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Qandidate.com Blog:
Handling AngularJS POST requests in Symfony
August 14, 2014 @ 11:09:13

The Qandidate.com blog has a quick new post today showing how to handle AngularJS requests with a Symfony framework based backend application. They automate the process of decoding the JSON from the Angular frontend to make it immediately usable to the framework backend.

At Qandidate.com we started using AngularJS last year and I have to say it was love at first sight! Two-way databinding, testability, dependency injection, server communication...awesome! Did I say server communication? We use Symfony 2 (which is awesome too) for our back end API's. Unfortunately AngularJS and Symfony do not speak the same language out-of-the-box. In this post I will show you how we automatically decode JSON requests so we can use it with Symfony's Request object using our symfony-json-request-transformer library (or class actually).

They start with a simple JSON example and the action to handle it (the "postAction") and show the manual json_decode method. Instead of having to do this in each controller action, they define the Request transformer handler. This handler takes the incoming request and allows for modifications to various aspects of the request, including transforming the data. They've posted a full example here that includes the full stack, not just the transformer itself (to show the full flow of the request).

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angularjs request symfony2 transform json request

Link: http://labs.qandidate.com/blog/2014/08/13/handling-angularjs-post-requests-in-symfony/

NetTuts.com:
Refactoring Legacy Code Part 6 - Attacking Complex Methods
June 27, 2014 @ 13:17:37

The NetTuts.com site has posted the sixth part in their "Refactoring Legacy Code" series, this time with a focus on the more complex methods. They look at simplifying their contents and testing their various parts (better code coverage). The post is based completely on the contents of the previous five in the series, so if you haven't read up on those do that before starting.

In our previous five lessons we invested quite a lot of time in understanding our legacy system, in writing tests for whatever testable piece of code we could find. We reached a point to where we have quite a few tested methods but we still avoided the complex, hard to understand logic. It's now time for some serious coding.

The start with one of the more complex methods (roll) and work through it line-by-line to figure out what it's being given, how it's handling the data and what kinds of things it might return or modify inside. The break it down into to "parts" and figure out the right tests to write for each. With the method fully tested, they then start in on the refactor, teasing out various parts of the method into other methods and property changes. There's also a section at the end talking about pair programming and how it relates to good testing practices.

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refactor series tutorial part6 complex method unittest phpunit

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/refactoring-legacy-code-part-6-attacking-complex-methods--cms-21522

Mathias Verraes:
Named Constructors in PHP
June 13, 2014 @ 09:42:15

Mathias Verras has a new post to his site about an idea he calls "named constructors". This method uses static factory methods to simulate the idea of a constructor and initialize the object.

PHP allows only a single constructor per class. That's rather annoying. We'll probably never have proper constructor overloading in PHP, but we can at least enjoy some of the benefits. Let's take a simple Time value object. Which is the best way of instantiating it? The only correct answer is "it depends".

His example shows the typical constructor creation with variable arguments, but points out that this can get messy quickly. His other method, the factory methods as "constructors", can make for a cleaner interface and makes the class more flexible. They make the object able to be initialized with different types of values and even satisfies the Single Responsibility Principle. He goes through a few examples using his "Time" class, showing how different "constructor" methods can be used to handle inputs ranging from a normal hour/minute format out to a "from minutes since midnight" value.

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Link: http://verraes.net/2014/06/named-constructors-in-php/

CodeSamplez.com:
PHP HTTP Request With Guzzle
June 12, 2014 @ 11:55:07

If you're making HTTP requests in your applications and you haven't looked into using Guzzle, you're missing out on one of the most powerful, flexible HTTP tools out there. In this new post to the CodeSamplez.com site they introduce you to the tool and show you how to make a few sample requests.

If you are consuming some kind of API with complex PHP HTTP requests which doesn't provide a clean wrapper library, I can feel the nightmare you might be having. Same could be happen if you are yourself writing such kind of API wrapper as well. Here, I will try to introduce you with guzzle library and getting a quick start. This article is targeted for complete beginners, so if you are already somewhat experienced, you either might skip this or review it and help me improve it to fit as a robust getting started tutorial.

He covers some of the things that can be done with Guzzle (including connecting to APIs and scraping site data) and briefly mentions some alternatives to the tool. Code is included to make a first request: a simple call to the GitHub API that fetches URL information for other resources. He also includes an example of making a POST request and using the OAuth module that comes with Guzzle, making those requests easier.

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http request guzzle introduction tutorial

Link: http://codesamplez.com/programming/php-http-request-guzzle

NetTuts.com:
Refactoring Legacy Code Part 5 - Game's Testable Methods
May 27, 2014 @ 09:29:33

NetTuts.com continues on with their next part of their refactoring series today in this new post focusing on (unit) testing more of the application. This includes both the code for the tests and the before/after of the refactored code.

Old code. Ugly code. Complicated code. Spaghetti code. Gibberish nonsense. In two words, Legacy Code. This is a series that will help you work and deal with it. In our previous tutorial, we tested our Runner functions. In this lesson, it is time to continue where we left off by testing our Game class. [...] It is much better to start testing it by its short, testable methods. This is what we'll do in this lesson: find and test those methods.

They start with creating a new "Game" object and finding the first testable method in the class. The tutorial works through this and other related methods to build up a set of "Game" tests and eventually doing some refactoring on the tests themselves. With one method down and tested, they move on to finding and creating the tests for the next few testable methods, looking for something "controllable" that makes for easy testing.

