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Magium Blog:
3 Best Practices for Selenium Testing when Constructing Your Page
Feb 17, 2016 @ 09:55:26

In a new post to the Magium site Kevin Schroeder shares three helpful tips you can use for the Selenium testing of your application based on some of his recent development on the project.

Having spent now about two months building out Magium there are a couple of things that are worth sharing as I’ve been working through several different versions of Magento. These practices (best practices?) may or may not be “officialized” by the Overlords of the Internet but what I have found is that I have the most trouble when these practices are not executed.

The basic premise behind each of these is that the quickest path to the most specific element is best.

His three tips avoid things like long XPath expressions to locate single items and favor consistency and simplicity:

  • Wrap ALL text in an HTML element – leave no orphaned text
  • If an element has function, identify it.
  • Group data using classes and IDs

He ends the post with a reminder that a well-structured page not only helps with testing but is also a good goal to strive for related to maintainability.

tagged: selenium testing magento tips top3 structure

Link: http://magiumlib.com/blog/3-best-practices-for-selenium-testing-when-constructing-your-page/

Davey Shafik:
The Visibility Debate
Feb 16, 2016 @ 10:43:04

Davey Shafik has a post to his site with some of his thoughts about the "visibility debate" - essentially when the different method/property visibility types make the most sense.

A lot has been said about when to use public/private/protected. Some say that you should never use private, while others say you should never use protected.

About the only thing that people can seem to agree on is that public should be used with caution. That your versioning should be based around your public API, and you have a responsibility to maintain that API. The issue is mainly around the maintenance responsibility of protected vs private. Given that other developers can depend upon protected, it can effectively be considered to have the same overhead as your public API.

He shares some of his own reasoning behind how he uses the different levels in his own code. He touches on each of the different levels, sharing when and how he thinks it should be used to keep a well-structured, consistent API for your library or application.

tagged: visibility opinion public private protected api structure consistency

Link: https://daveyshafik.com/archives/69929-the-visibility-debate.html

Rudi Theunissen:
Efficient data structures for PHP 7
Feb 09, 2016 @ 10:49:37

In this recent article over on Medium.com Rudi Theunissen looks at more efficient data structures for PHP 7 and the introduction of a library that wants to help replace some of the current functionality and dependencies on things like arrays.

PHP has one data structure to rule them all. The array is a complex, flexible, master-of-none, hybrid data structure, combining the behaviour of a list and a linked map. But we use it for everything, because PHP is pragmatic.

[...] The recent release of PHP 7 caused a lot of excitement in the PHP community. We couldn't wait to start using the new features and get a taste of the ~2x performance boost. One of the reasons why it runs that much faster is because the array was redesigned. But it’s still the same structure, “optimised for everything; optimised for nothing” with room for improvement.

He starts with a brief mention of some of the current topics around data structures - the SPL functionality, why fixing them would be difficult and, finally, introducing the library that seeks to supersede them. The remainder of the post goes through the pieces of functionality the library offers and explains how each works including videos and graphs of the performance results:

  • Collection
  • Sequence
  • Vector
  • Deque
  • Stack
  • Queue and PriorityQueue
  • Hashable
  • Map
  • Set

He also answers some of the most common questions he's gotten about the library including the level of testing, documentation for the project and why he structured certain elements and features how he did.

tagged: data structure php7 library ds spl optimized video code

Link: https://medium.com/@rtheunissen/efficient-data-structures-for-php-7-9dda7af674cd#.xg74fpxwg

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Appserver – Server Configuration, Dir Structure and Threads
Feb 01, 2016 @ 09:25:05

The SitePoint PHP blog continues their series looking at the features of the appserver.io project in this second post covering its server configuration, directory structure and how it handles threads during processing.

In the first part of our Appserver series, we discussed the very high level differences of Appserver’s architecture to standard web server stacks and got you up and running with an Appserver instance.

[...] In this part, we will be exploring the Appserver architecture a bit more in depth. We will go through the concepts of the different contexts and the parts of Appserver you get out of the box, which cover some of the ground most of the popular PHP frameworks offer. We will also configure the web server and look into an application’s structure. Once we are finished, you should have a fair understanding about Appserver’s contexts in relation to threading, the web server, and its setup.

They start with the threading functionality, showing how "contexts" come in to play and how the code executes as long as this context is alive. The post then gets into some of the code-related differences with using appserver such as extra annotation handling and AOP (aspect oriented programming) practices. From there they get into the tech behind the scenes: configuring the web server, setting up a virtual host and pointing it at the sample application. Finally they talk about the servlet engine and the server's directory structure underneath.

tagged: appserverio project opensource server configuration directory structure thread processsing

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/appserver-server-configuration-dir-structure-and-threads/

Woody Gilk:
Immutable Data Structures in PHP
Sep 23, 2015 @ 11:48:34

Woody Gilk has posted an article to his site looking at immutable data structures in PHP and a library that's come from the research and work he did to implement them in PHP.

As someone who most often works with PHP I often find myself envious of the more advanced data structures that are present in a language like Python. As an experiment, I decided to see if it would be possible to bring some of those basic structures to PHP while also preserving immutability. The result of this experiment is Destrukt.

