Looking for more information on how to do PHP the right way? Check out PHP: The Right Way

php[architect]:
Mandrill Alternatives for PHP Applications
Apr 19, 2016 @ 12:07:16

With the recent (well, not too recent) announcement from MailChimp about the shift to a paid model for their Mandrill email service, PHP developers have been busy looking for alternatives. In this post to the php[architect] site Sandy Smith explores some of the other options out there, how they compare and what they have to offer.

n case you might have missed the announcement, MailChimp is changing Mandrill to be an add-on to paid MailChimp accounts, thus eliminating the generous free tier. We’re big fans of MailChimp and use its mailing list service for our own announcements, but a full MailChimp account isn’t going to be for everybody. [...] Many people also know Mandrill by reputation and will need options in the future. For you, we’ve put together this list of viable transactional email alternatives with PHP and major PHP application support.

Included in their list are services like:

For each service he includes a paragraph talking about what integrations and libraries there are for their use as well as what's included in their "free" levels.

tagged: mandrill alternative email service options sdk overview

Link: https://www.phparch.com/2016/04/mandrill-alternatives-for-php-applications/

TutsPlus.com:
What Are Laravel Exceptions?
Apr 18, 2016 @ 12:25:35

In a new tutorial posted on the TutsPlus.com site they get into some detail about what exceptions are in Laravel-based applications, when to use them and how to make your own.

As a PHP developer, you may use exceptions, because they allow you to notice when something has gone wrong or the user has acted in an unusual way (such as division by zero). Without exceptions, your application would end up presenting unwanted errors and being much more difficult to debug. It is also important that you halt execution immediately and take another course of action.

Exceptions are really simple, and they will make your development progress easier. When you learn how to use exceptions, this will be a usual part of your development.

They start by explaining what exceptions are (in the strictest sense, a definition from Martin Fowler) and an example of how one is caught in PHP. They briefly talk about when to use exceptions and how they're implemented in Laravel. The post finishes with a look at creating your own exception types and where to place them in your application. They also make the suggestion of using the Assertion package to verify data and catch the AssertionFailedException if there's an issue.

tagged: laravel exception example tutorial overview usage

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/what-are-laravel-exceptions--cms-25816

Toptal Blog:
Introduction To PHP 7: What's New And What's Gone
Mar 14, 2016 @ 12:04:12

The Toptal blog has a new post talking about PHP 7 including some of the new things it includes (and what's gone from previous versions of the language).

One of the most exciting events in 2015 in the PHP world was the release of PHP 7, 10 years on from the release of the last major version, PHP 5. With a major step forward, PHP 7 introduces plenty of new features and performance upgrades. [...] This guide should serve as a quick tour on what to expect if you plan on moving your existing applications, or building new ones, on top of PHP 7.

He starts with a topic quite a few people wondered about - "where did PHP 6 go?". Following this he gets into some of the performance boosts that PHP 7 brings with it and updates to the "syntactic sugar" it offers developers to make their lives easier. He then gets in to the new features in this version like:

  • Scalar Parameter Types & Return Type Hints
  • Engine Exceptions
  • Anonymous Classes
  • CSPRNG Functions
  • Unicode Codepoint Escape Syntax

He finishes off the article looking at the migration from PHP 5 to PHP 7 and highlights some of the potential compatibility issues that could pop up during the migration.

tagged: php7 introduction features compatibility overview language php5

Link: https://www.toptal.com/php/php-7-performance-features

Derick Rethans:
New MongoDB Drivers for PHP and HHVM: History
Dec 02, 2015 @ 10:53:33

In this post to his site Derick Rethans talks about some major updates that have been made to the MongoDB drivers for both PHP and HHVM users.

We recently released a new version of the MongoDB driver for PHP. This release is the result of nearly a year and a half work to re-engineer and rewrite the MongoDB driver. In this blog post, I will cover the back story of the how and why we undertook this effort.

