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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Cleaning up Code: Is Refactoring for Aesthetics worth It?
Jul 18, 2016 @ 10:16:17

On the SitePoint PHP blog Tobias Schlitt has an article posted that tries to answer the question "is refactoring for aesthetics worth it" for most development groups out there.

Most development teams want to get their codebase into a better, more maintainable state. But what definition of better should be chosen? In many cases, it is not necessary to dig deep into Domain Driven Design (DDD) to achieve this goal. Sometimes, it's even counter productive. But one of the most basic collections of principles can help each team a lot already: Clean Code.

The Clean Code book by Robert C. Martin summarizes many simple and advanced improvements to get better, understandable, and therefore more maintainable code.

He goes on with a bit of example code, showing a getJobs method that has room for improvement. He makes recommendations on cleanup steps like: renaming variables for clarity and breaking up code more visibly based on functionality. He then talks about the "methodology of refactoring" and how to take "baby steps" in your updates rather than major jumps. He ends by pointing out that refactoring for "beauty" sake isn't a good idea nor is doing it without a sufficient level of automated testing to ensure changes didn't break the application.

tagged: refactoring aesthetics babysteps opinion example naming cleancode

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/cleaning-up-code-is-refactoring-for-aesthetics-worth-it/

Stefan Koopmanschap:
The Speaker Package
Jul 12, 2016 @ 13:38:36

Stefan Koopmanschap has continued his look at conferences and sharing some of his own personal views around them and, mostly, the Call for Papers process. In his new post he focuses on the Speaker Package, a nicety that's often provided by the conference to help the speaker come to and stay at the event.

The speaker package is the term used for the package of reimbursements and other advantages you have as a speaker. This may (or may not) include a free ticket to the conference, travel and/or hotel reimbursements, a speakers dinner and some other things.

When submitting to a conference, it is important to realize what the speaker package consists of. [...] I made the mistake once of making assumptions about the speaker package (in this case: I assumed travel was being reimbursed) when submitting proposals to a conference. I got accepted, but then found out my flight was not covered by the conference. Because of that, I had to cancel that conference.

He makes the recommendation that, if the speaker package seems unclear by the documentation on the site, you ask the organizers for the information instead of assuming. He also shares one of his own personal rules about submitting - not putting in any submissions if the conference doesn't have a speaker reimbursement package. He does this because he sees the time he puts in to prepare and present as valuable and the package is a conference's way of saying that work is appreciated.

tagged: conference opinion speaker package compensation submission callforpapers

Link: http://leftontheweb.com/blog/2016/06/30/The-Speaker-Package/

Davey Shafik:
Community Relations: Not Just a Megaphone
Jul 11, 2016 @ 10:49:04

Davey Shafik has continued his series of posts with advice about growing a community around your product/open source libraries. In his first post he talked more about how to engage the community. In this latest post he talks about the role of "evangelists" in community relations (and why he dislikes the term).

The role of the Community Builder is to sell you on the idea of the company and the product. Not necessarily to sell you the product. Often times what we’re selling are not bought without some decision making process behind them, so a sale is not going to happen then and there anyway. Provide the education, and build the trust, and the sale will happen.

Davey then talks about why he hates the term "evangelist" and how it seems to relate more to "fanatic" than "advocate". He then gets into what he sees as the role of an advocate, including the role honesty plays and selling the customer on the right product. He then turns it around and talks about the other side of the role - advocating for the customer back to the rest of the company. Finally, he talks about two other kinds of advocacy that should also be included in the role: advocating for the community/their input and for yourself (finding a product you can be passionate about selling).

tagged: community relation megaphone building advocate evangelist opinion series part2

Link: https://daveyshafik.com/archives/70035-community-relations-not-just-a-megaphone.html

Liip Blog:
A quick look on the current state of Drupal 8 (ecosystem)
Jul 08, 2016 @ 10:26:31

In a new post to the Liip blog Lennart Jegge shares a "quick look" at the current state of the Drupal 8 project and some of the issues some people are having making the transition.

Eight months ago Drupal 8.0.0 was released. Exciting news for drupalists. Since then comparing D8’s features to its predecessor is a topic in daily business. "Can drupal 8 do what we can do now with 7 today?". After playing around with D8 i get the feeling some crucial features are missing.

