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Fabian Schmengler:
Why I Am Actively Going to Drop PHP 5.3 Compatibility
December 11, 2014 @ 12:15:30

In a recent post to his site Fabian Schmengler has proposed a PHP 5.3 "Death March" in an effort to try to drop PHP 5.3 compatibility for applications and encourage the growth of PHP 5.4 and beyond.

An alarming large amount of websites still runs on PHP 5.3, which does not get updated anymore since 2014/08/14, after one year of "security only" support. In other words, the next critical security hole will only be fixed for versions above 5.4. By the way, active development of the PHP 5.4 branch was discontinued on 2014/09/14. it's already in the "security only" phase. On 2014/08/28, PHP 5.6 has been released, on 2013/06/20, almost 1.5 years ago, PHP 5.5. So, by now, in the year 2014 everybody should work on PHP 5.5, right? [...] Almost half of the Alexa Top 1M Sites that run on PHP, state the version 5.3, ca. one quarter even 5.2, which is not supported since Jan. 2011. PHP 5.2.17 even is the most used patch version in this statistic.

He goes through some of the thinks might be contributing to this drag in adoption including the slow migration of official Linux distribution packages and the incompatibility of applications and frameworks with newer PHP versions. He makes a few suggestions of what different groups can do to help the cause - developers, project managers and hosting companies. He provides a list of things that are either deprecated in 5.4 or have been completely removed.

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php53 php54 support compatibility drop

Link: http://www.schmengler-se.de/en/2014/11/why-i-am-actively-going-to-drop-php-5-3-compatibility/

Kevin Dunglas:
PHP 7 Introducing a domain name validator and making the URL validator stricter
November 28, 2014 @ 09:45:19

In his latest post Kevin Dunglas has released information about a patch for URL filtering that aims to bring more validation and functionality to the pre-existing filter_var functionality.

Until now, there was no PHP's filter validating that a given a string is a valid domain name (or hostname). Worst, FILTER_VALIDATE_URL was not fully enforcing domain name validity (this is mandatory for schemes such as http and https) and was allowing invalid URLs. FILTER_VALIDATE_URL was also lacking IPv6 host support.

His patch introduces support for domain validation rules more strict to what the RFC defines and includes IPv6 support. There's a few code examples included in the post showing the new support. He points out that there's still some things that aren't supported yet, like internationalized domains, but there's future plans for it.

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php7, filtervar, filter, url, domain, patch, support

Link: http://dunglas.fr/2014/11/php-7-introducing-a-domain-name-validator-and-making-the-url-validator-stricter/

PHP.net:
New Supported Versions Timeline Page
October 29, 2014 @ 11:18:40

The PHP.net website has introduced a new feature to help make it a bit clearer which versions of PHP are supported and which have reached their end-of-life mark. This new Supported versions page off the main site provides listings of currently supported versions and graphical timelines of past (and future) support milestones.

Each release branch of PHP is fully supported for two years from its initial stable release. During this period, bugs and security issues that have been reported are fixed and are released in regular point releases. After this two year period of active support, each branch is then supported for an additional year for critical security issues only. Releases during this period are made on an as-needed basis: there may be multiple point releases, or none, depending on the number of reports.

The page includes information on when the initial release in a series was made (like the 5.4.x or 5.5.x series), when active support did/will end and how long the timeline is for security fixes and support. As of the time of this post, PHP 5.3.x is the only series that has reached end-of-life, but the 5.4.x series is coming close being in security fix only mode now and EOL-ing completely in ten months.

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version support timeline page phpnet release bugfix security

Link: http://php.net/supported-versions.php

HHVM Blog:
HHVM Long Term Support
September 03, 2014 @ 10:50:20

The HHVM (HipHop VM from Facebook) has released an update on their blog today discussing some of the long term support they plan to provide for the project and what kinds of things it will involve.

HHVM is known for its very intense and quick development pace: currently we ship to GitHub the exact same code we use to run the Facebook site within minutes of every commit, and we release a full version every 8 weeks. That is great and at the same time scary if you are trying to build a business or infrastructure around it. The HHVM team at Facebook understands that in order to reach every corner of the PHP landscape our users need to have some sort of commitment, in order to plan their deployments accordingly and to know how upstream will react to security and stability fixes in already released versions, for example.

Starting with HHVM v3.3, they'll be supporting two major versions at all times. They provide a table of versions and dates to give you an idea of when the support coverage period is and when they'll end. There's also some discussions about the packaged released for the various linux distributions and what kinds of updates might be included in the long-term support (LTS) updates.

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hhvm support hiphop virtualmachine schedule longterm version

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/6083/hhvm-long-term-support

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Legacy Code is a Cancer
August 04, 2014 @ 11:08:45

In the latest post to the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc proposes the idea that "legacy code is a cancer" that can influence decisions and technology choices that shy away from the new and possibly more functional alternatives.

This might come out controversial, but I firmly believe there is no room for legacy code in modern systems. Allow me to elaborate before you sharpen your pitchfork and light your torch. What I mean by that is: there should be absolutely zero reason to keep implementing the functions you're adding to the new version retroactively into the old version, just because some people are still using it, even if the people using it are a vast majority.

