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Pádraic Brady:
Introduction to Humbug A Mutation Testing Framework for PHP
April 08, 2015 @ 09:34:13

While he's mentioned it in other posts to his site, Pádraic Brady has officially posted an Introduction to Humbug to his site today. Humbug is a mutation testing framework that lets you determine the actual effectiveness of your unit tests through "mutation testing" methods.

You may already be familiar with the concept. In Mutation Testing, defects which emulate simple programmer errors are introduced into source code (your canonical code is untouched) and the relevant unit tests are run to see if they notice the defect. The more defects that are noticed, the more effective the test suite is presumed to be. The methodology relies on the theory that a quantity of relatively simple defects, either in isolation or combined, provide as much useful information as would a series of more complex defects.

He talks about the differences between mutation testing and the more traditional code coverage metrics. He points out that code coverage, while a decent high-level metric, should never be used as a quality metric. Using Humbug allows you to determine the real effectiveness and "coverage" of what you're testing. He then gets into how to use the tool, outlining:

  • Installation of the library as a phar
  • Generating a configuration file
  • Execute the command to run your tests (to ensure they're passing) and execute the mutation testing

The execution is broken into several stages: executing your tests for passing, breaking up the source into tokens to determine mutability, replacement of content with mutations in a temporary version of the source and a final execution of the test suite to determine the mutation results. He includes some example output from the tool on a moderately large codebase and how to interpret these results. He ends the post talking about the logs that Humbug generates, the overall performance of the tool and an experimental feature that's in the works called "Incremental Analysis".

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Link: http://blog.astrumfutura.com/2015/04/introduction-to-humbug-a-mutation-testing-framework-for-php/

Evert Pot:
An XML library for PHP you may not hate.
April 02, 2015 @ 11:13:55

Evert Pot has posted about an XML library you may not hate, the sabre/xml library.

If you are writing or consuming API's in PHP, chances are that you need to work with XML. In some cases you may even prefer it. You may have started with SimpleXML and after a while switched to using the DOM after realizing SimpleXML is really not that simple if you strictly use xml namespaces everywhere.

For writing XML, you may have found that using the DOM requires far too much code, or you may simply generate your XML by echoing strings, knowing that it may not be the best idea. sabre/xml hopes to solve your issues, by wrapping XMLReader and XMLWriter, and providing standard design patterns.

He includes some example code showing how it works, extending the XMLReader/Writer functionality with a simplified interface. He includes examples of both writing a new XML file or reading in and working with the contents of a given one. He does point out one issue, though - the library cannot really read in XML contents, modify it and send it back out (it's a "single pass" system). He wraps up the post talking about the various interfaces and elements in the library and some of the overall benefits it provides.

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Link: http://evertpot.com/an-xml-library-you-may-not-hate/

Scotch.io:
A Beginner's Guide To Composer
March 31, 2015 @ 13:48:55

The Scotch.io site has posted a guide that can help you if you're just getting started in the world of PHP packages via Composer. In this new tutorial Daniel Pataki introduces you to the tool and how to use it to install the dependencies you need.

I'm sure there are plenty of coders out there who are wondering about the benefits of using composer and many who are afraid to make the leap into a new system. In this article we'll take a look at what exactly Composer is, what it does and why it is a great tool for PHP projects.

He starts with the basics of dependency management, why it would be used in a project and how it automates the installation and integration of 3rd party libraries. From there he helps you get Composer installed and starts in on a sample "composer.json" configuration file. In his example he installs Monolog, the popular PHP logging class. He talks some about how to specify versions, locking down the dependency versions to install and installing "developer only" requirements.

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Link: https://scotch.io/tutorials/a-beginners-guide-to-composer

U
March 24, 2015 @ 10:51:13

Paul Jones has a new post to his site showing how to merge one of the components of the Aura framework with the templating library Plates, a part of the The League of Extraordinary PHP Packages. In this post he shows how to integrate the Plates rendering engine into the Aura.Html component for use as a view layer.

Aura has its own native PHP template package, Aura.View, a direct descendant of Savant and Solar_View, as well as a cousin to Zend_View. The v1 Aura.View package used to include a helper system. Once we realized that there was no reason to tie the helper system directly to the view system, we released the helpers as a standalone Aura.Html package. This means the helpers can be used in any PHP presentation code, framework-based or otherwise.

Plates lets you register functions against its own internal handling, referencing the different elements to be rendered. He includes a code example showing this integration and how they look used in a Plates template.

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Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6111

Piotr Pasich:
Ant, composer and code quality tools
March 18, 2015 @ 11:33:47

In his latest post Piotr Pasich shares some handy tips (and tools) to help you use Composer to do some of the common tasks you might use Ant or Phing for.

I decided to start with something uncomplicated - a simple solution that could help me solve a prosaic, but annoying issue. For instance, XML format. No, I won't fight with it. I see it as great and practical, however mostly I don't need so sophisticated code to cover my needs - the yaml usually fits the purpose. [...] Yet, do I really need this flexibility [of XML configuration] when I use vagrant or docker to maintain the same environment as on the production? For 90% of PHP projects probably I won't use all of the features of the virtualization tools. I only want to install necessary libraries, check the code quality before committing or introduce fixtures. Most of those points are easily feasible in composer.

He then shows how to execute these checks through the functionality included with Composer to run custom scripts. His example measures the quality of the code based on the results first from a single run of the PHP Mess Detector (phpmd) command. He then extends this with the open source contribution he mentions earlier with his CodeQualityThreshold library allowing not only for more checks (phpmd, phpcs, phpcpd, etc) but also allows you to configure the thresholds for each class if desired. He includes an example of it in action and screenshots of the results.

