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NetTuts.com:
Securing Your Server Login
October 22, 2014 @ 10:43:27

While PHP developers usually pay more attention to the code level of things, it's good to know something about managing the servers their applications live on too. In this most recent tutorial from NetTuts.com they introduce you to some of the basic things you can do to help secure your server against potential attacks, more specifically around the logins.

Thanks to the growing abundance of useful self-hosted apps such as WordPress and the affordable growth of cloud hosting providers, running your own server is becoming increasingly compelling to a broader audience. But securing these servers properly requires a fairly broad knowledge of Linux system administration; this task is not always suitable for newbies.

They provide a list of seven things to look at (not a comprehensive list, but good none the less) to protect your system logins:

  • Update Your System Components
  • Change Your SSH Port From the Default
  • Activate a Firewall
  • Change Your Root Login Name
  • Activate Google Two-Factor Authentication
  • Switch to Using SSH Keys for Login
  • Manage Your Application Security

Each item includes a summary of the "why" and commands or links to other resources with more information.

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Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/securing-your-server-login--cms-22001

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Create a Movie Recommendation App with Prediction.io - Implementation
September 16, 2014 @ 10:54:16

The SitePoint PHP blog continues their series about creating a movie prediction engine with Prediction.io in this second part focusing on implementation. In the first part of the series they set up the server and configuration to make the jump into the code. This second part gets more into the application side and features working code linking the prediction engine with the TheMovieDB API.

He jumps right into the code, showing how to:

  • Fetch the data from the TMDB (via Flight and Guzzle)
  • Populate the data back into the Prediction.io database
  • Picking a random movie from the list (and outputting it to a page)
  • Get movies the engine predicts as recommendations

The recommendations are based on ratings on other movies in the database with most of that logic happening behind the scenes instead of in the PHP script. The results are then output to the page along with the other movie data.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/create-movie-recommendation-app-prediction-io-implementation/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Create a Movie Recommendation App with Prediction.io - Setup
September 15, 2014 @ 09:47:24

On the SitePoint PHP blog today Wern Ancheta has posted the first part of a series about creating a recommendation engine with the help of PHP and a system called Prediction IO.

In this tutorial, I'm going to walk you through Prediction IO, an open-source machine learning server. It allows you to create applications that could do the following: recommend items (e.g. movies, products, food), predict user behavior, identify item similarity and rank items. You can pretty much build any machine learning application with ease using Prediction IO. You don't have to deal with numbers and algorithms and you can just concentrate on building the app itself.

He walks you through the download and install of the Prediction IO software, how to start up the server and how to access its web interface. He shows you how to create an "engine" that will be used to make the recommendations and some of the settings allowing you to tailor it to your needs. The script will hook into The Movie DB API for content. He starts in on the PHP packages that will be needed to make the API connection and recommendations, but the actual code will come in a later article.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/create-movie-recommendation-app-prediction-io-setup/

Qandidate.com Blog:
Handling AngularJS POST requests in Symfony
August 14, 2014 @ 11:09:13

The Qandidate.com blog has a quick new post today showing how to handle AngularJS requests with a Symfony framework based backend application. They automate the process of decoding the JSON from the Angular frontend to make it immediately usable to the framework backend.

At Qandidate.com we started using AngularJS last year and I have to say it was love at first sight! Two-way databinding, testability, dependency injection, server communication...awesome! Did I say server communication? We use Symfony 2 (which is awesome too) for our back end API's. Unfortunately AngularJS and Symfony do not speak the same language out-of-the-box. In this post I will show you how we automatically decode JSON requests so we can use it with Symfony's Request object using our symfony-json-request-transformer library (or class actually).

They start with a simple JSON example and the action to handle it (the "postAction") and show the manual json_decode method. Instead of having to do this in each controller action, they define the Request transformer handler. This handler takes the incoming request and allows for modifications to various aspects of the request, including transforming the data. They've posted a full example here that includes the full stack, not just the transformer itself (to show the full flow of the request).

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Link: http://labs.qandidate.com/blog/2014/08/13/handling-angularjs-post-requests-in-symfony/

Jordi Boggiano:
Authentication management in Composer
May 28, 2014 @ 11:07:35

Jordi Boggiano has posted about a new feature in Composer, the popular dependency manager for PHP, around the handling of authentication information.

Up until today if you run a home-grown package repository serving private packages it was quite a pain to use with Composer. You did not have efficient way to password-protect the repository except by inlining the password in the composer.json or by typing the username/password every single time. With the merge of PR#1862 and some further improvements you can now remove credentials from your composer.json!

The new functionality allows for the external storage of the credentials in a file, either globally of in one relative to the repository. He also includes the command you can use to configure and set these username/password combinations and have them stored in the "auth.json" file.

