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Derick Rethans:
Not Finding the Symbols
Dec 01, 2016 @ 09:58:22

In this new post to his site Derick Rethans about an issue that was discovered with the newer version of the PHP MongoDB driver dealing a JSON encoding/decoding error.

Yesterday we released the new version of the MongoDB Driver for PHP, to coincide with the release of MongoDB 3.4. Not long after that, we received an issue through GitHub titled "Undefined Symbol php_json_serializable_ce in Unknown on Line 0".

The driver makes use of the JSON extension's "JsonSerializable" interface to handle some of the BSON types (like binary data). They were surprised that, despite running their tests on a wide range of builds they never came up with this same issue, compiling them from source. The key here is that the JSON extension is bundled along with the binary when compiled this way however some linux distributions do things differently. They ship it as a separate module and, because this could potentially be missing, a JSON error like the one reported could occur. He goes on to talk about some specific examples from various distributions and the simple fix - ensure the JSON extension is loaded before the MongoDB driver is loaded in your installation. This prevents the JSON handling from being missing and the JSON-related error message from popping up.

tagged: mongodb driver undefined symbol error message extension troubleshoot

Link: https://derickrethans.nl/undefined-symbol.html

Alex Zorin:
Shimming PHP for Fun and Profit
Nov 28, 2016 @ 09:45:48

On his site recently Alex Zorin posted an article about shimming PHP for fun and profit making use of the runkit functionality to override some of the basic PHP handling.

I had spent a short amount of time profiling the application some months ago. By all indications, the framework upon which the site was built was doing something really stupid.

[...] For somebody who is comfortable finding and fixing hotspots like this, it sounds like a dream come true. Not so. A quick grep through the code indicated that that particular hotspot existed in at least a dozen different points in the code base. As my role in this scenario was an ops. engineer, touching the client’s codebase was a no-no.

He first looked into something he could add at the Zend Engine level itself but then veered more towards custom functionality that overrides some base64 handling in the language. There were some difficulties following this path so he shifted to another tactic - using runkit. He implemented this "monkey patching" solution using the runkit handling and integrated it into his client's installation reducing the load time by about 10 seconds on the largest, slowest request he could find. He also includes a link to the code if you're interested in seeing how he accomplished this optimization.

tagged: shim runkit language optimize base64 extension

Link: https://id-rsa.pub/post/shimming-php-for-fun-and-profit/

Paul Jones:
The PHP 7 “Request” Extension
Nov 23, 2016 @ 14:37:09

Paul Jones has a new post to his site introducing the "Request" extension he and John Boehr have worked up to make working with HTTP requests in PHP simpler.

You’re tired of dealing with the $_GET, $_POST, etc. superglobals in your PHP 7 application. You wish $_FILES was easer to deal with. You’d prefer to wrap them all in an object to pass around to your class methods, so they’d be easier to test. [...] You could maybe adopt a framework, but why do that for your custom project? Just a pair of server-side request and response objects would make your life so much easer. Why can’t there be set of internal PHP classes for that?

Well, now there is. You can install the request extension from John Boehr and myself to get ServerRequest and ServerReponse objects as if PHP itself provided them.

He gives an example of using the extension to work with both the request and response (ServerRequest and ServerResponse). This includes cookie values, files handling, content length and much more. There's code examples showing it in use and a link to the repository for the extension where you can find out more.

tagged: request extension language serverrequest serverresponse

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6416

Joe Watkins:
Expanding Horizons
Nov 03, 2016 @ 09:40:49

In his most recent post Joe Watkins talks about a PHP extension he's been working on that wraps the libui library making it easier to use PHP to create cross-platform user interfaces.

Recently I have been working on a new extension. It is a wrapper around libui, which is a cross platform user interface development library, that allows the creation of native look and feel interfaces in the environments it supports.

That's a few hundred lines of PHP 7 code, moulded into an imitation of the snake game we all used to have on our phones. We've seen other user interface extensions before in PHP, there's even a modified PHP runtime that will allow you to write GTK+ applications.

I don't know anyone that ever deployed any of those extensions, and for very good reasons; PHP5 can barely do anything without allocating a bunch of memory, and doing a bunch of other extremely inefficient things, almost everything it does is inefficient. Beyond a basic forms like application, PHP5 is close to useless.

You can see an example of the snake game in action in this YouTube video. He goes on to talk about the low amounts of CPU and RAM the game (and extension) use and that, with the right amount of work, it can achieve around 60 frames per second. He points out that it is still early on in the development cycle for the extension and libui but there's already documentation for those wanting to investigate.

tagged: libui extension example video snake game efficiency

Link: http://blog.krakjoe.ninja/2016/11/expanding-horizons.html

Alex Bowers:
Writing a Hello World PHP 7 Extension
Aug 25, 2016 @ 12:25:47

In a recent post to his site Alex Bowers shows you the steps involved in creating a "Hello World" PHP 7 extension with some basic output functionality - basically just echoing out a message.

He jumps right into the code and shows you how to:

  • set up the directory and initial files for the extension
  • write the test case first (a simple PHP file checking if it's loaded and can be used)
  • updating the config.m4 to allow for enabling the extension
  • the code for src/hello.h to define the function

The final piece is the code in the src/hello.c - the C code to define some structure for the PHP interpreter to understand and be able to execute the PHP_FUNCTION(hello_world). Finally he shows how to make the extension to install it, add it to your php.ini file as a shared module and re-run the test.

tagged: helloworld extension tutorial example simple php7

Link: https://zando.io/writing-a-hello-world-php-7-extension/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Up and Running with the Fastest PHP Framework on PHP7 in 5 Mins
Aug 24, 2016 @ 11:22:46

On the SitePoint PHP blog editor Bruno Skvorc has posted a tutorial helping you get up and running with PHP 7 and Phalcon in five minutes on a Homestead Improved virtual machine.

