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Slack Engineering Blog:
Taking PHP Seriously
Oct 14, 2016 @ 09:16:45

On the Slack Engineering blog there's a new post from one of their engineers talking about a choice the company made about their platform - they decided to take PHP seriously. In this post author Keith Adams talks about why they chose PHP and what kind of experiences they've had with it in their own environment.

Slack uses PHP for most of its server-side application logic, which is an unusual choice these days. Why did we choose to build a new project in this language? Should you?

PHP-the-language has many flaws, which undoubtedly have slowed these efforts down, but PHP-the-environment has virtues which more than compensate for those flaws. And the options for improving on PHP’s language-level flaws are pretty impressive. On the balance, PHP provides better support for building, changing, and operating a successful project than competing environments. I would start a new project in PHP today, with a reservation or two, but zero apologies.

He starts with some background on the history of PHP itself, where the language came from and what kinds of issues it tries to mainly solve. He then gets into some of what he sees are the "virtues of PHP" including the blank slate at the start of every request, one-request-one-process concurrency and the fast programmer workflow. He then gets into the "bad stuff" they've found when working with PHP, things like surprise type conversions, a "failure-oblivious philosophy" and inconsistencies in the standard library. Finally he looks into two options (created by Facebook to improve its use of PHP) - HHVM and the Hack language - and how it was integrated into their environment.

tagged: language slack serverside hhvm hack usage experience

Link: https://slack.engineering/taking-php-seriously-cf7a60065329#.pdj63el96

SitePoint PHP Blog:
9 Hot Tips to Enhance Your Spark Experience
Sep 29, 2016 @ 10:59:26

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted an article for the Laravel Spark users out there, sharing their top nine tips for getting the most out of the popular "boilerplate" tool.

A while ago, I wrote about a product I wanted to build, to allow easy remote backups for Pagekit sites. I’ve been working on it (periodically) since then, and have come across a few interesting bits of advice.

I decided to use Laravel Spark as the foundation for the product, and I thought it would be helpful to share the advice. Whether you’re just starting your Spark app, or are in maintenance mode, I think you’ll find some of these tips useful!

His tips cover a wide range of the product's features:

  • You Don’t Have to Keep All the Base Files
  • Use Simple Repositories
  • Don’t use caret (^) Laravel dependencies
  • Host on Forge
  • Re-Arrange Middleware

Each of these comes with a description and, where appropriate, a bit of code to help clarify the point.

If you’re on the fence about trying Spark, I can recommend it. It’s given my product a head-start it wouldn’t have had otherwise. Hopefully these tips will save you even more time.
tagged: tips top9 laravel spark usage recommendation example

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/9-hot-laravel-spark-tips/

PHP Roundtable:
053: Why I'm Afraid To Admit I Use PHP
Sep 07, 2016 @ 09:56:36

The PHP Roundtable podcast (videocast) has posted their latest episode: Episode #53: Why I'm Afraid to Admin to Using PHP. In this show host Sammy Powers is joined by Evert Pot and Davey Shafik.

So you spend most of your time programming in PHP. You meet another programmer out in the wild. You begin explaining what you do. Do you find yourself using vague terms and actively trying to avoid the word "PHP?" Do you dread the question, "What language do you primarily code in?" Do you anticipate them scoffing at you when you say, "PHP?"

We discuss why PHP has such a bad rep in the eyes of many and why some of us feel the need to start conversations with, "I use PHP but let me explain..."

You can catch this latest episode either using the in-page video or audio player or directly on YouTube. Be sure to check out the extensive show notes for this one too - plenty of good information there. If you enjoy the show, be sure to subscribe to their feed and follow them on Twitter to get the latest updates when new shows are released.

tagged: phproundtable podcast video ep53 afraid opinion usage language evertpot daveyshafik

Link: https://www.phproundtable.com/episode/why-im-afraid-to-admit-im-a-php-programmer

Jordi Boggiano:
PHP Versions Stats - 2016.1 Edition
Jun 07, 2016 @ 14:51:35

Jordi Boggiano has posted some updated statistics around the use of the Packagist site around PHP version requirements and the relation of package downloads to PHP versions.

