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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Book Review Practical Design Patterns in PHP
October 22, 2014 @ 12:17:12

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted a new book review from editor Bruno Skvorc about the "Practical Design Patterns in PHP" book from author Brandon Savage. The review talks both about some of Bruno's impressions of the content in the book and a bit about self-publishing too.

This review of Brandon Savage's Practical Design Patterns in PHP will include my own opinions and impressions about both the book, and the aspect of self-publishing. Many thanks to Brandon for giving me a review copy. "Design patterns are about common solutions to common problems. [...] They are concepts, not blueprints; ideas, not finished designs. [...] They add clarity to an otherwise difficult situation."

Bruno starts off with a look at the actual content of the book: its coverage of each of the patterns (17 in all), ones that he sees as missing and some of his "gripes" with the examples provided. He also talks about Brandon's choice around models being where primary functionality lives. He finishes the post talking about what he calls the "curse of knowledge" (for example, mentioning other advanced topics without knowing of the reader understands them) and the thoughts around self-publishing and some of the issues he has with it.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/book-review-practical-design-patterns-php/

VitalFlux.com:
Top 10 PHP Code Review Tips
September 10, 2014 @ 11:15:31

On the VitalFlux site there's a recent post sharing a few tips (a Top 10 list) of things to think about when doing code reviews.

This article represents top 10 areas to consider while you are taking up the task to do the code review of a PHP project. The other day, I had a discussion with one of the PHP senior developers who asked me about where to start on the task related with reviewing a PHP web application and, we brainstormed and came up with the list. Interestingly, apart from few, most of them can be pretty much applied to applications written with other programming languages as well.

Their top ten list of things to look for during code reviews extend beyond just the syntax of the code and good coding practices. They also suggest things like:

  • Adherence to Business Functionality
  • Object-Oriented Principles
  • Security
  • Integration Patterns/Protocols

Code reviews, if done effectively and efficiently, can be a major benefit for producing quality code that not only adheres to standards but also follows good practices and principles (like SOLID).

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Link: http://vitalflux.com/top-10-php-code-review-tips/

Giorgio Sironi:
PHPUnit Essentials review
August 18, 2014 @ 11:52:00

Giorgio Sironi has posted a quick book review of a recent publication from Packt Publishing: "PHPUnit Essentials". The author, Zdenek Machek, has written a "practical guide featuring a step-by-step approach that aims to help PHP developers who want to learn or improve their software testing skills."

The first thing that struck me about the book was the breadth of subjects: you start from mocks and command line options, to get even to Selenium usage. [...] There is a bit of what may seem outdated information in the book such as how to perform a PEAR-based installation, but it's identified as such (PEAR being deprecated and dismissed by the end of the year.) Another seemingly outdated tool is Selenium IDE, but once upgraded with a formatter for Selenium2TestCase like explained in this book it becomes usable again. This kind of advice demonstrates the real world experience of the author and makes you trust the content.

He suggest that the book is more for those just starting out on their testing journey and wanting to get up to speed quickly with a wide range of tools, not just the base PHPUnit handling.

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Link: http://www.giorgiosironi.com/2014/08/phpunit-essentials-review.html

Codacy.com:
Review of PHP Static Analysis Tools
May 09, 2014 @ 11:35:15

The Codacy.com blog has posted a review of various static analysis tools for PHP-based applications. These tools can help provided quality and consistency in your code in a more automated way.

Maintaining code quality over time is a hard challenge. It becomes even harder in large projects developed by many programmers. Each person has different code styles and different ways to approach problems. Over time, this may result in confusing and unmaintainable code. Static analysis tools can help developers solve this problem, they enforce coding standards, detect common errors and cleanup code blocks.

Tools mentioned in the post include: PHP_CodeSniffer, the PHP Mess Detector and the PHP Copy & Paste Detector. Each comes with an example of the command to execute it and some sample results. They also talk briefly about where and how these tools could fit into your current workflow, either during development or as a part of a full deployment process.

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Link: http://blog.codacy.com/2014/05/06/php-static-analysis-tools/

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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ebook review samhennessey array filtering

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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activestate stackato paas private internal review tutorial


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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