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Acquia Blog:
Web Accessibility Tips for Developers - Part 2
May 15, 2015 @ 10:28:08

The Acquia blog has posted the second part in their series sharing tips for developers around web accessibility. In this new post they focus on page content and making things accessible.

We're at the halfway point of what hopefully has been a helpful guide for developers to make a website accessible for all visitors. (If you missed the first part of this two-part series, please click here.) In this blog, we'll review how instructional text, navigation, and other parts of development can allow those with blindness and low vision, deafness, and other disabilities to make full use of a website.

In the post they share helpful tips on:

  • There's a Proper Place for Instructional Text
  • A Search that Searches When Instructed
  • Jump Directly to Main Content
  • An Easier Way to Zoom and Shrink
  • Know What to Show; What to Hide

Each item comes with a brief summary (and screenshots where it helps) to illustrate the point.

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Link: https://www.acquia.com/blog/web-accessibility-developers-part-2

Acquia Blog:
PHP Reset, PHP Renaissance Unify everything in PHP with Composer
April 30, 2015 @ 08:19:15

On the Acquia blog there's a new post today with another of Jeffrey A. "jam" McGuire's interviews with a member of the PHP community. In this latest interview he talks with Jordi Boggiano, a lead developer on the Composer project that's changed the way people use and install PHP packages.

It was great to get the chance to sit down and talk with Jordi Boggiano at SymfonyCon Madrid 2014. Jordi is responsible for Composer, one of the most important pieces of technology that is driving PHP interoperability and the PHP "renaissance" of the last couple of years. He's also on the Symfony2 core team.

Jeffrey gives a brief overview of some of the main points that Jordi makes in his interview including the suggestion of "using what you know" and thinking of the people/users of the tool, not just the technology of it. He also mentions Jordi's response to the "PHP Renaissance" (and note that he sees it as more of a PHP Reset instead). You can watch the full interview video either through the embedded player or on YouTube, You can also use the in-page audio player or download the mp3 if you'd like an audio-only version.

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acquia interview community jordiboggiano composer video reset renaissance

Link: http://www.acquia.com/resources/podcasts/acquia-podcast-192-php-reset-renaissance-unify-everything-composer

Acquia Podcast:
New Wave PHP with Lorna Jane Mitchell
February 17, 2015 @ 11:49:40

The Acquia podcast has a new episode from host Jeffrey A. "jam" McGuire with guest Lorna Jane Mitchell talking about the "new wave PHP" and recent advancements in the community and language.

Lorna Jane Mitchell is back to show us some great reasons for upgrading your projects to PHP 5.3 or newer. Drupal 8's minimum version requirement is already up there at 5.4.5 (as of 2015.Feb.02), so we're doing well! Lorna and I have a quick chat about her history and experience, open source versus proprietary software development ("Projects and companies that work in that open source technology space make much better use of tools ... and they are wonderful, free, and well-supported tools!") ... specifics of how and why the PHP "Renaissance" is happening, and Drupal 8 as a PHP meta-project before she gets down to her jam's Drupal Camp presentation.

The post includes a video of her Drupal Camp session covering the same topic and the slides as presented. This also includes a video of the interview and a link to both the audio file and an in-page audio player.

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acquia podcast lornajanemitchell newwave drupalcamp video interview

Link: http://www.acquia.com/resources/podcasts/acquia-podcast-178-new-wave-php-lorna-jane-mitchell

Acquia Blog:
PHP Getting the job done, really easily - meet Stephan Hochdörfer
January 15, 2015 @ 10:51:12

On the Acquia blog today Jeffrey A. McGuire has posted another of his interview with members of the PHP community (both video and audio available). In this new interview he talks with Stephan Hochdörfer about "getting the job done, really easily" with PHP.

Stephan Hochdörfer from bitExpert AG and I got the chance to sit down and chat in the event hotel lobby following his session (and my keynote address :-) at SymfonyLive Berlin, 2014.

Stephan answers questions about his background with PHP, why he's chosen to stick with it and thoughts about the general PHP community. They also talk some about Composer and how it's making it easier on them to replace custom, proprietary code with robust PHP packages. You can listen to the audio of this interview either using the in-page player or by downloading the mp3 of the session. If you'd prefer to watch the video, you can check it out on Youtube too.

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Link: https://www.acquia.com/resources/podcasts/acquia-podcast-175-php-getting-job-done-really-easily-meet-stephan-hochdoerfer

Acquia Blog:
PHP Under the Hood, Running the Web
December 10, 2014 @ 12:08:01

The Acquia blog (of the Drupal community) has posted another in their series of guest posts with members of the wider PHP community. In this latest post well known PHP speaker and developer Michelangelo van Dam talks about PHP as a language that's "Under the Hood, Running the Web".

Most non-technical people out on the Web haven't heard of PHP before. They might not have even heard of many of the products that were built with this technology like Drupal, Magento, or WordPress. And together with other products built with PHP, these run about 83% of all internet web applications. The technology of PHP is very important to an enormous number of businesses, governments, and organisations around the world, so even though people might not be familiar with the language itself, there's a very good chance they've used it online today.

He talks about the recent movements in the PHP community to be more standards-driven and focusing on better performance overall (both in applications and the language itself). He points to the work the Drupal community has done adopting Symfony components and the gains it gives them. He also mentions the huge impact things like Composer and the PHP Framework Interoperability Group have had on the PHP community and ecosystem.

