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Medium.com:
Getting Started With Laravel 4 - A Book Review
March 19, 2014 @ 12:52:57

On Medium.com there's a recent post reviewing the book "Getting Started with Laravel 4". In the review Christopher Pitt briefly covers both the good and bad parts of the book.

This book is aimed at newcomers to PHP development, and to Laravel 4 in particular. It doesn't disappoint. It starts slow, talking about the need for, and role filled by frameworks. It explains what Composer does, and why it's useful for frameworks like Laravel. It's not the typical "Laravel needs Composer, here's the code you use" stuff. There are 40 pages of what is essentially a very gentle introduction, before you even start writing code.

He talks about the sample application the book walks you through creating and some other topics around it including unit testing and artisan commands. He mentions the more popular Code Bright book and points out that he believes it (Code Bright) to be a better deal for the money if you're looking for the more comprehensive intro to Laravel.

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Link: https://medium.com/tech-reviews/f8881d2014c7

CodeBlog.ch:
Book Review - Learning FuelPHP for Effective PHP Development
December 06, 2013 @ 10:58:51

On the CodeBlog they've posted a review of a recent release from Packt Publishing about using the FuelPHP framework for beginners.

I've been playing around with FuelPHP for a while and despite the fact that I haven't used it in production, it has been on my watch list ever since I first saw it. When I saw the new book about FuelPHP by Ross Tweedie, I was eager to read it - here's my feedback about. If you just want to buy the book, you can get it at Amazon or directly from Packt Publishing.

The review looks at each chapter and provides an overview of its contents (seven of them). It also talks some about the target audience for the book - intermediate to advanced PHP developers wanting to learn more about the framework. To be clear, this is not an "introduction to PHP" book too. He points out some of the "bads" about the book including major concepts being explained too high-level and confusion about what exactly to do in certain steps of the process.

Should I read this book? It depends on your background - I wouldn't recommend it if you're a PHP programmer who hasn't worked with namespaces, databases before. [...] I'd definitely recommend to book if you worked with other frameworks like CodeIgniter, Yii, Zend .. before and now want to have a look at FuelPHP. You'll get a good impression about its possibilities!
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Link: http://www.codeblog.ch/2013/12/fuelphp-book-review/

PHP Manual Masterpieces:
PHP 2.0 A Review in Retrospect
November 01, 2013 @ 10:33:19

The "PHP Manual Masterpieces" site has varied a bit from its usual format and has gone with its own "blast from the past" doing a review in retrospect of PHP 2.0, a long forgotten version of the language with some "interesting" features.

This is not about PHP as we now know it in the waning months of 2013. This is about the waning months of the year 1997. I was nine years old. My life was not yet overshadowed by haphazard scripting languages. Somewhere in the wilderness, during a savage thunderstorm in the dead of night, a Danish Canadian pushed the 2.0 revision of his personal home page generator's tarball to a web server.

The post looks at some of the "horrors" that made up PHP at that time including:

  • The footer PHP/FI added to every page
  • No real concept of input/output filtering
  • The use of register_globals
  • Weird handling of superglobal values
  • The inclusion of magic_quotes

And, of course, all of these (and more) complete with quotes from the manual at the time talking about reasons behind their use and code where appropriate.

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Link: http://phpmanualmasterpieces.tumblr.com/post/65544023819/php-2-0-a-review-in-retrospect

Eric Ritz:
BOTW PHP Array Filtering (Book Review)
July 25, 2013 @ 10:35:30

In a new post to his site Eric Ritz shares a book review of Sam Hennessey's "PHP Array Filtering" ebook in his "Use Case" series.

This week I read "PHP Array Filtering" by Sam Hennessy. My intent was to read another book but in the middle of the week Mr. Hennessy asked me to check out his book. I don't know the author and we'd never spoken before, so I was surprised. I find it humbling when anyone asks my thoughts on anything programming related, so because of that - and since the book is a short read anyways - I decided to write about it today and write about my previous choice next Sunday.

Eric walks through some of the contents of the book noting that, because of the vast amount of array support in PHP, is probably a viable topic on its own for an ebook. He goes through the sections of the book, picking out specifically picking out the filtering section (main topic of the book and all). He also points out a few problems with the book, two things that were suggestions, not really errors. He recommends it for what it is, though - a reference book for those working with arrays.

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Link: http://ericjmritz.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/botw-php-array-filtering

Andrew Podner:
Using Stackato for PHP Applications in a Private PaaS
March 18, 2013 @ 12:17:51

In this new post to his site Andrew Podner looks at using the Stackato software from ActiveState to provide a Platform-as-a-Service environment on any cloud infrastructure.

So, now it is settled, I want to stay inside the corporate firewall, but I want each application isolated from the next, and by the way, there is no budget for any of this. I posted about three PaaS providers a while back, and started thinking that what I really needed was PaaS, but I needed to be able to host the PaaS environment inside a corporate LAN. Off to search the web. Surprisingly, there were not just a ton of viable results in that search. Even more surprising...hard to find one with a "download here" button. No matter how I searched though, one company & product kept popping up: Stackato by ActiveState. The words "Free Micro Cloud" were a very encouraging sign. So let's take this thing for a spin and see just how easy it is...