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Link: http://seld.be/notes/authentication-management-in-composer

Oracle Technology Network:
Installing PHP on Oracle HTTP Server 12c
April 25, 2014 @ 09:41:26

On the Oracle Technology Network site today they've posted an updated version of their guide to getting PHP installed on Oracle HTTP Server 12c, complete with all the commands you'll need to get the job done.

This article shows how to install PHP on Oracle HTTP Server 12c (OHS). PHP is a hugely popular, interpreted scripting language commonly used for web applications. OHS is the web server component for Oracle Fusion Middleware. It is based on the Apache HTTP Server. OHS includes a FastCGI module which can easily be configured to use PHP's bundled FastCGI Process Manager ("PHP-FPM"). PHP-FPM has become a standard way of installing PHP. I

The remainder of the post is broken down into the steps you'll need to get it all installed and working:

  • Install Oracle Linux
  • Install Oracle HTTP Server
  • Install Oracle Instant Client 12c
  • Install PHP
  • Configure PHP-FPM
  • Configure OHS
  • Start PHP-FPM & OHS

A simple test script (a phpinfo) is also included to help you ensure everything is running as it should be.

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Link: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/articles/dsl/jones-php-ohs-2194096.html

AWS PHP Development:
Testing Webhooks Locally for Amazon SNS
April 08, 2014 @ 11:33:07

In a previous post the AWS for PHP blog showed how to set up webhooks for handling the callbacks from their SNS messaging service. In this next part of the series they continue the process, showing how you can test these hooks locally without needing to actually send the messages. This eliminates the need to deploy to a public-facing server just to test the hooks every time you need an update.

In a recent post, I talked about Receiving Amazon SNS Messages in PHP. I showed you how to use the SNS Message and MessageValidator classes in the AWS SDK for PHP to handle incoming SNS messages. The PHP code for the webhook is easy to write, but can be difficult to test properly, since it must be deployed to a server in order to be accessible to Amazon SNS. I'll show you how you can actually test your code locally with the help of a few simple tools.

Using PHP's own built-in webserver and a tool called ngrok to tunnel from the public internet to a local server. He includes the commands to set up the PHP script directory, the code to intercept the POSTed data from the request, validate it and send the subscription confirmation request. He helps you create an SNS "topic" through the management console and walks you through a sample test request while tailing the logs.

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Link: http://blogs.aws.amazon.com/php/post/Tx2CO24DVG9CAK0/Testing-Webhooks-Locally-for-Amazon-SNS

PHPBuilder.com:
Processing JSON in PHP
April 04, 2014 @ 10:40:39

PHPBuilder.com has posted a new tutorial today showing you how to work with JSON in PHP including serialization and database interaction.

This article explains how to use the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) extension in PHP, going step by step through a series of essential operations. JSON is an object string notation, it is defined as a subset of JavaScript's syntax and its general-purpose is to interchange data format. As you probably know, JSON was first made to be used with JavaScript for accessing remote data, but now it is used by many other languages because JSON data is platform independent data format. JSON can be used natively in JavaScript, but you can also use it in a server-client application logic.

They start with an introduction to the JSON structure and how to both create and encode data using PHP's own json_encode and json_decode. The examples start out using arrays for the data but then move into something slightly more complex - objects. The article talks about JsonSerializable and show how to automatically hook the data into a table and store the content based on the column name/property name match.

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Link: http://www.phpbuilder.com/articles/application-architecture/object-oriented/processing-json-in-php.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Composer Cheatsheet
April 01, 2014 @ 11:22:35

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post from Matthew Setter today sharing a Composer cheatsheet he recently discovered with an example of the common commands and "composer.json" file structure.

Unless you've been living under a rock, today's PHP isn't your grandmother's PHP; it's an entirely different, much more elegant and mature language with countless improvements and additions. One of the key additions is Composer, the de facto standard for managing PHP project dependencies which, by default, gives you access to hundreds of ready-made libraries, via Packagist.org.

He goes through the parts of the guide, introducing some of the commands and covering the details of the full "composer.json" JSON structure. There's also a video introduction if you'd like the more visual version.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/composer-cheatsheet

HHVM Blog:
Tracking Parity
March 04, 2014 @ 10:43:13

On the HHVM blog today there's a new post shows how far along they are with parity with the PHP language based on the tests from a sampling of several large PHP-based projects.

HHVM has a large suite of unit tests that must pass in several build configurations before a commit reaches master. Unfortunately, this test suite passing doesn't tell you if HHVM can be used for anything useful - so we periodically run the test suites for popular, open source frameworks. [...] The frameworks test page is now public, as is the JSON data backing it (which you're welcome to use).

They look briefly at what exactly is tested (latest stable version, with exceptions) and how it all works. The tests are run once an hour and are based on a completely clean build of HHVM in "csv" mode. The results of the tests are automatically pushed into the MySQL+Memcached system reporting system, accessible via the JSON API.

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Link: http://www.hhvm.com/blog/3611/tracking-parity


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