He starts off talking about immutable data structures and introducing some of the basic concepts and usage around them. He notes that they "cannot be modified by accident" and how, if they do need to be changed, they'd actually be reassigned not updated. He then talks about PHP arrays, how they're normally used in PHP and how their flexibility can lead to potential issues in the code. His library implements more strict versions of the same functionality in the form of dictionaries, orderedlists, unorderedlists and sets. He includes examples of using the library to create these objects and how to get the data back out of them for evaluation.

tagged: immutable data structure introduction destrukt dictionary orderedlist unorderedlist set

Link: http://shadowhand.me/immutable-data-structures-in-php/

Dylan Bridgman:
Improving perceived load time
Aug 06, 2015 @ 09:43:34

On Medium.com Dylan Bridgman has posted a tutorial with a few tips helping you improve the perceived load time of your application, the time between when the page starts loading and the user can first do something with its contents.

In this article I will concentrate on perceived load time. That is the time from when a page starts loading until the user is able to proceed. There have been other articles on this topic, some of which go into far more detail in some areas. My intention is to give a summary on the latest information and what you should be doing in PHP. I will link to additional information where applicable.

He breaks the advice up into three main categories: output buffering, multiple connections and using correctly structured pages. Under each section there's a few sub-points with more information, details on implementation and links to other additional information. He also includes an example that combines all of the advice into one PHP/HTML script outputting some basic content.

tagged: perceived load time tutorial outputbuffer thread structure

Link: https://medium.com/@dylanbr/improving-perceived-load-time-a83aa32851b0

Dylan Bridgman:
Writing highly readable code
Jul 30, 2015 @ 12:29:55

Dylan Bridgman has posted a few helpful tips on writing code that's "highly readable" and easier for both developers inside and outside the project to understand.

We are always told that commenting our code is important. Without comments other developers will not be able to understand what we did and our future selves will recoil in horror when doing maintenance. Readable code, however, is not only about comment text. More importantly it is about the style, structure and naming. If you get into the habit of writing easily readable code, you will actually find yourself writing less comments.

He breaks it up into a few different categories to keep in mind as you're writing your code:

  • the overall style of the code
  • the structure of the application (directories, libraries used, etc)
  • naming conventions for variables, methods and classes

Finally, he talks about comments and how they should fit into the ideas of readable code. He suggests that they should stay as high level as possible and explain the intent of the code, not what the code is doing (yes, there's a difference).

tagged: write readable code tips style structure naming convention comments

Link: https://medium.com/@dylanbr/writing-highly-readable-code-94da94d5d636

Symfony Finland Blog:
PHP and Symfony: Structure, Stability and Flexibility
Jul 03, 2015 @ 09:12:45

On the Symfony Finland blog they've posted a look at Symfony's past, present and future in terms of its structure and goals of stability and flexibility. This also includes some of the origins of PHP itself and how it evolved to the stage where creating framework made sense.

I like to think of modern PHP frameworks as glue to put together components to form something that is more than the sum of it's parts. [...] The Symfony Framework is a standard way (and framework code) to create applications using components. The application is always built with a specific structure, which allows code reuse of complete functionalities (Bundles in Symfony lingo) across projects. If you build using a collection of components, you'll need to invest time in learning how that software has decided to use the available components.

He talks more about the idea of components and how they make up a greater whole (like Symfony) and how they relate to the idea of "bundles". He then looks forward to the future of the framework, its long-term support and its work towards being fully PHP7 compatible.

The combination of the PHP language at 20 years and the Symfony framework at 10 years offers a stable platform with flexibility to adapt and grow in the future.
tagged: symfony framework past present future component bundle stability structure flexibility

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/php-and-symfony-structure-stability-and-flexibility

Anthony Ferrara:
Tries and Lexers
May 18, 2015 @ 09:47:32

Anthony Ferrara has an interesting new post to his site talking about tries and lexers, two pieces of a puzzle that are used during script execution. In this case, he's tried his hand at writing a parser which, naturally, lead to needing a lexer.

Lately I have been playing around with a few experimental projects. The current one started when I tried to make a templating engine. Not just an ordinary one, but one that understood the context of a variable so it could encode/escape it properly. [...] So, while working on the templating engine, I needed to build a parser. Well, actually, I needed to build 4 parsers. [...] I decided to hand write this dual-mode parser. It went a lot easier than I expected. In a few hours, I had the prototype built which could fully parse Twig-style syntax (or a subset of it) including a more-or-less standards-compliant HTML parser. [...] But I ran into a problem. I didn't have a lexer...

He starts with a brief description of what a lexer is and provides a simple example of an expression and how it would be parsed into its tokens. He then talks about the trie, a method for "walking" the input and representing the results in a tree structure. He shows a simple implementation of it in PHP, iterating over a set of tokens and the array results it produces. He then takes this and expands it out a bit into a "lex" function that iterates over the string and compiles the found tokens.

From there he comes back to the subject of Javascript, pointing out that it's a lot looser than PHP in how it even just allows numbers to be defined. His testing showed a major issue though - memory consumption. He found that a regular expression method consumed too much and tried compiling out to classes instead (and found it much faster once the process was going).

tagged: lexer parser example javascript tries tree data structure

Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2015/05/tries-and-lexers.html

NetTuts.com:
How the Directory Structure Has Changed in Laravel 5
Apr 16, 2015 @ 09:47:47

On the NetTuts.com site today they have a new tutorial (screencast) posted showing what the changes are in the directory structure of Laravel 5.

The newest version of Laravel was released in February, and the most noticeable change in version 5 is the new directory structure. In this short video tutorial, I'll explain exactly what's changed and why.

The video is a part of a larger series and is one of two free videos for it. The remainder of the series covers things like middleware, contracts, events, forms and validation as well as the command bus and its use.

tagged: laravel5 screencast directory structure change tutorial series

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/articles/how-the-directory-structure-has-changed-in-laravel-5--cms-23795