He walks you through the installation process - downloading the VMs, setting up the initial configuration and how to use the command line tool to deploy your own applications (several come preconfigured though). He also includes an example configuration (YAML) you can use to configure custom applications and some sample code showing a database connection.

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Andrew Podner:
PHP Apps and Platform as a Service
January 07, 2013 @ 09:30:27

Andrew Podner has a new post to his site today talking about platform as a service providers out there that offer PHP support. He mentions three different ones, but goes into more depth on getting a site set up with AppFog.

There are several options out there for PHP apps using this medium for deployment, and picking one is not always the easiest thing to do. The most interesting thing that I noticed about the various PaaS providers that I looked at was they way they differentiate their pricing models. [...] The PaaS providers do not make the choice nearly as simple [as VPS providers]. Each of them has different options to consider and different terminology that describes their particular product offering.

He briefly covers the offerings of three providers - Engine Yard/Orchestra, PagodaBox and AppFog. Its the final one he's most interested in, so he gets into the details and steps you'll need to create an account, set up an application and make your first push out to their platform. He also includes a hint on how to set up a .htaccess file if your application's document root is in something other than the base directory.

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platformasaservice paas review appfog tutorial


James Fuller:
First Impressions Cloud9 IDE + PHP
December 27, 2012 @ 13:41:24

James Fuller has posted a review of the online code editing tool Cloud9 and how well it works for his PHP development.

At first I though Cloud9 would be a simple editor, perhaps a nice showcase of what you can do with HTML5 and some well-written javascript but it quickly became evident that this app was packing a lot of powerful features. [...] Sounds pretty awesome if you think about it. You can even connect you own server via SSH instead of using the build in sandbox (this is a paid feature). Is this the Holy-Grail? Not Really, but it's close. This is a very exciting product that almost reaches holy-grail status, but it falls short in a few key areas.

He includes a little bit about trying to use PHP 5.5 in the Cloud9 editing, and points out that while he was (eventually) able to get the PHP 5.5 alpha compiled, he wasn't able to get things like memcache compiled and working.

The Cloud9 team has done a great job removing the barriers to getting a simple idea out the door. I implemented FizzBuzz in PHP using Composer, PHPUnit, and some SPL interfaces and got it all done , and posted to GitHub in about an hour.
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QaFoo:
Code Review Tool
November 05, 2012 @ 09:41:16

On the QaFoo site they've shared a tool they use for doing code reviews in a new post to their blog. The tool, just called review, lets you run several different metrics on the code including the PHP "mess detector", PDepend and PHPCPD (copy & paste detector).

We, at Qafoo, do Code Reviews quite often together with our customers. This often focusses on dicussing metrics, browsing the associated code and discussing solutions for the issues found. We started using a bunch of shell scripts for that, like everyone else, but at some point we came up with a webinterface to do this in a more comfortable way. Now we want to share this tool with you.

Included in the post are several screenshots showing the results of the different types of evaluations - the ones mentioned above as well as things like "methods per class", cyclomatic complexity and NPath complexity. There's also a source code browser and a visual class structure generation tool (UML). It's under a AGPLv3 license and can be found on their site.

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PHPMaster.com:
The Importance of Code Review
August 31, 2012 @ 12:08:50

PHPMaster.com has a new article about a practice that's becoming more popular in recent years to help increase the quality of code that comes out of development - code reviews.

Every developer knows the pain of banal mistakes. A wrong attribute here, a misspelled property there, an accidentally duplicated line of code which you missed because of the coffee-fueled 16 hour hackathon you've been on. [...] Code review is simply the act of having someone else look at your code to find the mistakes you missed.

The tutorial talks about the types of code reviews (three of them with varying levels of involvement) as well as some best practices to follow in your reviews like:

  • Know your common mistakes and actively fight them.
  • Peer code review means being reviewed by someone of equal or greater skill.
  • Collect metrics.
  • Be mindful of the social aspect - finding bugs is good, not bad!
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PHPMaster.com:
PhpStorm - Review and Give Away
August 14, 2012 @ 09:37:01

On PHPMaster.com today there's a new article posted that has a review of PHPStorm, an IDE from JetBrains that focuses on providing a great experience for PHP developers and tons of features.

It's said the tool doesn't make the craft - a carpenter can drive a nail into a wooden plank using a hammer, a rock, another plank, or his forehead, but he'll rarely choose anything other than the hammer. [...] I'm talking about using a text editor versus using a full-fledged PHP-dedicated project-oriented IDE for PHP application development. Both will get the job done, but productivity-wise, one is obviously a better choice than the other.

Bruno Skvorc goes through a brief summary of what the editor is about and talks about some of the more notable features including:

  • Being built on Java (good and bad)
  • The IDE being strictly project-oriented
  • Supports the latest PHP version, including 5.4
  • Smart refactoring
  • Good intellisense support

He also mentions the plugin architecture that's included with the product and a few of the more handy plugins available. They're also running a giveaway in collaboration with the PHPStorm folks and are giving out IDE licenses and copies of SitePoint's "PHPMaster: Create Cutting Edge Code" book (rules are included in the article).

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