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Link: http://piotrpasich.com/ant-composer-and-code-quality-tools/

MongoDB Blog:
Call for Feedback The New PHP and HHVM Drivers
March 12, 2015 @ 11:33:23

The MongoDB blog has a new post asking for feedback on what the user community thinks of their approach to supporting MongoDB functionality in PHP 5.x, HHVM and even out to PHP7.

Since the PHP driver first appeared on the scene, MongoDB has gone through many changes. [...] Beyond MongoDB's features, our ecosystem has also changed. [...] During the spring of 2014, we worked with a team of students from Facebook's Open Academy program to prototype an HHVM driver modeled after the 1.x API.

[...] Although the final result was not feature complete, the project was a valuable learning experience. The C driver proved quite up to the task, and HNI, which allows an HHVM extension to be written with a combination of PHP and C++, highlighted critical areas of the driver for which we'd want to use C. This all leads up to the question of how best to support PHP 5.x, HHVM, and PHP 7.0 with our next-generation driver.

They've shared the overview of the new driver structure including three layers: the system level functionality, the extensions themselves and a MongoDB userland library. They walk through the thinking on each of the pieces of the puzzle and how they all couple together to make for a more robust, flexible system that's also easy to use.

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Link: http://www.mongodb.com/blog/post/call-feedback-new-php-and-hhvm-drivers

Paul Jones:
Bookdown DocBook-Like HTML Output From Markdown
March 05, 2015 @ 10:49:27

Paul Jones has posted about a new tool he's worked up specifically for authors looking to write using Markdown and wanting it to generate out like DocBook results. His tool, Bookdown, uses Markdown and JSON files instead of XML configurations.

Yes, I know, there's a ton of static site generators for PHP out there already [...but they're] not DocBook-like documentation. By "DocBook-like", I mean (among other things) numbered headers, auto-generated tables-of-contents on their own pages, hierarchical multi-page presentation, and the next/previous/up linking at the top and bottom of pages.

[...] So: Bookdown. This scratches my particular itch, with very few dependencies. Bookdown, although it can be used as a site generator, is only incidentally a site generator. What it really is is a page generator, with the idea that you can integrate the pages into any other site you want.

The library is separate from the project and is written to use a dependency injection methodology to keep things decoupled and well-structured. If this sounds interesting either for personal use or if you'd like to check out the code, head over to the project site for more information.

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Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6088

Rob Allen:
Routing to a controller with Slim
February 18, 2015 @ 10:19:08

Rob Allen has a new post today sharing an extension for Slim he's written to make working with controllers easier.

In a couple of projects that I've written using Slim Framework, I've found it beneficial to organise my code into controllers with injected dependencies; probably because that's how I'm used to working with ZF2. To make this easier, I've written an extension to the main Slim class and packaged it into rka-slim-controller which will dynamically instantiate controllers for you for each route.

His library makes it easy to define controller "paths" instead of the typical closures Slim requires to direct the request to a controller file. He gives several example routes, the code that the controller needs and shows how you can inject objects into the constructor of the controller (dependency injection).

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Link: http://akrabat.com/slim-framework/routing-to-a-controller-with-slim-framework/

Laravel News:
Debug Your App with the Laravel Debugbar
February 10, 2015 @ 09:34:12

The Laravel News site has a post introducing a tool you can use in your Laravel applications to help debug issues and performance, the Laravel Debug Bar.

The Laravel Debugbar by Barry vd. Heuvel is a package that allows you to quickly and easily keep tabs on your application during development. With a simple installation and powerful features the Debugbar package is one of the cornerstone packages for Laravel. The debugbar is already updated for Laravel 5 and I wanted to show you all the great features it includes.

The post includes instructions to get the debugbar installed (via Composer) and add it to your Laravel providers list. They walk through the basics of its features and screenshots of each. He also links you to the project documentation to provide more detail on each of the features.

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Link: https://laravel-news.com/2015/02/laravel-debugbar/

Resonant Core:
Building Secure Web Applications in PHP
February 09, 2015 @ 10:26:19

The Resonant Core blog has a post today with a selection of tips and techniques you can use to help build secure applications in PHP, preventing several of the most common issues (several as mentioned in the OWASP Top 10).

There are but two causes for the unintentional creation of insecure web applications: A lack of knowledge about security [and] bad development habits. Developers who don't know about the risks involved with writing a widget a certain way are unlikely to make the secure choice. Thanks to the work of MITRE and OWASP, the most common vulnerabilities (and their consequences) are widely known and accessible. However, when teams are under pressure to meet a tight deadline, bad habits and insecure development practices may still emerge.

Most of the examples (at least the solutions) center around a framework they've created (Tuner) but the concepts are all there and could be adapted to other tools easily. They talk about the "pain" that can come with secure coding and how the right tools can make it much easier for the developer. He talks about how the framework offers a better database interface based on PDO and prepared statements to prevent SQL injection issues (with examples for each of the CRUD operations). He also shares a list of pre-existing PHP libraries that can help make the rest of you application secure too including:

He also mentions a PHP extension that adds in scrypt support, another option for hashing strings and passwords as an alternative to bcrypt.

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secure application database sqlinjection library recommended list

Link: https://resonantcore.net/blog/2015/02/building-secure-web-applications-in-php


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