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HHVM Blog:
HHVM 3.1.0
May 30, 2014 @ 11:56:54

On the HHVM blog today they've announce the release of the latest version of the popular project, version 3.1.0. This version fixes a few issues (including a segfault) and crossed into their semi-annual "lockdown" to work directly on the project.

If you remember last time we focused on framework unit tests, performance, and growing beards. This time, our frameworks were in good shape thanks to Fred and our Open Academy students, but our github story was not as pretty. At the start of lockdown we had 60 pull requests and nearly 450 issues. So our focus this time was github health and of course as always, perf.

In the end they closed out 251GitHub issues and made things 16% more efficient in the process. They list out some of the updates in this release including:

You can grab this latest release from the pre-build packages page on the GitHub project account.

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Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/5195/hhvm-3-1-0

HipHop VM Blog:
Compatibility Update
April 22, 2014 @ 09:16:38

The HipHop VM blog has a new post today with some updates around the compatibility work they're doing getting popular PHP projects to work 100% on the platform (and have all unit tests pass).

Earlier this year we set an ambitious goal of passing the PHPUnit test suites of 20 popular frameworks by the end of June; at the time, we were passing on only 6! With a huge amount of help from the community (especially our OpenAcademy students), we're proud to have hit this goal more than 2 months early, and we have more frameworks expected to reach 100% shortly.

Included in their list of projects/frameworks are things like Assetic, Composer, Doctrine2, Guzzle (v3), Laravel, Mockery and Monolog. Now that they've made significant strides to get the HHVM up to a greater level of compatibility, they're going to focus in on the issues list from GitHub to resolve problems there.

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Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/4841/compatibility-update

Manuel Stosic:
Understanding Zend Framework 3...before it's out!
October 31, 2013 @ 09:22:33

Manuel Stosic has a new post today talking about the upcoming Zend Framework v3 (not "coming soon", but coming) and three places you can follow to keep up on the latest in this version as it develops.

ZF3 is not close around the corner. It's still many, many months ahead. But there are reasons why you should bother and get information about ZF3 as soon as possible. If you understand why changes are introduced - and most of them are explained, some will be explained at a later point i guess - then you can spot errors in todays code already! You can improve your current code by knowing what's going to be "in" a couple of months away.

The three resources he points to are the Google Moderator group for ideas around the framework, issues on the Github repository tagged for ZF3 and a series of planned Google Hangouts where core developers will talk about the work on this new version and answer questions from those watching.

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Link: http://samminds.com/2013/10/understanding-zend-framework-3-before-its-out/

Software Gunslinger:
PHP is meant to die
April 05, 2013 @ 10:47:40

In this new post, titled "PHP is meant to die", the author looks at one weakness he sees in the PHP language - how PHP handles long running scripts and functionality.

In my opinion, a lot of the hatred that PHP receives misses the utter basic point: PHP is meant to die. It doesn't mean that a perfectly capable (to some extent) programming language will disappear into nothingness, it just means that your PHP code can't run forever. Now, 13 years after the first official release in 2000, that concept still looks valid to me.

He talks about some of the "dying" that PHP is good at (like making general website-related requests) but notes that if you try to have it do much more, PHP acts up. He points to the complexity of web-based applications and notes that, while PHP is good for some of it, it's not a fit for all functionality. He also covers the bringing of processes to the foreground that are best left in the background and how - despite the best of intentions - making a PHP daemon to solve the problem isn't a viable option.

Do you see the pattern? I've inherited projects where PHP was used for daemons or other stuff that's not just regular websites (yes, I'm a hired keyboard), and all of them shared that same problem. No matter how good or clever your idea looked on paper, if you want to keep the processes running forever they will crash, and will do it really fast under load, because of known or unknown reasons. That's nothing you can really control, it's because PHP is meant to die. The basic implementation, the core feature of the language, is to be suicidal, no matter what.
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Link: http://software-gunslinger.tumblr.com/post/47131406821/php-is-meant-to-die

Jonathan Hill:
What Is Wrong With PHP's Semaphore Extension
December 14, 2012 @ 11:08:18

In this recent post to his site Jonathan Hill takes a look at the PHP semaphore extension and talks about some of the issues he's had with it.

