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SitePoint PHP Blog:
How to Speed Up Your App's API Consumption
April 11, 2014 @ 10:51:23

The SitePoint PHP blog has some advice posted today from Jacek Barecki about how you can speed up your use of other APIs with a few performance increasing tips.

In the process of creating a PHP application you may come to a point when keeping it isolated from remote resources or services may become a barrier in its development. To move along with the project you may employ different API services to fetch remote data, connect with user accounts on other websites or transform resources shared by your application. [...] But using APIs in an incorrect way can quickly lead to performance issues and lengthen the execution time of your script. If you're looking for a way to avoid it, consider implementing some of the solutions described in the article.

He recommends four things you can think about doing to help make the most effective use of these services:

  • Make multiple requests at a time
  • Separate API calls from the app main flow
  • Build a smart cache engine
  • Master the API documentation
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api performance recommendation tips usage

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/speed-apps-api-consumption/

Coding the Architecture:
Five things every developer should know about software architecture
March 05, 2014 @ 11:57:58

While not specific to PHP, this new article on the Coding the Architecture blog gives some good insights on what developers should know about software architecture.

Now I may be biased, but a quick look at my calendar hints to me that there's a renewed and growing interest in software architecture. Although I really like much of the improvement the agile movement has provided to the software development industry, I still can't help feeling that there are a large number of teams out there who struggle with a lack of process.

[...] Put very simply, software architecture plays a pivotal role in the delivery of successful software yet it's frustratingly neglected by many teams. Whether performed by one person or shared amongst the team, the architecture role exists on even the most agile of teams yet the balance of up front and evolutionary thinking often reflects aspiration rather than reality. The big problem is that software architecture has fallen out of favour over the past decade or so. Here are five things that every software developer should know about it.

Each of the five things comes with a paragraph of explanation (and some links to additional resources):

  • Software architecture isn't about big design up front
  • Every software team needs to consider software architecture
  • The software architecture role is about coding, coaching and collaboration
  • You don't need to use UML
  • A good software architecture enables agility
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software developer tips top5 architecture

Link: http://www.codingthearchitecture.com/2014/03/05/five_things_every_developer_should_know_about_software_architecture.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Keeping Your PHP Code Well Documented
February 19, 2014 @ 10:15:19

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post by Jacek Barecki talking about documenting your code and some suggestions for keeping this documentation useful.

Pretty much every PHP developer writes comments along with the actual code. But the language itself doesn't impose any rules on how to do so. You just have to wrap them around some specific tags and then you can write any content you want. So what exactly should be put in the comment blocks to keep them useful? Which parts of the code should be documented and which shouldn't? In this article I will present some important rules which may help you in keeping your PHP code well documented and understandable.

There's three suggestions included in the article, each with a bit of explanation and a few screenshots to illustrate:

  • Write code that explains itself
  • Keep the balance
  • Remember about the doc blocks
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documentation understandable useful tips tutorial

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/keeping-php-code-well-documented/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Web Performance Tricks - Beyond the Basics
January 23, 2014 @ 11:55:28

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post sharing some general web performance tricks that could be done to any application to speed things up a bit. Note that this is a sponsored article but it does not promote the sponsor's product.

We've had a lot of performance talk over the years here at SitePoint, and we believe it's time to revisit the topic with some more advanced aspects. The approaches mentioned in this article won't be strictly PHP related, but you can be sure they'll bring your application to a whole new level if used properly. Note that we won't be covering the usual stuff - fewer requests for CSS, JS and images meaning faster websites and similar hints are common knowledge. Instead, we'll be focusing on some less known/used upgrades.

Their list of suggestions include things like:

  • Removing unnecessary HTML tags
  • Prefetching and caching content
  • Using tools like CSS Lint and CSS Explain
  • Using Google's Page Speed tool to find bottlenecks
  • Use things like SPDY, WebP and Zopfil
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web performance tips advanced list

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/web-performance-tricks-beyond-basics/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Becoming a PHP Professional The Importance of Others
December 03, 2013 @ 09:59:37

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post in the "Becoming a PHP Professional" series today from Bruno Skvorc. In this latest post he talks about the importance of other people in the process, including both learning (being mentored) and teaching (mentor).

When you work on improving your skills on your own, you'll often find yourself stuck. In fact, the experts frequently find themselves stuck more often than newbies, but it's the speed and skill with which they "unstick" themselves that makes them stand out in the cold, snowy field of identically unimpressive snowflakes.

He talks about having an "invisible friend" or another non-developer to talk to that may provide a different perspective (see rubber ducking). He covers teams and both the good and bad of being a part of them. He also looks at the mentoring/being mentored relationship and some places you can go to get more information about both in the PHP community. Finally, he looks at a tricky topic - ego in development and the inflation that can happen as your skill level grows.

