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SitePoint PHP Blog:
4 Best Chart Generation Options with PHP Components
June 26, 2015 @ 08:30:29

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new article posted sharing four of the best charting libraries they've seen for use in your PHP applications. Options include both server and client side tools, making finding one for your situation easier.

Data is everywhere around us, but it is boring to deal with raw data alone. That's where visualization comes into the picture. [...] So, if you are dealing with data and are not already using some kind of charting component, there is a good chance that you are going to need one soon. That's the reason I decided to make a list of libraries that will make the task of visualizing data easier for you.

He starts with a brief comparison of the server side versus client side options, pointing out some high level advantages and disadvantages of each. He then gets into each of the libraries, giving an overview, an output example and some sample code to get you started:

  • Google Charts (Client Side)
  • FusionCharts (Client Side)
  • pChart (Server Side)
  • ChartLogix PHP Graphs (Server Side)

He ends with a wrapup of the options and links to two other possibilities you could also evaluate to find the best fit.

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chart generation option component top4 list example output code

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/4-best-chart-generation-options-php-components/

Phil Sturgeon:
The Importance of Serializing API Output
June 01, 2015 @ 09:50:16

Phil Sturgeon as a new post to his site today talking about the importance of serialized API output and why it's important to think about what to share and how they're shared.

One section that seems to get a lot of feedback and questions is when I talk about serialization, which I refer to as "adding a presentation layer to your data". [...] To PHP developers, they often consider serialization to be using the serialize() function. Yes, this is one form of serialization, but it's not the only one. Another common serialization approach is of course to use the json_encode() function. [...] Excuse the drastically simplified chunk of code here, but the point is we're taking a model (probably using an ORM) and returning the result directly. This seems fairly innocent, but leads to a range of problems.

He suggests that, when thinking about the data coming out of your API, you have to assume that every possible value could be shared if models are output directly. He gives the example of user passwords which, obviously, don't need to be shared at all. He includes an example of formatting the output with the Fractal library and why using something like that is important. He covers some of the topics to think about including attribute data types, renaming fields to make them more clear, the ability to pull from multiple data stores and the ability to version serializers. He ends the post with links to a few different serialization formats and some solutions (not just PHP ones) that can be used for the sort of handling he recommends.

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serialize api output json fractal datatype json tutorial versioning

Link: https://philsturgeon.uk/api/2015/05/30/serializing-api-output/

Gonzalo Ayuso:
PHP Dumper using Websockets
May 11, 2015 @ 08:49:21

Gonzalo Ayuso has a quick post to his site showing you how to make a "PHP dumper" for websocket connections based on a simple Silex application.

Another crazy idea. I want to dump my backend output in the browser's console. There're several PHP dumpers. For example Raul Fraile's LadyBug. There're also libraries to do exactly what I want to do, such as Chrome Logger. But I wanted to use Websockets and dump values in real time, without waiting to the end of backend script. Why? The answer is simple: Because I wanted to it.

He shows how to create a simple socket server (with Express in Javascript) and the basic Silex application with a "DumperServiceProvider" added in that will handle returning the debugging data back to the waiting client. He connects the Silex application with the websocket and shows the code to listen for new messages on the socket and display them back out to the browser. You can see an example of the end result in this video on YouTube.

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websocket tutorial dumper debug output client expressjs nodejs

Link: http://gonzalo123.com/2015/05/11/php-dumper-using-websockets/

Derick Rethans:
Xdebug 2.3 Improvements to Tracing
March 31, 2015 @ 11:15:33

Derick Rethans has posted a new article in his series highlighting some of the changes in the latest release of Xdebug (v2.3). In this new post he talks about some of the improvements in the trace file functionality.

Trace files are a way to document every function call, and if you enable it, variable assignment and function's return values - including when these functions were called, and how much memory PHP was using at the moment of function entry (and exit). Xdebug 2.3 adds a new type of parameter rendering for stack traces and function traces through the xdebug.collect_params setting.

This new setting allows much more information to be reported back in the trace results, adding on a serialized version of the value of variables. He also shows the output results (human-readable) that shows the memory usage and time index for the execution. He also shows the new handling to include return values in the trace output using the "xdebug.trace_format" handling.

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tracing improvement xdebug release series part5 output

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/xdebug-2.3-tracing-improvements.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Use Laravel Contracts to Build a Laravel 5 Twig Package
March 16, 2015 @ 11:52:13

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial posted showing you how to integrate Twig into a Laravel application with the help of the recently added "contracts" feature of the framework. Twig is a templating library that aims to be fast, secure and flexible for data output in multiple contexts.

