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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Can Great Apps Be Written in PHP - An Interview Series
April 15, 2014 @ 13:05:34

Matthew Setter has started off a series of posts on the SitePoint PHP blog with the first post interviewing community members to answer one main question, "can great apps be written in PHP?"

I read an old post, circa 2010, on the MailChimp blog a little while ago, about their experience using PHP. It struck a chord with me, because the sentiments they shared I've felt myself, and heard echoed many times over the years. [...] Despite its successes, or people's successes with it (a la Facebook, MailChimp, Hailo, Google, and others), it's inferred we should use languages which had their foundations as pure languages; not ones which came to be a language, as PHP evolved into over time.

He references some of the other comments in the Mailchimp article about their experience with the language along with mentions of a few others. He wonders if these negative comments are true and, to get some answers, searches out other developers and their opinions. In this first interview he talks with Bobby Deveaux about his background in the language, what he'd like to see added and more.

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application opinion mailchimp design language interview bobbydeveaux

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/can-great-apps-written-php-interview-series

Pádraic Brady:
Is Facebook's HHVM Building PHP's Coffin?
April 01, 2014 @ 09:31:52

In a new post to his site, Pádraic Brady poses a question about the HHVM project from Facebook - is it going to "be the coffin" that will replace the Zend Engine in PHP completely and change the way we know it?

With HHVM 3.0 now released, it's probably time to start talking about HHVM and the new Hack Language. It's becoming hard to ignore some of the fantastical notions spreading on the grapevine about HHVM. There is talk of significant performance improvements, a multitude of new features courtesy of Hack, that PHP Internals is actually now outnumbered by HHVM contributors. There is even treasonous talk of PHP's Zend Engine being put out to pasture.

He talks about how it was inevitable, really, that there'd be another implementation come up through the ranks (much like the variations of Ruby). He also mentions some other, less popular options in replacing the main implementation (Zephir, HippyVM, etc). He then poses an interesting question - "what is PHP?" He talks about language specifications, the PHP internals group and the delay that sometimes happens introducing new language features into the core (some of which HHVM already has).

PHP, as we know it, is starting to smell. It has gone from being the only PHP in town, to being the slowest, with the least number of features, and the one that's subject to dysfunctional governance. The new PHP is called Hack, a new language with only the briefest of documentation since you can learn the other 99.9% of this language over on the PHP manual.
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hhvm hack facebook opinion future language

Link: http://blog.astrumfutura.com/2014/03/is-facebooks-hhvm-building-phps-coffin

Reddit.com:
Can anyone suggest a php ecommerce solution that isn't terrible?
March 28, 2014 @ 12:56:42

Over on Reddit.com there's a good discussion (with plenty of feedback) to a user looking for "a PHP ecommerce solution that isn't terrible" to replace their aging implementation.

I've been using Lemonstand V1 for a couple of years now, it's been really decent, though they're zoning it out to make way for V2. They're moving to a cloud hosted monthly cost, without a lot of core features from V1, which means my agency needs to find an alternative. Obviously the one that stands out is Magento, but I've logged in and clicked around and looks so bad. [...] I have recently found "builtwith.com" which seems to show usage stats for different ecommerce systems, though I cannot seem to find anything very good on that list which looks reliable. The most promising thing I could find was called "Sylius" (http://sylius.org/) which looks fantastic, BUT, it's newish, and there are no docs, it's not being supported by a company, it's only being held up by the community. Can anyone suggest any other alternatives to look into?

The comments to the post range from suggestions of other solutions to attempts to reinforce ones already mentioned:

  • "I'd go with the biggest names in eCommerce for PHP. That will give you the most leverage. We run our own ecommerce software and when your missing a community, features, and market share, it will be a ruff battle selling customers on your solution who are aware of software like Magento."
  • "No, sorry. No joke. Every ecommerce solution I touched is terrible. And Magento is hell."
  • "Drupal with the Ubercart module is pretty nice."
  • "You have checked out OpenCart, haven't you?"
  • "WooCommerce has been pretty good if you're on WordPress. Actually similar to Magento."
  • "In my experience none stand above the rest and all have their drawbacks, especially when you just need to getting something slightly custom up and running. We most recently used CS Cart and it was not terrible."

Check out the post for more feedback and suggestions.

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Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/21flle/can_anyone_suggest_a_php_ecommerce_solution_that/

Liip Blog:
Of HHVM, Hack and the future of PHP
March 12, 2014 @ 11:09:50

Lukas Smith has posted some of his own thoughts on the Liip blog about the future of PHP, HHVM and Hack (related to this previous post from Anthony Ferrara) in the context of the company and the work they're doing.

I want to specifically comment on the part about HHVM and Hack. I have of course published my own opinion on the topic fairly recently on my private blog. Fellow Liiper Chregu has also done a very popular post on this very blog showing some very significant performance improvements that can be achieved with HHVM. [...] While Anthony does not recommend running HHVM in production, we are obviously getting ready to do just that. I totally agree however with the risks he points out.

He talks more about using HHVM in a production environment and some of the possible problems with it in the future (like maybe a change in it being incompatible with PHP someday). He also touches on the Hack language and how it is possible that Facebook's team will go wholly with Hack instead of PHP.