He lists five different pain points he discovered when trying to use the extension:

  • Lack of a true Semaphore
  • Undefined error handling
  • Undefined behavior of sem_get()
  • Cannot disable semaphore auto-releasing
  • A semaphore may be deleted when other processes are waiting to acquire it

The semaphore extension provides a PHP-based wrapper for the System V IPC family of functions (including semaphores, shared memory and inter-process messaging).

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Community News:
PHPBestPractices.org - A Short Practical Guide
August 23, 2012 @ 10:07:01

There's another site tossing their hat into the "best practices in PHP" ring (the other being PHP The Right Way) with what they call a "short, practical list for common and confusing tasks" in PHP - PHPBestPractices.org.

[Outdated tutorials and information is] one of the reasons why new PHP programmers are so frequently blamed for ugly, outdated, or insecure code. They can't help it if the first Google result was a four year old article teaching a five year old method! This document tries to address that. It's an attempt to compile a set of basic instructions for what can be considered best practices for common and confusing issues and tasks in PHP. If a low-level task has multiple and confusing approaches in PHP, it belongs here.

The site has sections for topics like:

If you're interested in helping out and adding more content to the site, contain the maintainer and let him know.

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Lorna Mitchell's Blog:
Using JIRA's REST API to Create a Dashboard
March 28, 2012 @ 10:57:56

In this recent post to her blog, Lorna Mitchell shows how to use the Jira REST API (provided as a part of some of the newer versions of the tool) to create a "dashboard" of the latest items added to the tracker.

Today what you get is an example of integrating with JIRA's REST API, because their recent "upgrade" locked me out of the issue listings pages completely and I really do need to be able to see a list of bugs! Their bug editing screen is quite usable, so it's just the list that I need here, but you could easily call their other API methods as you need to. These examples are PHP and use the Joind.in Jira tracker), parsing the JSON results and displaying the results as a simple list, looping with a foreach and outputting some HTML.

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Matt Farina's Blog:
SplFixedArray, An Underutilized PHP Gem
September 09, 2011 @ 10:43:11

Matt Farina has a new post today looking at an "underutilized gem" he's found in the offerings of the Standard PHP Library (SPL) - the SplFixedArray.

Arrays in PHP are not arrays per the typical array data type. Instead, as Matt Butcher recently pointed out arrays in PHP are similar to hashes in other languages. This can be a very important point to know when tracking down bugs in code and to programmers coming to PHP from other languages. But, what if we wanted something like a traditional array data type? Maybe something that preserved numeric order. Enter SplFixedArray.

He gives an example of using the SplFixedArray object versus the normal array variables in a simple PHP snippet showing the preservation of numbering order. He also touches on the memory consumption difference between the two, with the fixed array coming in quite a bit lower than the normal array data type (around 25% based on his basic testing). There are some catches to using it, though including incompatibility with array methods and the fact that it doesn't implement things like Iterator or Countable interfaces.

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splfixedarray array replacement issues performance memory usage


Zend Developer Zone:
Announcing the February 2011 Zend Framework Bug-Hunt
February 17, 2011 @ 06:58:01

In a new post to the Zend Developer Zone, Ralph Schindler has posted about this month's Bug Hunt Days for the Zend Framework. They start today (Thursday, February 17) and run through Saturday.

For those who haven't put the reoccurring event in their calendar, this announcement is for you: Zend Framework Monthly Bug-hunt is here again! This Thursday, Friday and Saturday of February (the 17th, 18th and 19th 2011), we'll be hosting our monthly bug hunt. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, each month, we organize the community to help reduce the number of open issues reported against the framework.

Last month the event closed 24 issues with a tie for first. If you're wanting to get involved and close even more of those issues, the post has the steps you'll need (including filing a CLA with Zend).

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Lorna Mitchell's Blog:
Gthub API Issues List
January 11, 2011 @ 09:56:26

Lorna Mitchell has a handy tip for those PHPers out there that use Github and want to pull off the issues from their project's Issues List quickly and easily - use their API (super simple).

I looked around for some export functionality for github but I got a lot of posts complaining it wasn't there. Since I hate applications that take your data and refuse to let you remove it, I was disappointed by this news but further inspection showed that although there might be no "export from github" button, there's an API that more than has it covered.

She gives an example of how to fetch only the currently open issues (the important ones) and pull then back through the API as a JSON message. Her little code snippet uses file_get_contents, but this can obviously be adopted to whatever use you might want. You can find out more about the things you can do with the Github API on the develop.github.com site including features to work with organizations, users, pull requests and gists.

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