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Community News:
Zagreb PHP User Group December 2011 Meeting - 13th @ 6pm
November 30, 2011 @ 08:29:30

Miro has submitted some information about the latest meeting of the Zagreb PHP User Group happening December 13th at 6pm in the Multimedia Institute:

Although Zagreb PHP Meetup started only 3 months ago with monthly meetups (up to 30 developers coming), our next meeting will be first meetup with organized talks. December meetup will have 5 talks with themes like 'How to write readable code?', 'Flex & PHP development' , 'Introduction to test driven development' && 'MySQL - explain explained'.

We would like to invite all interested PHP and non-PHP developers that would like to listen to some of best Croatian PHP devs (and understand Croatian language) to come on December 13th from 6PM to Mama, Preradoviceva 18 in Zagreb. Unfortunately we are limited with number of available seats so please signup at http://zgphp.eventbrite.com/.

Due to space limitations, there's only 12 seats available so hurry and reserve your spot if you'd like to attend (it's free)!

Have a user group meeting you'd like announced? Let us know!

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Kevin Schroeder's Blog:
Authentication Using Zend_Amf
July 07, 2011 @ 09:39:47

Kevin Schroeder has a new post to his blog today showing how you can use the Zend_Amf component in your Flex+PHP application to authenticate users with the same authentication structure the rest of the application uses.

I forget why, but a few days ago I started doing some digging around with authentication in Zend_Amf_Server. I had figured that I would add an adapter to the Zend_Amf_Server::setAuth() method and that would be it. But I was wrong.

Zend_Auth is used to validate the login information that's passed along and the Zend_Acl checks to see if they have access. To make this work for a connection from Flex, you need to make an authentication adapter and add it (as well as a basic ACL) into your Zend_Amf_Server call.

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Kevin Schroeder's Blog:
Passing typed ActionScript objects to Flex using PHP and a message queue
June 07, 2011 @ 08:20:12

Continuing on in his Flex and PHP series Kevin Schroeder has a new post to his blog today looking at how to send typed ActionScript objects to Flex so he could pass PHP objects and their structure directly back to the waiting frontend.

What I wanted to do was use the sales notification mechanism to pass PHP objects to Flex using the message queue. But I could not get the unserialization mechanism to work and so I had to settle for passing a simple message that a sale had been made. However, because you can pass typed objects back and forth between PHP and ActionScript over HTTP using Zend_Amf_Server I figured that there MUST be a way of doing it automatically.

He walks you through the steps to discovery that eventually got him to his end goal - making a simple valueObject class to use for the connection, a basic PHP script (using Zend_Amf) to parse the object's data and a bit of code to send it back to the waiting MQ queue via a Zend_Queue adapter.

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Kevin Schroeder's Blog:
Connecting PHP to ActionScript and Flex using Stomp
June 06, 2011 @ 08:19:26

Kevin Schroeder has a recent post to his blog today looking at how he used Stomp to connect his backend PHP to frontend Flex, a text-based protocol that can be used to connect to a MQ server instance.

In yesterday's post I talked a little bit about some of the details on how I used messaging to connect a front end on demand request to a back end scheduled data processing mechanism. In this post we're going to talk about how to send data from a web page to a running Flex application without using HTTP. It is really quite easy.

His demo application watches a Magento instance and notifies him whenever a new sales comes in. Because of Magento's event-based system, it made the setup relatively easy. He includes the code for the observer on the Magento side and the Zend Framework-based logger code that it calls. Using the AS3Stomp library to make the connection, Kevin sets up the data provider for the Flex app to push the latest sale information into a list.

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Zend Developer Zone:
File uploads with Adobe Flex and Zend AMF
October 22, 2010 @ 12:25:07

On the Zend Developer Zone there's a post looking at uploading files in a Adobe Flex-based application that uses a slightly different than usual approach to uploading files through Zend_Amf.

Zend AMF is a PHP implementation of the AMF (Action Message Format) binary protocol within the Zend Framework. I had to implement a system to upload files that were a little different than what is typically used in Flash, so I built upon Zend AMF for my needs. Researching a little on the net, I found a solution that was simpler than I expected. Based on an article, I only had to make a few adjustments.

He shows a (brief) version of his setup - a gateway to be used as the endpoint for Flex to connect to, the VO properties and the class to handle the upload. On the Flex side, he includes the code to create the view and pass the upload off to the waiting PHP backend. If you want to see the full code, you can grab it here.