Others around you - either digitally or in real life - can protect you from both inflation and deflation - a good mentor or colleague will tell you when you're steering wrong, and they'll motivate you when you're in a slump. They'll help you avoid the multi-month cooldown periods and the post-burnout lack of interest that eventually occurs.
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professional tips importance others team ego mentor

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/becoming-php-professional-importance-others/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Becoming a PHP Professional The Missing Link
November 18, 2013 @ 13:55:36

On the SitePoint PHP blog today Bruno Skvorc has posted some tips to helping you become a "PHP professional" and advance your skills and, potentially, your career in web application development.

When reading various PHP related blogs, Quora questions, Google+ communities, newsletters and magazines, I often notice extreme polarization of skill. Questions are either at the "How do I connect to a MySQL database?" level or something in the range of "How do I best scale my mailing system to send over one million emails per hour without introducing a new server?" I personally distinguish between 4 distinct levels of PHP prowess (likely applicable to any language/profession): beginner, intermediate, professional and elite.

He starts by looking at "the extremes" - the absolute beginners and the highly experienced professionals that have spent a lot of time "honing their skill". Somewhere in the middle are the intermediate developers. These are the ones he focuses on for the rest of the article, providing them with the knowledge and resource to advance. His recommendations include:

  • Abandon spaghetti code
  • Learn to set up your own PHP environment
  • Exercise best practices early
  • Read
  • Find a buddy/mentor

There's a description for each one - and several more - with links to resources and other information to get more detail.

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professional tips intermediate topics resources

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/becoming-php-professional-missing-link/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Easy Wins For More Performant PHP
November 14, 2013 @ 16:18:53

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today with some easy wins you can update your PHP applications with to gain some overall performance. These five helpful tips cover a few different topics, including some that make use of external tools to provide that extra boost of speed your app may need.

Making your website more performant can require a lot of layers. From setting up a reverse-proxy cache with Varnish to configuring a group of load balancers, there are many well-documented options. What if you're just starting out? What if you have a smaller application? Are there things you can do now that will make difference? This article will explore easy wins for more performant PHP you can implement either as standard practices for your development team or principles you can retrofit for an existing application.

Their five tips involve using:

  • At least PHP 5.4
  • Autoloading with classmaps
  • A reduced amount of memory in classes
  • XDebug to do some profiling
  • OpCode caching
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performance suggestion tips application tutorial

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/easy-wins-performant-php/

Software Testing Magazine:
PHPUnit Tips & Tricks
October 11, 2013 @ 09:42:44

The Software Testing Magazine site has posted some helpful tips for using PHPUnit in a new post. This is part of a series - the first post introducing PHPUnit and the second showing how to use mocks and stubs.

I have showed how to set up PHPUnit and how to get started with unit tests and how to handle mocking and stubbing objects in order to effectively isolate your code under test. This article will explore a few ways to get the most out of your PHPUnit tests.

They cover a few different topics including:

  • Working with static methods
  • Working with frameworks
  • Working with databases
  • Effective testing for current and new projects
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phpunit tips tricks advanced static framework database

Link: http://www.softwaretestingmagazine.com/knowledge/phpunit-tips-tricks/

Federico Cargnelutti:
API Development Tips
July 17, 2013 @ 13:50:45

Federico Cargnelutti has a quick post to his site today sharing some general API tips you could follow when creating your backend application.

Organizations who are paying attention already know they need to have an open web API, and many already have under development or in the wild. Make sure you haven't been caught by the pitfalls of many early API releases.

He briefly mentions the idea of having multiple points of failure and includes five more general tips based on information from this video:

  • Test it all
  • Plan for future versions
  • Embrace standards
  • Monitor everything & be honest
  • Fail well
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api development tips list video test version standards monitoring fail

Link: http://blog.fedecarg.com/2013/07/17/api-development-tips

NetTuts.com:
10 Tips for Learning a New Technology
May 10, 2013 @ 10:54:10

On NetTuts.com today they've posted a list of tips they think will help you learn a new technology faster. They've broken it up into ten different steps, some which could be done at any time but some have a bit more of an order.

We live in a very exciting time. Never before has education been so cheaply available to the masses (if not free). The medium, itself, has made tectonic shifts from a classroom setting, to blogs, screencasts and complete university classes, as a set of videos and interactive forums. Given these resources, there's absolutely no excuse not to dive in and learn. However, with such a wealth of resources, filtering through the options can often become overwhelming. In this article, I will outline a simple process to kick-start your education.

Among the items in their list there's things like:

  • "Let the Information Flow Begin"
  • "Listen and Watch"
  • "Blogging"
  • "Feel the Pulse"
  • "Meetups and Conferences"

Each tip comes with a bit of description and some links to other resources and tools that can help you along your way.

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learn new technology tips advice top10

Link: http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/general/10-tips-for-learning-a-new-technology


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