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Peter Petermann:
Composer & Virtual Packages
September 30, 2014 @ 13:27:36

Peter Petermann has an interesting post he's added to his site describing a lesser known feature of the Composer package manager: virtual package support.

A few days ago i stumbled over a "virtual package" on packagist - and found it to be a feature that i was actually missing in composer. Turns out, composer can do it, its just not so well documented. So what is this about? Virtual packages allow you to have a more loose dependency. Rather than depending on a specific package, you depend on a virtual one, which can be fulfilled by all packages that provide the virtual one.

He includes a few examples to help illustrate the point of using virtual packages. The first describes an application that wants to use the PSR-4 logger structure but depends on "log-implementation" (a virtual package) rather than the "psr/log" package. The key is in using the "provide" keyword in the Composer configuration. His other two examples expand on this a bit, one showing the use of the "provide" keyword to define the relationship and the other of an actual application making use of this package.

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Link: http://devedge.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/composer-and-virtual-packages/

Sameer Borate:
Sentiment Analysis of Twitter feeds
September 30, 2014 @ 10:07:35

Sameer Borate continues on his theme of Twitter-related development (part one is here) with his latest post showing how to do sentiment analysis of Twitter feeds. His "sentiment analysis" analyzes a string to determine if it's generally negative or positive based on the AFINN word dataset.

In the last post we looked into accessing Twitter API v1.1 from PHP. In this post we will see how we can add sentiment analysis for the tweets. Generally speaking, sentiment analysis aims to determine the attitude of a writer with respect to some topic. A basic task in sentiment analysis is classifying the polarity of a given text, whether the expressed opinion in a sentence is positive, negative, or neutral. In this post we will use a simple sentiment analysis library to analyze the sentiment of tweets.

His example uses the viracore/caroline library to do the actual analysis. He shows how to install it via Composer and how to make a sample checker, returning the score and the comparative ranking. With that working, he shows how to integrate it into the Twitter connection originally created in the first post, extracting tweets from his own timeline and returning their scores.

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Link: http://www.codediesel.com/social/sentiment-analysis-of-twitter-feeds/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
How to Install Custom PHP Extensions on Heroku
September 29, 2014 @ 14:24:56

The SitePoint PHP blog has a tutorial posted for the Heroku users out there showing you how to install custom PHP extensions on the service as a part of your deployment. Heroku is a platform-as-a-service hosting provider that allows for flexibility in the architecture of your systems and spin up/tear down to happen easily and on demand.

In this tutorial, we'll learn how to install custom extensions on Heroku. Specifically, we'll be installing Phalcon.

He walks you through creating an account on Heroku first and getting the Heroku toolbelt system installed for your operating system. He then starts in on the Phalcon (a C-based PHP framework) installation including all needed supporting packages/extensions. He uses the PHP buildpack and creates a shell script that is executed when the deployment happens. He includes the commands and configuration to handle the deployment and test the resulting installation.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/install-custom-php-extensions-heroku/

Sameer Borate:
Creating Twitter Apps in PHP
September 29, 2014 @ 09:28:42

Sameer Borate has a post today showing how you can create a simple Twitter application in PHP making use of their REST API and the twitter-api-php library.

In this post we will look into accessing Twitter REST API in PHP. This can be useful if you need to post Tweets from your PHP application or anaylze, search Tweets. In the following examples we will use the twitter-api-php PHP wrapper for Twitter v1.1 API. Although there are a few wrappers around, this one I like for its simplicity.

He helps you get the library installed (via Composer) and create an application on the Twitter side at apps.twitter.com. Sample code is included showing how to connect to the API with your credentials, including handling the OAuth authorization piece. From there he shows two examples of action to make on the API: posting a new tweet and searching for new tweets based on a query string.

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Link: http://www.codediesel.com/social/creating-twitter-apps-in-php/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Essentials of LDAP with PHP
September 26, 2014 @ 09:07:37

On the SitePoint PHP blog today Matthew Setter has written up a tutorial sharing the essentials of PHP with LDAP. He shows how to connect PHP to this industry standard technology and effectively query, update and delete information.

Ever wanted a simple way to store address book style information and network information actually next to any kind of ordered information? If so, then there's a technology which has been around since 1993, one which despite not having the cool factor of such technologies as Node.js and Go, allows you to do exactly this. It's called LDAP!

He starts off the tutorial by explaining a bit about what LDAP is (and isn't) for those not familiar with it. He covers some of the basic terminology, pointing you other articles if you need more than just his brief overview. Then he helps you get an LDAP server installed locally (using a package manager, apt-get) and how to verify the install is working correctly. From there he shows how to populate a few records and verify they exist. Following this, he gets to the PHP part of things, showing how to use the Zend Framework v2 Zend/Ldap component to access the server, query records and update/delete them easily.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/essentials-ldap-php/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
How to Deploy Symfony Apps with Capifony
September 25, 2014 @ 10:55:27

The SitePoint PHP blog has a tutorial today showing you how you can use the popular Capistrano tool to deploy Symfony-based applications. More specifically, it's focused in on one tool, Calpifony, that's a bit more tailored to what a Symfony deployment needs.