He shares some of the features he sees as still missing (a Top 10 wishlist) and how it seems difficult to get a good overview of the Drupal 8 ecosystem. Some modules have yet to be updated and rewrites can be difficult given the major "under the covers" changes to Drupal itself.

In the end the importance of a variety of mature modules that play together nicely is crucial when it comes to efficiency, maintainability and stability of a project
tagged: drupal8 ecosystem overview opinion features upgrade issues

Link: https://blog.liip.ch/archive/2016/07/07/quick-look-current-state-drupal-8-ecosystem.html

Davey Shafik:
Building a Community Presence
Jul 07, 2016 @ 10:17:40

Davey Shafik, a developer advocate at Akamai, has shared some of his own thoughts and perspective on his site about building a community presence for your company and help it "do community".

Your company has decided it needs to “do community”, whatever that means, you’re community manager 1 number one, what now? From my time as a developer advocate/evangelist under both marketing and engineering teams, I have come to some conclusions about how to build community presence. Though my experience is mostly with technical communities, this should apply pretty well to any community building.

He breaks it up into three man sections, filling each in with some background and concrete suggestions you can use to help get the ball rolling:

  • Identify Your Products Potential Audience(s)
  • Breadth First Evangelism
  • Depth First Evangelism
  • Localized Evangelism

He ends the post by reminding you that, while these suggestions can help you "get your foot in the door". He'll be following this post up with another providing more about how you can use the feedback you get to enhance and improve your efforts.

tagged: community presence company audience evangelism opinion

Link: https://daveyshafik.com/archives/70023-building-a-community-presence.html

Intracto Blog:
How to save a kitten by writing clean code
Jun 03, 2016 @ 12:52:50

On the Intracto blog there's a new post from Joeri Timmermans talking about writing clean code with some good suggestions you can easily incorporate into your current processes.

So you came here to save a kitten? That's wonderful, but the real reason we're both here is to talk about clean code. In this blog post I'll be sharing some of my personal experiences and tips. But before we dive into the tips and tricks part, let's talk about what we, as developers, do and why we do it.

He touches on several topics including:

  • Best vs Fastest
  • Reading vs Writing
  • File and Folder Organization
  • Naming [conventions and clarity]

He also makes the recommendation to "return often", keep things DRY and makes a few recommendations of PHP-specific tools that can help.

tagged: clean code recommendation process development opinion

Link: http://blog.intracto.com/how-to-save-a-kitten-by-writing-clean-code

Phil Sturgeon:
Why Care About PHP Middleware?
Jun 02, 2016 @ 10:35:39

Phil Sturgeon has a post over on his site sharing some of his thoughts on PHP middleware and why he thinks it's worth paying attention to in your applications.

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about HTTP middleware in PHP. Since PSR-7 was accepted, everyone and their friend Sherly has been knocking out middleware implementations, some of them stunning, some of them half-arsed, and some of them rolled into existing frameworks. HTTP Middleware is a wonderful thing, but the PHP-FIG is working on a specific standard for middleware, which will standardise this mess of implementations, but some folks don't seem to think that would be useful.

Let's look into middleware a little closer, to show you why it's something to smile about.

He starts with a bit of background about the history of middleware in the PHP ecosystem and where they fit in the overall execution path. He lists out some of the middlewares that have already come out based on this surge in the community including CSRF protection, debugging and rate limiting handling. With various frameworks handling the request/response slightly differently, the PHP-FIG worked up a standard to make interoperability easier. He links to some other resources about middleware that have been posted and discussions he's had with other people about their usefulness.

HTTP Middleware is awesome. It lets frameworks do far less, it lets people distribute logic in a way often unseen popularly in PHP, it lets more of your application be reusable, and it lets PHP catch up with other popular languages used to build stuff on the web. PSR-7 was a great step towards this goal, but we need another PSR to get the whole way there.
tagged: middleware opinion psr7 request response phpfig example

Link: https://philsturgeon.uk/2016/05/31/why-care-about-php-middleware/

Anthony Ferrara:
All About Middleware
May 23, 2016 @ 11:06:10

Anthony Ferrara has written up a post for his site sharing more information about middleware and the PSR-7 proposal that's being discussed to help standardize interfaces with this popular form of application processing.

