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Matt Frost:
Avoiding Burnout
July 28, 2014 @ 09:59:32

Matt Frost (one of the two hosts on the Loosely Coupled podcast) has a new post to his site about some of his own experiences and advice around avoiding burnout.

Writing software is an incredibly gratifying profession; the idea that you can take a problem and find creative solutions through the use of technology is what drives a lot of us forward. What happens though when the drive is gone? What happens when that nifty little side project, training course, blog post or book goes from being nifty to being a drudgery? I came to this point a number of months ago and stayed there for a while, having now come out of this funk there are some things I learned that I'd like to share.

He talks about some of his own trouble with burnout, the project he was involved in and what it taught him about dealing with it (and life in general). He gives some sensible advice including "don't sit at your desk all day" and "prioritize things". The advice is simple and to the point - avoiding burnout is something only you can do for yourself. Waiting for things to "just get better" isn't going to work.

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Link: http://shortwhitebaldguy.com/blog/2014/07/avoiding-burnout

Freek Lijten:
Consistency vs. "The itch"
February 20, 2014 @ 09:11:31

In this latest post to his site Freek Lijten talks about "the itch" of having or working on something outside the normal project standards.

I assume everybody has certain rules, regulations, guidelines or conventions at their jobs/open source projects. I like structure and consistency so, as long as they are sensible, these things make me happy. Still, every once in a while, something itches. What wins, itch or convention?

He gives an example from some of his current work with an "itch" around using only a call to a registry to save information where business logic isn't needed. He recommends not scratching the itch though, as consistency should win out over other solutions. As he points out, "one day, you will have the need for business logic" and you want to have that structure there to fit it into.

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Link: http://www.freeklijten.nl/home/2014/02/18/Consistency-vs.-The-itch

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

SitePoint Programming Blog:
What is the Best Programming Language to Learn in 2014?
February 07, 2014 @ 10:44:59

On the SitePoint Programming blog today Craig Buckler has published a new post with some suggestions as to which programming language is the best to learn in 2014. The results come from a compilation of job postings and popularity, but it's interesting none the less.

It's been a year since I revealed the best languages to learn in 2013. Once again, I've examined the data produced by Jobs Tractor who analyzed more than 45,000 developer jobs advertised on Twitter during the past twelve months. [...] Take this survey with a large pinch of salt. Then add pepper, ketchup and numerous other condiments. I'm not convinced Twitter is a reliable source of job-related data and regional differences can skew results.

The results of surveys from other outside sources are also included, showing slight variations compared to Craig's numbers. Most of the languages are the same but their orders are pretty different depending on who you ask. Of course, he does make one major recommendation about all of these results: "Never use statistics as the sole basis for learning a language."

If you've mastered a language or two, the choice is far simpler: pick something that interests you (intellectually or financially). Programming skills are transferable and the learning curve will be shallower when learning a new language compared to when you first started.
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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/best-programming-language-learn-2014/

Mashable.com:
10 Programming Languages You Should Learn in 2014
January 23, 2014 @ 12:09:46

According to this new post over on the Mashable site, PHP is one of the "languages to learn" for 2014. Others in the list include Java, C and relatives, Python and Ruby.

The tech sector is booming. If you've used a smartphone or logged on to a computer at least once in the last few years, you've probably noticed this. As a result, coding skills are in high demand, with programming jobs paying significantly more than the average position. Even beyond the tech world, an understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any resumé.

They point out that PHP powers more than 200 million websites all around the internet and shares a few links of places to learn more about the language (including Udemy and Codeacademy).

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Link: http://mashable.com/2014/01/21/learn-programming-languages

Chris Jones:
DTracing a PHPUnit Test Looking at Functional Programming
November 04, 2013 @ 11:04:20

On his Oracle blog Chris Jones has shared more details about using DTrace for dynamic tracing of the execution of your application. In this new post he looks more specifically at using it to trace through a PHPUnit test for a functional programming example.

I was reading the article Functional Programming in PHP by Patkos Csaba and wondering how efficient this type of programming is. I thought this would be a good time to fire up DTrace and see what is going on. Since DTrace is "always available" even in production machines (once PHP is compiled with --enable-dtrace), this was easy to do.

