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SitePoint PHP Blog:
PHP-FIG Alternatives: The Pros and Cons of Various Visions
Sep 22, 2016 @ 11:10:49

On the SitePoint PHP blog paul Jones has written up some of his own perspective on the PHP-FIG and the work that's currently being done by the group on restructuring to make the group more effective, learning from past issues.

In his article The Past, Present and Future of the PHP-FIG, Larry Garfield gives a whirlwind tour of his impressions of the FIG, from its founding to one of its possible futures. I encourage you to read it in its entirety before continuing.

Herein, I will attempt to address some of the errors and omissions in Larry’s article, and offer two other possible futures for the FIG.

He starts by talking about the largest change the group is working on - the PHP-FIG 3.0 proposal. He compares the vision of this effort to some of the founding goals and principles of the group as documented in various emails and posts from current (and past) members of the group. Paul also talks about the FIG 2.0 workflow, what PSRs were before/after it was introduced and some of the overall impact that these and other PSRs from the group have had on the wider community.

He wraps up the post with a look at two alternatives he's proposing for the group's consideration as a way forward and an alternative to the PHP-FIG v3: independent interop groups and disbanding the PHP-FIG all together.

tagged: phpfig alternative vision opinion history group psr community

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/php-fig-alternatives-the-pros-and-cons-of-various-visions/

Symfony Finland:
Exotic PHP implementations: HippyVM, JPHP, Tagua VM, Peachpie
May 02, 2016 @ 09:15:37

On the Symfony Finland blog they have a recent entry looking at some of the other alternative PHP implementations with a brief overview of each.

In the past there have been alternative environment for running PHP in PIPP for Parrot VM and Quercus for JVM, but none of these have had real staying power. This changed with HHVM from Facebook in the early 2010's. It's completely separate from the Zend PHP implementation and is a fully featured alternative.

[...] Many the implementations are just proof of concept implementations and are far from supporting all the language features and rendering them to be useless for running Symfony or other contemporary applications. Regardless of whether these are immediately useful for projects it's interesting to follow these efforts.

The four covered in the post allow for PHP to be run in some pretty non-traditional environments:

There's a brief look at each of these projects included and, while most aren't close to what HHVM has to offer, you might take a look and see if they could be interesting to try out in some of your development.

tagged: implementation alternative hippyvm jphp taugavm peachpie overview

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/exotic-php-implementations-hippyvm-jphp-tagua-vm-peachpie

Mandrill Alternatives for PHP Applications
Apr 19, 2016 @ 12:07:16

With the recent (well, not too recent) announcement from MailChimp about the shift to a paid model for their Mandrill email service, PHP developers have been busy looking for alternatives. In this post to the php[architect] site Sandy Smith explores some of the other options out there, how they compare and what they have to offer.

n case you might have missed the announcement, MailChimp is changing Mandrill to be an add-on to paid MailChimp accounts, thus eliminating the generous free tier. We’re big fans of MailChimp and use its mailing list service for our own announcements, but a full MailChimp account isn’t going to be for everybody. [...] Many people also know Mandrill by reputation and will need options in the future. For you, we’ve put together this list of viable transactional email alternatives with PHP and major PHP application support.

Included in their list are services like:

For each service he includes a paragraph talking about what integrations and libraries there are for their use as well as what's included in their "free" levels.

tagged: mandrill alternative email service options sdk overview

Link: https://www.phparch.com/2016/04/mandrill-alternatives-for-php-applications/

Gonzalo Ayuso:
Alternative way to inject providers in a Silex application
Oct 19, 2015 @ 11:18:10

Gonazalo Ayuso has shared a method he's found for injecting providers into Silex that replaces accessing the dependency injection container as an array. It instead replaces it and allows defining function parameters instead.

