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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Check Your Code's Quality with SensioLabs Insight
August 07, 2014 @ 12:25:20

On the SitePoint PHP blog today there's a new post by Peter Nijssen introducing you to the SensioLabs Insight service and how it can improve your code quality (including locating security concerns).

The quality of your code is as important as testing your application. Recently, we have seen multiple articles which hopefully helped you on your way to providing a more stable application. Today, we are going to have a closer look at SensioLabs Insight. If you used Symfony or Silex in the past, you are probably familiar with SensioLabs, since they are the main sponsor of the Symfony framework.

He quickly introduces the service, mentioning what it has to offer and how to get your account all set up (free for open source libraries but it requires the results to be public). He includes some screenshots showing what the setup and scan results of your project might look like. He shows how to get more detail on the findings and how they can easily be exported to your bug tracker for fixing. He also covers some of the configuration you can do (through a YAML file) to tell Insight things like: php.ini settings, directories to exclude and specific rules to run during the scans.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/check-codes-quality-sensiolabs-insight/

Reddit.com:
PHP library authors Have you considered to arrange security bug bounties?
August 06, 2014 @ 10:39:00

In this new post to Reddit.com Timoh suggests something that could definitely help improve the overall security of the PHP ecosystem - a bug bounty system, providing libraries and projects an easy way to security-related submissions for their code.

To encourage software security research on the open-source PHP libraries we use everyday, I have been brainstorming the possibilities for us, the code authors, to start to offer security bug bounties on the projects we maintain. It is a shame such a few PHP projects encourages security research by offering bug bounties, and I think it doesn't have to be this way.

He describes his ideas for the system including the ability to offer both monetary bounties and other kinds of recognition as well. Comments on the post are largely supportive, agreeing with him that it can definitely help things. He also makes the suggestion of getting frameworks with corporate backings (like Zend Framework and Symfony) to be some of the leaders and be an example to other projects and get them on board. What do you think? Add your own thoughts and suggestions about the project to the mix!

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Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/2cpu6v/php_library_authors_have_you_considered_to/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Diffbot Crawling with Visual Machine Learning
August 01, 2014 @ 11:37:12

On the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc has posted a tutorial showing you how to use the Diffbot service to extract data from any page. He introduces both the service itself and walks you through a simple request via Guzzle.

Have you ever wondered how social networks do URL previews so well when you share links? How do they know which images to grab, whom to cite as an author, or which tags to attach to the preview? Is it all crawling with complex regexes over source code? Actually, more often than not, it isn't. [...] If you want to build a URL preview snippet or a news aggregator, there are many automatic crawlers available online, both proprietary and open source, but you seldom find something as niche as visual machine learning. This is exactly what Diffbot is - a "visual learning robot" which renders a URL you request in full and then visually extracts data, helping itself with some metadata from the page source as needed.

He uses a combination of a Laravel installation (via a Homestead instance) and a Guzzle request using a fetched token. The service offers a 10k call limit on a 7 day free trial, so you can sign up and grab your token there. He includes code for an example request fetching a SitePoint page and parsing out the tags. He also briefly looks at the custom handling diffbot allows based on CSS-type rules.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/diffbot-crawling-visual-machine-learning/

Phil Sturgeon:
Heroku and PHP Sitting in a Tree. K.I.S.S.I.N.G
May 12, 2014 @ 09:40:49

In a recent post Phil Sturgeon talks about the recent news from Heroku about their integrated PHP support and some of his own experience in using the new service feature and migrate his blog over.

Heroku was - as far as I remember - the first (mainstream) PaaS on the market. It was Ruby-only but it was that symbol of modern web development at the time, with the whole "slinging code", "getting shit done", make a Git repo and start shipping bro, hack project/agile-til-it-works mindset. [...] Git push your code, its deployed, one-click installs and drag to scale. It sucked that it was always for Ruby, because as I was also doing a lot of work in PHP I obviously wished I could have the same for my other projects.

He walks through some of the "evolution" of the PaaS (platform as a service) market as it related to PHP environments. He talks about other services like PHPFog, Pagodabox and Fortrabbit. The Heroku added true PHP support and he made his move. He goes through the steps he followed to get his blog migrated over and the commands needed to make the push.

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heroku paas platform service history support pyrocms

Link: http://philsturgeon.co.uk/blog/2014/05/heroku-and-php-sitting-in-a-tree

Jurian Sluiman:
SoflomoCache manage your ZF2 cache services
May 09, 2014 @ 09:53:32

Jurian Sluiman has posted about the release of a tool that aims to help you with cache handling in your Zend Framework 2 applications, the SoflomoCache component.

aching is an essential part in scaling your application, but Zend Framework 2 was missing a utility to manage your caches. Until now! During deployments we usually flushed the cache in a tedious and cumbersome way by directly accessing the apc_* functions in a custom script. This could certainly be improved and so we wrote a command line utility to manage all our cache services.

He includes a few snippets of code showing how to implement the component in your configuration and use it via ZF2's dependency injection handling. He also includes a list of the commands that can be used along with it to flush the cache, either all simultaneously or a single one (defined as a CLI option). It can also flush by namespace and handle the refresh of your combined configuration and module map.

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zendframework2 cache management component project service

Link: https://juriansluiman.nl/article/134/soflomo-cache-manage-your-zf2-cache-services

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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oracle install http server 12c tutorial guide

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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aws amazon sns webhook testing local server ngrok tutorial

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

Jonathan Hill:
How much does it cost to be a web developer?
March 14, 2014 @ 11:17:48

Jonathan Hill has taken an interesting perspective in his recent post looking more at some of the average financial costs around being a web developer.

With Software Development topping 2014′s top jobs list, I thought I would share how much it cost me to become a web developer, and what my monthly expenses look like nowadays.

He breaks it down into a few different categories, listing an average price for each:

  • Initial (start-up) costs for hardware and software
  • Training costs
  • Recurring costs

Obviously, not all of the software and tools he lists are needed for every software developer, but it does give some perspective. Thankfully, he also links to some free alternatives to the tools he mentions that can reduce these costs as well.

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cost developer average hardware software service

Link: http://jonathonhill.net/2014-02-19/how-much-does-it-cost-to-be-a-web-developer/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Piping Emails to a Laravel Application
February 17, 2014 @ 09:13:48

On the SitePoint PHP blog there's a new tutorial posted about piping emails to Laravel (well, a Laravel-based application). He shows how to have your application take data in from the current input, parse it and insert the data into a database.

In project management or support management tools, you will see this a lot: you can reply to an email message and it is automatically visible in a web application. Somehow, these tools were able to get those email messages right into their system. In this article, we are going to have a look at how we can pipe emails to our Laravel 4 application.

He walks you through the creation of an Artisan command, "email.parse", and using the PHP MIME Mail Parser library to extract data. He gets the to, from, title and message contents from the email and shows how to work with attachments too. Finally, he shows how to set up the mail server to pipe the incoming email though the PHP script for parsing.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/piping-emails-laravel-application/

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


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