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Derick Rethans:
Xdebug 2.3 Improvements to Tracing
March 31, 2015 @ 11:15:33

Derick Rethans has posted a new article in his series highlighting some of the changes in the latest release of Xdebug (v2.3). In this new post he talks about some of the improvements in the trace file functionality.

Trace files are a way to document every function call, and if you enable it, variable assignment and function's return values - including when these functions were called, and how much memory PHP was using at the moment of function entry (and exit). Xdebug 2.3 adds a new type of parameter rendering for stack traces and function traces through the xdebug.collect_params setting.

This new setting allows much more information to be reported back in the trace results, adding on a serialized version of the value of variables. He also shows the output results (human-readable) that shows the memory usage and time index for the execution. He also shows the new handling to include return values in the trace output using the "xdebug.trace_format" handling.

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tracing improvement xdebug release series part5 output

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/xdebug-2.3-tracing-improvements.html

Derick Rethans:
Xdebug 2.3 Improvements to Debugging
March 25, 2015 @ 09:13:34

In the latest in his series covering some of the improvements in the latest Xdebug release, Derick Rethans has posted this new article detailing some of the performance enhancements related to remote debugging that come with this new version.

This is the fourth article in a series about new features in Xdebug 2.3, which was first released on February 22nd. In this article we are looking at the improvements towards "remote" debugging.

The updates include showing the values of user-defined constants, being able to set an exception breakpoint on all exceptions and additional features around debugging the exceptions themselves. The output now includes the exception's error code and which exception the flow was broken on (though in his example of PHPStorm, the IDE won't report that information back). The last change he mentions is a change that reverts the output to a log if it can't write to a socket (usually SELinux related).

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xdebug performance improvement remote debugging version release

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/xdebug-2.3-debugging-improvements.html

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

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/xdebug-2.3-overload-vardump.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Exploring the Cache API in Drupal 8
February 26, 2015 @ 11:41:45

On the SitePoint PHP blog today there's a new tutorial (by Daniel Sipos) talking about the Drupal 8 cache and showing how to use it in an example, caching the latest post data pulled from the Drupal content.

Drupal 8 comes with many improvements over its predecessor we have grown to both love and hate. Next to prominent systems such as Views in core, configuration management or a useful translation service, there are also less known changes but that are equally important to know and use. One such improvement has been the cache API that solves many performance problems we have in Drupal 7.

They start with a basic introduction to the new cache handing and how the caches are separated out into different "bins" rather than all stored in one place. He includes sample code showing how to: save data to the cache, getting information back out and invalidating the cache to be handled by garbage collection. He also covers the cache tags, a feature that allows you to "tag" items across multiple caches and remove/invalidate them all at the same time. He wraps up the post getting into the more practical example showing the caching at work in a controller caching the contents of the posts to the Drupal site.

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drupal cache drupal8 tutorial introduction improvement

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/exploring-cache-api-drupal-8/

Reddit.com:
What changes would you like to see in PHP 7?
January 20, 2015 @ 12:51:08

In the /r/php subreddit on Reddit.com a question was posed to the community: What changes would you like to see in PHP 7?. So far there's 80+ answers with a wide variety of responses.

As well as massive performance improvements, PHP 7's change / feature list is already looking great. You can find most of the features that have been accepted or are under discussion on the PHP Dev Wiki: RFCs section. But what changes would make a difference to you? What would you really like to see make it in (already suggested or a new suggestion)?

Here's just a few of the suggestions made by fellow Reddit users:

  • fixing inconsistencies in naming
  • sandboxed eval
  • a complete rework of the standard library
  • the introduction of generics
  • adding enum functionality
  • type aliasing
  • stack traces for fatal errors

Check out the full post for more ideas and feedback from other members of the community too. It's an interesting list of suggestions, some that are even already in the works.

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php7 changes reddit opinion community language feature improvement

Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/2sx5x3/what_changes_would_you_like_to_see_in_php_7/

Acquia Blog:
PHP Under the Hood, Running the Web
December 10, 2014 @ 12:08:01

The Acquia blog (of the Drupal community) has posted another in their series of guest posts with members of the wider PHP community. In this latest post well known PHP speaker and developer Michelangelo van Dam talks about PHP as a language that's "Under the Hood, Running the Web".

Most non-technical people out on the Web haven't heard of PHP before. They might not have even heard of many of the products that were built with this technology like Drupal, Magento, or WordPress. And together with other products built with PHP, these run about 83% of all internet web applications. The technology of PHP is very important to an enormous number of businesses, governments, and organisations around the world, so even though people might not be familiar with the language itself, there's a very good chance they've used it online today.