Last year I posted stats about PHP versions, and the year before as well, both time in November. However this year I can't wait for November as I am curious to explore the PHP7 uptake!

A quick note on methodology, because all these stats are imperfect as they just sample some subset of the PHP user base. I look in the packagist.org logs of the last 28 days for Composer installs done by someone. Composer sends the PHP version it is running with in its User-Agent header, so I can use that to see which PHP versions people are using Composer with.

He compares the previous statistics against the ones gathered back in November 2015, both in numbers and graphs. He shows the stats for the PHP versions being used and for the PHP versions that are required. It's interesting to see that there's been a good uptick in supported versions including PHP 7.0+.

tagged: packagist statistics version composer usage requirement

Link: https://seld.be/notes/php-versions-stats-2016-1-edition

What Are Laravel Exceptions?
Apr 18, 2016 @ 12:25:35

In a new tutorial posted on the TutsPlus.com site they get into some detail about what exceptions are in Laravel-based applications, when to use them and how to make your own.

As a PHP developer, you may use exceptions, because they allow you to notice when something has gone wrong or the user has acted in an unusual way (such as division by zero). Without exceptions, your application would end up presenting unwanted errors and being much more difficult to debug. It is also important that you halt execution immediately and take another course of action.

Exceptions are really simple, and they will make your development progress easier. When you learn how to use exceptions, this will be a usual part of your development.

They start by explaining what exceptions are (in the strictest sense, a definition from Martin Fowler) and an example of how one is caught in PHP. They briefly talk about when to use exceptions and how they're implemented in Laravel. The post finishes with a look at creating your own exception types and where to place them in your application. They also make the suggestion of using the Assertion package to verify data and catch the AssertionFailedException if there's an issue.

tagged: laravel exception example tutorial overview usage

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/what-are-laravel-exceptions--cms-25816

Laravel Daily:
Holywar: when to use Laravel vs WordPress?
Feb 18, 2016 @ 11:09:15

On the Laravel Daily site there's an interesting article that shares some opinions on when to use Laravel and when to use WordPress as a base for your applications.

In PHP world there are two big groups of developers – those who work with Content Management Systems (WordPress, Drupal etc.) and those with frameworks (Laravel, Symfony etc.). And rarely people work with both worlds – cause their philosophy is fundamentally different.

But when you get a new project from a client – how to decide whether Laravel is the best choice? Or maybe simple WordPress would be enough and would save time/money? Sometimes it’s not that easy to decide. So here are my tips – questions you need to ask.

In the remainder of the article he suggests four questions to ask yourself to help make the decision one way or another:

  • Content or user actions?
  • Plugins or packages?
  • MVP or serious project?
  • Who will work on the project?

He elaborates on each point with a bit more context and criteria that could help answer the question in your case.

tagged: laravel wordpress usage questions evaluate decision

Link: http://laraveldaily.com/holywar-when-to-use-laravel-vs-wordpress/

Evert Pot:
Strict typing in PHP 7 - poll results
Jan 15, 2016 @ 11:19:54

Evert Pot has shared the results of a poll he recently set up on Twitter asking PHP developers if they planned to make use of the strict typing functionality in PHP 7 in their applications. Unsurprisingly, the majority voted that they will with a more undecided audience coming in second.

Type hinting comes in two flavors: strict and non-strict. This is the result of a long battle between two camps, a strict and non-strict camp, which in the end was resolved by this compromise.

Now by default PHP acts in non-strict mode, and if you'd like to opt-in to strict-mode, you'll need to start every PHP file with this statement. [...] So I was curious about everyone and whether you will be using strict mode or not. Results are in.

