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Inviqa techPortal:
"Your code sucks" - Tips on giving feedback
July 25, 2014 @ 12:15:21

If you're a part of a development team anywhere, chances are at one point or another you've asked for someone else to take a look at your code and give their opinions. Maybe it was you looking over a coworker's latest addition and it was...somewhat lacking. How can you say it in a constructive and nice way? The Inviqa techPortal has some suggestions.

Feedback on performance matters. It not only maintains quality, refines and hones performance, but it can also improve morale and trust, and build relationships. It can stop minor problems from escalating into major capability issues. It's something that every people manager or team leader should be doing as standard, and yet it's so hard to get right. For some people, giving good feedback is easy. [...] Delivering negative feedback can be a tricky process so how do you give negative feedback, or (as the much hackneyed phrase would have it) "constructive" feedback?

The post includes a list of six things to think about as you provide feedback to other developers (and even as a manager to your employees). The list suggests things like making it timely, listening to their side of things and setting a plan for resolving the issue.

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Link: http://techportal.inviqa.com/2014/07/23/your-code-sucks-tips-on-giving-feedback-2/

Anna Filina:
Common PHP Mistakes
July 21, 2014 @ 13:53:31

Anna Filina has posted her own addendum to a top ten list of common PHP programmer mistakes, adding seven more of her own.

I was recently asked by one of my readers to give feedback on the following article he read: 10 Most Common PHP Mistakes. It is well written and very thorough. Most of the tips are specific to PHP, others are about web programming in general or database performance. It's a very good read. I was also asked to contribute to this list, so here are 7 more tips.

Her list of seven touches on topics like caching, allowing SQL injection, disabling error reporting and ignoring accessibility. She also includes some configuration settings, code and links to other tools/resources to help provide information on preventing these other mistakes.

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common programmer mistakes additional tips

Link: http://afilina.com/common-php-mistakes/

SitePoint WordPress Blog:
Speed Up Your WordPress Site
July 08, 2014 @ 10:08:34

Some advice has been posted over on the SitePoint WordPress blog with some tips for speeding up the performance of your WordPress site using both internal changes and some outside testing tools.

As one of the top user experience factors, website performance is more important than ever. Website speed and performance on mobile devices is particularly important, with a rapidly growing number of visitors accessing the web via smartphones and tablets. While WordPress is very easy to get up and running, making your site speedy requires a bit more work, and is an ongoing process. In this article we'll cover why speed matters, and offer some practical advice for how to speed up WordPress. Improving performance takes a lot of trial and error, but it's great fun!

They start the post with a few reasons why speed matters to your application and its users (including higher conversion rates). The show you how to run a basic speed test using the Google PageSpeed Insights and profiling the performance using the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). The post then gets into some of the factors that make an impact on your site's performance including the hosting provider configuration, choice of theme and number of plugins. They recommend some simple steps like minifying assets, caching or using CDNs to host the assets and make their load faster.

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wordpress speed performance tips

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/speed-wordpress/

PHPBuilder.com:
Top 11 Best Practices for PHP Development
July 07, 2014 @ 18:08:30

PHPBuilder.com has offered the top eleven practices they see as a must for any PHP developer to incorporate.

Right from its inception, PHP was widely used to develop web based applications. Since PHP is a scripting language, one must follow some rules while developing. This article will discuss the best practices that are generally followed in the PHP world.

Their "top eleven" list includes things like:

  • Error reporting should be turned on
  • Meaningful and consistent naming standards
  • Deep Nesting should be avoided
  • Use adequate comments
  • Use Cache mechanism wherever required

You can read up on their full list and the descriptions of each in the full post.

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bestpractices development tips list top11

Link: http://www.phpbuilder.com/articles/application-architecture/optimization/explore-the-top-11-php-best-practices.html

DZone.com:
MongoDB Driver Tips & Tricks PHP
June 04, 2014 @ 10:10:49

On DZone.com there's a new post from Chris Chang that's the third part of the series looking at using various language drivers for working with MongoDB. In this latest article he focuses in on the PHP driver, giving a brief introduction and a few handy tips.

This blog post is the third of a series where we are covering each of the major MongoDB drivers in depth. The driver we'll be covering here is the PHP driver, developed and maintained by the MongoDB, Inc. team (primarily @derickr, @bjori and @jmikola).

He includes a link to some basic examples and shares a "production-ready connect string" with some MongoLab recommended settings. The tips include topics ranging from working with index builds, the lowering of is_master_interval and configuring the connectionTimeoutMS setting for optimum connection handling.

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mongodb driver tips tricks mongolab index master interval connection timeout

Link: http://java.dzone.com/articles/mongodb-driver-tips-tricks-php

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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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/


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