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Rob Allen:
Use statements
March 17, 2014 @ 10:13:08

Rob Allen's latest post focuses in on something that's been a part of PHP for a while now, back when namespacing was introduced - the "use" keyword. He shares some thoughts, both from others and himself, about whether or not they make code more readable.

I was having a discussion on IRC about use statements and whether they improved code readability or not. [...] Those longer class names make it a little hard to quickly parse what it going on. The [example with "use" statements] is clearly less cluttered, but is at the expense of ambiguity. Exactly what class is User? I would have to go to the top of the file to find out. Should I use aliases? If so, how should I name them?

He went out to Twitter for advice from other PHP developers on the issue too. The feedback from his question came mostly in support of the "use" statements:

  • "I think use statements just abstract where the class is coming from. Some people find that useful."
  • "I think it's helpful seeing all of the packages used by a class without having to look through the full code."
  • "One reason I like them is that I can glance at a file and know dependencies immediately."
  • "I do appreciate what you are saying about the indirection use statements introduce."

There's also a bit of talk about "aliasing" with namespaces rather than the full classname, then using the namespace and class name in the code to "minimise ambiguity".

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Link: http://akrabat.com/php/use-statements/

ReviewSignal Blog:
Long Running Processes in PHP
August 23, 2013 @ 11:29:03

On the ReviewSignal blog today there's a post looking at their use of long running PHP processes and how they got around some of the common problems.

Here at Review Signal, I use a lot of PHP code and one of the challenges is getting PHP to run for long periods of time. Here are two sample problems that I deal with at Review Signal that require PHP processes to run for long periods of time or indefinitely: data processing and Twitter streaming API data.

They talk some about their use of the PHP CLI, bash and cron to execute their scripts. There's a bit about the difference between executing a script in ssh versus cron and how to use "nohup" to have it execute in the background. They show how to set up a cron job and, more specifically, how their script pulls from the Twitter API via a bash script to check if it's already running.

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Link: http://reviewsignal.com/blog/2013/08/22/long-running-processes-in-php/

Lorna Mitchell:
Twitter Search API Using PHP and Guzzle
July 11, 2013 @ 12:49:45

Lorna Mitchell has a new post to her site today showing how she connected to Twitter with Guzzle, the popular PHP-based HTTP client (also used in the Amazon Web Services PHP client).

In case you missed it, Twitter updated their APIs recently, so that you have to authenticate to use even their search APIs to return publicly-available results. This is an increasing trend for API providers, to provide either very limited or nonexistent access for unauthenticated users, I think so they can rate limit consumers that swamp them. To cut a long story short, that meant I needed to update my dashboards that keep an eye on twitter searches to do more than just call file_get_contents in the general direction of the right URL.

She walks you through the creation of the client complete with the OAuth plugin (included with Guzzle) to make an OAuth request to api.twitter.com. With the client created, she shows a simple search call to the "tweets" endpoint.

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Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2013/twitter-search-api-using-php-and-guzzle

SitePoint.com:
How to Add OAuth Authentication to Your Twitter App
June 26, 2013 @ 11:27:53

In this quick post to SitePoint, they show you how to use the Twitter OAuth library to connect your application with the new Twitter OAuth authentication methods.

Thanks Twitter. Not only have you removed open access to public Twitter timelines, you're expecting developers to contend with cryptic authentication documentation! Many of us simply want to display our own tweets on our own website, but it's obvious Twitter prefers us to use their widgets. Despite the convoluted Twitter instructions, implementing OAuth in your lovingly-crafted API 1.0 application is reasonably straight-forward if you use the libraries provided by talented group of (non-Twitter) developers.

They break it down into a few easy steps (largely made easy because the library does most of the heavy lifting for you):

  • Create your Twitter Application
  • Create an Access Token
  • Download the OAuth Library
  • Modify Your Timeline Fetching Code
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twitter oauth tutorial library example api authentication

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/twitter-1-1-oauth-php

PHPBuilder.com:
Oauth Authentication for Social Apps in PHP
February 08, 2013 @ 10:27:18

On PHPBuilder.com today there's a tutorial introducing you to OAuth and how to use it in your PHP applications.

Oauth is an open standard for authorization that allows secure authorization from web, mobile and desktop applications. This standard allows a third-party application to gain access to a HTTP service, i.e. it enables users to share their resources from one website with another website without having to give out their credentials (usually username and password). [...] Oauth authorization is carried out in 3 steps: obtain a request token, authorize request token and exchange request token for an access token.