Say you have a Symfony application. At some point, you would like to deploy it to your server and show it to the world. Of course, you can do it all manually, but these days you can also choose to use a tool like Capifony. If you have developed Ruby applications in the past, you are perhaps familiar with Capistrano. Capistrano is a tool to deploy your Ruby application to your server. Capifony has been created on top of Capistrano, and is basically a collection of deployment recipes. In this article, we are going to deploy a Symfony application to a server with Capifony.

He starts off with a section giving an overview of how the Capifony tool works and how important the directory structure is. He then guides you through the installation of the tool and configuring your first simple project. He includes an example "deply.rb" configuration and walks through each piece, describing what it does and how to add some additional commands to the list. The post ends with the full updates configuration that makes the connection to the server, downloads a copy of a Git repository and executes Assetic and Bower commands on build.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/deploy-symfony-apps-capifony/

Rob Allen:
Using ZF2 Forms with Twig
September 23, 2014 @ 09:28:53

Rob Allen has a new post today showing how to integrate Zend Framework 2 forms into a Slim framework based application. He started the topic in a previous post and continues, this time using the Twig templating framework to handle the rendering.

The ZF2 view helpers, formRow and formElement now look like Twig functions, however we don't want to have to rewrite all our ZF2 view helpers into Twig. Fortunately, Twig supports the concept of a undefined function callback is called whenever Twig encounters a function that it doesn't know how to call. We can use this to proxy through to the ZendView system and get it to render the ZF2 view helpers.

He shows how to use this callback functionality and a custom view layer with the Slim-Views component to render the output. He includes a simple Slim example, setting up the custom View class as a parser extension and how to register the callback to invoke Twig.

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Link: http://akrabat.com/zend-framework-2/using-zf2-forms-with-twig/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
What to Expect from Yii 2.0
September 22, 2014 @ 12:32:17

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today from Arno Slatius that talks about some of the features coming in Yii 2.0, a PHP-based MVC framework with a target for a stable release coming very soon.

Yii 2.0 was released into beta last April and the goal for a first stable release was set for the middle of 2014. The GitHub issue list has 300 open issues and 2913 closed while I'm writing this and both numbers are still increasing. The progress to the 2.0RC milestone was at 99%. My guess is that the team is close, but we'll probably have to wait just a little bit longer. While we're all waiting, lets take a look at what we can expect by looking at an already available example.

He starts with a "tiny bit of history" about the framework (its origins, the work done on 2.0) and talks about some of the requirements to get it installed and working. He helps you set up a sample project and shows off the Twitter Bootstrap integration, the debug bar and the "Gii" tool that can help generate code automatically (following the conventions of the framework). He finishes off the post with a look at some of the main things that changed in the 2.0 release including moving some method calls to properties, datetime handling, behavior definitions and model/view updates.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/expect-yii-2-0/

NetTuts.com:
How to Build Rate Limiting into Your Web App Login
September 22, 2014 @ 11:12:14

In this new tutorial on NetTuts.com, Jeff Reifman shows you how to build rate limiting into your application to help with issues on your login caused by possible brute force attacks.

Since one of the wealthiest corporations in the world [Apple] didn't allocate the resources to rate limit all of their authentication points, it's likely that some of your web apps don't include rate limiting. In this tutorial, I'll walk through some of the basic concepts of rate limiting and a simple implementation for your PHP-based web application.

He starts with a brief look at how (brute force) login attacks actually work and how that relates to the most common passwords used. He splits out the two main approaches to rate limiting in applications: limit based on failures by username or limiting by IP address. He then gets into the actual code examples, choosing a Yii framework-based application for his illustration. He creates a simple "failed login" database table, shows how to log the attempts and includes a snippet to purge items older than (by default) 120 minutes ago. Finally, he includes the code to check the table and see if the username has too many failures listen and, if so, denies them access.

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Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-build-rate-limiting-into-your-web-app-login--cms-22133

Sameer Borate:
Data cleaning in PHP applications
September 22, 2014 @ 09:41:56

Sameer Borate has a new post today showing the use of a "cleaner" library to help sanitize the data input to your application. In this tutorial he introduces you to Mr Clean, an "extendible PHP Data Cleaner".

Scrubbers or data cleaners are an important part of the data transformation process. Whenever you are involved in some data import or export process, data scrubbers can help you clean and standardize your data elements before storing. There are many libraries that help in sanitizing and cleaning data. One such I recently found is mr-clean; it is a extendible PHP Data Cleaner that you can use in your PHP applications to clean heterogeneous data before storing it in your database or other persistent storage like CSV files.

He walks you through the installation (via Composer) and the creation of an instance of the main "cleaner" object. He then provides a few examples of some data scrubbing features it offers:

  • Basic scrubbing (trim, stripping HTML tags, etc)
  • Booleans
  • Filtering HTML
  • Stripping CSS attributes
  • Nullify
  • Null if repeated
  • Strip Phone Number
  • Pre/Post scrubbing handling

He finishes up the post with a look at creating a custom scrubber class, an "only numeric" handler that replaces any character that's not a number in a string with an empty string (removing it).

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data cleaning mrclean library introduction tutorial

Link: http://www.codediesel.com/data/data-cleaning-in-php-applications/


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