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Symfony Finland Blog:
PHP and Symfony Structure, Stability and Flexibility
July 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.
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symfony framework past present future component bundle stability structure flexibility

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

SitePoint PHP Blog:
4 Best Chart Generation Options with PHP Components
June 26, 2015 @ 08:30:29

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new article posted sharing four of the best charting libraries they've seen for use in your PHP applications. Options include both server and client side tools, making finding one for your situation easier.

Data is everywhere around us, but it is boring to deal with raw data alone. That's where visualization comes into the picture. [...] So, if you are dealing with data and are not already using some kind of charting component, there is a good chance that you are going to need one soon. That's the reason I decided to make a list of libraries that will make the task of visualizing data easier for you.

He starts with a brief comparison of the server side versus client side options, pointing out some high level advantages and disadvantages of each. He then gets into each of the libraries, giving an overview, an output example and some sample code to get you started:

  • Google Charts (Client Side)
  • FusionCharts (Client Side)
  • pChart (Server Side)
  • ChartLogix PHP Graphs (Server Side)

He ends with a wrapup of the options and links to two other possibilities you could also evaluate to find the best fit.

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chart generation option component top4 list example output code

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/4-best-chart-generation-options-php-components/

Fortrabbit.com:
10 Pillars of Modern PHP Development
June 04, 2015 @ 08:27:50

On the Fortrabbit.com blog today they have a post where they share what they see as the 10 Pillars of PHP Development. It's a set of ten things they see as the most important to consider in a developer's work.

For most of us PHP developers writing applications now compared to ten or so years ago is quite a different endeavor. [...] This has changed in recent years. Classical web sites are becoming more and more the domain of specialized SaaS. [...] So web developers changed themselves by specializing and concentrating on what cannot be automated so easily: web applications. Along with this came a new mindset on how PHP development should be done and what tools should be used.

Their list of ten includes both generic topics (with a few subtopics for explanation) and specific technical items like:

  • Code management
  • Tests
  • Dependencies and modularization
  • Runtime data
  • Deployment

Check out the rest of the post for other "pillars" in their list and explanations for each.

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top10 list pillars topics focus application development

Link: http://blog.fortrabbit.com/10-pillars-php-dev

Marc Aube:
Choosing your project's dependencies
June 02, 2015 @ 11:01:59

Marc Aube has shared some thoughts about picking your project's dependencies and considerations to think about when building your applications.

If you work on any non-trivial project, chances are you'll install one or many external dependencies at some point. [...] However, you shouldn't bring any library in your codebase. While Packagist has, at the time of writing, around 60000 packages you could use in your project, most of them are not production quality. Here's a list of things to look for when choosing a generic library for a mission-critical project, in no particular order.

Among the things he suggests, there's tips like:

  • Ensure it has a stable version
  • That it's extensible
  • It's active and maintained
  • The license permits the intended use
  • It has quality documentation

For each he offers a brief paragraph or two explaining the point and examples where appropriate of projects matching the topic.

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dependencies project opinion list suggestion choice

Link: http://marcaube.ca/2015/06/choosing-dependencies/

Lorna Mitchell:
Code Reviews Before You Even Run The Code
June 02, 2015 @ 09:50:01

Lorna Mitchell has posted a list of helpful tips to perform good code reviews on submissions before even trying to run the code for correctness.

I do a lot of code reviewing, both in my day job as principal developer and also as an open source maintainer. Sometimes it seems like I read more code than I write! Is that a problem? I'm tempted to say that it isn't. To be a good writer, you must be well-read; I believe that to be a good developer, you need to be code-omnivorous and read as much of other people's code as possible. Code reviews are like little chapters of someone else's code to dip into.

She offers several tips you can follow to make the reviews you do more effective including:

  • Ensuring you understand the change
  • Are the changes where you'd expect?
  • Does the commit history make sense
  • Evaluate the diff to ensure the changes themselves are valid

She only then recommends trying out the code. Following the suggestions above can help ferret out issues that may be hidden by just running the code and not fully looking into the changes.

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code review suggestion list opinion before execution

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2015/code-reviews-before-you-even-run-the-code

Laravel News:
Everything we know about Laravel 5.1 - Updated
May 29, 2015 @ 08:59:30

With the next Laravel release (5.1) coming soon, the Laravel News site has gathered together all of the information that's been shared about what's to come. In this new post they list some of the updates and code where needed to illustrate.