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refactor legacy code series part5 unittest game method

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/refactoring-legacy-code-part-5-games-testable-methods--cms-21213

Community News:
PHPUnit Announced End of Life on PEAR Installation Method
April 21, 2014 @ 10:29:53

There's a new addition to the GitHub wiki that's quite important for the PHPUnit users out there. Sebastian Bergmann has officially announced the end of life for the PEAR version of the installer for the popular PHPUnit tool.

Since PHPUnit 3.7, released in the fall of 2012, using the PEAR Installer was no longer the only installation method for PHPUnit. Today most users of PHPUnit prefer to use a PHP Archive (PHAR) of PHPUnit or Composer to download and install PHPUnit. Starting with PHPUnit 4.0 the PEAR package of PHPUnit was merely a distribution mechanism for the PHP Archive (PHAR) and many of PHPUnit's dependencies were no longer released as PEAR packages. Furthermore, the PEAR installation method has been removed from the documentation. We are taking the next step in retiring the PEAR installation method with today's release of PHPUnit 3.7.35 and PHPUnit 4.0.17.

Included in this end of life, they'll also be decommissioning pear.phpunit.de to happen no later than the end of 2014.

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Link: https://github.com/sebastianbergmann/phpunit/wiki/End-of-Life-for-PEAR-Installation-Method

Nikita Popov:
Methods on primitive types in PHP
March 17, 2014 @ 12:11:22

In his latest post Nikita Popov highlights one of the topics from this post, primitive types as objects, and some alternative options.

A few days ago Anthony Ferrara wrote down some thoughts on the future of PHP. I concur with most of his opinions, but not all of them. In this post I'll focus on one particular aspect: Turning primitive types like strings or arrays into "pseudo-objects" by allowing to perform method calls on them. [...] Note that this isn't far off dreaming, but something that already exists right now. The scalar objects PHP extension allows you to define methods for the primitive PHP types. The introduction of method-call support for primitive types comes with a number of advantages.

Among the advantages he lists:

  • The opportunity for a cleaner API (instead of the current, sometimes oddly named functions)
  • Improved readability
  • Polymorphism through a "cleaning up" of shared methods
  • Loose Typing

He also looks at possible ways that other primitive types could be handled (like "null" or "float") and some of the problems that could come up when passing objects around. Since the values could be an object or scalar, how would you know the difference. He finishes off the post with a look at the current state of things, including that there's not much resistance just that there hasn't been a good API defined to make it work.

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method primitive type object example problems

Link: http://nikic.github.io/2014/03/14/Methods-on-primitive-types-in-PHP.html

MaltBlue.com:
Do We Use Magic Methods or Not?
December 13, 2013 @ 10:39:20

In the latest post to his MaltBlue.com site Matthew Setter takes a look at magic methods. He tries to answer a few basic questions about them - are they worth using and can you truly test effectively when they're in use.

As a freelance Zend Framework developer, I'm always looking to improve the quality of the applications I produce. So over the last 6 - 12 months, I've been learning as much as possible about testing. During this time, I've found the way I code's dramatically changing (and improving). [...] In a recent development session, I attempted to test some of my ZendDb based classes, specifically the code which used the magic methods for dynamically building where clauses. [...] I can't speak for what it's like using PHPUnit's mock objects, as I always use Mockery instead. But after attempting to do so in Mockery, I hit a stumbling block when trying to test the chained call.

His example is a call to "lessThanOrEqualTo" to create his where clause that makes use of the "__get" magic method to get and return "Where" object. After some research (and conversations on IRC) he started wondering if the magic methods were worth the trouble they may cause during testing. He references this post and lists several of the comments made about their use, most of them not in favor.

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magic method zendframework sql builder query unittest testing

Link: http://www.maltblue.com/php/php-magic-methods-or-not

Chris Hartjes:
The Power of the BrowserProxyMob
November 19, 2013 @ 10:49:38

In this new post to his site Chris Hartjes shares a tool he's found to help with automated front-end testing for web applications - BrowserMobProxy

At work I have been involved with an effort to put some automated front-end testing in place. The combination of Behat, Mink running tests using PhantomJS is a good one for this. Open source, easy to configure, handles JavaScript-heavy pages reasonably well. There was just one wrinkle in our plans: our use of local host files. [...] So clearly what was needed [to solve a hosts file switching issue] was a proxy. After doing a little bit of digging around I found a solution: BrowserMobProxy.

He briefly introduces the tool and helps you get it installed (as well as the library you'll need to interface with the proxy). His library hooks into a running PhantomJS instance and the BrowserMobProxy, generates the right hosts file (not included) and continues on with the tests.

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browserproxymob proxy http request phantonjs unittest behat mink

Link: http://www.littlehart.net/atthekeyboard/2013/11/18/the-power-of-the-browserproxymob/

Mohammad Emran Hasan:
Concurrent HTTP requests in PHP using pecl_http
October 07, 2013 @ 10:42:09

Mohammad Emran Hasan has posted a quick example of using the pecl_http extension to make concurrent HTTP requests.

The pecl_http extension has a little gem that can be handy at times - HttpRequestPool. Using this, you can send concurrent HTTP requests and can gain efficiency in fetching non-related data at once. For example, from an external source if your application needs to retrieve an user's profile, their order history and current balance, you can send parallel requests to the API and get everything together.

His code shows three example connections to a made up URL on three different endpoints. With the HttpRequestPool functionality, all three can be requested at once and tracked to extract the response body.

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concurrent http request httprequestpool pecl peclhttp extension

Link: http://emranhasan.com/2013/09/concurrent-requests-in-php-using-pecl_http/


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