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SitePoint PHP Blog:
PINQ - Querify Your Datasets - Faceted Search
August 26, 2014 @ 10:58:22

The SitePoint PHP blog has continued their series showing the use of the PINQ library for PHP (a PHP implementation of the LINQ tool). In part one they introduced the tool and showed how to it could be used to query and sort data. In this second part they move on and show how to perform a multi-faceted search on data from a MySQL database.

We are not going to cover the full aspect of faceted search in this series. Interested parties can refer to relevant articles published on Sitepoint and other Internet publications. [...] Unfortunately, faceted search is not a built-in feature provided by MySQL yet. What can we do if we are using MySQL but also want to provide our users with such a feature? With PINQ, we'll see there is an equally powerful and straightforward approach to achieving this as when we are using other DB engines - at least in a way.

Building from the code from the first part of the series, they create a few more simple routes that let you define the different facets to use for the searching/sorting. He creates a custom facet class that uses the "traversable" handling of the PINQ to do the data manipulation. He creates a few different facet objects, each creating a customized filter. finally, he ties it all back into the endpoint and includes the updated markup to show the results. He finishes up the post mentioning a few limitations and improvements that could be made on the example as well.

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pinq query dataset mysql faceted search tutorial series part2

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/pinq-querify-datasets-faceted-search/

Sameer Borate:
Downloading Gmail attachments in PHP - an update
July 29, 2014 @ 09:37:40

Sameer Borate has posted an update to a previous post of his about downloading attachments in PHP. In this new post he updates the script to remove any other dependencies other than the IMAP PHP extension.

As mentioned in the earlier post, automatically extracting attachments from Gmail can be important for reasons where you need to process the attached files periodically with a CRON job or need to process the files programmatically. Also it can be useful for automatically archiving important attachments. [The code in this post] is a simple proof-of-concept plain PHP code, devoid of any object-oriented features that extracts attachments from your Gmail account.

The example code makes a request to the Gmail IMAP servers with the given username and password, grabs the first set of emails, parses their attachments to pull them down to the local host. He also includes some searching capability to locate ones only matching certain criteria. A list of the allowed search keywords is also included. He finishes the post with a look at using READONLY mode and fetching the email headers.

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attachment download gmail tutorial search

Link: http://www.codediesel.com/php/downloading-gmail-attachments-in-php-an-update/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Using Solarium with SOLR for Search - Advanced
May 08, 2014 @ 11:56:46

The SitePoint PHP blog has finished off their series showing you how to integrate searching with SOLR (via Solarium) into your PHP application. In this last part of the series, Lukas White gets into some of the more advanced topics around searching and handling the resulting output in your views.

In the first three parts we installed and configured SOLR and Solarium and started building an example application for searching movies. We've also looked at faceted search. We're going to wrap up the series by looking at some more advanced features of SOLR, and how to use them with Solarium.

He's broken up the rest of the tutorial to talk about a few of these more advanced features like:

  • Highlighting search matches in the output of documents (depending on the type of match)
  • Using the searching for an autocomplete
  • Configuring and making the request with an array-based configuration (a more manual process)
  • Adding additional cores to the search (allowing for more flexibility on search styles and configurations)

He also points to two other resources that could be handy along your path to SOLR dominance: the SOLR reference guide and the official Solarium documentation.

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solr search solarium library tutorial series part4 advanced

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/using-solarium-solr-search-advanced/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Using Solarium with SOLR for Search - Implementation
May 07, 2014 @ 10:54:10

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted the third part of their series looking at using the Solarium tool to hook your PHP application into a SOLR search instance. In this latest part of the series they get down to the actual search implementation.

In the first part I introduced the key concepts and we installed and set up SOLR. In part two we installed and configured Solarium, a library which enables us to use PHP to "talk" to SOLR as if it were a native component. Now we're finally ready to start building the search mechanism, which is the subject of this installment.

He starts with a simple search example, making a request to select the matches for a given query (given on the URL as a variable "q"). He shows how to run the select and fetch the results as a result set. He enhances this, containing the search logic inside a class and making a template to show the results. He also includes examples of how to use the "Disjunction Max", sorting and pagination functionality. Finally, he looks at a more complex type of search, a faceted search, and includes code examples of making the request and displaying the results.

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solr solarium search engine tutorial implement basics faceted

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/using-solarium-solr-search-implementation/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Using Solarium with SOLR for Search - Solarium and GUI
May 06, 2014 @ 13:49:34

The SitePoint PHP blog continues their series looking at the use of the Solarium tool to work with the SOLR searching tool in PHP. In this latest part (part two) of the series they move beyond the setup and configuration and get into some actual code to use the server.

This is the second article in a four part series on using Solarium, in conjunction with Apache's SOLR search implementation. In the first part, I introduced the key concepts and we installed and set up SOLR. In this second part we'll install Solarium, start building an example application, populate the search index and get into a position where we can start running searches.

The frontend, based on the Laravel framework, is simple to get up and running with just a few lines of code. They walk you through the basic CRUD kinds of steps, "pinging" the server to ensure it's up and searching the documents you've added.