Last week, a proposal to standardize middleware for PSR-7 was introduced to the PHP-FIG. The general concept of middleware is not a new one, and has been in use in the PHP world for many years. Several people have raised significant concerns with the proposal, which have gone completely unheeded by the author. Let me go through the most major of these concerns, as well as show what a better proposal might look like.

He starts off with a brief look at the current proposal - the interface it defines and an example of a real world usage of it to check some attributes on the request/response. He gives a few more examples before getting into what he sees as the fundamental problem with the interface: that it passes in a response instance rather than creating its own ("what does $response mean inside the middleware?"). He's mostly talking about context and not knowing from one middleware to the next what kind of changes may have been made to the response. He also includes some of the arguments on the "for" side of including the parameter and an interesting list of middleware that does this modification prior to the next() call, making it difficult to determine the actual state.

He ends the post with a few other issue he has with the proposal including the use of the __invoke method name, a restriction on typing and the next method being callable. He makes a few suggestions of modifications to the proposal that he thinks could help make it better, correcting these issues.

tagged: middleware psr7 proposal opinion example problem

Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2016/05/all-about-middleware.html

Ben Ramsey:
7 Tips for php[tek]
May 23, 2016 @ 09:42:29

Ben Ramsey has a post to his site sharing a few tips for those attending the php[tek] conference this year (though most of them could apply to just about any technology-related conference out there.

This week, I’m attending php[tek]. This is my seventh php[tek], and the first I’ve attended not as a speaker. It’s one of my favorite conferences, and I didn’t want to miss its first year in a new city: St. Louis. As we gear up for the eleventh php[tek] conference, I thought I’d list my seven tips for getting the most out of your php[tek] experience.

His suggestions cover things to help you get the most enjoyment from the conference, and not just from the sessions:

  • Hang out in the evenings, after the conference sessions.
  • After the conference events, follow folks to the bar.
  • Take advantage of the “hallway track,” and don’t forget the regular sessions.
  • Attend the morning keynote sessions.
  • Join the conference IRC backchannel: #phptek on Freenode.
  • Use the official hashtag: #phptek
  • Take lots of pictures and upload them to Flickr.

Each of the suggestions comes with a bit of description and photos from previous years. If you're attending this year's conference, I'd definitely recommend talking a look over the full post and getting prepared for a great week of learning and community at this year's conference.

tagged: phptek tek16 conference opinion tips enjoyment community

Link: https://benramsey.com/blog/2016/05/phptek-tips/

Evert Pot:
Why PHP-FIG matters
May 18, 2016 @ 12:48:02

There's been quite a bit of drama lately around the PHP-FIG (Framework Interoperability Group) organization in the past few weeks, mostly resulting from an inflammatory situation involving one of the member projects. There's been questions around about the PHP-FIG, its role in the community and how that might change in the future. In this post to his site Evert Pot shares some of his own thoughts about the group and why it still matters.

The PHP-FIG is currently going through some growing pains. I recently resigned as a voting rep, and after some juvenile controversy Lavarel, Doctrine and Propel have as well.

Since its inception 8 years ago, the groups greatest problem has been to properly organize itself. [...] Now as a sort of knee-jerk reaction to these issues, PHP-CDS was setup with a much simpler process. [...] Some good stuff is happening though. A few people are working on a thankless effort to restructure the organization dubbed “FIG 3.0”. (thanks Larry Garfield and Michael Cullum).

He makes some of his own suggestions to the group as to things he think could be "quick wins" and help make the group better overall. He then gets to the "why it matters" section. He uses the PSR-6 caching standard as an example and points out that many other standards were based on successful interfaces on projects - not so much on the caching though. He also talks some about PSR-7 and how request/response handling can "look odd" at first glance. He suggests that while the PSR-7 standard probably evolved from too much discussion, but the PHP-FIG was there to facilitate that discussion. Now they just need to make it easier to get through the process...

tagged: phpfig interoperability important group standards opinion psr7 psr6

Link: https://evertpot.com/why-php-fig-matters/