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Looking for more information on how to do PHP the right way? Check out PHP: The Right Way

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July 03, 2014 @ 09:35:42

Joshua Thijssen has shared his toolbox for less than $100/month that includes a complete set of development and project tools "on the cheap" but still good.

There are a lot of tools out there which can help you as a developer / self-employed contractor. And even though most of these tools are free (as in beer), I don't mind spending a certain amount of money on tools that help me do my business. So with all the tools out there, all the paid plans, the freemiums and the trial periods, what can a crispy 100 dollar bill every month buy?

His list includes hosting (ServerGrove), issue tracking (Jira), team communication (HipChat) and online storage (Dropbox). His list is made up of eight services with almost all of them having a small cost. The online collaboration (Basecamp) and hosting (from ServerGrove) are the highest costs at $20USD/month.

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toolbox onehundred hosting communication storage issuetracking automation

Link: https://www.adayinthelifeof.nl/2014/07/01/a-toolbox-for-less-than-100-month/

Engine Yard:
Improving Your Local Tech Group
October 04, 2013 @ 11:28:47

On the Engine Yard blog today PJ Hagerty has a new post sharing some of his suggestions to help improve your local tech-related group and promote growth.

There are hundreds of User Groups across North America and around the world. These groups are primarily socially based or hacker groups who gather regularly to work on group or individual "toy" projects. Most groups will remain small and insular. It's easy to stick with what is familiar and keep recycling the same format every month. Unfortunately, this leads to stagnation and apathy by group members. People will eventually stop showing up and the group will either suffer along or just cease to exist.

He suggests things that are easier when there's more than one person involved in making it a success - things like "diversify responsibilities" and having a "coordinator for outside the group activities", but they're helpful tips. He also points out a few other things to remember - that communication with the group is key, "thinking globally" to get your group involved outside the local scope and getting sponsors involved.

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Link: https://blog.engineyard.com/2013/improving-your-local-tech-group

Anthony Ferrara:
Beyond Design Patterns
September 19, 2013 @ 10:43:11

Anthony Ferrara has written up a new post that looks beyond design patterns. He suggests that more emphasis should be put on learning proper methods for abstraction and communication between objects and structures.

Many people teach design patterns as a fundamental step to Object Oriented Programming. They are so universally seen as important that almost every single conference that I have been to has had at least one talk about them. They are quite often used as interview questions to test a candidate's OOP knowledge. However, just like inheritance, they are not needed for OOP. And just like inheritance, they are a distraction rather than a foundation. Instead of focusing on patterns, I suggest focusing on learning about abstraction and communication.

He briefly covers the three types of patterns most people are introduced to - creational, structural and behavioral - and his suggestions of other patterns that answer more of the "what the problem is" question:

  • Shim patterns (Flyweight, Iterator, etc)
  • Compositional patterns (Adapter, Builder, Facade, etc)
  • Decompositional patterns (Bridge, Command, Mediator, etc)

He spends some time later in the post looking a bit more closely at four specific patterns, Adapter, Bridge, Facade and Proxy. He points out that they (essentially) do the same kind of thing and boils it down to a more refined set of implementation patterns and the problems they help solve.

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Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2013/09/beyond-design-patterns.html

Smashing Magazine:
Why Coding Style Matters
October 26, 2012 @ 09:41:32

On the Smashing Magazine site there's a new article talking about coding style matters with developing projects with multiple people (or even possible contributors in the future) involved.

Coding style is how your code looks, plain and simple. And by "your," I actually mean you, the person who is reading this article. Coding style is extremely personal and everyone has their own preferred style. You can discover your own personal style by looking back over code that you've written when you didn't have a style guide to adhere to. Everyone has their own style because of the way they learned to code.

They talk about how everyone has their own personal "style" to their code and how, when working with a team, everyone needs to communicate and make sure their styles match. They also make a few recommendations for your code like leaving "clues" (comments) and making errors easier to spot. There's also a few links to tools that can help keep your code standardized including CSS Lint and the Eclipse code formatter. PHP, of course, has its own - PHP_CodeSniffer with its own rules.

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PHPMaster.com:
Let's Talk Efficient Communication for PHP and Android, Part 1
May 28, 2012 @ 16:20:09

On PHPMaster.com today, they've started a new series about integrating two popular technologies - PHP and the Android OS - in this new tutorial from Matthew Turland. He'll show both sides of the code needed to get your Android app talking to a PHP backend.

This two-part article will guide you through the process of building an efficient PHP-based REST web service to be consumed by an Android-based application. Some of the concepts presented here are also applicable to other mobile platforms, such as iOS. I assume you already know the basics of PHP and Android development and that you have a suitable development environments set up for both. I'll focus mainly on showing you how to handle data serialization and compression in both environments.