I normally use Silex when I need to build one Backend. It’s simple and straightforward to build one API endpoint using this micro framework. But there’s something that I don’t like it: The “array access” way to access to the dependency injection container. I need to remember what kind of object provides my service provider and also my IDE doesn’t help me with autocompletion. OK I can use PHPDoc comments or even create one class that inherits from SilexApplication and use Traits. Normally I’m lazy to do it. Because of that I’ve create this simple service provider to help me to do what I’m looking for. Let me explain it a little bit.

He includes examples of both the normal way you can access Silex's injection containers (the "array access" method) and contrasts this with his updated method, via a method parameter on the route closure. His service provider (complete code in the post and on github), when registered, looks for controller events and performs reflection on the closure to detect which objects need to be injected. The method is then called normally but with the extra attributes set, populating the parameters.

tagged: slex service provider alternative array access parameter method dependency injection

Link: http://gonzalo123.com/2015/10/19/alternative-way-to-inject-providers-in-a-silex-application/

E-mail List Alternatives With PHP: Using Mailgun's List API
May 25, 2015 @ 08:12:15

In a new tutorial posted to the NetTuts.com site they show you an alternative method for sending emails from your PHP application: using the Mailgun API. This API provides an interface into the Mailgun service, specifically made for sending emails without the hassles of hosting your own email server.

Over the past couple years I've run into various frustrations with both open source email list applications and paid cloud-based providers. In this tutorial, I'll guide you through my adoption of Mailgun.com, an economical solution I've been using successfully now for two years. [...] Mailgun is a cloud-based SaaS email cannon, like SendGrid. It's actually free for up to 10,000 emails per month. Mailgun is incredibly powerful and offers a well-documented API in a variety of popular languages. It provides for both send and receive capabilities, the latter of which can be quite difficult to develop from scratch. While Mailgun doesn't provide templates for rich HTML newsletters, it provides a platform upon which you can build anything.

He shows you how to use the service using a simple "ListApp" application (found on GitHub here) that provides some of the most common email list management functionality. He shows you how to set up a free Mailgun account and where to find their PHP SDK for the PHP integration. He then gets into the code examples, showing how to connect to the API via the SDK and doing tasks such as:

  • Creating and update a mailing list
  • Importing members to a list
  • Showing a list of current list subscribers
  • Send a new message
  • Synchronizing lists and members

He ends the post with a quick section about extending the ListApp application (or the PHP SDK) with a suggestion to add better error reporting or a queue system to manage the remote API requests more efficiently.

tagged: tutorial email list alternative mailgun api sdk listapp github

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/e-mail-list-alternatives-with-php-using-mailguns-list-api--cms-22824

Marc Morera:
Defeating Expression Language
May 18, 2015 @ 08:38:27

Marc Morera has a new post to his site wanting to help you defeat Symfony's expression language and perform the same functionality, just more on the code side (another option).

How beautiful Expression Language definitions are, right? I mean, inserting that complex expressions in a Dependency Injection configuration file is so nice and fast if you need to inject the result of a method in a service (one of the multiple examples we can see). [...] This is not a bad idea, really, but because we are engineers and we should have as much information as possible in order to be able to choose between the best option, always, I will show you another way of defining this piece of code.

He shows how to write some code using the Factory design pattern structure to reproduce a bit more complex piece of expression language. He shows the setup of the services.yml file to define the "managers" and classes/services to be injected. He also notes that this removes the need for the "symfony/expression-language" dependency and makes things more portable in the future.

tagged: expression language symfony alternative factory dependencyinjection services configuration

Link: http://mmoreram.com/blog/2015/05/18/defeating-expression-language/

Anthony Ferrara:
Alternatives To MVC
Nov 25, 2014 @ 11:52:15

Following up on his previous article talking about the MVC design pattern (and the idea of "MVC"), Anthony Ferrara has posted some alternatives to MVC for your consideration. These other options are mostly variants of the typical MVC structure and could be considered "siblings".

Last week, I wrote A Beginner's Guide To MVC For The Web. In it, I described some of the problems with both the MVC pattern and the conceptual "MVC" that frameworks use. But what I didn't do is describe better ways. I didn't describe any of the alternatives. So let's do that. Let's talk about some of the alternatives to MVC...

