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SitePoint PHP Blog:
How Privileged Are Programmers? Are You a John, Too?
Apr 25, 2017 @ 09:31:16

On the SitePoint PHP blog Christopher Pitt has written up a new article, a story about "John" a developer caricature that's all too familiar in the development world and how you can grow up from "being a John". It's all based on Christopher's own experiences too.

John was a developer. To be specific, he was a young, white, straight, young, self-taught developer. He wasn’t rare, but he was special. John grew up with a couple parents, who paid for everything he needed.

[...] John got average grades, but it was ok because [according to mum]; “he’s just bored of schooling, and too clever”. He walked right out of high-school and into a programming job. The pay wasn’t great; only enough for a small apartment and modest groceries [for one]. In time he’d earn more. [...] Over the years, John quickly got bored of programming. He loved the thought of the career, but it was all so boring. He moved jobs every year or so, and only then when his idiot bosses stopped seeing how much he mattered to their company.

He talks about his own past, how he realized he was a "John" and how he made the conscious decision to grow up and out of that situation. He talks about those being born into comfort and how they're not always forced to grow up or to really struggle. He mentions other common "John" points of view ("we can always just move jobs" or "meetings are just a distraction"). He's angry with himself for seeing so much of his previous life in these examples. He's also angry to see these same patterns in other developers around him, other "Johns" that treat him the same way with excuses, failed promises and delays.

I think of all these clever little things I could do, to force John to work. All these processes and mantras and check-lists. Then I despair. The only thing that’s going to make John realise he is wasting away is wasting away enough to fall through his safety net. He’s going to have to grow up on his own, and maybe then he’ll pay it forward to his future employers and clients.
tagged: john programmer privilege example opinion experience

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/how-privileged-are-programmers-are-you-a-john-too/

Nikita Popov:
PHP 7 Virtual Machine
Apr 17, 2017 @ 17:42:47

Nikita Popov has a new post to his site sharing a look behind the curtain of how the PHP 7 virtual machine works, the latest version in the Zend Virtual Machine that powers the language.

This article aims to provide an overview of the Zend Virtual Machine, as it is found in PHP 7. This is not a comprehensive description, but I try to cover most of the important parts, as well as some of the finer details.

This description targets PHP version 7.2 (currently in development), but nearly everything also applies to PHP 7.0/7.1. However, the differences to the PHP 5.x series VM are significant and I will generally not bother to draw parallels.

Most of this post will consider things at the level of instruction listings and only a few sections at the end deal with the actual C level implementation of the VM.

He then goes through many different points and piece of functionality in the VM and how they work including:

  • variable types
  • the stack frame layout
  • fetch modes
  • exception handling
  • finally handling
  • generators

There's lots of information here and it's definitely interesting to see what happens inside the language to create the fast and functional PHP 7 applications we have now.

tagged: virtualmachine php7 zend detail behindthescenes example

Link: http://nikic.github.io/2017/04/14/PHP-7-Virtual-machine.html

Laravel News:
Manage your Laravel Forge Sites and Servers through Alfred
Apr 17, 2017 @ 16:04:38

On the Laravel News site there's a quick post showing you how you can use the Alfred tool to manage your Forge created servers. Alfred is a productivity tool for OSX systems that makes it easier to create shortcuts and interface with external applications in a convenient way.

Since the release of the Forge API developers have started creating a lot of apps and integrations, as well as an unofficial SDK. For those that use Alfred on the Mac, Vince Mitchell, launched a Workflow so you can quickly run many Forge commands right from your desktop.

The post includes the list of commands that the workflow includes allowing you to perform operations like opening the server's page in a browser, rebooting a system and restarting the web server on a specific machine. You can grab the workflow from the Packal site and drop it into your Alfred installation for immediate use.

tagged: alfred manage server laravel forge workflow example api

Link: https://laravel-news.com/forge-alfred-app

Kevin Schroeder:
(Almost) Stupid Easy PHP Integration with Active Directory on Azure
Apr 12, 2017 @ 12:31:04

Kevin Schroeder has a new post to his site showing an (almost) stupid easy Active Directory integration method on the Windows Azure service via PHP.

There is something nice about simply having to go to one company and say “I need X” and, lo, you have it. Clearly that’s an over-simplification and, to some degree, a lie, but for the Microsoft developers I’ve talked to who have had to make the switch to PHP that is one of the things that they have said the liked better about Microsoft.

