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Zend Blog:
Developing a Z-Ray Extension
February 25, 2015 @ 11:54:41

Zend recently introduced their Z-Ray inspection tool that allows you to see inside your application and know what's happening in your code, your database and has support for major PHP projects. In this new post to their blog they show you how to develop a custom extension for the Z-Ray system.

One of the coolest features in Z-Ray is the ability to plug in your own extensions. Meaning, you can customize existing Z-Ray panels or add your own personalized Z-Ray panel for displaying information you think is important for developing your specific application. This short tutorial will describe how to write a basic extension for Z-Ray. More specifically, we'll be writing a Z-Ray extension for WordPress that extracts and displays a list of loaded WordPress plugins.

They give you a list of things you'll need to set up before you can get started including a simple WordPress installation on a Zend Server instance. With these in place they help you create the "zray.php" file to define the extension, how to enable it and setting up a "trace" on a function to hook it into the execution. They then dump the WP plugin information and reformat it a bit to show only the list of names and versions in the output panel. As a last touch, they add a logo to the panel to show in the bottom menubar with the WordPress logo.

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Link: http://blog.zend.com/2015/02/25/developing-z-ray-extension

Stephan Hochdörfer:
Configuring Xdebug and phpstorm for CLI debugging
February 11, 2015 @ 11:24:09

Stephan Hochdörfer has a quick post to the bitExpert blog today showing you how to configure Xdebug+PHPStorm for CLI debugging, making it even easier to work with command-line PHP applications.

Current situation: I have no local webserver running and just php5-cli (plus a few extensions) installed as most of the development I do will make use of a Vagrant machine. From time to time I develop small tools or libs which I like to debug on the command line. This is an overview how I configured my Ubuntu 14.04 box to handle debugging with Xdebug and phpstorm.

He starts with helping you get Xdebug installed (via PECL) and configured for local debugging. Next he adds some variables to the .bashrc configuration file with the IDE and Xdebug configuration details. Finally he gives the instructions to get PHPStorm to play nicely with this setup via it's own "Servers" support.

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Link: https://blog.bitexpert.de/blog/configuring-xdebug-and-phpstorm-for-cli-debugging/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
How to Run Multiple Versions of PHP on One Server
November 07, 2014 @ 10:54:27

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial by Thien Tran Duy showing you how to run multiple versions of PHP all on the same server. The key is in using a few custom configuration options (you'll be compiling PHP manually for this) to place the different versions in different locations.

In this particular post, we'll demo a solution to install multiple versions of Phalcon and PHP and run them on a single web server. PHP 5.5.x and 5.6.x will be used here, but you can replace them with other versions. Any servers that support PHP-FPM should be enough but we recommend using Nginx. The environment used in this tutorial is Fedora OS - a Linux system, but the instructions are almost identical for any other *nix OS.

The tutorial also includes the installation of a few other PHP extensions including APC caching, memcache and ioncube. He walks you through the installation of Nginx first to get the web server up and running. Then he starts in on the PHP installs and the requirements to ensure you have to be able to compile from the PHP source. He shows how to pull the different versions of PHP down (5.3, 5.4, 5.6 and master) from the GitHub repository and execute the "buildconf" to make the configure script. He includes the example configuration command with options, ensuring it will work with PHP-FPM and the Nginx server. He then reproduces the process, making slight changes, for the other versions of PHP. Finally, he shows the installation of the two different versions of Phalcon and configuring it to all work with the installed web server.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/run-multiple-versions-php-one-server/

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/

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

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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