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SitePoint PHP Blog:
The PHP 7 Revolution Return Types and Removed Artifacts
January 19, 2015 @ 13:12:14

On the SitePoint PHP blog today Bruno Skvorc has written about the PHP 7 revolution and some of the changes coming with this next major version of the language (including return types and the removal of some functionality).

With the planned date for PHP 7's release rapidly approaching, the internals group is hard at work trying to fix our beloved language as much as possible by both removing artifacts and adding some long desired features. There are many RFCs we could study and discuss, but in this post, I'd like to focus on three that grabbed my attention.

He touches on a few topics in the post including:

  • the debate that came up about PHP 5.7 versus PHP 7
  • The addition of return types from functions/methods
  • The removal of PHP4 style constructors
  • Changes to the extension API

Obviously, since PHP7 is no where near release status, all or some of these things could be subject to change. For example, the removal of PHP4 constructors is still being hotly contested on the php.internals mailing list at the time of this post.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/php-7-revolution-return-types-removed-artifacts/

Tony Marston:
Please do not break our language
January 15, 2015 @ 09:40:25

Tony Marston has posted a plea to the core developers of the PHP language when it comes to some of the changes happening with constructors in classes: "please do not break our language."

This post is addressed to PHP's core developers who are proposing to break our beloved language yet again in the next major version of PHP (version 7) by removing functionality which has worked perfectly for years simply because it does not fit in with their ideas of how it should be done today. I am talking about PHP RFC: Remove PHP 4 Constructors (and this post on php.internals) which proposes that all code with PHP 4 style constructors be made invalid in favour of the "correct" method which was introduced in PHP 5. This is despite the fact that both types of constructor have lived quite happily side by side for over a decade and that large volumes of code, including PEAR libraries, were written in the PHP 4 style.

He suggests that this kind of change would require quite a bit of code to be changed, causing headaches for a large audience out there using older PHP code. He then gets into some of his opinions and thoughts about who "owns" PHP - is it the core development team working on the language itself, the community that uses the language (or a combination of both)? He proposes two definitions of "improvement" in respect to the needs of developers using the language and core developers. He suggests that the core developers are changing the language "just because they can" and that breaking backwards compatibility with something like this is a big mistake.

He then shares some of the comments from the php.internals mailing list on the subject of the constructor change, both for and against. He also points out a few other places where backwards compatibility was broken and the resulting changes that had to be made by developers. He suggests a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of approach

If there is a choice between a lazy or incompetent core developer doing only half a job and leaving the 240 million members of the greater PHP community to clear up his mess, then it should be obvious to anyone who has more than two brain cells to rub together that it is the core developer who needs to put in the extra effort so that the greater PHP community does not have to.
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Link: http://www.tonymarston.net/php-mysql/please-do-not-break-our-language.html

Mathias Verraes:
Named Constructors in PHP
June 13, 2014 @ 09:42:15

Mathias Verras has a new post to his site about an idea he calls "named constructors". This method uses static factory methods to simulate the idea of a constructor and initialize the object.

PHP allows only a single constructor per class. That's rather annoying. We'll probably never have proper constructor overloading in PHP, but we can at least enjoy some of the benefits. Let's take a simple Time value object. Which is the best way of instantiating it? The only correct answer is "it depends".

His example shows the typical constructor creation with variable arguments, but points out that this can get messy quickly. His other method, the factory methods as "constructors", can make for a cleaner interface and makes the class more flexible. They make the object able to be initialized with different types of values and even satisfies the Single Responsibility Principle. He goes through a few examples using his "Time" class, showing how different "constructor" methods can be used to handle inputs ranging from a normal hour/minute format out to a "from minutes since midnight" value.

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Link: http://verraes.net/2014/06/named-constructors-in-php/

Master Zend Framework:
Howto Use Constructor Injection In ZF2
April 15, 2014 @ 12:50:33

The Master Zend Framework site has a new tutorial posted today introducing you to constructor injection in Zend Framework 2 applications, specifically in controller classes.

s it right to use setter injection? Or is it evil, to be avoided at all costs, for the explicitness of constructor injection? In today's post, we explore that and how to implement constructor injection in ZF2 controller classes. Recently on Master Zend Framework, I wrote about using Setter Injection in Zend Framework 2, to supply dependencies to Controller classes.

He talks about the "magic" that can come with frameworks and how constructor injection of the ServiceManager can help clarify and remove some of the problems associated with "magic". He walks you through three steps to getting the ServiceManager injected into the classes:

  • Implement a Class Constructor
  • Initialise your controllers via FactoryInterface
  • Use factories Instead of invokables

He also points out a few benefits to this method of injection, including that it makes the controllers easier to test and the main goal - lack of "magic" in dependencies.

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Link: http://www.masterzendframework.com/tutorial/howto-constructor-injection-in-zf2

SitePoint PHP Blog:
HHVM and Hack - Can We Expect Them to Replace PHP?
February 13, 2014 @ 09:29:39

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today that asks can we expect HACK and HHVM to replace PHP as an evolution of the PHP language and interpreter.

HHVM is intended to achieve both parity with the Zend Engine features and best possible performances. Facebook claims a 3x to 10x speed boost and 1/2 memory footprint by switching from PHP+APC to HHVM. Of course this is really application dependent (10x being for the FB code base). [...] Instead this article will focus on HACK which is an evolution of the PHP language designed to be safer, to enable better performance and to improve developer efficiency.