This is a simple library that uses the league/oauth2-client to provide OAuth2 based integration with Active Directory. Out of the box it is configured to work with Active Directory on Azure but, though I haven’t tested it, you can provide a different configuration object to the primary adapter and you should be able to authenticate against any Active Directory implementation as long as it has OAuth2 connectivity.

If you haven't worked with Azure's Active Directory before, he includes an instructional video of how to get it set up first. With that in place he shows an example of using the library to make the authentication request to the AD server and how to log back out. He also includes the code you'll need to configure the library via the Magium Configuration Manager or, for those without Magento experience, with some alternate methods: PHP arrays, JSON, YAML or INI files.

tagged: integration activedirectory azure package example tutorial

Link: http://www.eschrade.com/page/almost-stupid-easy-php-integration-with-active-directory-on-azure

Programming With Yii2: Building a RESTful API
Apr 06, 2017 @ 10:30:05

The TutsPlus.com site has posted the latest article in their "Programming with Yii2" series today, this time focusing on the creation of a RESTful API with the built-in framework support.

In this Programming With Yii2 series, I'm guiding readers in use of the Yii2 Framework for PHP. You may also be interested in my Introduction to the Yii Framework, which reviews the benefits of Yii and includes an overview of what's new in Yii 2.x.

In today's tutorial, I will review how to build a REST API in Yii to connect your application to the cloud, mobile apps, and other services. I'll guide you through Yii's REST API quick start guide and provide context and examples of common requests.

He starts off with some of the benefits of having a REST API for your Yii2 application and some of the functionality that comes included with the framework. He then starts in on building the base functionality of the API with a controller, a "tree" for the endpoints and configuration of the URL routing. The rest of the post is a set of example requests made to the API with the help of both cURL and the Postman app for Chrome.

tagged: yii2 framework series tutorial build rest api example

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/programming-with-yii2-building-a-restful-api--cms-27513

Robert Basic:
PHP traits to create test doubles
Apr 04, 2017 @ 10:47:15

In a new post to his site Robert Basic shows how to make use of traits to create test doubles in your unit testing practice. He sees them as a simple method for keeping tests clean and not having mocks/fakes/etc. all over.

Keeping your application or library code well organized, easy to follow, and read is important. Your test code should not be exempt from those rules, you should follow good testing conventions.

One part of my tests that I feel like that are out of control are the test doubles. Dummies, fakes, mocks… Seems like they are everywhere and that I keep writing the same ones over and over again. I do follow some good practices on how to reduce code duplication in my tests, but these mocks… Ugh.

He starts with a simple example, showing a test that evaluates the result of a transaction being executed (true or false). However, he describes the eventual "creep" of the tests as more are added and, with each, more "transaction" object instances are required. He suggests refactoring the creation of those doubles into traits where the class they're called from can inherit them and test setup is a bit cleaner. He proposes a "trait for every double" so that they can be easily included as needed and without conflict.

tagged: traits unittest double mock tutorial example setup object

Link: https://robertbasic.com/blog/php-traits-to-create-test-doubles/

Delicious Brains Blog:
PHP and cURL: How WordPress makes HTTP requests
Mar 30, 2017 @ 10:49:35

In a new post from the Delicious Brains site Peter Tasker looks at how WordPress makes HTTP requests with the help of the cURL functionality in PHP.

cURL is the workhorse of the modern internet. As its tagline says, cURL is a utility piece of software used to ‘transfer data with urls‘. According to the cURL website, the library is used by billions of people daily in everything from cars and television sets, to mobile phones. It’s the networking backbone of thousands of applications and services. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a core utility used by WordPress’ own Requests API as well as our own WP Migrate DB Pro.

If you’re curious about the power of the cURL library, how it works with WordPress and what to watch out for (especially on macOS), then you’re in the right place.

He starts by giving a bit of background on what cURL is and some examples of how its used to make requests. He then talks about the cURL integration with PHP via an extension and provides a simple code example fetching an endpoint from the httpbin.org site. With that background defined he moves into the main focus of the article - how cURL and PHP combine in the WordPress WP_Http class and Requests handling to make HTTP requests to remote (or local) resources. Code examples are included showing how to put these pieces to work in a custom script and includes some common issues you might see during your HTTP request development.

tagged: wordpress http request curl tutorial wphttp internal example

Link: https://deliciousbrains.com/php-curl-how-wordpress-makes-http-requests/

How to Perform Extract Service Refactoring When You Don't Have Tests
Mar 22, 2017 @ 10:42:39

On the QaFoo blog they've posted an article sharing advice about refactoring to extract logic to services when there's no testing to cover the code.