He starts back with the original driver (in 2009), the features it offered and how it was structured. He talks about the evolution of the functionality to more of a C PHP extension and when it reached the v1.0.0 milestone. From there he talks about updates made to the JSON handling, features added in 1.3 and some of the larger design issues they ran up against making future development much more difficult. He ends the post with an overview of their goals for this new driver version and a promise for a following post with more details on this structure.

tagged: mongodb driver version hhvm history overview extension

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/new-drivers.html

Zend Framework Blog:
Zend Framework 3 Update and Roadmap
Nov 26, 2015 @ 09:47:33

On the Zend Framework blog they've posted the roadmap and latest updates on the work being done for the next major version of the framework: Zend Framework 3.

In October, while at ZendCon, I presented a talk on Zend Framework 3 entitled "Components, PSR-7, and Middleware: Zend Framework 3." You can view it online, but this post discusses current status, details some decisions, and points to the work still to be done. It's a long read; grab a warm beverage, maybe some popcorn, and take your time.

They start by outlining some of the major concepts that ZF3 integrates and are key to how it will handle requests:

  • the component-based system it's built on, making major use of Composer-style packages and installation techniques
  • using the PSR-7 standard for handling of HTTP requests and responses
  • the use of middleware to modify the request/response and add logic

Finally, they get into the overall view and roadmap for the framework. They talk about the ServiceManager/EventManager, the role middleware plays in the request dispatching and the goal of reducing dependencies. The post ends with a look at the improvements they're striving for with new and better documentation and the next steps in the roadmap for the coming months.

tagged: zendframework3 roadmap update overview psr7 middleware component documentation

Link: http://framework.zend.com/blog/zend-framework-3-update-and-roadmap.html

Zend Developer Zone:
PHP 7 Quick Overview
Sep 21, 2015 @ 13:51:26

On the Zend Developer Zone they've posted an article talking about the upcoming major version of PHP, PHP 7, and what you can expect from it. It's a brief overview of the new features and functionality included in this big update.

PHP7 is around the corner. According to the wiki time table if everything goes well, it is expected to be released in November 2015. Many of us are excited to learn the language level features and it’s performance.

The article touches on the highlights of:

  • Performance boosts
  • Null Coalesce Operator
  • Scalar Type Hints
  • Weak type mode
  • Strict mode
  • Handling Exceptions
  • Return Type Declaration
  • Reserve More Types in PHP 7
  • Timezone warning

There's a lot of new things coming, so check out this guide for a quick overview and to get up to speed before it's here.

tagged: php7 overview introduction list feature improvement

Link: http://devzone.zend.com/6656/php-7-quick-overview/

Matt Stauffer:
Introducing Laravel Spark: A Deep Dive
Sep 17, 2015 @ 10:54:01

In a previous post to the Laravel News site, the latest offering in the Laravel ecosystem, Spark, was introduced. In this post Matt Stauffer takes a "deep dive" into its features and functionality, digging down into the code to see what makes it tick.

If you've been around on the general Laravel-interested Internet over the last month or two, or if you attended Laracon US or Laracon EU, you've probably already heard of Laravel Spark. If you haven't, check out Taylor's introductory video from Laracon EU.

I've held off on writing about it until now, because it has changed a lot over the span of its development. It's released as an Alpha now, so the API has solidified some... but it'll still change quite a bit between now and the release. [...] This is, instead, a deep-dive into how it works and what it does. I'll be writing a more general introduction to Spark once it's actually released, so beware: this is a bit of a deeper dive, for people geeky enough to want to look at an alpha release.

He starts with a recap and a high-level overview of the system, what it's designed to do and how to get it installed (either in a fresh install or an existing application). He then starts breaking down the pieces that make up the system:

  • changes made to files in your current application
  • details on the contents of the SparkServiceProvider
  • the addition of an app.js defining the VueJs bootstrap for the interface

He then starts looking at the interface, showing how to register a new user (with two-factor auth), work with the "teams" functionality to group users and create payment and plan options for your products.

tagged: laravel spark deepdive internal overview alpha release

Link: https://mattstauffer.co/blog/introducing-laravel-spark-a-deep-dive

Alejandro Celaya:
My first approach to Zend Expressive
Sep 14, 2015 @ 10:50:40

The team behind the Zend Framework recently released a microframework of sorts that makes use of middleware as its primary location for processing: Zend Expressive. In this post to his site Alejandro Celaya takes a "first approach" to this new framework and shares some of what he's discovered.

