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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Web Performance Tricks - Beyond the Basics
January 23, 2014 @ 11:55:28

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post sharing some general web performance tricks that could be done to any application to speed things up a bit. Note that this is a sponsored article but it does not promote the sponsor's product.

We've had a lot of performance talk over the years here at SitePoint, and we believe it's time to revisit the topic with some more advanced aspects. The approaches mentioned in this article won't be strictly PHP related, but you can be sure they'll bring your application to a whole new level if used properly. Note that we won't be covering the usual stuff - fewer requests for CSS, JS and images meaning faster websites and similar hints are common knowledge. Instead, we'll be focusing on some less known/used upgrades.

Their list of suggestions include things like:

  • Removing unnecessary HTML tags
  • Prefetching and caching content
  • Using tools like CSS Lint and CSS Explain
  • Using Google's Page Speed tool to find bottlenecks
  • Use things like SPDY, WebP and Zopfil
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web performance tips advanced list

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/web-performance-tricks-beyond-basics/

Lorna Mitchell:
Zend Certified PHP Developer 5.5
January 08, 2014 @ 09:23:45

If you're thinking about taking the Zend Certified PHP Developer (5.5) test but aren't sure exactly where to start, Lorna Mitchell has provided a list of some good resources to help you out.

Yesterday I updated my previous ZCE certificate to the Zend Certified PHP Developer qualification (the new ZCE for PHP 5.5 also got a new name). Since the ZCE 5.3 exam is no longer available and I work with various clients to prepare their teams for these certifications, it was important to me that I keep my own certification up to date. Now I've done that, I'd like to share some resources for others doing the same thing.

She points to a few things that could help you make the grade:

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zend certified developer test certification resource list

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2014/zend-certified-php-developer-5-5

Flyn San:
Creating a Basic ToDo Application With Laravel 4 (Tutorial Series)
December 09, 2013 @ 11:23:51

Flyn San has started (and gotten pretty far along) on a new series of posts to his blog aiming to teach you about the Laravel framework by creating a simple To Do application.

Laravel may be one of the younger frameworks out there but it's making ripples in the PHP world. The following post teaches how to build a basic to-do application in Laravel 4. It covers a wide range of concepts, links to relevant learning material where possible and should make for a great introduction to the framework.

There's already four parts to the series posted:

In each part of the tutorial complete code is provided as well as links to some external resources to get a bit more information about the framework (or the feature being discussed).

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tutorial series laravel framework todo list

Link: http://www.flynsarmy.com/2013/12/creating-a-basic-todo-application-with-laravel-4-part-1/

Reddit.com:
Why don't you contribute to PHP?
September 05, 2013 @ 13:26:29

On Reddit.com today nikic asks you why you don't contribute to PHP, that is to the language itself or the community around its improvement.

I know many of you care about PHP and have suggestions about how to improve it. My questions is: What prevents you from writing a mail to the internals mailing list with your suggestion/proposal (or to participate in existing discussions)? [...] I'd be interested in your opinions and hope that things can be improved based on them.

Some of his own examples to kick off the discussion include time constraints, not being able to write the patch themselves and some of the issues with the culture of the internals mailing list. Other suggestions from the comments include lack of confidence in coding skills (C++), the possible lack of interest in the RFC and the current state of the language's codebase.

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contribute language reason common list

Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1lsha2/why_dont_you_contribute_to_php/

Reddit.com:
Worst practices
September 04, 2013 @ 11:35:52

In this recent post to Reddit.com, people have been sharing some of the "worst practices" they've seen during their PHP development (or may even be guilty of).

For shits and giggles some colleagues and I are trying to write the crappiest PHP script we can think of, using as many bad practices as we can find. Alas, it's much harder then we thought, because we all have been trained to not do stupid stuff.

Things on the list so far include:

  • Multiple class definitions in a single file
  • Saving passwords unhashed and unencrypted in a database
  • Using a global variable inside a class to get a database connection
  • One letter variables
  • Pointlessly setting the signup method to being static
  • Using GET or POST vars directly from user input
  • Mixing HTML and PHP like there's no tomorrow.
  • make liberal use of extract() after running 'SELECT *'
  • Define a custom exception class for each class and only throw it from that class.
  • Make sure your DB connection is a singleton.
  • Throw ugly constants everywhere

What are some of the worst things you've seen? Share them here.

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worst practices opinion examples list

Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1lpgqk/worst_practices

Antonin Januska:
Cool Stuff I Learned About Laravel 4
August 20, 2013 @ 12:41:34

In this new post to his site Antonin Januska shares some of the "cool stuff" he learned about Laravel 4 while he was working on a project using this recently released version.