When you are refactoring in a legacy codebase, the goal is often to reduce complexity or separate concerns from classes, methods and functions that do too much work themselves. Primary candidates for refactoring are often controller classes or use-case oriented service classes (such as a UserService).

Extracting new service classes is one popular refactoring to separate concerns, but without tests it is dangerous because there are many ways to break your original code. This post presents a list of steps and checklists to perform extract service when you don't have tests or only minimal test coverage. It is not 100% safe but it provides small baby-steps that can be applied and immediately verified.

The article talks about some of the primary risks when performing this kind of refactoring and how their extract method recommendations could case some of those issues. The tutorial then breaks down the process into the small steps:

  • Step 1: Create Class and Copy Method
  • Step 2: Fix Visibility, Namespace, Use and Autoloading
  • Step 3: Check for Instance Variable Usage
  • Step 4: Use New Class Inline
  • Step 5: Inline Method
  • Step 6: Move Instantiation into Constructor or Setter
  • Step 7: Cleanup Dependency Injection

While that seems like a lot of steps to take, they're all pretty small. They include a series of code snippets giving you an example to work from, making these small steps to refactor current functionality into a Solr service class.

tagged: tutorial refactor extract service tutorial unittest example code

Link: https://qafoo.com/blog/099_extract_service_class.html

Zend Framework Blog:
Nested Middleware in Expressive
Mar 16, 2017 @ 11:52:21

On the Zend Framework blog Matthew Weier O'Phinney has posted another tutorial, this time showing you how to use nested middleware in Expressive allowing for the composition of your own workflow in the request/response flow.

A major reason to adopt a middleware architecture is the ability to create custom workflows for your application. Most traditional MVC architectures have a very specific workflow the request follows. While this is often customizable via event listeners, the events and general request lifecycle is the same for each and every resource the application serves.

With middleware, however, you can define your own workflow by composing middleware.

He starts by describing one of the main concepts in the workflow of the application: pipelines. He gives an example of the default pipeline included with the Expressive skeleton application and how the middleware it uses nests to create a custom logic and handling flow. He follows this with an example scenario showing how to add authentication into the pipeline, specifically the use of Digest authentication via a PSR7 middleware package. Code is included for the integration of this package and the end result - all pages requiring authentication. He shows how to modify this and limit it to only certain paths and how to nest them in the route definitions.

Finally he shows another approach - creating a custom middleware pipeline inside of the factory for the requested middleware. He also covers nested applications, using traits for common workflows and the use of "delegator factories".

tagged: expressive tutorial nested middleware pipeline custom authentication example

Link: https://framework.zend.com/blog/2017-03-15-nested-middleware-in-expressive.html

Matthias Noback:
Duck-typing in PHP
Feb 27, 2017 @ 13:45:55

In this new post to his site Matthias Noback talks about a topic not normally discussed outside of languages that support it natively - duck typing.

For quite some time now the PHP community has becoming more and more professional. "More professional" in part means that we use more types in our PHP code. Though it took years to introduce more or less decent types in the programming language itself, it took some more time to really appreciate the fact that by adding parameter and return types to our code, we can verify its correctness in better ways than we could before. And although all the type checks still happen at runtime, it feels as if those type checks already happen at compile time, because our editor validates most of our code before actually running it.

[...] think that nowadays many PHP developers agree that silent type conversions is not something which is very useful, nor safe. But sometimes it's good to remember what's possible with PHP, due to it being a dynamic scripting language.

He goes on to give an example of the flexibility of PHP and how the most basic functionality usually provides the most "loose" level of abilities. He talks about type enforcement, limiting interfaces and the things PHP does natively to help keep it simpler instead. He then introduces the duck-typing-library package and what it offers to help you run validation against values to ensure they're correctness and type.

tagged: ducktype package example flexibility interface

Link: https://php-and-symfony.matthiasnoback.nl/2017/02/convenient-ducktyping-in-php/