Yes, the future of PHP looks very promising and the community is on a roll. [...] With strong communities working hard on each technological level and better able to cooperate than ever before, PHP will prevail where other technologies have failed. And let's have fun while we're at it!
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acquia blog michelangelovandam underthehood improvement standards interoperability

Link: https://www.acquia.com/blog/php-under-hood-running-web

Acquia Podcast:
Meet Cal Evans ... Meet Jeffrey A. "jam" McGuire (Part 1)
November 21, 2014 @ 10:42:02

The Acquia podcast has released a special episode today spotlighting a video interview with Voices of the ElePHPant host Cal Evans and Jeffrey (jam) McGuire of the Drupal community. They decided to do a joint podcast, combining the Acquia and Voices of the ElePHPant podcast, giving you a look behind the scenes at Cal himself.

They talk about how Cal became involved in open source, how he discovered Drupal specifically, his involvement in the PHP community as a whole and where he works/what he currently does. They also talk about why Cal thinks PHP is such a success and his own "virtual user group" project, NomadPHP.

You can catch the interview either through the in-page video player or directly on YouTube.

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voicesoftheelephpant calevans community interview jeffreymcguire drupal acquia

Link: https://www.acquia.com/resources/podcasts/acquia-podcast-167-meet-cal-evans-meet-jeffrey-jam-mcguire

Acquia Blog:
PHP is getting Faster
November 04, 2014 @ 13:35:29

On the Acquia blog they've posted another in their guest post series, this time from Richard Miller, a Senior Technical Consultant with SensioLabs (the people behind the Symfony framework). In this new post he talks about how the performance of PHP is getting better and why.

PHP is not the fastest language in which we could write web applications, yet we continue to do so for many other reasons. Pure speed of a language is rarely the main deciding factor for many projects. [...] So why worry about the speed of the language at all? Well, application architecture is improving and we are finding ways to avoid all those other bottlenecks. [...] Trying to gain speed through profiling and optimising code can be a long and tedious process. Thankfully, improvements in the speed of the language itself give us an improvement in these other areas for free.

He looks at "a brief history" of the language and the major milestones that have lead to the biggest performance gains over the years. He also talks about some of the alternatives out there to "normal PHP" for execution including the HHVM and HippyVM projects. He ends the post with a warning, though - be careful of fragmentation and separation of the community based on these different tools and embrace things like the language specification to keep things on an even keel.

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community acquia faster performance history runtime projects

Link: https://www.acquia.com/blog/php-getting-faster

Acquia Blog:
The Future of PHP is Shared Power Tools
October 17, 2014 @ 09:06:42

On the Acquia blog there's a recent post from Ryan Weaver from KnpLabs, well known for his contributions to the Symfony2 framework. In his post he suggests that the future of PHP is "shared power tools", less around the monolithic frameworks or installable software and more about the combinations of small pieces of code doing exactly what they need and nothing more.

[Things like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress are] painstakingly thought about and solved the same problems from scratch. And despite that, the results were incredible. How? Because they leveraged the sheer size and passion of their respective PHP communities. But it makes me wonder: what crazy things could we build if we worked together? Fortunately, we're on our way to finding that out. The PHP world is transforming and the individual armies and empires are blurring together.

He talks about how PHP developers should stop fighting the same battles and start working together using existing libraries to solve problems. He points out that applications, even the big names, are becoming more and more modular. Even Drupal has recently made the move to include Symfony packages for some of its functionality (other examples are given too). He also talks about "developer experience" in using these tools, what Symfony is doing to help it and how building on these and other components is essentially "standing on the shoulders of giants" to solve problems easier, faster and with better quality code.

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acquia blog ryanweaver shared tools package library symfony2

Link: https://www.acquia.com/blog/future-php-shared-power-tools

Acquia Blog:
5 PHP Components every Drupal 8 Developer should know Part 1 - Composer
June 25, 2014 @ 12:04:23

On the Acquia blog there's a new post from Kris Vanderwater, Developer Evangelist, starting off a series of "Five PHP Components Every Drupal 8 Developer Should Know". In this first post he covers something that's more of a tool to deal with components and dependencies - working with Composer.

Drupal 8 has made a lot of changes. Architectural and technical changes abound, but Drupal 8 has also brought social changes. We're not really feeling the full effects of those changes quite yet, but with time, I believe the implications of Drupal 8's new direction will have an amazing impact for the good of our community. A big part of those changes was the decision to adopt outside code. [...] Interoperability is the driving force of this renaissance and that interoperability has been fueled by a combination of: [a few things including] the timely appearance of a tool known as Composer.

He briefly introduces the tool to those not familiar with it and its purpose. He links to some of the installation instructions, both global and local to a single project. He includes an example "composer.json" (to install the popular Guzzle HTTP tool) and running the "install" command. He gets into the directory structure and files that are created as a part of the installation. He also looks more deeply at the classmap file and how that relates to the files downloaded.

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acquia component introduction drupal8 top5 composer

Link: https://www.acquia.com/blog/5-php-components-every-drupal-8-developer-should-know-part-1-composer

Acquia Blog:
A Look at PHP's Continuing Evolution
August 26, 2013 @ 15:13:46

On the Acquia blog there's a new post looking at the evolution of the PHP language and some of the newer features included in recent releases.

PHP is not a young language. As of 2013, it's 18 years old; that's old enough to vote. Many upstart languages have appeared over the years to try and unseat PHP as the "lingua franca" of web applications but it still commands over 80% of the web market. One reason for PHP's popularity is no doubt the ease with which new developers can get started with it, but just as important is the fact that PHP has been evolving for all those 18 years.

He covers things added over the last several major revisions of the language (with code examples) - things like anonymous functions, traits and generators.

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language continue evolution acquia larrygarfield

Link: https://www.acquia.com/blog/look-phps-continuing-evolution


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