Laravel 5 is finally out, and with all the awesome features it brings. One of the new architectural changes is the new Contracts Package. In this article we are going to understand the reasoning behind this change and try to build a practical use case using the new Contracts.

He starts with a brief look at what Contracts are and what it means to use them in a Laravel application. He then shows how to define the package installation (via Composer) to pull Twig in and register it with the application for future use. He creates a simple service provider to register Twig and return a new "TwigFactory" instance. This instance extends the "FactoryConnect" implementing the "ViewFactory" and, along with a custom "TwigView" object can be used just like you would normally output information via Blade.

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laravel contract twig output template handling provider interface

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/use-laravel-contracts-build-laravel-5-twig-package/

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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markdown bookdown library project docbook output static generator

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

Derick Rethans:
Xdebug 2.3 Moar var_dump()
February 27, 2015 @ 09:58:40

Derick Rethans has a new post to his site starting a series of posts about the new features of Xdebug 2.3. In this new post he talks about an improvement that's been made to the output provided by var_dump with more information than before.

One of the new features relates to one of the first things that I added in the original Xdebug: making the var_dump() output "pretty". Xdebug replaces PHP's standard var_dump() function with its own version, as long as the xdebug.overload_var_dump setting is not set to 0. [...] Xdebug 2.3 enhances the overloading of var_dump() with the inclusion of the file name and line number where var_dump() is called at. This has been a long standing feature request.

He provides a few sample screenshots comparing the old and new output formats and mentions another handy setting, xdebug.file_link_format, that makes the resulting filename a link in a browser and lets you customize the format.

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xdebug vardump overload file path information output improvement release

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/xdebug-2.3-overload-vardump.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Adding Products to Your eBay Store with the Trading API
January 13, 2015 @ 12:50:14

The SitePoint blog has posted the next part of their "using the eBay trading API" series today (part three) showing you how to add products to your store via their API.

In this third and final part of our eBay Trading API series, we'll be building the product adding functionality into our application. Now that we're done with the store settings, we can begin with writing the code for the controller that would handle the creation of products.

He walks you through the code to create the "new" action on your Slim controller, build the view to gather the product information and handle the upload of product images with the Dropzone Javascript library. Also included is the code to get the current category list (to populate a dropdown list) and the code needed to create the product, both in your database and sending it back to the eBay API for insertion. This finishes the series about using this API, but you can get more information on the API itself though its documentation. The full code for the tutorial series is available on GitHub.

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ebay trading api tutorial series part3 add product upload

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/adding-products-ebay-store-trading-api/

Developer Drive:
Simplify your documentation process with Couscous
December 19, 2014 @ 12:14:49

On the Developer Drive site today there's a quick post introducing you to Couscous, a PHP-based documentation generation tool. Couscous translates your Markdown files into HTML output that's professional and clean looking.

If there's one thing I hate more than tracking down bugs, it's documenting code. It takes forever, it's almost a project in itself, and I never seem to factor it into my project lifecycle. Setting out to solve that problem for me, and anyone else whose life is too short, is Couscous. Couscous takes markdown files and converts them into professional standard HTML docs that colleagues, or fellow developers, can easily follow. You can preview the resulting site on your local machine, correct any issues, and then deploy straight to GitHub where it will be hosted for you.

They walk you through the (brief) process of getting the tool installed via Composer and using it to show you a preview of your documentation. The "deploy" command then allows you to easily deploy the results out to a GitHub Pages location on the gh-pages branch. You can find out more about Couscous on the project website.

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documentation couscous tool markdown generate html output

Link: http://www.developerdrive.com/2014/12/simplify-your-documentation-process-with-couscous/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Analyzing a PHP Project with Jenkins
December 05, 2014 @ 10:58:32

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted the latest part in their Jenkins+PHP series today. In this new article (the final part in the series) they use the Jenkins setup they've walked you through already and actually run the analysis on the PHP project and the resulting information.

The results of Jenkins come from different tools and will be placed in different locations within the Jenkins GUI. [...] Within this article, we will be going through each tool and have a look at what it reports back to us. In the end, we will also look at some extra details Jenkins collects for us. Since we build the same project several times, we will get straight lines within our graphs. In a real project, the graph would fluctuate.

He goes through some examples of the results from his analysis including screenshots and explanations for:

  • PHP_CodeSniffer
  • PHP MD (Mess Detector)
  • PHP CPD (Copy & Paste Detector)
  • PHP Depend
  • PHPLOC (Lines Of Code)
  • PHPUnit
  • PHPDox

He also briefly mentions the "changes" information, showing you what changed in that particular build to help narrow down any issues that might have come up.

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tutorial jenkins project analysis report output

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/analyzing-php-project-jenkins/


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