I started using Laravel 4 for testing, hobby projects, and actual work (ha!) a couple of months back and was genuinely excited about the upgrades as well as features I wasn't aware of from previous versions as well. So here goes...

On his list are things like: Composer and its easy-to-implement autoloading structure, overriding default fields, using "remember" to cache data from queries and database seeding. There's a few others in the list, each with some example code (though sometimes just one line) that shows it in action. If you'd like to find out more about the Laravel framework, check out the project's main site.

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laravel4 features list learn

Link: http://antjanus.com/blog/web-development-tutorials/cool-stuff-i-learned-about-laravel-4

Federico Cargnelutti:
API Development Tips
July 17, 2013 @ 13:50:45

Federico Cargnelutti has a quick post to his site today sharing some general API tips you could follow when creating your backend application.

Organizations who are paying attention already know they need to have an open web API, and many already have under development or in the wild. Make sure you haven't been caught by the pitfalls of many early API releases.

He briefly mentions the idea of having multiple points of failure and includes five more general tips based on information from this video:

  • Test it all
  • Plan for future versions
  • Embrace standards
  • Monitor everything & be honest
  • Fail well
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api development tips list video test version standards monitoring fail

Link: http://blog.fedecarg.com/2013/07/17/api-development-tips

Phil Sturgeon:
Building a Decent API
July 16, 2013 @ 09:32:46

Phil Sturgeon has posted a set of best practices he follows when building out new APIs. It covers a wide range of topics at a high level, but it's a good checklist to get you started.

PHP developers are increasingly moving over to API development, as are a lot of server-side developers. It's a trend thats been happening for the last few years and it's getting to the point where everyone and their dog are putting articles showing off how to build "awesome" API's. Unfortunately most of these are either woefully inadequate or are promoting bad practices.

His recommendations include:

  • Use the URI sparingly, and correctly
  • Resources are EVERYTHING
  • Authentication
  • Background all the things
  • Version your API like an adult

Each item in his list has some points to back it up and provide a bit more detail on what it's all about.

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api development recommendations list bestpractice

Link: http://philsturgeon.co.uk/blog/2013/07/building-a-decent-api

David Sadowski:
PHP REST API Frameworks
June 06, 2013 @ 12:09:54

David Sadowski has posted an overview of some of the PHP frameworks out there to help you build REST APIs. Among those mentioned are things like Frapi, Laravel and Slim.

A number of articles on websites strive to give directions which framework(s) should be chosen whereas in fact there is no "one fits all" solutions for different purposes or technologies. Therefore, herewith a compiled list of some most popular and actively developed PHP REST API frameworks worth consideration and further evaluation on your project basis.

For each tool on the list, he includes a brief summary of what they are, some of the features they provide and a link to find out more about them. It's not really so much of a comparison post but more about putting them out there and letting you figure out which is the best.

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rest api framework list active development

Link: http://davss.com/tech/php-rest-api-frameworks

Pádraic Brady:
20 Point List For Preventing Cross-Site Scripting In PHP
April 23, 2013 @ 09:27:02

Pádraic Brady has posted a 20 point list that wants to help you prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) issues in your applications.

Summarising knowledge has as much value as writing a 200 page treatise on a topic, so here is a list of 20 brief points you should bear in mind when battling Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) in PHP. Minus my usual book length brain fart . Chances are good that ignoring or acting contrary to any one of these will lead to a potential XSS vulnerability. It's not necessarily a complete list - if you think something needs to be added, let everyone know in the comments.

His tips include things like:

  • Never pass data from untrusted origins into output without either escaping or sanitising it.
  • Remember that anything not explicitly defined in source code has an untrusted origin.
  • Always include ENT_QUOTES, ENT_SUBSTITUTE and a valid character encoding when calling htmlspecialchars().
  • Use rawurlencode() to escape strings being inserted into URLs and then HTML escape the entire URL.
  • Validate all complete URLs if constructed from untrusted data.
  • Remember that HTMLPurifier is the only HTML sanitiser worth using.
  • Ensure that cookies which must only be transmitted over HTTPS are marked Secure.

He points out that XSS is still one of the most "popular" (and easy to exploit) attack methods out there, so keep these tips in mind when writing up your code.

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list tips preventing xss crosssite scripting

Link: http://blog.astrumfutura.com/2013/04/20-point-list-for-preventing-cross-site-scripting-in-php


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