According to those that voted 46% were completely in favor of using the declare statement to enable strict typing in their PHP 7 code by default. The next group, the "undecided" were at 26% with "no way" and "what is that?" coming in farther down the list. He also mentions a package that's in the works from Justin Martin that would automatically add the declare statement to your code in the desired location(s). Additionally there's an extension in development from Joe Watkins that will do the same thing but making it a bit more automatic.

tagged: php7 strict type declare poll results usage composer package extension

Link: https://evertpot.com/strict-types-pollresults/

Jordi Boggiano:
PHP Versions Stats - 2015 Edition
Nov 23, 2015 @ 13:17:54

It's come to "that time of year" again and Jordi Boggiano has posted the latest update in his series of PHP usage statistics. In this summary he looks at the PHP versions installed based on the packagist.org logs for developers using Composer.

It's that time of the year again, where I figure it's time to update my yearly data on PHP version usage. Last year's post showed 5.5 as the main winner and 5.3 declining rapidly. Let's see what 2015 brought.

[...] A quick note on methodology, because all these stats are imperfect as they just sample some subset of the PHP user base. [...] Composer sends the PHP version it is running with in its User-Agent header, so I can use that to see which PHP versions people are using Composer with. Of course this data set is probably biased towards development machines and CI servers and as such it should also be taken with a grain of salt.

He first compares the statics for his 2015 searches against the 2014 stats and shows the differences in usage for PHP versions 5.3.3 up to 5.6.0. Fortunately, the results show a rise in the usage of PHP 5.5 and a decline in all others...but it's not too much of a difference (2-3% range). Pie graphs are also included to help visualize these differences. He also includes some statistics on what PHP versions are required by certain packages for the ones listed on Packagist with increases starting with 5.4 and the largest advance for 5.5.

tagged: usage statistics version comparison yearly packagist composer required

Link: http://seld.be/notes/php-versions-stats-2015-edition

Create a Custom API in Magento: Part Two
Jul 03, 2015 @ 10:54:02

NetTuts.com has posted the second part of their series showing how to create a custom API in Magento. In part one of the series they focused on creating a custom module that worked with the core APIs and system. In this new post they approach it from the other side and show how to use those APIs created in part one.

In this series, we're discussing custom APIs in Magento. In the first part, we created a full-fledged custom module to implement the custom API, in which we created the required files to plug in the custom APIs provided by our module. In this second and last part, we'll go through the back-­end section to demonstrate how to consume the APIs.

They start with a quick recap of the things created in the first part of the series and how to ensure it's set up correctly to be accessed as an API endpoint. Next they set up the user and role configurations that you'll need to access the new API through the administration panel. Finally, they show you how to use the API through a simple SoapClient request.

tagged: magento custom api series tutorial part2 usage

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/create-a-custom-api-in-magento-part-two--cms-23821

Peter Petermann:
A few thoughts about composer and how people use it
May 18, 2015 @ 10:17:43

In the latest post to Peter Petermann's site he shares a few thoughts about Composer and how people use it in the more modern PHP ecosystem.

Composer has changed the PHP ecosystem like now other tool introduced – almost everyone is using it today. Now, I have written about Composer before, and have always been a big proponent of using it. However, as i have spend some time with looking more closely on a few things, there is a few problems (some with Composer, some with how people (ab)use Composer) that I would like to write about.

He's broken the list up into six different point, each with a bit of explanation:

  • Composer gets slow and resource hungry
  • People are using composer as an installer
  • People use their own paths
  • People don’t adhere semver
  • People don’t tag their releases / don’t release
  • People release packages with dependencies to unstable versions

He ends the post by looking at each of these points and offering a brief one-liner way to help solve the issue (or at least minimize the problem).

tagged: composer opinion problem usage ecosystem package

Link: https://devedge.wordpress.com/2015/05/16/a-few-thoughts-about-composer-and-how-people-use-it/