Laravel 5.1 is scheduled for release in May and lots of new features will be included in this release. Here is a list of eight of the big changes and new features.

Their list of eight includes things like:

  • LTS, Long Time Support
  • Resolve a service from blade
  • Middleware Parameters
  • Broadcasting Events

You can find out more about these and others on the list in the full post.

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laravel5 version upcoming new feature updated top8 list

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2015/04/laravel-5-1/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Mastering Composer - Tips and Tricks
May 26, 2015 @ 11:02:32

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial today from editor Bruno Skvorc with some tips and tricks to help you master Composer, the widely popular PHP package management tool.

Composer has revolutionized package management in PHP. It upped the reusability game and helped PHP developers all over the world generate framework agnostic, fully shareable code. But few people ever go beyond the basics, so this post will cover some useful tips and tricks.

Tips in his list include:

  • Installing Composer globally
  • Using "composer require" to install packages
  • Committing your composer.lock file
  • Options to provide profiling information
  • Speeding up Composer installations

...and many more. If you're looking to take your Composer usage and knowledge beyond the basics, definitely check out this article.

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master composer tips tricks advanced list

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/mastering-composer-tips-tricks/

NetTuts.com:
E-mail List Alternatives With PHP Using Mailgun's List API
May 25, 2015 @ 08:12:15

In a new tutorial posted to the NetTuts.com site they show you an alternative method for sending emails from your PHP application: using the Mailgun API. This API provides an interface into the Mailgun service, specifically made for sending emails without the hassles of hosting your own email server.

Over the past couple years I've run into various frustrations with both open source email list applications and paid cloud-based providers. In this tutorial, I'll guide you through my adoption of Mailgun.com, an economical solution I've been using successfully now for two years. [...] Mailgun is a cloud-based SaaS email cannon, like SendGrid. It's actually free for up to 10,000 emails per month. Mailgun is incredibly powerful and offers a well-documented API in a variety of popular languages. It provides for both send and receive capabilities, the latter of which can be quite difficult to develop from scratch. While Mailgun doesn't provide templates for rich HTML newsletters, it provides a platform upon which you can build anything.

He shows you how to use the service using a simple "ListApp" application (found on GitHub here) that provides some of the most common email list management functionality. He shows you how to set up a free Mailgun account and where to find their PHP SDK for the PHP integration. He then gets into the code examples, showing how to connect to the API via the SDK and doing tasks such as:

  • Creating and update a mailing list
  • Importing members to a list
  • Showing a list of current list subscribers
  • Send a new message
  • Synchronizing lists and members

He ends the post with a quick section about extending the ListApp application (or the PHP SDK) with a suggestion to add better error reporting or a queue system to manage the remote API requests more efficiently.

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tutorial email list alternative mailgun api sdk listapp github

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/e-mail-list-alternatives-with-php-using-mailguns-list-api--cms-22824

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).

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lexer parser example javascript tries tree data structure

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

Sahand Saba:
9 Anti-Patterns Every Programmer Should Be Aware Of
May 13, 2015 @ 11:29:50

In a recent post to his site Sahand Saba has posted a list of nine anti-patterns every programmer should avoid. This list isn't language specific and ranges in types of advice from general programming practices down to more specific "code smells" to avoid. The code examples are in Python but you can interpolate them into the world of PHP pretty easily.

A healthy dose of self-criticism is fundamental to professional and personal growth. When it comes to programming, this sense of self-criticism requires the ability to detect unproductive or counter-productive patterns in designs, code, processes, and behaviour. This is why a knowledge of anti-patterns is very useful for any programmer. This article is a discussion of anti-patterns that I have found to be recurring, ordered roughly based on how often I have come across them, and how long it took to undo the damage they caused.

The list of nine includes things like:

  • Premature Optimization
  • God Class
  • Inner-platform Effect
  • Management by Numbers

Each item on the list includes a few subheadings talking about what it is, why it's bad, how to avoid it and some code examples (where appropriate) to find it in your code.

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antipatterns nine list programmer avoid opinion

Link: http://sahandsaba.com/nine-anti-patterns-every-programmer-should-be-aware-of-with-examples.html


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