He starts by restating some of the major issues with the typical MVC implementation (three of them). From there, he covers each of the alternatives with a summary paragraph or three about each:

He talks about the similarities between them, mainly that they're all "triads" of functionality and that they all have the same basic purpose. He also suggests that they're all "pretending" to be application architectures.

If it's not clear where something fits in your application, that's a sign that your application architecture is flawed. Not that you need to introduce some magic in to get it to work. So let's admit that none of these are application architectures... And let's admit that there is a problem we need to solve.
tagged: alternative mvc modelviewcontroller designpattern list architecture

Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2014/11/alternatives-to-mvc.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Why Choose PHP Over Alternatives?
Feb 24, 2014 @ 11:25:45

On the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc has a new article with a few of the reasons why to choose PHP over other alternatives. It's a quick post with only a few points, but it's interesting for its choices of when not to use PHP.

It’s a popular question. Why indeed should one pick PHP over one of the alternatives? After all, PHP has often been dismissed as a unusable and badly designed language. Why would anyone choose it, when starting a project from scratch? Instead of listing the reasons why people do choose it (mostly widespread availability), let’s instead focus on why people should choose it. We can’t talk about that, however, without first mentioning why they shouldn’t.

Among their suggestions of when not to use PHP are things like building command line applications and "just because it's there" on your shared hosting. There's a section near the end of the article that talks about some of the work that's been done to try to dispel the "bad press" PHP has gotten and how other languages (his illustration is Javascript) have the same kind of taunting and nitpicking happening as well.

tagged: choice alternative opinion language

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/why-choose-php/

Engine Yard Blog:
Alternative PHP Implementations
Dec 17, 2013 @ 11:45:09

On the Engine Yard blog they've posted a guest article from PHP community member Chris Hartjes about some of the alternative PHP implementations that are out and available to the community.

Many PHP developers have a very vague understanding of what is meant by a “runtime”. It’s a concept that is more common in other languages languages. At it’s most basic level, it is the idea that you can have a specification for the behaviour of the language, and then you can write your own implementation of it. [...] A shocking fact: programming languages have bugs and are sometimes missing features that people desire. Alternative implementations are a great way for people to try and create a version of a language that meets their needs while hopefully remaining as backwards compatible as possible.

He talks about one of the major players in the "alternate PHP" realm right now - the HipHop Virtual Machine (or HHVM) from Facebook. The project looks to make PHP perform even better than it already does by compiling it down. Chris shares two reasons he thing they started the project - one being their own need for performance and the other being that it gives them the option of adding new features to the language they might need.

tagged: alternative implementation facebook hiphop vm hhvm

Link: https://blog.engineyard.com/2013/alternative-php-implementations

Using Satis for fast and reliable software deployment
Dec 05, 2013 @ 11:57:32

One of the major recent advancements in the PHP ecosystem has been the use of Composer (and the Packagist service) for package and dependency management. Unfortunately, this default setup comes with one big limitation - if the Packagist or Github are unavailable for some reason, your Composer install will fail, possibly leaving you dead in the water. So, what can you do to help? On the Qandidate.com blog today they introduce you to Satis and how to integrate it into your deployment process.

If you're familiar with Composer you know it can be slow and sometimes unreliable when one or more packages are not available. Every time you run composer update Composer will access Packagist to check for new versions of the packages you use. When it finds new releases it will access GitHub, BitBucket (or wherever the packages are hosted) to download your packages.

Satis is a "private Packagist" and provides the data Composer needs to fetch and integrate either your internal packages or mirrors of external ones you've created. They help you get it installed, configured and show how to build and serve up the information via PHP's own built-in web server. They also touch on a few other related points - the speed of Satis, reliability and some concerns around securing your installation.

tagged: satis introduction packagist composer alternative private package

Link: http://labs.qandidate.com/blog/2013/12/05/using-satis-for-fast-and-reliable-software-deployment/