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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Can PHP Be Even Faster? Light-Speed with the Blink Framework
Jan 18, 2016 @ 09:20:27

The SitePoint PHP blog has a tutorial posted that looks at a framework that could "make PHP go even faster", the Blink framework.

Blink was built to improve high performance applications that consume a lot of server resources, and it uses the Swoole PHP extension to achieve this goal. As an example, we will build a Blink powered notejam for our demo.

First the tutorial walks you through the installation of the Swoole extension (they choose from PEAR but you can also install from GitHub). Next up they install the Blink framework with a new project and fire up the built-in server to ensure it's working correctly. With that up and running they show how to configure the framework/server and get into building the sample "notejam" application. They make use of Twig for templating the frontend and several Illuminate packages for the database, console and filesystem functionality.

The remainder of the post walks through the actual code for the application:

  • creating and using the "notes" table
  • working with routing
  • creating templates
  • working with user management

Finally, with this system in place they show how to have a user verify themselves and add a new note to their list.

tagged: blink framework fast swoole extension tutorial note application

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/can-php-be-even-faster-light-speed-with-the-blink-framework/

Antonios Pavlakis:
Having a go at creating a Behat 3 extension
Jan 15, 2016 @ 12:42:10

In this post to his site Antonios Pavlakis "has a go" at creating an extension for the Behat (v3) testing tool. Behat is a testing tool written in PHP that helps with behavior-driven testing as opposed to unit testing with a tool like PHPUnit.

Ever since I got accepted to do a tutorial on Test legacy apps with Behat at the PHPNW15 conference, I’ve been meaning to look into creating custom extensions for Behat. I didn’t have enough time to research into this while preparing for the tutorial, so left it in my todo list in Trello.

During the PHPNW15 long weekend (Friday - Monday), at some point over lunch I was at the table where Matt Brunt (@themattbrunt) and Ciaran McNulty (@ciaranmcnulty) were having a conversation about this and Ciaran said (paraphrasing) “In order to be able to write an extension, you really need to understand how Behat works.”

So a few months later, sleeves up and I went into my vendor/bin/behat and started looking (and poking) around.

After looking in to two current extensions he started to get a feel for what was needed and the pieces that made up an extension. He then gets into detail on each of these pieces and shares some code/configuration he used to create the extension.

tagged: behat testing extension tutorial example behat3

Link: http://pavlakis.info/php/23-having-a-go-at-creating-a-behat-3-extension

Evert Pot:
Strict typing in PHP 7 - poll results
Jan 15, 2016 @ 11:19:54

Evert Pot has shared the results of a poll he recently set up on Twitter asking PHP developers if they planned to make use of the strict typing functionality in PHP 7 in their applications. Unsurprisingly, the majority voted that they will with a more undecided audience coming in second.

Type hinting comes in two flavors: strict and non-strict. This is the result of a long battle between two camps, a strict and non-strict camp, which in the end was resolved by this compromise.

Now by default PHP acts in non-strict mode, and if you'd like to opt-in to strict-mode, you'll need to start every PHP file with this statement. [...] So I was curious about everyone and whether you will be using strict mode or not. Results are in.

According to those that voted 46% were completely in favor of using the declare statement to enable strict typing in their PHP 7 code by default. The next group, the "undecided" were at 26% with "no way" and "what is that?" coming in farther down the list. He also mentions a package that's in the works from Justin Martin that would automatically add the declare statement to your code in the desired location(s). Additionally there's an extension in development from Joe Watkins that will do the same thing but making it a bit more automatic.

tagged: php7 strict type declare poll results usage composer package extension

Link: https://evertpot.com/strict-types-pollresults/

Christian Weiske:
Running a phar without .phar extension
Dec 18, 2015 @ 11:18:13

Christian Weiske has a quick tip posted to his site for those using phar archives in PHP and how to remove the .phar extension and still have them execute correctly.

