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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Can Great Apps Be Written in PHP - An Interview Series
April 15, 2014 @ 13:05:34

Matthew Setter has started off a series of posts on the SitePoint PHP blog with the first post interviewing community members to answer one main question, "can great apps be written in PHP?"

I read an old post, circa 2010, on the MailChimp blog a little while ago, about their experience using PHP. It struck a chord with me, because the sentiments they shared I've felt myself, and heard echoed many times over the years. [...] Despite its successes, or people's successes with it (a la Facebook, MailChimp, Hailo, Google, and others), it's inferred we should use languages which had their foundations as pure languages; not ones which came to be a language, as PHP evolved into over time.

He references some of the other comments in the Mailchimp article about their experience with the language along with mentions of a few others. He wonders if these negative comments are true and, to get some answers, searches out other developers and their opinions. In this first interview he talks with Bobby Deveaux about his background in the language, what he'd like to see added and more.

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application opinion mailchimp design language interview bobbydeveaux

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/can-great-apps-written-php-interview-series

PHP.net:
PHP 5.6.0beta1 released
April 14, 2014 @ 11:52:56

As is mentioned on the main PHP.net site, the release of the first beta of the PHP 5.6.0 series has been released (PHP 5.6.0beta1). This is only a preview release and should not be used in production.

The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.6.0beta1. This release adds new features and fixes bugs and marks the feature freeze for the PHP 5.6.0 release. All users of PHP are encouraged to test this version carefully, and report any bugs in the bug tracking system.

Among the new features coming in PHP 5.6.0 are things like the addition of a fread method on the SplFileObject, an update to the DateTimeImmutable class, support for marks to the PCRE extension and support for asynchronous connections and queries to the Pgsql extension. If you'd like to test out this latest beta release on your systems, you can download it from the PHP QA site (or the Windows QA site if you're so inclined).

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php56beta1 release language development preview

Link: http://php.net/index.php#id2014-04-11-1

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Getting Started with PHP Extension Development via Zephir
April 09, 2014 @ 10:26:22

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted an introductory tutorial helping you get started with extension development with Zephir, a language that aims to make extension development easy and fast.

This tutorial will explain how to create a PHP extension using a new language: Zephir, which is similar to C and Fortran. You can download the full source code from github. We've touched on the concept of Zephir before, so if you're interested in getting a broad overview, see our previous articles. Zephir can be looked at as a hybrid language that lets you write code that looks like PHP, but is then compiled to native C, meaning you can create an extension from it and come away with very efficient code.

He starts with a list of dependencies you'll need to get an extension compiled and working with Zephir including the gcc compiler and json-c. He shows you how to install Zephir from Github and update your path to make the executable available. As his example extension, he creates a tool that can calculate the result for the time-dependent Schrödinger equation (don't worry, the complete Zephir code for the extension is included in the tutorial). He includes the commands to initialize the Zephir project, code for the various classes involved and the expected output from the compilation. Finally, he includes a bit of PHP code to test out the newly built extension and its output.

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tutorial zephir extension language compile equation

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/getting-started-php-extension-development-via-zephir/

PHP.net:
PHP 5.4.27 Released
April 04, 2014 @ 09:28:42

The PHP development group has officially posted the latest in the PHP 5.4.x series of the language - PHP 5.4.27, a bugfix release that includes the security fix for CVE-2013-7345.

The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.4.27. 6 bugs were fixed in this release, including CVE-2013-7345. All PHP 5.4 users are encouraged to upgrade to this version.

Other updates include fixes to the GMP, Mail, OpenSSL and MySQLi extensions. As usual, you can download this latest release from the downloads page or on the Windows site for the binaries. For a complete list of changes, see the latest notes in the Changelog.

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language release bugfix security update

Link: http://php.net/index.php#id2014-04-03-1

PHP.net:
PHP 5.5.11 is released
April 03, 2014 @ 13:02:19

PHP.net has announced the latest release in the PHP 5.5.x series today - PHP 5.5.11.

The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.5.11. Several bugs were fixed in this release, some bundled libraries updated and a security issue has been fixed : CVE-2013-7345. We recommend all PHP 5.5 users to upgrade to this version.

Fixes in this release include:

  • Updates to core
  • Fixes in the cURL extension
  • Bugs corrected in the GD extension
  • A fix for the CVE-2013-7345 security issue in Fileinfo

You can download this latest release directly from the downloads page (Windows users here and you can find the full list of changes in the Changelog.

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language release bugfix security update

Link: http://www.php.net/archive/2014.php#id2014-04-02-1

Pádraic Brady:
Is Facebook's HHVM Building PHP's Coffin?
April 01, 2014 @ 09:31:52

In a new post to his site, Pádraic Brady poses a question about the HHVM project from Facebook - is it going to "be the coffin" that will replace the Zend Engine in PHP completely and change the way we know it?

With HHVM 3.0 now released, it's probably time to start talking about HHVM and the new Hack Language. It's becoming hard to ignore some of the fantastical notions spreading on the grapevine about HHVM. There is talk of significant performance improvements, a multitude of new features courtesy of Hack, that PHP Internals is actually now outnumbered by HHVM contributors. There is even treasonous talk of PHP's Zend Engine being put out to pasture.