He talks about the "support everything for as long as we can" ideal and how it can come back to bite you in the end. He suggests that, at some point, the v1 users have to "be discarded" and dropped for the upgraded version of the application. He talks about failure potentially brining around success and compares applications versus libraries and components and the upgrade path for each. He ends the post with a suggested upgrade path to move the system itself away from legacy support and into the new, latest version.

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legacy code cancer maintenance upgrade support users

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/legacy-code-cancer/

Phil Sturgeon:
Heroku and PHP Sitting in a Tree. K.I.S.S.I.N.G
May 12, 2014 @ 09:40:49

In a recent post Phil Sturgeon talks about the recent news from Heroku about their integrated PHP support and some of his own experience in using the new service feature and migrate his blog over.

Heroku was - as far as I remember - the first (mainstream) PaaS on the market. It was Ruby-only but it was that symbol of modern web development at the time, with the whole "slinging code", "getting shit done", make a Git repo and start shipping bro, hack project/agile-til-it-works mindset. [...] Git push your code, its deployed, one-click installs and drag to scale. It sucked that it was always for Ruby, because as I was also doing a lot of work in PHP I obviously wished I could have the same for my other projects.

He walks through some of the "evolution" of the PaaS (platform as a service) market as it related to PHP environments. He talks about other services like PHPFog, Pagodabox and Fortrabbit. The Heroku added true PHP support and he made his move. He goes through the steps he followed to get his blog migrated over and the commands needed to make the push.

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heroku paas platform service history support pyrocms

Link: http://philsturgeon.co.uk/blog/2014/05/heroku-and-php-sitting-in-a-tree

SitePoint PHP Blog:
HHVM and Hack on Heroku
April 30, 2014 @ 12:38:23

In a recent announcement Heroku, a popular platform as a service provider, announced that they now fully support native HHVM support to their platform offerings. In this new post to the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc shares some of his own thoughts on the announcement.

In a move that surprised most but displeased none, Heroku, the Cloud Application Platform, has added native HHVM support to their cloud. PHP has long been a viable solution for high traffic production apps, and has had one of the best package managers for a while, not to mention the fact that it's evolved significantly since the days of "simple hacks for small projects". The PHP "development model" has been anything but "hackish" in the professional circles for a while now. The unfortunate ignorance of Adam Gross aside, this really is some big news.

Heroku apparently saw an opportunity to engage a whole new area with the integration of HHVM (and Hack) support on their PHP instance offerings. They even offer a method for switching between the normal PHP instances and an HHVM one to make the transition as easy as possible.

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hhvm heroku support release instance paas

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/hhvm-hack-heroku/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Implementing Multi-Language Support
April 16, 2014 @ 12:18:39

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post from Jacek Barecki talking about a few ways you can include multi-language support in your PHP applications. There's not much in the way of actual code here, but there are links to some other tools that can help get the job done.

Setting up a multilingual site may be a good way to attract new customers to your business or gain more participants in your project. Translating a simple site with a few static pages probably won't probably be complicated, but more complex PHP web applications may require a lot of work when launching multiple language support. In this article I'll present different types of content that need to be taken under consideration when internationalizing a site.

He breaks it down into five different types of content that you might want to translate:

  • Multi-language Static Content
  • Database content
  • User submitted content
  • Resources (images, videos, etc)
  • Other types of content

He wraps it up with a few recommendations including making a checklist of the things you want to translate to figure out what tools you need to use.

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multilanguage support implementation content type

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/implementing-multi-language-support/

HHVM Blog:
HHVM 3.0.0
March 31, 2014 @ 10:15:00

The HHVM blog has an exciting new post for those using the HHVM and Hack language - they've officially released version 3.0.0 with complete Hack support.

At our last major version bump (2.0.0), we basically became a whole new project. We switched from a "PHP -> C++" translator to a virtual machine. This version bump (3.0.0) is a much less dramatic code shift (we're still a VM, don't worry), but this time the big announcement is that we support a new language, Hack.

They take a step back in time and look at the changes since 2.0.0 in organization, technology and community involvement. From there, they get into "the business" of what's in this new release including:

  • The old webserver is gone. If you get something like Uncaught exception: no factory for server type "libevent", you need to switch to fastcgi.
  • We are moving from .hdf config files to .ini.
  • Our most requested extension, mysqli is now in. (there's currently a bug, but the fix will be in 3.0.1).

You can find out more about the HHVM on the project's main website.

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hhvm release hack support v3 project facebook

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/4349/hhvm-3-0-0

Liip Blog:
HHVM and New Relic
March 28, 2014 @ 09:04:00

In this new post to the Liip blog Christian Stocker talks about how they use the popular application and server monitoring service New Relic with the HHVM (despite no official support).

As discussed in one of my last blog posts, we really like New Relic for performance metrics and use it a lot. Unfortunately there isn't an extension for HHVM (yet) and HHVM is becoming an important part in our setup. But - a big great coincidence - New Relic released an Agent SDK and with that, an example extension for HHVM and WordPress. That was a great start for me to get behind the whole thing.

He talks about writing a HHVM extension and includes an example of the implementation. Christian also talks about the challenges around profiling data and finding out where the requests "spend their time" in the execution. There's two solutions he suggests, but they each have their tradeoffs (a recompiled/patched version or a performance hit). He provides the extension they've built in this github repository.

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hhvm newrelic patch extension support agentsdk

Link: http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2014/03/27/hhvm-and-new-relic.html


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