He talks about the recent movements in the PHP community to be more standards-driven and focusing on better performance overall (both in applications and the language itself). He points to the work the Drupal community has done adopting Symfony components and the gains it gives them. He also mentions the huge impact things like Composer and the PHP Framework Interoperability Group have had on the PHP community and ecosystem.

Yes, the future of PHP looks very promising and the community is on a roll. [...] With strong communities working hard on each technological level and better able to cooperate than ever before, PHP will prevail where other technologies have failed. And let's have fun while we're at it!
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acquia blog michelangelovandam underthehood improvement standards interoperability

Link: https://www.acquia.com/blog/php-under-hood-running-web

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Joomla's Coming of Age
November 13, 2014 @ 12:56:15

In the latest post to the SitePoint PHP blog Adedayo Adeniyi talks about Joomla's "coming of age" and some of the changes that have come/are coming in the latest versions.

Over the years, there has been a healthy rivalry between the main CMSes in use on the planet: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!, and all three have hosts of die-hard fans that would pitch for their favorites over the others any day. Don't worry, I'm not about to add to the high pile of subjective CMS comparison posts available on the web. Instead, I will briefly review all the recent changes in Joomla! that have modernized it for the present day developer - from version 3.0 onwards (currently 3.3).

She talks about some of the most recent changes including easier updating, the tool being mobile friendly out of the box and more flexible user access handling. She also mentions the improvements in "developer friendliness" and that it's become a good bit more security-conscious. Other topics mentioned include the JED (Joomla Extension Directory), smart search/tagging and improved database handling.

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joomla improvement version update cms contentmanagement

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/joomlas-coming-age/

HHVM Blog:
Hack Recent Updates
October 22, 2014 @ 09:37:26

On the HHVM blog today they've posted some updates about the language that helps power the HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine), Hack, and the most recent changes and improvements made to the language.

One thing we haven't talked about much is the progress and evolution of the language itself. We've been busy driving the language forward, improving its PHP base as well as adding new features requested inside and outside Facebook to further increase developers' productivity. But unless you're the sort of person that reads every commit going into the HHVM github repository or every change to our docs site, you probably have no idea about any of these changes since we haven't talked much about them yet.

This post is a "kickoff" of a series of posts they'll be doing covering some of the major changes to the language including:

  • Typechecking new static()
  • First-class enums
  • Better understanding the type signatures of the PHP standard library
  • Covariance

Stay tuned to the blog for the full series.

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hack language update series improvement update

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/6443/hack-recent-updates

Grant Lovell:
Why PHP doesn't suck anymore
June 17, 2014 @ 09:04:07

In a recent post Grant Lovell shares some of the reasons why he thinks PHP doesn't suck anymore based on his presentation from the Waterloo-Wellinton Webmakers.

Chances are if you have been in web development for any amount of time you have done some work with PHP and maybe it was a great experience like it was for me, or perhaps it was hours and hours of digging through WordPress code to figure out why a plugin wasn't working. [...] A friend from U of W was giving me a hand setting up the catalog and introduced me to PHP. He was able to build the whole catalog, at least a basic first version, in one afternoon. You can imagine I was pretty excited about something that I thought was going to be weeks of cutting and pasting being done in a few short lines of PHP code. From then I was hooked.

He looks at a brief history of PHP, from its beginnings as a set of simple scripts by Rasmus Lerdorf out to the current push and support of the language by big companies like Facebook. Despite all of this, he points out that PHP "went wrong" somewhere along the way thanks to things like bad tutorials and practices. He talks about the GoPHP5 initiative and some of the signs of improvement in PHP: frameworks, Composer, the FIG and the "PHP renaissance." He looks into the future and sees only improvement thanks to better tutorial content (on various sites) and the increased amount of cooperation between developers wanting to make the language better.

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opinion suck language history improvement future

Link: http://transmission.vehikl.com/why-php-doesnt-suck-anymore/

Geshan Manandhar:
5 PHP development improvements rediscovered in 2013
January 24, 2014 @ 11:54:20

Geshan Manandhar has a new post talking about five development improvements that were "rediscovered" in 2013 in the PHP community.

Love it or hate it, the fact is 80% of the web is PHP and its usage has been in an increasing trend since 2010. [...] In this process of having a robust back-end API, we have rediscovered and utilized some technologies inline with PHP development and improved on them in the past year. Here is a summary of these PHP related technologies/methods/best practices that will help all PHP developers.

The five things on his list are things that were around before 2013, but they all had much more of an effect in the past year than prior:

  • PHP Specification Request - PSR
  • Composer and Packagist
  • Virtual Development Environment - Vagrant
  • Debugging with X-Debug
  • Automated Testing with PHPUnit
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development improvement rediscovered 2013

Link: http://geshan.blogspot.ae/2014/01/5-php-development-improvements.html


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