He talks about how it was inevitable, really, that there'd be another implementation come up through the ranks (much like the variations of Ruby). He also mentions some other, less popular options in replacing the main implementation (Zephir, HippyVM, etc). He then poses an interesting question - "what is PHP?" He talks about language specifications, the PHP internals group and the delay that sometimes happens introducing new language features into the core (some of which HHVM already has).

PHP, as we know it, is starting to smell. It has gone from being the only PHP in town, to being the slowest, with the least number of features, and the one that's subject to dysfunctional governance. The new PHP is called Hack, a new language with only the briefest of documentation since you can learn the other 99.9% of this language over on the PHP manual.
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hhvm hack facebook opinion future language

Link: http://blog.astrumfutura.com/2014/03/is-facebooks-hhvm-building-phps-coffin

CiteWorld.com:
Facebook's Hack language a silver bullet for user-developers
March 26, 2014 @ 10:41:16

In this new post to CiteWorld.com, they're making the claim that the Hack language from the developers at Facebook is the "silver bullet for user-developers".

How do you modernize the way we build the web? That's the question at the heart of the release of a flurry of new languages and development platforms -- all from companies that run and build large scale web services. [...] While getting more out of CSS is good, as is replacing JavaScript; Facebook's HHVM and Hack combo is targeting one of the foundations of the modern web: rapid application development.

They talk some about the overall goals of Hack (improved performance, a stricter typing system) and include a brief example of some Hack code. They consider it to be a "more modern language" that brings PHP-based development up into a different level of languages. He also talks about HHVM a bit, migration from PHP to Hack and the potential for Hack to be adopted on other platforms outside of the current HHVM runtimes.

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hack facebook silverbullet language developer overview

Link: http://www.citeworld.com/development/23156/hack-future

Allan MacGregor:
Hello Hack
March 25, 2014 @ 09:50:33

Allan MacGregor has a new post to his site introducing you to Hack, the recently released language from Facebook based on their work with the HipHop virtual machine.

Recently Facebook unveiled Hack, a new programming language that aims to provide developers with the tools to write and ship code quickly while catching errors on the fly. Hack is as programming language designed to work with HHVM and the same time it works seamlessly with PHP as Facebook lead devs. [...] So does that mean that Hack is just a faster more efficient PHP implementation, right? Wrong, Hack is much more than that, the language brings features that are normally found in statically typed languages to the dynamically typed world of PHP.

He focuses in on the static typing functionality of Hack a bit more and includes an example of PHP code where Hack would catch the type shifting. He also briefly mentions some of the other features including built-in collections, traits, generics and asynchronous programming.

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hack facebook language introduction typing

Link: http://coderoncode.com/2014/03/23/hello-hack.html

Community News:
Facebook Releases the Hack Programming Language
March 21, 2014 @ 09:03:10

Yesterday marked a major point in the evolution of PHP and its ecosystem. Facebook released their version of PHP, Hack, based on the work they've been doing with the HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine) and compiler.

Hack is a programming language for HHVM that interoperates seamlessly with PHP. Hack reconciles the fast development cycle of PHP with the discipline provided by static typing, while adding many features commonly found in other modern programming languages. Hack provides instantaneous type checking via a local server that watches the filesystem. It typically runs in less than 200 milliseconds, making it easy to integrate into your development workflow without introducing a noticeable delay.

One of the key features is that it mixes well with PHP and will feel very familiar for those already used to using PHP. The homepage for the language includes all the details you'll need to get started with it, including an interactive tutorial walking you through some of the basics. Some of the features included in the language are things like type annotations, generics, native collections and lambdas. You can find out more in their official announcement.

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hack facebook hhvm language announcement

Link: http://hacklang.org

Liip Blog:
Of HHVM, Hack and the future of PHP
March 12, 2014 @ 11:09:50

Lukas Smith has posted some of his own thoughts on the Liip blog about the future of PHP, HHVM and Hack (related to this previous post from Anthony Ferrara) in the context of the company and the work they're doing.

I want to specifically comment on the part about HHVM and Hack. I have of course published my own opinion on the topic fairly recently on my private blog. Fellow Liiper Chregu has also done a very popular post on this very blog showing some very significant performance improvements that can be achieved with HHVM. [...] While Anthony does not recommend running HHVM in production, we are obviously getting ready to do just that. I totally agree however with the risks he points out.

He talks more about using HHVM in a production environment and some of the possible problems with it in the future (like maybe a change in it being incompatible with PHP someday). He also touches on the Hack language and how it is possible that Facebook's team will go wholly with Hack instead of PHP.

One of the big questions is why does Facebook even care about PHP mode if they are already moving their own code to Hack? To me one big reason for this could be that they actually want to use code produced in the community. [...] So maybe in the end the best way to ensure that PHP mode in HHVM remains a goal for Facebook is to keep churning out high quality PHP code?
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hhvm hack facebook future language opinion

Link: http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2014/03/11/of-hhvm-hack-and-the-future-of-php.html


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