to combine it with filters and validators. Before we get started, I could have composed the code in a much shorter form than have I've composed it. But my assumption is that you're likely using the full-stack framework.

He includes summaries describing each of the three parts of the setup and the code you'll need to create each. The validator checks for things like "too big", "too small" and the correct MIME type on the file given. The form itself only includes the file upload element with a description of "Attachment". The controller action creates the form instance and calls an "isValid" when the upload happens to execute the validation. He also throws in the view template to display the form itself.

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zendframework2 simple file upload tutorial form

How to use the "yield" keyword in PHP 5.5 and up
May 23, 2014 @ 12:09:47

In a recent post to the LeaseWebLabs blog Maurits van der Schee looks at the use of the "yield" keyword in PHP 5.5 to work with generators. A generator is very similar to a function that returns an array, in that a generator has parameters, can be called, and generates a sequence of values but it yields values one at a time.

The concept of generators is not new. The "yield" keyword exists in other programming languages as well. As far as I know C#, Ruby, Python, and JavaScript have this keyword. The first usage that comes to mind for me is when I want to read a big text file line-by-line (for instance a log file). Instead of reading the whole text file into RAM you can use an iterator and still have a simple program flow containing a "foreach" loop that iterates over all the lines.

He includes a few code examples showing a class that can read in data from a file in chunks and output the lines as they're extracted (versus using something like file). He also talks about a small performance comparison in working with the file pointer, fread over fgets. He even makes a simple benchmark script to compare the overall time and memory consumption of the fetching of different byte "chunks" from the file.

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yield generator file read fread fgets memory time benchmark


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