I'm shipping a new side project as .phar file, php-sqllint.phar. The phar stub has a shebang line so that I can call it without explicitly running PHP. [...] When making the file executable with chmod +x, you can simply execute it.

He wanted to remove the extension but was greeted with an error message when he tried to execute the result. He stumbled on the solution in this PHPUnit bug and corrected the problem with a call to the Phar::mapPhar method inside the phar archive file.

tagged: phar archive extension remove mapphar tutorial

Link: http://cweiske.de/tagebuch/phar-renaming-no-ext.htm

Davey Shafik:
PHP 7 ext/mysql Shim
Dec 07, 2015 @ 11:10:24

With the release of PHP 7 comes a major shift in how your programs may interact with databases - the removal of the mysql extension (in favor of mysqli or PDO). Depending on how your application is written, this can cause all sorts of headaches. Davey Shafik has offered a temporary solution in a post to his site today, a mysql shim library that can be used to mimic the older mysql functions until you can upgrade your application.

To help ease the transition from 5.6 to 7.0 I have created a simple package that acts as a shim between the newly removed ext/mysql and ext/mysqli. I was a little hesitant to even publish this as I don’t want to encourage the continued use of potentially insecure code, however, I want people to upgrade to 7.0 and don’t want this to be the blocker.

It does require 5.6 (though it would be possible to lower that) — however I suspect that most people who are upgrading to 7.0 are either coming from 5.6 or have the native ext/mysql. The primary reason for support 5.6 is to be able to compare the test suite results against native ext/mysql.

The library can be easily installed via Composer and, while useful in its current form, still has some work yet to be done on it to bring it up to fully compatible. If you'd like to help on the effort and make life a little easier for those upgrading to PHP 7 on older code, head over to the repository and think about contributing.

tagged: mysql extension php7 shim library backport upgrade

Link: https://daveyshafik.com/archives/69726-php-7-extmysql-shim.html

Derick Rethans:
New MongoDB Drivers for PHP and HHVM: History
Dec 02, 2015 @ 10:53:33

In this post to his site Derick Rethans talks about some major updates that have been made to the MongoDB drivers for both PHP and HHVM users.

We recently released a new version of the MongoDB driver for PHP. This release is the result of nearly a year and a half work to re-engineer and rewrite the MongoDB driver. In this blog post, I will cover the back story of the how and why we undertook this effort.

He starts back with the original driver (in 2009), the features it offered and how it was structured. He talks about the evolution of the functionality to more of a C PHP extension and when it reached the v1.0.0 milestone. From there he talks about updates made to the JSON handling, features added in 1.3 and some of the larger design issues they ran up against making future development much more difficult. He ends the post with an overview of their goals for this new driver version and a promise for a following post with more details on this structure.

tagged: mongodb driver version hhvm history overview extension

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/new-drivers.html

Paragon Initiative:
How to Safely Implement Cryptography Features in Any Application
Oct 07, 2015 @ 11:51:41

The Paragon Initiative blog has posted a new article showing you how to safely implement cryptography in any PHP-based application (or really just about any application) with the help of libsodium.

Why not {Mcrypt, OpenSSL, Bouncy Castle, KeyCzar, etc.}? These cryptography libraries are really building blocks that by and large must be used, with expert care, to build the interfaces you want developers to use. In most cases, libsodium is the interface you want developers to use. [...] By default, these libraries don't provide [authenticated encryption](https://tonyarcieri.com/all-the-crypto-code-youve-ever-written-is-probably-broken). Most of them force developers to use RSA (or ECDSA but certainly not EdDSA), which is [hard to get right](http://www.daemonology.net/blog/2009-06-11-cryptographic-right-answers.html) and for which [index calculus attacks are improving each year](https://events.ccc.de/congress/2014/Fahrplan/system/attachments/2501/original/20141227.pdf).