You may remember our past infatuation with Phalcon, the fastest PHP framework.

In this post, we’ll go through the process of getting it up and running in 5 minutes on one of our <a href="http://www.sitepoint.com/quick-tip-get-homestead-vagrant-vm-running/>Homestead Improved instances. If you’re not interested in why or what Phalcon is, just skip ahead to “Setting it up”.

He starts with a brief recap of what the Phalcon framework is (including Zephir), some history behind it and the latest advancement around the framework: LTS support for v3.0. The tutorial then gets into the setup and configuration of the VM along with PHP 7 and the latest stable version of Phalcon. He then uses the sample application provided by Phalcon and getting it boostrapped and running.

tagged: phalcon php7 tutorial demo homesteadimproved vm setup configure extension

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/up-and-running-with-the-fastest-php-framework-on-php7-in-5-mins/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Can We Have Static Types in PHP without PHP 7 or HHVM?
Jul 26, 2016 @ 11:34:57

On the SitePoint PHP blog Younes Rafie asks the question "Can we have static types in PHP without PHP 7 or HHVM?" One of the main features introduced by both of these versions (or platforms) is the ability to type things strictly and enforce more correct data handling. Previously PHP has been a "lazy typing" language and would regularly shift the type of a variable depending on the immediate need. Obviously, this can lead to unpredictable behavior.

Now that PHP 7 has been out for a while with interesting features like error handling, null coalescing operator, scalar type declarations, etc., we often hear the people still stuck with PHP 5 saying it has a weak typing system, and that things quickly become unpredictable.

Even though this is partially true, PHP allows you to keep control of your application when you know what you’re doing.

They show how, through a series of examples, to add a bit of additional validation with exceptions to ensure the input is the correct type. However this can be a bit more time consuming and difficult to remember so the team at Box put together the augmented types extension that brings some of the static typing to PHP 5.x. They help you get it installed and working in your PHP installation and include an example of it in use with DocBlock-based type hints. The extension provides handling for the basic types as well as arrays, multiple arguments, default values and return types.

tagged: static types php7 hhvm extension augmented types tutorial

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/can-we-have-static-types-in-php-without-php-7-or-hhvm/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Localizing Dates, Currency, and Numbers with Php-Intl
May 23, 2016 @ 12:52:32

On the SitePoint PHP blog Younes Rafie has continued his series about the PHP "Intl" extension for use in internationalizing an application. in this second part of the series he moves away from just strings and looks at using it for currencies and numbers.

The first part of this series was an introduction of the PHP Intl extension and of how to localize your application’s messages. In this part, we’re going to learn about localizing numbers, dates, calendars, and similar complex data.

The post is broken down into a few different sections, each with their own examples:

  • Localizing Decimals
  • Localizing Currencies
  • Timezones
  • Calendars

The "Intl" extension makes these operations relatively simple with plenty of built-in objects and methods to help with the translations between the formats. You can find out more about this extension in the PHP manual.

tagged: date currency localization number tutorial intl extension series part2

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/localizing-dates-currency-and-numbers-with-php-intl/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Localization Demystified: Php-Intl for Everyone
May 17, 2016 @ 09:44:39

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted a tutorial from Younes Rafie that wants to help demystify internationalization functionality in your PHP application...with the help from a handy extension, the intl extension.

Most applications perform locale aware operations like working with texts, dates, timezones, etc. The PHP Intl extension provides a good API for accessing the widely known ICU library’s functions.

He walks you through the installation of the extension if you don't have it already for both PHP 5 and PHP 7 (the second requires adding a custom apt-get repository). With that all installed and configured he starts in on the code to output a simple message with formatting using the MessageFormat functionality. His first example is in English but he also shows the difference between that and Arabic and Bengali and they're related output. He looks at a few other topics including pluralization, "choices" (different messages for different values) and more complex cases. He ends the post briefly looking at message parsing - extracting a value according to the provided format.

tagged: localization internationalization i18n messageformat intl extension tutorial

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/localization-demystified-understanding-php-intl/

Marcel Pociot:
Laravel TestTools (Chrome Extension)
Mar 22, 2016 @ 10:48:10

Marcel Pociot has a new post on his site introducing a new tool he's created allowing for the easier creation of tests for your Laravel application: the TestTools Chrome extension.

Testing a Laravel application really is an easy task - the "Integrated" package from Jeffrey Way, that later got merged into the core framework is fantastic and helps you with the otherwise cumbersome task of testing and interacting with your application. But still - are you actually using tests?

A lot of times people really love the idea of tests, but simply don't get their asses up to start using them in their own projects. That's why I created a chrome extension that hopefully saves you some time when you need to test your app

He also includes an animation or two of the Chrome extension in action, showing you what kind of results you can expect. He does point out that there's some limitations of the tool including the fact that you can't really test a single-page application with it as it relies on the normal browser interaction points, not Javascript events.

tagged: laravel testing unittest chrome extension browser

Link: http://marcelpociot.com/blog/2016-03-21-laravel-testtools