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Symfony Blog:
Improving REST in Symfony
July 11, 2014 @ 12:15:56

On the Symfony blog there's a recent post about a new effort being started to help improve REST in Symfony-based applications. William Durand talks about some of the current tools and some of the missing features/difficulties each has. This effort wants to help change that.

Building APIs with Symfony is not new. We've done that since the early beginning of Symfony: Askeet, Jobeet, it's been a long time! Nowadays, more and more web applications are made of an API and a client side application. Sharing data across applications using APIs also became an essential feature. [...] For most of us, it is not as clear as it should be, and we can certainly do better than what we have right now! Hence the creation of a working group to gather both people and knowledge for REST in Symfony: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/resting-with-symfony.

The target of the group is just about anyone associated with the development of APIs: developers who build them, developers to contribute to Symfony's REST functionality, people with questions about REST and, really, anyone else interested. It's a part of their wider developer experience initiative they've recently ramped up.

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Link: http://symfony.com/blog/improving-rest-in-symfony

PHPBuilder.com:
What is PHP-FIG and What are They Doing?
January 22, 2014 @ 12:42:43

You may of heard about the PHP-FIG group but aren't quite sure what they're about or what they've produced so far. In this new post on PHPBuilder.com, they get into some of the details of the group, including descriptions of the currently released PSRs.

If you have been watching the development of PHP over the last few years, you will know all about the problems with the language. The standard story is that PHP is a fragmented language, it is a language for hacks, there is no real specification, and so on and so forth. The reality is that PHP has grown up a lot recently. PHP 5.4 brings the language closer to a complete object model, and supplies a lot of new functionality. So far, so good. But what about frameworks? [...] PHP-FIG is the short name for the PHP Framework Interop Group (am I the only one who finds the naming of PHP groups and libraries after fruits amusing?) and their mission is simple: to find a way to get the PHP frameworks to work together.

They cover some of the members of the group (well, the projects represented) and look at each of the PSRs in detail:

  • PSR-0 - Autoloading Standard
  • PSR-1 - Basic Coding Standard
  • PSR-2 - Coding Style Guide
  • PSR-3 - Logger Interface
  • PSR-4 - Improved Autoloading
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Link: http://www.phpbuilder.com/articles/application-architecture/optimization/what-is-php-fig-and-what-are-they-doing.html

Engine Yard:
Improving Your Local Tech Group
October 04, 2013 @ 11:28:47

On the Engine Yard blog today PJ Hagerty has a new post sharing some of his suggestions to help improve your local tech-related group and promote growth.

There are hundreds of User Groups across North America and around the world. These groups are primarily socially based or hacker groups who gather regularly to work on group or individual "toy" projects. Most groups will remain small and insular. It's easy to stick with what is familiar and keep recycling the same format every month. Unfortunately, this leads to stagnation and apathy by group members. People will eventually stop showing up and the group will either suffer along or just cease to exist.

He suggests things that are easier when there's more than one person involved in making it a success - things like "diversify responsibilities" and having a "coordinator for outside the group activities", but they're helpful tips. He also points out a few other things to remember - that communication with the group is key, "thinking globally" to get your group involved outside the local scope and getting sponsors involved.

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Link: https://blog.engineyard.com/2013/improving-your-local-tech-group

Nomad PHP:
November 2013 - Ed Finkler, "More Code, More Problems"
August 30, 2013 @ 10:38:38

The Nomad PHP (virtual) user group has announced their speaker for the November 2013 meeting - Ed Finkler talking about the problems that come with having "more code" in your applications.

In this talk I'll extend the concepts to other languages we work with in web development, establishing these core principles: Learn languages, not frameworks, build small things, less code is better than more, and create and use simple, readable code We'll cover how following these principles makes you a better developer, and makes the job of maintaining and verifying your code much easier.

The meeting is on November 14th and you'll have to sign up if you'd like to attend. There's a $10 USD cost for a ticket and you can purchase them right up until the event.

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Link: http://nomadphp.com/2013/08/29/november-2013/

Reddit.com:
Is there anything wrong with using functions?
August 07, 2013 @ 11:39:47

In a largely object-oriented world, one Redditer asks if it's still okay to just use functions, the more procedural method of PHP development:

Is there anything wrong with using an include file of functions instead of using full code in a file? [...] Obviously you wouldn't write functions for one off tiny things, but I think it would help to read files altogether especially if the functions file was alphabetically listed.

There's several suggestions in the comments including things like:

  • You should also look into using a templating engine, so you can separate your html from your php code.
  • One thing you could always ask yourself is "Do I will ever need to write that part a second time somewhere else ?" If "yes", that means you should put that part in a function.
  • Before you go writing a load of functions and putting them all in a file, which can get quite unmanageable, consider grouping them logically and placing them in classes.
  • Function names should start with a verb though (except for trivial getters whose meaning is clear by context, which can be named after the thing they get).
  • Do group them logically, but it's not necessary to place them in a class unless they share data or state.
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Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1jss6q/is_there_anything_wrong_with_using_functions

Matthew Weier O'Phinney:
On PHP-FIG
February 28, 2013 @ 10:45:20

Matthew Weier O'Phinney has a new post to his site today covering the reasons he left the PHP-FIG, the PHP Framework Interoperability Group that was designed to help unify the framework (and PHP) communities with common goals and structure. He talks some about his reasons for leaving and what he hopes the group will, eventually, become.