They introduce you to some of the basic concepts behind OAuth and how the process works (complete with a handy graphic). They then show how to use OAuth to connect to the Facebook API, both in Javascript then PHP. This is followed with two other examples referencing popular social sites Twitter and Foursquare, hitting their APIs with simple authentication requests.

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oauth authentication social application twitter facebook foursquare tutorial


Gonzalo Ayuso:
How to configure Symfony's Service Container to use Twitter API
February 05, 2013 @ 10:53:19

In this recent post to his site Gonzalo Ayuso shows how to use the Symfony2 service container to interact directly with the Twitter API via an OAuth plugin.

If we are working within a Symfony2 application or a PHP application that uses the Symfony's Dependency injection container component you can easily integrate this simple script in the service container. I will show you the way that I use to do it.

His sample code uses the Guzzle HTTP library and some configuration options from a YAML file to create a new service hooked into the Twitter API with his credentials. He then imports it via his services configuration and shows an example of it in action - getting the latest contents of his timeline.

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symfony2 service container guzzle twitter api


Lorna Mitchell:
How NOT to Design Your API
January 10, 2013 @ 10:46:04

Recently Lorna Mitchell asked the wide world of Twitter about some of their recommendations of things not to do when creating an API. In this new post to her site, she gathers together those responses including comments about documentation, consistency and response codes.

Recently I tweeted as a #linktuesday link the 10 Worst API Practices post from ProgrammableWeb. Today, in search of some concrete examples of APIs implementing unhelpful antipatterns, I sent out a tweet for help: "What's the most frustrating inconsistent/misleading bit of API you've seen? Looking for cautionary tales!" [...] In the raft of responses (and thankyou all, this was fabulous, helpful and entertaining in equal parts!), there were some definite patterns that I'd like to share with you, in no particular order.

Comments came in from all over and talked about things like:

  • Response codes not matching the content (ex. 200 on an error)
  • NullPointerExceptions
  • Different endpoints for single vs collections
  • Order-sensitive XML in requests
  • Poor error handling
  • Bad documentation
  • Incorrect content type handling
So there you have it, the sins to avoid in your own APIs. If you've encountered any of these, please accept my condolences.
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api design response code error handling documentation opinion twitter


ScreenFony.com:
Work with bootstrap, assetic and less
September 25, 2012 @ 10:36:20

On the ScreenFony.com site there's a quick tutorial showing you how to get started with Symfony2+Twitter Bootstrap+Assetic+LESS in a basic application. Assetic is a library that helps with asset management and use and LESS is a CSS pre-processor that makes it simpler to work with your site's CSS.

Bootstrap is a well known and powerful front-end framework for fast prototyping, it uses LESS and it can be easily integrate in your Symfony applications with the help of assetic. In this post I'll show how to: Install bootstrap in you Symfony application, load it using assetic, and compile bootstrap LESS files with lessphp.

Using Composer, creating a new Symfony2 project is just a single command away. The just update the "composer.json" and run the install to get the other needed libraries (LESS and the Twitter Bootstrap). They help you set up some Assetic filters for LESS and provide a simple page to output the Bootstrap in your header.

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Emanuele Minotto:
PHP in a Tweet
September 14, 2012 @ 10:19:09

Emanuele Minotto has a recent post with a set of "PHP in a tweet" posts that do all sorts of things.

Yesterday an ex colleague tweeted something that captured my attention, so I started thinking to a Twitter-powered code golfing competition. Looking for other examples.

Tweets included in the list are snippets like:

  • A dependency injection container
  • A super simple web framework
  • A microframework
  • Bypassing array_intersect

There's some game rules included in the post so you can contribute your own to the the comments. Several have already been added including a base64 encoding variant and getting the extension of a file.

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Matt Cockayne:
Bootstrapping ZF2 Forms
July 23, 2012 @ 11:07:00

In this recent post to his site, Matt Cockayne shows you how to bootstrap your forms in a Zend Framework 2 application (as defined in a class).

A brand spanking new Forms component has been rolled out with ZF2. The long and the short of this new component meant that I had the opportunity to hand roll a new way of making my forms work with Twitter Bootstrap. So, a little tinkering, a quick pull request to ZF2 to allow the definition of arbitrary options and I came up with some useful View Helpers that can be dropped into a project and used.

He includes the code for the sample class ("MyForm") and highlights the "bootstrap" portions of each element's configuration and walks you through some other handy features of his helpers: auto-rendering forms, a "row" helper and a "collection" helper to help organize the form structure.

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