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Dylan Bridgman:
Writing highly readable code
Jul 30, 2015 @ 12:29:55

Dylan Bridgman has posted a few helpful tips on writing code that's "highly readable" and easier for both developers inside and outside the project to understand.

We are always told that commenting our code is important. Without comments other developers will not be able to understand what we did and our future selves will recoil in horror when doing maintenance. Readable code, however, is not only about comment text. More importantly it is about the style, structure and naming. If you get into the habit of writing easily readable code, you will actually find yourself writing less comments.

He breaks it up into a few different categories to keep in mind as you're writing your code:

  • the overall style of the code
  • the structure of the application (directories, libraries used, etc)
  • naming conventions for variables, methods and classes

Finally, he talks about comments and how they should fit into the ideas of readable code. He suggests that they should stay as high level as possible and explain the intent of the code, not what the code is doing (yes, there's a difference).

tagged: write readable code tips style structure naming convention comments

Link: https://medium.com/@dylanbr/writing-highly-readable-code-94da94d5d636

Rob Allen:
Checking your code for PSR-2
Jul 28, 2015 @ 08:17:20

Rob Allen has posted a guide showing you how to make your code PSR-2 compliant with the help of some handy tools, both in and out of your editor/IDE.

Most of the projects that I work on follow the PSR-2 coding style guidelines. I prefer to ensure that my PRs pass before Travis or Jenkins tells me, so let's look at how to run PSR-2 checks locally.

He looks at three different methods - not the only ones out there but three quick to implement ones:

  • Using the PSR-2 sniffs for PHP_CodeSniffer
  • Automating the checks with Phing
  • Editor integration (he shows VIM and Sublime Text)

There's links to the tools mentioned here and screenshots/configuration information showing how to get it set up too.

tagged: psr2 code style check phpcodesniffer phing editor vim sublimetext

Link: http://akrabat.com/checking-your-code-for-psr-2/

Acquia Blog:
Quick Tips for Writing Object Oriented Code in PHP
Jul 13, 2015 @ 10:58:14

On the Acquia blog Adam Weingarten has shared some tips for writing good (and modern) object-oriented code in PHP:

Recently I began working on a D8 module, but this isn't a story about a D8 module. The work I did provided me an opportunity to get back to my pre-Drupal object oriented (OO) roots. Writing OO code in PHP presented some curve balls I wasn’t prepared for. Here are some of the issues I encountered:

His tips touch on things like:

  • Using a code structure that can be autoloaded via PSR-4
  • Namespacing your classes
  • Working with types and type hinting
  • Using docblock comments for autocomplete in IDEs

There's also a few other quick topics he finishes the post out with: the lack of enums in PHP, working with associative arrays, no functional overloading and assigning responsibility to classes.

tagged: oop tips objectoriented code modern psr4 namespace typing docblock missing

Link: https://www.acquia.com/blog/quick-tips-for-writing-object-oriented-code-in-php/09/07/2015/3285651

SitePoint PHP Blog:
4 Best Chart Generation Options with PHP Components
Jun 26, 2015 @ 08:30:29

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new article posted sharing four of the best charting libraries they've seen for use in your PHP applications. Options include both server and client side tools, making finding one for your situation easier.

Data is everywhere around us, but it is boring to deal with raw data alone. That’s where visualization comes into the picture. [...] So, if you are dealing with data and are not already using some kind of charting component, there is a good chance that you are going to need one soon. That’s the reason I decided to make a list of libraries that will make the task of visualizing data easier for you.

He starts with a brief comparison of the server side versus client side options, pointing out some high level advantages and disadvantages of each. He then gets into each of the libraries, giving an overview, an output example and some sample code to get you started:

  • Google Charts (Client Side)
  • FusionCharts (Client Side)
  • pChart (Server Side)
  • ChartLogix PHP Graphs (Server Side)

He ends with a wrapup of the options and links to two other possibilities you could also evaluate to find the best fit.

tagged: chart generation option component top4 list example output code

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/4-best-chart-generation-options-php-components/

Lorna Mitchell:
Code Reviews: Before You Even Run The Code
Jun 02, 2015 @ 09:50:01

Lorna Mitchell has posted a list of helpful tips to perform good code reviews on submissions before even trying to run the code for correctness.

I do a lot of code reviewing, both in my day job as principal developer and also as an open source maintainer. Sometimes it seems like I read more code than I write! Is that a problem? I'm tempted to say that it isn't. To be a good writer, you must be well-read; I believe that to be a good developer, you need to be code-omnivorous and read as much of other people's code as possible. Code reviews are like little chapters of someone else's code to dip into.

She offers several tips you can follow to make the reviews you do more effective including:

  • Ensuring you understand the change
  • Are the changes where you'd expect?
  • Does the commit history make sense
  • Evaluate the diff to ensure the changes themselves are valid

She only then recommends trying out the code. Following the suggestions above can help ferret out issues that may be hidden by just running the code and not fully looking into the changes.

tagged: code review suggestion list opinion before execution

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2015/code-reviews-before-you-even-run-the-code

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Automatic PHP Code Generation with Memio
May 05, 2015 @ 11:52:07

On the SitePoint PHP blog a new tutorial shows you how to generate code with Memio, a relatively new PHP-based tool that lets you define "models" as structures for the code you need generated.