I had high hopes for the group. It was the culmination of something I've been ruminating on for almost a decade (see post number 12 on my blog, dated to January 2004, for proof). My thoughts have mainly been around coding standards and best practices, helping educate developers around their benefits, and how to leverage both in order to create maintainable code.

He talks about some of the things he sees as shortfalls of the group including the definition of some of the standards (and interface structure), the current thoughts of changing of said standards and some of the "discussion" that happens in the group via the mailing lists and pull requests. He mentions that there were several times that the same discussions would happen all over again, despite people saying it had, and is tired of it.

I have better things to do with my time, things I want to create, software I want to support, hobbies and interests I want to pursue. Debating brace placement, tabs vs spaces (for the umpteenth time), or whether or not annotations have a place in programming in a dynamic language? Not so much.
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Pádraic Brady:
PHP Security, Authorative Knowledge and Combining Forces
September 04, 2012 @ 14:55:38

In this new post to his blog Pádraic Brady has proposed a "combining of forces" in the PHP community centered around promoting best practices in the security of PHP applications.

Once you start to dig around PHP Security in earnest, you begin to notice trends and patterns in how programmers behave and accumulate knowledge. The most obvious feature of PHP culture is that we do not have an active "leadership" in security. There is no appeal to authority in PHP security debates, only personal opinions informed by a nebulous entity called "They". There are individuals that I have learned to trust and that's about as far as we can go. [...] In the PHP community, the Authorative Knowedge for PHP Security is derived from a concensus. A concensus based on published articles, the practices of libraries and frameworks, printed books, and the vague meandering thoughts of whoever you follow on Twitter. In other words, our current Authorative Knowledge is you.

He notes that this "everyman security expert" hasn't proven to be the best method for increasing the overall security awareness of PHP developers, so he's proposing something different: the "PHP Security Technical Group (SECTG)".

It's a group of members who share a common interest in sharing information, performing research, publishing articles/newsletters, and generally taking advantage of resource pooling without giving up their individual interests - all towards accomplishing some common goal, i.e. creating or emphasising new Authorative Knowledge. The phrase "Unofficial" is implicit in the group name - this is not an official PHP entity.

If you're interesting in joining in on the cause, you can sign up for the mailing list and get more information as it comes.

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Community News:
PHP-FIG Group Launches Site & FAQ
July 04, 2012 @ 20:25:27

To help resolve issues that have come up around its formation and to keep too much FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) from spreading, the "PHP-FIG" (framework interoperability group) has put together a site and a FAQ describing what they're all about.

The FIG stands for Framework Interoperability Group. The name until recently was "PHP Standards Group" but this was somewhat inaccurate of the intentions of the group. [...] The idea behind the group is for project representatives to talk about the commonalities between our projects and find ways we can work together. Our main audience is each other, but we're very aware that the rest of the PHP community is watching.

The FAQ answers other questions about the standards the group has agreed on (passed) so far, who the members of the group are, how to get involved and how framework communities can get involved.

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Pádraic Brady's Blog:
The Framework Interoperability Group (FIG)
June 01, 2012 @ 10:49:56

In a new post to his blog Pádraic Brady gives his take on the PHP-FIG (Framework Interoperability Group) and some of the decisions they've been making on PHP coding standards.

Anthony, whose views always make good reading, raises concerns about the way in which this group generates standards. He contrasts the current approach to RFC 2026 which defines the IETF's Internet Standards Process. [...] Where Anthony's arguments seemingly fall flat is that the FIG is not the IETF. The Framework Interoperability Group was founded to allow cooperating members to develop shared standards. It does not claim to be PHP's standards body and so there is no obligation for any PHP programmer to adopt their standards (unless they work on a member project obviously!).

He points out that the standards group's process has been slowly opening more and more ("by inches") and that the group, while made of up individuals, is more than just a collection of people - it's representatives for well-known Open Source projects.

In other words, the FIG is actually something really really good for PHP. PHP needs standards so we can make interoperability between various frameworks and applications a true reality. The hodgepodge of APIs and standards we've relied on to this point only serve to reinforce PHP's NIH obsession. [...] What the FIG should do, in my opinion, is clearly define its purpose and better document its bylaws/processes. [...] It really all comes down to better communication and pushing the community engage with the FIG.
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Brian Moon's Blog:
PHP Coding Standards
May 28, 2012 @ 17:12:29

Brian Moon has shared some of his thoughts about the recently proposed standards (PSRs) from the PHP-FIG group based on some discussions had at this year's php|tek.

During the /dev/hell podcast at Tek12, someone asked the guys their opinion about PSR. [...] The person asking the question had asked about PSR1 and PSR2. These are the first two standards proposals in the group and they deal with coding standards. [...] There are already coding standards for PHP and any other language out there. Why does anyone need to make a new one? [...] This reminds me a lot of Open Source licenses. There are tons of these things. And in the end, most (GPL has its issues I know) of the open source licenses represent the same idea.

He goes on to talk more about the feedback he's gotten from other PHP community members about the target of the group and his thoughts on the naming of both the group and the standards they're generating.

In the end, cooperation is good. And if these guys want to cooperate I say more power to them. I just hope they get into really good things soon. Like, can we talk about a maximum number of files, functions or classes used for any one single page execution? *That* would be valuable to the PHP community.
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