In this first part, he starts from the client side, creating the code (Java) that's needed to create the connection to the backend. He stets it up as a background task so its execution won't block the main app from working. He shows how to execute it, running an "on create" method and checking to ensure the network is available for the request.

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tutorial android communication backend mobile java


Court Ewing's Blog:
Follow-up How PHP is Broken and How It Can Be Fixed
November 15, 2011 @ 10:18:45

In a follow up to his previous post about how PHP is broken (and what can be done to fix it), Court Ewing has this new post with a few suggestions on how PHP development could be better, but admits that PHP itself is not broken.

It is no secret that the PHP development process has never been a shining example of project organization or quality assurance. Until recently, some of the most important aspects of any project's development cycle were either entirely lacking or were ill-defined. Worse, there was little in the form of systemic quality assurance. Fortunately, the core devs did not ignore these issues, and they've been pushing really hard to improve on these areas over the past few years.

He points out two things that he sees as things that could be improved in the overall process of developing the language - noting that failing automated tests are ineffective and that communication is a key factor in the trust developers have in PHP.

The core PHP developers have long been a key component of [the amazing things the language can do], and none of progress that modern PHP applications have made would be possible without their ongoing efforts. As a result of those efforts, PHP is a stable, secure, and beautifully-practical language that is both easy for novices to wrap their heads around and experts to build the most-used web applications the world has ever seen.
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broken opinion fixed communication automated test fail


Henri Bergius' Blog:
DNode Make PHP And Node.Js Talk To Each Other
October 31, 2011 @ 09:50:05

Henri Bergius has a new post to his blog today sharing details about a messaging protocol that can help PHP and Node.js play together nicely - DNode.

Both environments have their strong points. Node.js is very fast and flexible, but PHP has a lot more mature tools and libraries available. So in a lot of projects it is hard to choose between the two. But now you might not have to. DNode is a remote method invocation protocol originally written for Node.js, as the name probably tells. But as the protocol itself is quite simple, just sending newline-terminated JSON packets over TCP connections, implementations have started popping up in other languages. You can talk DNode in Ruby, Perl, Python, Java, and now PHP.

He includes a quick example of both sides of the messaging - a simple server on the Node.js side that looks for a DNode request and using the dnode PHP client to connect to it (and return the input number multiplied by 100). He also includes a method that allows for bidirectional communication with a service that converts from Celsius to Fahrenheit.

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dnode nodejs communication bidirectional dnodephp


Cal Evans' Blog:
Six ways to be a better client for your developer - Point 1
January 14, 2011 @ 09:51:28

Cal Evans has started up a new series of posts to his blog today, flipping things over from the usual developer-centric perspective most people take and looking at the client instead. In this first part of the series he looks at the first of six ways you can be a better client to your freelance developer.

You and you alone are the vision keeper for your project. You have to convey the problem that needs to be solved without specifying how it is to be solved. Work with your developer to make sure they understand you as you describe the problem. [...] Don't assume that the developer will understand industry jargon or acronyms. Just because it's clear to you doesn't mean that it is clear to them.

Communication is a huge key when dealing with any developers, freelance or not and Cal's suggests that not only is everything laid out clearly, but there's also no stone unturned on things like features and goals for the project.

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client freelance developer opinion communication


Derick Rethans' Blog:
First release of the D-Bus extension
April 06, 2010 @ 12:16:16

Derick Rethans has announced the first official release of his D-Bus extension that makes it possible for PHP applications (and ones built in other languages) to interact directly with each other.

A few days ago I made the first beta release of the D-Bus extension that I have been working on for a while. D-Bus is a message bus system, a simple way for applications to talk to one another. I started working on this because my cellphone. [...] However, many other applications on the Linux desktop speak D-Bus. This includes system services such as the notification daemon, the screen saver and hardware plug-in detection as well as desktop applications such as Pidgin and Empathy.

You can find out more about the extension on its PECL page or check out Derick's presentation on the subject (as presented at the 2010 PHP London conference).

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ThinkPHP Blog:
Comet in conjunction with a PHP socket server - server-client communication
September 02, 2008 @ 08:41:55

In a new post to the ThinkPHP blog today there's a look at combining Comet with PHP to make a simple method for the client to talk back to the server outside the usual methods.

If a couple of users have opened the application there are already some hundred or thousand requests per second. The outcome of this is a big load for your server and a highly increased traffic - your server will in a senseless way be overloaded. In conclusion, our problem is the enormous amount of polling without knowing whether the server really wants to send a new push. Let's turn the initial situation around. And we get the solution to our problem: Comet.

With Coment, the model changes and the request is "cached" on the server-side automatically in a single Comet instance. Coordinate this with another recommendation of theirs, a PHP socket server, and you can do some pretty interesting things.

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