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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Generate Excel Files and Charts with PHPExcel
September 11, 2014 @ 09:48:55

SitePoint's PHP blog has a new post that walks you through the creation of Excel files with the help of the PHPExcel tool, a part of the overall PHPOffice package.

After my article "How To Make Microsoft Word Documents with PHP" (using Interop capability under Windows), there were quite a few comments urging a pure PHP implementation, i.e., only using a universal PHP library to manipulate Office files. In this article, we will see how to use a PHPExcel library to provide an "Export to Excel" function in a web app so that the user can export the data into an Excel 2007/2013 file for further analysis.

His example spreadsheet shows game information for an NBA team (the LA Lakers) including some charting and analytic data in the exported output. He sets up a simple Silex application and both a base and export endpoints. He also shows you how to create the PHPExcel instance, configure it with properties like creator, title and a set of keywords. With this object in place he moves into setting data for each of the rows/cells, populating it from a database table. He also includes examples of creating more than one sheet of results, inserting formulas and creating the charts mentioned earlier.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/generate-excel-files-charts-phpexcel/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Translation and Text-to-Speech with Microsoft Translator
December 05, 2013 @ 09:19:29

On the SitePoint PHP blog today there's a new tutorial showing you how to combine the Microsoft Azure platform services with their Translator API to create a text-to-speech translation service with some simple curl calls.

Text to speech is a popular technique used by many websites to provide their content in an interactive way. The generation of artificial human voice is known as Speech Synthesis. Even though it's highly popular, there are very few speech synthesis services, especially when looking for those free of charge. Microsoft Translator is one of the services we can use to get a speech service with limited features. In this tutorial, we are going to look at how we can use Microsoft Translator API to translate content and then make audio files using said content.

He walks you through setting up an Azure application (you'll need an account for the marketplace already) and how to subscribe to the translation service. It's a paid service but there's a "try before you buy" level that allows 2,000,000 characters of translation before it's cut off - perfect for testing. He includes the PHP to make the requests to the Translation API via curl. Included is code to initialize the configuration for the request, get the correct tokens and a reusable method for making the actual translation request. Finally, an example of doing the actual text-to-speech conversion is shown, resulting in an mp3 file.

He also includes an example of a simple frontend UI. You can see a working demo of the script here.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/translation-text-speech-microsoft-translator/

WebDeveloperJuice.com:
Best in Class Libraries to Generate Excel Reports
August 14, 2013 @ 09:18:55

WebDeveloperJuice.com has posted a list of several PHP tools that you can use to create Microsfot Excel reports from your data (some a bit more feature-packed than others).

Every time somebody does something unique with PHP that is far beyond the standards and norms of PHP applications. One must say you will truly be overwhelmed by the capabilities and features of PHP language. Microsoft Excel is widely used by most of the companies as a report generation tool and data analysis tool. [...] In this post we will have a look at the various Libraries that the PHP developers can use for generating Excel Reports in any PHP Application and for exporting the data to Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets.

The tools that made their list are:

  • PHP Export Data
  • PHP Excel Library
  • Excel Writer (XML) PHP Library
  • Php-Excel
  • Pear Excel Writer Library
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Link: http://www.webdeveloperjuice.com/2013/07/05/best-in-class-libraries-to-generate-excel-reports-in-php-applications/

Cory Fowler:
How to use CakePHP on Windows Azure Web Sites
August 03, 2012 @ 10:06:12

In this new tutorial posted to his site Cory Fowler shows you how to set up and deploy a CakePHP-based website to a Microsoft Azure instance.

One day Last week, I set out to get a simple CakePHP site up and running on Windows Azure Web Sites. [...] CakePHP is a framework, which means ideally, there should not be anything specific to get it working on any platform.

He includes a complete guide to getting the framework, a sample "web.config" configuration file (for the Azure instance) and links to some other guides to help you get started using Azure (like deployment with git).

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Michelangelo van Dam's Blog:
Microsoft Hackathon at PHPBenelux Conference 2012
December 26, 2011 @ 14:11:50

Michelangelo van Dam has a new post to his blog today about the Microsoft Hackathon happening at this year's PHPBenelux conference with reps from Microsoft in attendance.