He starts off by helping you get an instance of HHVM up and running (via Vagrant) and create a simple HACK script. From there he gets into some of the more advanced HACK features like constructor argument promotion and collections. The talks some about typing, type hinting and the use of generics as well.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/hhvm-hack-part-1/

Allan MacGregor:
Playing with dependency injection in PHP
January 07, 2014 @ 10:08:10

Allan MacGregor has a recent post to his site looking at the use of Dependency Injection in PHP applications. He covers two main methods, constructor injection and setter injection, and code examples of each.

By using Dependency Injection we can write more maintainable, testable, and modular code. All projects have dependencies. The larger the project the more dependencies is it bound to have; now having a great number of dependencies is nothing bad by itself however how those dependencies are managed and maintained is.

Dependency Injection is not a new pattern and it has been commonly used on many languages like Java, but this pattern is somewhat new in the PHP world and it's gaining traction quickly thanks for frameworks like laravel.

He starts with a class that has no dependency injection, hard-coding dependencies inside the constructor. His first refactor shows how to take this class and use constructor injection to pass in an instance of an object rather than a value. After briefly explaining this method, he moves on to setter injection. He shows how to use a "setter" method to inject the needed object.

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Link: http://coderoncode.com/2014/01/06/dependency-injection-php.html

Juan Treminio:
Unit Testing Tutorial Part V Mock Methods and Overriding Constructors
April 05, 2013 @ 09:38:49

Juan Treminio has posted the latest part of his unit testing series to his site today - the fifth part that looks at using mock methods on mock objects and overriding constructors.

Previously in my PHPUnit tutorial series, you learned about the very powerful concept of mock objects and stub methods. This concept is central to successful unit testing, and once it fully 'clicks' in your head you will start to realize how useful and simple testing can be. There is also another thing I want to make clear: creating tests is basically a puzzle - you simply have to go step by step, making sure all the pieces fit together correctly so you can get your green. I hope to make clear what I mean by the end of this tutorial.

He assumes you already know about mock objects and introduces the concept of "stub methods" and "mock methods", noting the difference between them. He then gets into what he calls the "four pathways of getMockBuilder" and talks about the rationale behind mocking methods in the first place. He then gets into constructors and how you can work around the "bad" ones with help from mock object functionality.

If you're interested in reading the rest of the series, you can find links to them here.

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Link: http://jtreminio.com/2013/03/unit-testing-tutorial-part-5-mock-methods-and-overriding-constructors/

Bob Majdak:
Extending an Iterator to use an Iterator to make your code a little cleaner
March 12, 2013 @ 09:25:04

In this new post to his site Bob Majdak talks about extending iterators to help make it easier to customize it for your needs.

One of the nice things about iterators is the ability to shove them into other iterators, allowing you to wrap their functionality in other functionality to return a more precise result set. Take for example the idea that we want to read a directory to list only the images inside of it. There are two main ways to do this, via readdir functions and via FilesystemIterator objects. Going the FilesystemIterator route, one common way seems to be extend another class called FilterIterator which allows you to customize a filter based on you overwriting a method called accept().

He shows not only overriding the "accept" method, but also the constructor to make using this new iterator a much simpler (and cleaner) call. You can find out more about the FilesystemIterator (and others) over in the Iterators section of the PHP manual.

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extend iterator clean code accept constructor filesystemiterator


Matt Frost:
Dependency Injection Container Question
February 18, 2013 @ 09:26:17

In his latest post Matt Frost takes a look at dependency injection. He thinks out loud about some of the common uses for it but wonders if there's a middle ground for using a DIC and injecting manual dependencies.

The question I have is what if a dependency in one class also has a dependency? To illustrate what I mean, here's an example with some code to follow. [...] I'm not really concerned about the code here as much as I am about the concept that I'm trying to illustrate, in order to use a dependency injection container for this scenario.

In his example code, he shows a "DBAuthMethod" class that extends the "AuthMethod" interface and an "Auth" class that requires an instance of "AuthMethod" as a constructor parameter. He wonders about constructor versus setter injection and thinks that a mix of the two may not be the best structure for the code.

I just can wrap my mind around a scenario where you could ONLY use a DIC, and if you can't use the concept exclusively what benefit is there to using it?

Have any suggestions to share? Let him know - this is a problem more and more developers run into as DIC becomes more widely used.

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dependency injection container manual constructor setter


PHPMaster.com:
Dependency Injection with Pimple
January 29, 2013 @ 09:37:50

On PHPMaster.com there's a new tutorial showing you how to use Pimple (the dependency injection container from the Symfony folks) in your application to manage objects and resources.

In application development, we try to create independent modules so that we can reuse code in future projects. But, it's difficult to create completely independent modules which provide useful functionality; their dependencies can cause maintenance nightmares unless they are managed properly. This is where Dependency Injection comes in handy, as it gives us the ability to inject the dependencies our code needs to function properly without hard coding them into the modules.

They start with a look at the problem with working with "concerete dependencies", ones that are hard-coded into your classes making them not only hard to test but potentially difficult to maintain. They include an example of this (a "SocialFeeds" class and friends) and then one of two ways to fix the situation. They start with using constructor-based injection, injecting the Twitter service into the main feeds object. They also talk about another method - setter-based injection - where the objects are injected via specific methods on the object.

As a third alternative, though, they get to using Pimple to manage the objects, making it easier to inject just the one resource into your classes and extract the objects you need from there. There's also a bit of "advanced" usage of Pimple showing the use of the "share" and "extend" methods.

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dependency injection pimple symfony constructor setter tutorial



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