One of the trending topics in the PHP world nowadays is the one about microframeworks. It started some years ago with Slim and Silex, but recently it has been an explossion of new microframeworks. First, Slim's team announced the third version of its own framework, which implemented the psr-7 HTTP standard by taking advantage of the middleware concept. [...] Then, Laravel launched the Lumen project, which is another microframework based on Laravel components [and] Zend framework's team launched Zend Expressive, which is similar to Slim 3 in the fact that it works with middleware and psr-7, built on top of zend-stratigility and zend-diactoros.

He starts the post off answering two "why" questions: "why microframeworks" and "why Zend Expressive". He then gets into the technical details, comparing some of the basic route handling across the different microframework projects (with code examples). He shows how Expression allows the use of a service container as the main object instead of just defining routes (and what routers that's compatible with). He briefly covers some of the other piece of the Expression puzzle: template library support, the service container, error management and some other considerations to think about with evaluating the tool.

tagged: zendexpressive expressive microframework introduction overview comparison

Link: http://blog.alejandrocelaya.com/2015/09/12/my-first-approach-to-zend-expressive/

Joshua Thjissen:
Understanding Symfony2 Forms
Sep 14, 2015 @ 09:28:50

Joshua Thjissen has a post on his site that wants to help you understand the basics of Symfony2 forms including how to build them, extend them and the modules they're made up of.

To actually use Symfony2 forms, all you need to do is read some documentation, a few blog posts and you’ll be up and running in a couple of minutes. Understanding Symfony2 forms however, is a whole different ballgame. In order to understand a seemingly simple process of “adding fields to a form”, we must understand a lot of the basic foundation of the Symfony2 Form component. In these blog posts, I’ll try and give some more insights on this foundation.

He starts by explaining the three main steps in the typical form lifecycle: building the form itself, populating and validating data and rendering the form to the waiting user. He then gets into some of the basics of using forms and the types of objects that make them up. He includes examples of creating a simple form, the YAML configuration it compiles to and the functions used to build, render and set options on the form. He finishes up the post looking at form inheritance, extending the form types and where the "ResolvedFormType" comes in to play.

tagged: symfony2 form understand overview types build render validate populate

Link: https://www.adayinthelifeof.nl/2015/09/11/understanding-symfony2-forms/

Barry vd. Heuvel:
Comparing Blade and Twig templates in Laravel
Aug 26, 2015 @ 10:02:32

Anyone that has looked at using a templating library in their application has probably come across both Blade (in Laravel) and the Twig libraries. In a post to his site Barry vd. Heuvel compares these two templating libraries based on their features, security and (briefly) performance.

In my company, we use Twig instead of Blade for our Laravel projects. I know there are a lot of developers that also prefer Twig over Blade. So the question ‘Why choose Twig over Blade?’ often pops up. The reason is usually just a matter of preference, but in this post we’re going to compare the Blade and Twig templating engines side-by-side.

He starts with an "about" for each library, giving some basic background and examples of simple templates. He talks about using Twig in Laravel (vs Blade) and then lists some similarities and differences between the two. Following this high-level list he gets into more detail on each feature of the libraries including:

  • Outputting variables
  • Control structures
  • Template inheritance and sections
  • Security and context

Each section includes a description of the feature and a template example showing how it's put to use. He ends the post with his thoughts on which one you should pick for your project, but notes that, like many things in development, the answer is "it depends" on your project and team's needs.

tagged: compare blade template twig library feature overview example

Link: http://barryvdh.nl/laravel/twig/2015/08/22/comparing-blade-and-twig-templates-in-laravel/