Ever thought of writing code responsible for generating certain PHP classes, methods, properties automatically? Read on to get the details on when exactly automatic code generation may be helpful and – what’s most important – how to implement it properly using the Memio library.

He starts with a bit of introduction to the basic concept of code generation and mentions a few places it's currently used. Then he gets into the examples, starting with a bit of code showing how to get Twig loaded and injected into the Memio instance. From there he shows a simple example of creating a class with a single method and single line of code. With the basics understood, he gets into a more "real world" example of generating ORM classes with getters and setters for the different properties/column names.

tagged: tutorial generate code memio library example orm realworld

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/automatic-php-code-generation-memio/

Marc Morera:
Visithor, Testing Your Routes Without Pain
May 05, 2015 @ 09:25:55

In his latest post Marc Morera shares a new tool he's created to help with testing routes for specific HTTP code responses and other attributes of your "HTTP layer" - Visithor.

Many years ago I was thinking about a simple and fast tool to test specific routes, expecting specific HTTP codes and providing an easy environment of ensuring properly your HTTP layer. So... I present you Visithor, a PHP based library that provides you this functionality, with a simple configuration definition and a very easy way of installation.

He starts with a few quick commands to get the library installed (either globally or local to the project) and how to create the first configuration file. This file defines the tests to execute as a set of URLs with allowed HTTP response codes. He also shares a Symfony2 bundle that can be used to integrate it with your current application, allowing for more flexibility in route check configuration and environment settings. He also includes a quick example of integrating it with your Travis-CI build as a "script" command to be executed.

tagged: visithor library testing http response code symfony2 bundle integration

Link: http://mmoreram.com/blog/2015/05/04/visithor/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Inspecting PHP Code Quality with Scrutinizer
Apr 29, 2015 @ 11:24:24

The SitePoint PHP blog has a recent tutorial showing you how to use the Scrutinizer service to evaluate the quality and "pain points" in your PHP code, be it a library or full application.

We’ve gone through a decent number of tutorials about code quality, inspections, auto-build systems and so on here at SitePoint. [...] In this article, we’ll take a look at Scrutinizer CI – a continuous integration tool that’s quite expensive and closed to private projects, but very handy for public ones.

He starts with a quick comparison of Scrutinizer versus (and really plus) the popular CI service Travis CI. He then walks you through the setup of Scrutinizer to evaluate your application automatically when code is pushed to GitHub. He then gets into the configuration options the service provides including filters, specific checks to evaluate and other tools to execute in the evaluation build. The article then gets into examples of the reports that are provided and a bit of detail about what each view provides. There's also options to hide certain errors that you know aren't actually problems and the "follow up" links it provides for the issues you may not understand.

tagged: inspect code quality scrutinizer tutorial setup configure

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/inspecting-php-code-quality-scrutinizer/

Christopher Pitt:
Co-operative PHP Multitasking
Mar 30, 2015 @ 12:47:41

Christopher Pitt has posted a new article on Medium.com about when an "array is like an adventure" when in the context of co-operative PHP multitasking. In it he shows how to make code work asynchronously with out the use of extensions, only generators.

Last week I got the opportunity to share recent work with my colleagues, at SilverStripe. I was going to present Async PHP today, but since I covered ReactPHP last week; I decided to talk about something slightly different. So here’s a post about cooperative multitasking.

He starts with some basic arrays and other things that act like them and can be iterated through (Traversable). He talks about implementing custom iterators to act the same way and the use of IteratorAggregate to "cheat" a bit when making them. The he gets into generators, showing how they can be used to iterate similarly. He shows how it's possible to send data to a generator, throwing exceptions inside them and the use of "coroutines" to create asynchronous code. He builds up a queue system with this method and shows how they execute with some simple echo output. He also shows the use of RecoilPHP, another coroutine-based library, to replace the main kernel for a ReactPHP script. He also mentions IcicleIO as another option.

tagged: cooperative multitasking asynchronous code coroutine generator

Link: https://medium.com/@assertchris/co-operative-php-multitasking-ce4ef52858a0

Julien Pauli:
Zoom on PHP objects and classes
Mar 26, 2015 @ 12:50:49

Julien Pauli has a recent post to his site that "zooms in" on objects and classes with a look behind the scenes at how they're handled in the PHP source (at the C level) with plenty of code examples and explanations as to how they work.

Everybody uses objects nowadays. Something that was not that easy to bet on when PHP5 got released 10 years ago (2005). I still remember this day, I wasn't involved in internals code yet, so I didn't know much things about how all this big machine could work. But I had to note at this time, when using this new release of the language, that jumps had been made compared to old PHP4. The major point advanced for PHP5 adoption was : "it has a new very powerful object model". That wasn't lies. [...] Here, I will show you as usual how all this stuff works internally. The goal is always the same : you understand and master what happens in the low level, to make a better usage of the language everyday.

The article does a great (if lengthy) job of covering everything that happens with PHP's objects and class system, including stats about memory consumption. He includes both the PHP code and the C code to illustrate what's happening with classes, interfaces, traits and object methods/attributes (including object references). He also talks about what "$this" is and how class destructors are handled.

tagged: object class behindthescenes detail c code memory usage

Link: http://jpauli.github.io/2015/03/24/zoom-on-php-objects.html