Using the code provided from the other post he sets things up to run some sample tests via PHPUnit. He makes a simple DTrace D script to configure a tracer to watch for "function entry" and "function exit" during execution, outputting the function tree each time when the given function is found (via a parameter). He includes both the command to run the test with the trace and an example of the output result.

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Link: https://blogs.oracle.com/opal/entry/dtracing_a_phpunit_test_looking

NetTuts.com:
Functional Programming in PHP
October 04, 2013 @ 10:52:24

On NetTuts.com today they've posted an introduction to functional programming in PHP. Functional programming is a programming style that "treats computation as the evaluation of mathematical functions and avoids state and mutable data. Functional programming emphasizes functions that produce results that depend only on their inputs and not on the program state."

The new hype in programming is all about functional programming paradigms. Functional languages are used more and more in greater and better applications. Scala, Haskel, etc. are thriving and other, more conservative languages like Java started to adopt some of the functional programming paradigms (see closures in Java7 and lazy eval for lists in Java8). However, what only few people know is that PHP is quite versatile when it comes to functional programming. All the main functional programming concepts can be expressed in PHP.

The tutorial introduces some of the basics of functional programming, including terminology and the flow of the average functional application. They list some of the limitations that PHP developers might be used to (like not assigning values to normal variables) and some example code to get you started. There's also unit tests (PHPUnit) included to help you understand what the code is doing as it progresses. They also provide a more practical example - a basic auth and admin system to verify access.This tutorial is definitely not for those just learning PHP, but it's a good look into another, very different, programming style.

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Link: http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/php/functional-programming-in-php/

Community News:
Day Camp 4 Developers - Programming PHP Securely
August 12, 2013 @ 09:37:13

Recently, the Day Camp 4 Developers announced their latest "PHP Master Series" event (Volume 2). This time there's a focus on security with four speakers (disclaimer: myself included) talking about various aspects of PHP and general security:

Having your program hacked sucks. The sad truth is though, if you put a program out there, someone will try to find a way to hack it. Especially if there is a prize on the other side.

For PHP Master Series v2, we have gathered together 4 experts on the topic of "Programming PHP Securely" to share their knowledge with you. That knowledge will help you write programs that are more difficult to hack. Programs that will keep your data, and your customers data, safer.

Each of the found speakers - Fred Alger, Mike Stowe, Anthony Ferrara and myself - are going to cover:

  • 2FA: The Rise of Two-Factor Authentication
  • The OWASP Top 10 and You
  • Prison Theory of Web Development Security
  • Password Storage (And Hacking) in PHP

You can find out more about the event (or get your tickets) from the Day Camp 4 Developers website.

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Link: http://daycamp4developers.com

Anthony Ferrara:
Taking Monads to OOP PHP
July 15, 2013 @ 11:21:42

Anthony Ferrara has a new post to his site about a concept from functional programming - monads - and how he's tried to bring them to PHP with a bit of proof of concept code.

Lately I've been playing around with some functional languages and concepts. I have found that some of these concepts are directly applicable in the OOP code that I've been writing. One of those concepts that I think is worth talking about is the Monad. This is something that every functional developer tries to write a tutorial on, because it's such a cool but hard to grasp concept. This post is not really going to be a Monad tutorial per se, but more of a post about bringing the general concept to OOP, and what that looks like.

He starts off with a brief definition of what a "monad" is, defining it as a sort of "state container." He then gets into the examples (using this code) showing how to create a Monad and bind functionality to it. He walks through some examples of the transformations you can do with it and introduces the ListMonad as an alternative for looping.

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Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2013/07/taking-monads-to-oop-php.html

Pixelstech.net:
TIOBE PHP is coming back
July 10, 2013 @ 12:22:02

According to this new post on the Pixelstech site, PHP is "making a comeback" with an increase in popularity since it was last measured on the TIOBE index.

TIOBE released the programming language index for July 2013. The highlight of this month is that PHP is coming back. It ranks the fifth and has an increase of 1.54% compared to January. There are no changes in the ranking for the top 4 languages. The reason why PHP is back may be attributed to the new PHP Zend Framework that was released in September 2012, but this reason is not very convincing.

The post includes the list of the top twenty languages ordered by popularity with C, Java, Objective-C and C++ coming in at the four spots above PHP now.

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Link: http://www.pixelstech.net/article/1373365267_TIOBE%3A_PHP_is_coming_back


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