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Zend Developer Zone:
PHP, Flex and Mobile
September 08, 2010 @ 09:08:48

On the Zend Developer Zone today there's a new post from Cal Evans about an article from the minds of Ryan Stewart (Adobe) and Kevin Schroeder (Zend) about the powerful combination of Flex and PHP.

These two have gotten together again to show how you can use Flex (Flash, ActionScript, AIR, you know the drill) and Zend Framework (Winner of a BOSSie) Their new article "Flex and PHP" from the most recent issue of Flash & Flex magazine, talks about using the same controllers and actions for returning both HTML and JSON. This concept of programming for multiple destinations is important in a web where your API may be more important than your HTML.

You can get the full article as a PDF from the DevZone site. It's an extended tutorial on getting Flex and PHP to work together via multiple formats (similar to what Kevin presented on his blog recently.

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Adobe Developer Connection:
Flex and PHP charting
August 06, 2010 @ 09:11:13

On the Adobe Developer Connection there's a recent tutorial posted looking at combining PHP and Flex to make a simple charting application.

One area in which Flex and PHP go really well together is in creating data visualizations. PHP makes it incredibly easy to retrieve information from a database and manipulate it. For its part, Flex provides a user interface layer that is interactive and capable of quickly calculating shapes, which is perfect for charting.

The article focuses on the structure of the data between the PHP application and the Flex frontend (since it needs a bit more definition than some of the usual PHP methods for plotting charts). The files needed to follow along with the tutorial are available for download as well as links to try or buy Flash Builder. In the end, you'll have a chart like this for your efforts.

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RIA Zone:
Charting data from a database using Adobe Flex and PHP
July 07, 2010 @ 09:14:01

On the RIA Zone today Ryan Stweart has posted a new tutorial about using Flex and PHP to chart out some data pulled from a backend database with just a hint of animation on load.

Creating charts and data visualization is one of the areas where Adobe Flash shines. The combination of a very powerful drawing API that makes it easy to generate artwork and the interactivity means that Flash is ideally suited for integrating data visualizations. It used to be that you'd have to be very familiar with Flash and scripting to work with charting. [...] You use a combination of XML-markup and scripting to create [Flex] applications. Further, you can use CSS syntax to customize the look and feel of the charts. Flex makes it straightforward to add interactive charts to web applications.

The tutorial walks you through the creation of the Flex project (you'll need Flash Builder 4 to follow along), creating and pulling in the data from a PHP-based service call, binding the data to the chart object and a few tips on how to modify the HTML output to use teh Flex/Ajax bridge. Animating the resulting chart is as simple as adding two new tags to the Flex definition.

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PHP Zone:
The Architecture of Flex and PHP Applications
June 02, 2010 @ 12:31:54

In a new article to the PHP Zone (part of the DZone.com site) today Mihai Corlan has written up an introduction to the architecture of the interactions that happen between PHP and Flex applications.

When I did my first web project using Flex, boy oh boy, it was quite a switch! The clean separation between the client and the server, (the business logic on the client side in addition to business logic on the server side), client-side technology that is compiled instead of interpreted, two languages on the client, all these required a different mind-set from traditional web development. [...] I want to share with you some of the things that are specific to Flex in relation to PHP. And I want to show you how common tasks for building HTML/PHP applications are done with Flex and PHP.

He talks about the SOA architecture model that the Flex/PHP interaction follows (connecting to services) and illustrates a basic Flex client to PHP server request/response pattern for a simple application. He even includes a sample illustration of an AIR application's interaction with a backend PHP server.

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Keith Casey's Blog:
Event Driven Programming
May 27, 2010 @ 11:05:15

In a new post to his blog today Keith Casey talks about something that might be a bit foreign to some PHP developers out there event driven programming. He relate it to the Flex world where it's more commonly used.

When you initially dive into the world of Flex development, most PHP'ers will quickly notice something weird. We're out of the world of Request/Response that we know and understand and into an odd world of Events, Listeners, and Publishers/Subscribers where things just don't play well together.

He talks about the Observer design pattern and how it works to provide an interface to other objects who are listening in and waiting for events to happen (he uses an airline analogy). He also gives a more concrete illustration - uploading a file - and how the events would be used to handle each part of the process.

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