Even if you have no knowledge of any of Microsoft's PHP solutions you're more then happy to join us and see how you can build applications so they can be distributed with the Microsoft IIS infrastructures.

Whatever your reason, you can find out more about the conference and the hackathon over on the PHPBenelux website and pick up your tickets now (300 Euro for the full event, just 160 Euro for a partial ticket).

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Bradley Holt's Blog:
Boston PHP Northeast Conference
December 13, 2011 @ 08:23:58

Bradley Holt has a new post to his blog announcing the Boston PHP Northeast Conference happening in August (2012) in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

I'm excited to be able to announce that the first ever Boston PHP Northeast Conference will be taking place on Saturday, August 11th and Sunday, August 12th at Microsoft's NERD Center in Cambridge, MA. This regional event is intended for PHP beginners, enthusiasts, and professionals alike.

The conference will not just cover PHP but also general web development topics with a dash of user experience thrown in. Three regional groups are hosting the event: BostonPHP, Burlington, VT user group and the Atlantic Canadian PHP user group.

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Brian Swan's Blog:
The SQL Server ODBC Driver for Linux is Available!
November 29, 2011 @ 08:39:35

As Brian Swan has mentioned in his latest blog post, the ODBC database driver for SQL Server on Linux has been released. This is a huge step forward for directly connecting linux-based systems (and programming languages) to this popular Microsoft product.

The first beta release of the SQL Server ODBC Driver for Linux is available for download! As announced in October, the "Multiplatform Team" (a.k.a. the "MPlat Team") has released a preview version of a driver that will provide first-class access to SQL Server from applications running on Linux operating systems. The team is looking for feedback on this release to incorporate into their production-ready release, so try it out and let us know what you think.

He links to a few resources about the release - more details, a link to download the driver and the official documentation.

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Maarten Balliauw's Blog:
Windows Azure SDK for PHP 4 released
July 29, 2011 @ 09:53:19

Maarten Balliauw has a new post announcing the release of the latest Windows SDK for Azure for PHP, version 4.

The Windows Azure SDK 4 contains some significant feature enhancements. For example, it now incorporates a PHP library for accessing Windows Azure storage, a logging component, a session sharing component and clients for both the Windows Azure and SQL Azure Management API's. On top of that, all of these API's are now also available from the command-line both under Windows and Linux. This means you can batch-script a complete datacenter setup including servers, storage, SQL Azure, firewalls, ... If that's not cool, move to the North Pole.

He includes a few things from the changelog including service management API support for SQL Azure, package scaffolders and various performance enhancements. You can find out more about the release and the latest on the project on the Microsoft Interoperability website.

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Brian Swan's Blog:
PHP Driver for SQL Server - Request for Feature Feedback
July 15, 2011 @ 10:22:49

Brian Swan is asking for user feedback about the future of the Microsoft's SQL Server driver for PHP based on a post in the team's blog.

I want to make sure that his request gets in front of lots of eyes, so I'm re-posting his request here (below). Jonathan included some links in his post so you can learn more about what the team is considering for the next release of the driver, but he didn't elaborate on "Buffered Queries".

They suggest a few features and ask for choices on which would be the most important to you as a developer - Always On support, SQL Server Serverless Express support, Buffered queries and LOB streaming support in PDO_SQLSRV. To give feedback, send an email to the address mentioned in the post or on twitter/their forums.

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Zend Developer Zone:
Microsoft's second SQL Server Jump In Camp
June 21, 2011 @ 11:01:35

On the Zend Developer Zone today there's a new post from Cal Evans about the SQL ServerJump In Camp that's happening near the Microsoft offices in Seattle. It's an event bringing together developers from 10+ projects all around the PHP community to work on PHP itself.

If you follow Microsoft and PHP then you aren't surprised that Microsoft is yet again getting PHP developers together to talk. However, if you don't pay attention, you may be surprised at how interested Microsoft is in PHP and the projects built on top of it. It is that latter interest, projects built on PHP, which is the focus of this week's camp.

As Cal points out, this isn't a typical get-together kind of event - the focus is on the code and developers are actively working during coding sessions to try to meet some expectations by the end of the week. The Zend Developer Zone will post updates about the event during the week including articles, interviews and podcasts.

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