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solarium solr search gui laravel crud

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/using-solarium-solr-search-solarium-gui/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Using Solarium with SOLR for Search - Setup
May 02, 2014 @ 11:49:16

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted a tutorial showing you how to use the Solarium library to search SOLR. Solarium is a PHP-based, open source tool that helps make interfacing with a SOLR search instance much easier. This post is part one of a larger series covering the combination of SOLR and Solarium.

Apache's SOLR is an enterprise-level search platform based on Apache Lucene. It provides a powerful full-text search along with advanced features such as faceted search, result highlighting and geospatial search. [...] If you're using PHP then the Solarium Project makes integration even easier, providing a level of abstraction over the underlying requests which enables you to use SOLR as if it were a native implementation running within your application. In this series, I'm going to introduce both SOLR and Solarium side-by-side.

He starts with some of the basic concepts behind what SOLR is, what kinds of things it's useful for and how to get it installed on your system (using Homebrew). He shows how to set up a sample schema including a detailed look at the different types and required fields it will need. As this is just the first part of the series, it stops there and will get into the actual PHP code for the interface in the next edition.

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solr solarium search engine tutorial interface opensource library

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/using-solarium-solr-search-setup/

Michael Dowling:
Favor Hash Lookups Over Array Searches
March 21, 2014 @ 10:47:34

Michael Dowling has a recent post to his site comparing the performance of hash lookups versus array searches.

A common programming requirement is to match a string against a set of known strings. For example, let's say you were iterating over the words in a forum post and testing to see if a word is in a list of prohibited words. A common approach to this problem is to create an array of the known prohibited words and then use PHP's in_array() function to test if the string is found in the list. However, there's a simple optimization you can make to significantly improve the performance of the algorithm.

He includes two pieces of sample code - one showing the searching of an array using in_array and the other running an isset to locate a key. He points out that the in_array method is quite a bit slower than the hash (key) lookup and includes a benchmark script to prove it.The results are pretty clear, with the hash lookup coming in about 480% faster than the in_array. He also points out that as the size of the strings you're comparing grows, the performance of in_array drops even more.

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hash lookup search array inarray benchmark

Link: http://mtdowling.com/blog/2014/03/17/hash-lookups-over-array-search/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
The Pros and Cons of Zend Certification
February 10, 2014 @ 11:35:49

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post that weighs the pros and cons of getting the Zend PHP Certification. The Zend Certified PHP Engineer is described as "a measure of distinction that employers use to evaluate prospective employees".

As a PHP developer, you may have been asking yourself how to improve your skills, gain reputation or become more professional in your work. One of the ways of doing so is to get through a certification programme. The only one that covers PHP itself (not a particular framework or software solution) is being delivered by the Zend company. In the remainder of the article I will focus on this particular certificate and describe its advantages and disadvantages. At the end I will also mention some other certification programs that may be valuable to a PHP developer.

He starts with a bit of general information about the certification including some of the categories it covers. He then gets into the pros and cons, listing two items for each. He suggests that it's a good way to measure your knowledge but there is a question of how much it really proves to get a passing score.

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zend certification opinion pro con developer

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/pros-cons-zend-certification/

PHPClasses.org:
Lately in PHP Podcast #43 - "Is Facebook HHVM going to Replace Zend Engine in PHP6"
January 20, 2014 @ 11:36:41

On the PHPClasses.org site today they've published the latest episode in their "Lately in PHP" podcast series, Episode #43 - "Is Facebook HHVM going to Replace Zend Engine in PHP 6".

The Facebook HipHop Virtual Machine, HHVM, has been evolving a lot, so PHP developers are considering it as a possible replacement for Zend Engine in PHP 6. This was one of the main topics discussed by Manuel Lemos and César Rodas in the episode 43 of the Lately in PHP podcast. They also discussed other topics like FastCGI support in HHVM, having PHP function naming consistency plans for PHP 6, TLS peer verification for secure connections, and using Composer to install JavaScript, CSS and images for PHP projects.

You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page player, by downloading the mp3 or watching the live video recording from the Google Hangout.

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hhvm zend engine php6 podcast latelyinphp episode

Link: http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/225-Is-Facebook-HHVM-going-to-Replace-Zend-Engine-in-PHP-6--Lately-in-PHP-podcast-episode-43.html

Lorna Mitchell:
Zend Certified PHP Developer 5.5
January 08, 2014 @ 09:23:45

If you're thinking about taking the Zend Certified PHP Developer (5.5) test but aren't sure exactly where to start, Lorna Mitchell has provided a list of some good resources to help you out.

Yesterday I updated my previous ZCE certificate to the Zend Certified PHP Developer qualification (the new ZCE for PHP 5.5 also got a new name). Since the ZCE 5.3 exam is no longer available and I work with various clients to prepare their teams for these certifications, it was important to me that I keep my own certification up to date. Now I've done that, I'd like to share some resources for others doing the same thing.

She points to a few things that could help you make the grade:

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zend certified developer test certification resource list

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2014/zend-certified-php-developer-5-5


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