He goes on to talk about NaCI as a possible option (libsodium is from a fork of it) but points out that NaCI isn't as easily available as libsodium to non-C/Python developers. He shares a few reasons why he thinks "libsodium is so great" and a few reasons not to use it (mostly dealing with outside limitations, not technical ones). Finally he points you in the right direction to help you get started using libsodium for PHP as a PECL extension.

tagged: cryptography feature safe guide tutorial introduction pecl extension

Link: https://paragonie.com/blog/2015/09/how-to-safely-implement-cryptography-in-any-application

Barry vd. Heuvel:
Using local repositories to easily install private Magento extensions with Compose
Sep 22, 2015 @ 09:02:26

In a post over on Medium.com Barry vd. Heuvel shows you how to use a recently added feature of Composer, the ability to use local repositories, to install Magento extensions quickly and easily.

I’m a fan of using Composer (in- and outside Magento), so I like to use that option. This works great for free packages listed on Magento connect or Firegento Packages, because you can just require the packages and run composer update. [...] This is all great for public packages, which are download through the Firegento repository. But what about private packages? Ideally we could also use Composer for the packages we purchase. [...] In this blog I’d like to explain how to tackle these 2 problems, so you can keep using the Composer workflow.

He walks you through the two steps you'll need to set up the module so it can be installed via Composer: creating a mapping (package.xml) and the composer.json. For the first he recommends using the Magerun modman tool to help with this. Creating/updating thecomposer.json file to work with the extensions is relatively easy. He makes use of the "path repositories" functionality to points the package at the "extensions/" directory using wildcards in the path name to allow for inclusion of all extensions without having to list each one (see this PR). Finally, to help make the process a bit more clear, he walks through a full example using the Amasty module.

tagged: magento composer install local repository extension packagexml tutorial

Link: https://medium.com/@barryvdh/using-local-repositories-to-easily-install-private-magento-extensions-with-composer-7eb966dec23e

Laravel News:
Behind the app: Chrome Weather Extension
Sep 18, 2015 @ 12:38:18

The Laravel News site has a post talking about a Chrome extension to fetch the weather, created by Tim Leland, that's powered by a Laravel-based backend application.

Tim Leland has created a new Chrome Extension for getting not only the current weather, but today’s outlook, and a 5-day forecast. The extension automatically calculates your location and viewing the current temperature is as simple glancing at the menu bar. The temperature is always visible and when you click the button it loads the modal window as shown above. It’s simple and intuitive.

The Extension itself uses a Laravel backend and I wanted to find out more how it works.

The rest of the post shares the Q&A with Tim all about the extension. He answers questions about:

  • why he created the extension
  • how it works with the backend to pull the latest weather
  • where Laravel fits into the process

You can find the extension over in the Chrome store and get it installed.

tagged: laravel chrome extension weather interview background

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2015/09/behind-the-app-chrome-weather-extension/

Lakion Blog:
Easy debugging on CI with Mink
Sep 18, 2015 @ 09:44:12

On the Lakion blog there's a post showing you how to debug your application's Behat tests easily as a part of your continuous integration process. In thieir case, they were trying to figure out why builds were breaking on a Travis-CI build instance.

Debugging Behat scenarios while using Mink to simulate the user is not always an easy job. Especially, if they are run on Continuous Integration server. That is why I came up with an idea to make it easier. During repairing our javascript test suite on Sylius everything went as bad as it could go. There were many errors that happened on Travis, but I was not able to reproduce them locally. [...] MinkDebugExtension was written to speed up that boring and tiring part of debugging on CI server. It consists of two parts: Behat extension and useful scripts.

The extension fires after failed steps and makes a log of the issue with content needed to recreate the issue (including possible screenshots). He also describes the scripts that come with it to help you browse through the results, uploading the resulting logs and screenshots to a place for public consumption.

tagged: mink easy debug travisci continuous integration extension log screenshot

Link: http://lakion.com/blog/mink-debug-extension