One of the big questions is why does Facebook even care about PHP mode if they are already moving their own code to Hack? To me one big reason for this could be that they actually want to use code produced in the community. [...] So maybe in the end the best way to ensure that PHP mode in HHVM remains a goal for Facebook is to keep churning out high quality PHP code?
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Link: http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2014/03/11/of-hhvm-hack-and-the-future-of-php.html

Anthony Ferrara:
An Opinion On The Future Of PHP
March 10, 2014 @ 09:41:40

In his latest post Anthony Ferrara shares some of his personal opinions about the future of PHP and how some of the pieces in play now might fit in.

There's been a lot of buzz in the community lately around PHP and its future. The vast majority of this buzz has been distinctly positive, which is awesome to hear. There's been a lot of talk about PHP6 and what that might look like. There's been a lot of questions around HHVM and its role in the future of the language and community. Well, let me share with you some of my thoughts in this space...

He covers a few different topics including backwards compatibility, the suggestions of a complete engine rewrite and turning the SPL all OOP. He spends most of the post talking about HHVM (the HipHop VM), how it compares to "plain old PHP" and why it's not exactly "magic".

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Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2014/03/an-opinion-on-future-of-php.html

IT World:
Does relying on an IDE for development make you a bad programmer?
February 27, 2014 @ 10:04:45

On the IT World site there's an interesting post that poses the question - does relying too heavily on your IDE make you a bad programmer?

The truth is that a good IDE makes you vastly more productive than a bad one or none at all. Projects are off the ground faster thanks to helpful scaffolding. Coding moves faster thanks to intelligent autocompletes and IDE refactoring tools. Integrated unit testing helps your application be more maintainable. Built in deployment tools, web servers, code analysis, and compile time bundling streamlines the workflow. It also standardizes the developer experience which benefits both the programmer and the business.

He mentions the original post that got him thinking about the topic. It talks about the reliance one developer feels like they now have on their IDE. They feel that it's "made them lazy" in their development practices. The article isn't specifically focused around PHP as there are IDEs for other languages that do a lot more for work for you. There are some in the PHP world, like PHPStorm that do rank up there as far as automated features, though.

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Link: http://www.itworld.com/development/406451/does-relying-ide-development-make-you-bad-programmer

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Why Choose PHP Over Alternatives?
February 24, 2014 @ 11:25:45

On the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc has a new article with a few of the reasons why to choose PHP over other alternatives. It's a quick post with only a few points, but it's interesting for its choices of when not to use PHP.

It's a popular question. Why indeed should one pick PHP over one of the alternatives? After all, PHP has often been dismissed as a unusable and badly designed language. Why would anyone choose it, when starting a project from scratch? Instead of listing the reasons why people do choose it (mostly widespread availability), let's instead focus on why people should choose it. We can't talk about that, however, without first mentioning why they shouldn't.

Among their suggestions of when not to use PHP are things like building command line applications and "just because it's there" on your shared hosting. There's a section near the end of the article that talks about some of the work that's been done to try to dispel the "bad press" PHP has gotten and how other languages (his illustration is Javascript) have the same kind of taunting and nitpicking happening as well.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/why-choose-php/

KillerPHP.com:
Why PHP should be the first language you learn
February 13, 2014 @ 10:43:46

On the KillerPHP.com site there's a new post from Stefan Mischook where he suggests that PHP is the first language you should learn if you're new to development.

Anyone who reads my stuff knows that if I am anything, I am practical. So when it comes to learning (and teaching) programming to someone new to the whole programming game, for several pragmatic reasons, I think PHP by far is the best language to begin with. Here are some of the reasons: it is easy to learn, it is the most popular web scripting language and it is fast to program with.

He shares these thoughts and a few more in a short video (or here on YouTube).

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first language video opinion programming learn

Link: http://www.killerphp.com/articles/why-php-should-be-the-first-language-you-learn

Paul Jones:
What Application Layer Does A DI Container Belong In?
February 12, 2014 @ 09:11:17

Paul Jones has a new post to his site today with his thoughts about where dependency injection belongs in the application layer structure.

James fuller asks: "any thoughts about which layer of the application we should be using a DI container like Aura.Di? Highest layer possible?" Twitter is too constrained and ephemeral for a good response, so I'll answer that question here.

Based around his definition of a dependency injection container (and service locator), he suggests that the DI container should reside outside of the normal application structure, possibly created in the bootstrap. He also talks some about class inheritance and the use of dependencies passed through from parent to child classes (and how common practices can break this).

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application layer dependency injection opinion auradi

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/5914

Pádraic Brady:
Coding Standards Humans Are Not Computers
February 11, 2014 @ 10:26:06

In his latest post Pádraic Brady shares some of his thoughts around coding standards and the existence of tools to be sure the code is exactly formatted correctly.

The problem with coding standards is not the notion of following conventions to ensure all programmer can quickly read and understand code (and other good stuff), but that someone created a tool to actually check compliance: PHP_CodeSniffer. This isn't a complaint about the operation of phpcs, but to complain about the mere fact of its existence. [...] Using the cover of such automated tools, we can make judgement calls about code quality, integrate style checks into Continuous Integration scoring schemes, complain about pull requests and patches, and generally impose a time penalty on writing code. There is a point at which common sense morphs into sheer nitpicking, and an automated tool is the perfect nitpicker.

In his opinion, coding standards should be "invisible and flexible" as well as easy to learn so the developers could learn and follow it quickly. He looks at these thoughts applied to the PSR standards and how adhering to them could quickly turn into something much more time consuming than it should. In his opinion a good coding standard is one that "limits the rules, eradicates ambiguity, formulates multiple use cases and avoids trivialities".

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Link: http://blog.astrumfutura.com/2014/02/coding-standards-humans-are-not-computers/


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