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Frank de Jonge:
Rendering ReactJS templates server-side
May 21, 2015 @ 09:17:50

Frank de Jonge has posted a tutorial to his site showing how you can render React.js templates server-side in PHP. He makes use of the V8JS extension to execute Javascript inside of PHP and echo out the rendered result.

The last couple of months I've been working with ReactJS quite extensively. It's been a very rewarding and insightful journey. There is, however, one part that kept coming back to me: server-side rendering. How on earth am I going to use ReactJS when I want to render my templates on the server? So, I sat down and looked at the possibilities.

He suggests two options, running a small Node application or using the V8JS extension, and opts for trying the second option to meet his needs. He talks about the "why" of rendering server-side JS and gives a brief introduction to V8JS and the workflow he'll follow to use it. He helps you get this library via Composer to make working with it easier and provides an example of how to use it. After trying out this method, he then goes back to option #1, the small Node application (what he ended up choosing). He walks through the setup of this application, showing how to set it up inside a Lumen application and using Express to output the generated templates and data. He then hooks this into the PHP application via a simple HTTP client grabbing the results and pushing them back out to the page.

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reactjs template serverside nodejs v8js extension http lumen

Link: http://blog.frankdejonge.nl/rendering-reactjs-templates-server-side/

Hannes Magnusson:
Next Generation MongoDB Driver for PHP!
April 15, 2015 @ 11:41:50

Hannes Magnusson has a new post to his site talking about the new update to the MongoDB driver for PHP and its focus on simplicity.

For the past few months I've been working on a "next-gen" MongoDB driver for PHP -- codename "phongo". The aim was to build a new PHP extension ontop of the mongoc and libbson libraries to reduce maintenance of the extension itself and focus more on providing the ecosystem with improved support and libraries.

The new driver is available on PECL (called "mongodb", surprisingly enough). It doesn't include any of the bells and whistles found in the previous "mongo" driver. It doesn't include any `group` or `count` command helpers, and you won't find any Collection or Database objects; however, it really doesn't need any of these things.

He talks about the three basic things it can do: execute a command, a write or a query to locate records. He also answers the question many developers have about this shift to simplicity and provides a link to a PHP library to make porting over existing MongoDB handling simpler.

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mongodb driver pecl extension language simplicity version release

Link: http://bjori.blogspot.com/2015/04/next-gen-mongodb-driver.html

Derick Rethans:
Xdebug 2.3 Shared Secret to Enable Tracing or Profiling
April 07, 2015 @ 11:19:44

Derick Rethans has posted another in his series covering the latest release of the Xdebug debugging tool for PHP, version 2.3. In this new article Derick introduces the "shared secret" handling, a custom string that for the "XDEBUG_PROFILE" that can trigger the the profiler to start.

Xdebug's profiling and trace file capabilities can both be triggered by a cookie, GET or POST variable, as long as you have enabled xdebug.profiler_enable_trigger and/or xdebug.trace_enable_trigger. With these triggers enabled, basically anybody could initiate a profile run, or trace file, by simply sending the XDEBUG_PROFILE or XDEBUG_TRACE cookies with an HTTP request. Although you should not really run Xdebug in production, you can see that this is not an optimal solution. Xdebug 2.3 adds supports for shared secrets for the trace file and profiler triggers through the xdebug.trace_enable_trigger_value and xdebug.profiler_enable_trigger_value.

He points out a browser extension, The easiest Xdebug, that already has support for this new feature. He also mentions two other tools but they have yet to integrate support for these shared secrets (but will soon hopefully): Xdebug halper and xdebug-helper-for-safari .

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xdebug series release secret string tracking enable production extension

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/xdebug-2.3-tracing-profiling-shared-secret.html

Jared McFarland:
Creating a PHP extension in Rust
April 06, 2015 @ 09:22:02

Jared McFarland has a recent post to his site showing how to make a PHP extension in Rust, a more recent programming language that seeks to "run fast, prevent almost all crashes and eliminate data races".

Last October I had a discussion with one of my coworkers at Etsy about how writing extensions to interpreted languages like PHP, Ruby or Python should be a lot easier than it is now. We talked a bit about how one of the barriers to successfully writing an extension is they're generally written in C, and it's hard to gain confidence in C code if you're not an expert at the language.

Ever since then I've toyed with the idea of writing one in Rust, and for the past few days have been playing around with it. I finally got it to work this morning.

He starts by static his goal, to make a PHP extension with Rust that was compiled into a library along with some C headers. He talks about his use of the Rust Foreign Function Interface to make a "hello world" script and the code to call it from C, complete with header code examples and the result of it being called. He then gets into the PHP integration, showing you the code you'll need for the extension and compiling it into a module and moving it into the extension directory. He also includes some "useless micro-benchmarks" so you can see how things perform, comparing his function to base PHP when calculating the Fibonacci sequence algorithm.

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extension rust programming language helloworld tutorial

Link: http://jaredonline.svbtle.com/creating-a-php-extension-in-rust

Rob Allen:
Building and testing the upcoming PHP7
March 30, 2015 @ 10:14:08

Rob Allen has posted a guide to building and testing PHP 7, the next upcoming major build of the PHP language (released sometime later this year).

The GoPHP7-ext project aims to ensure that all the known PHP extensions out there work with the upcoming PHP 7. This is non-trivial as some significant changes have occurred in the core PHP engine (related to performance) that mean that extensions need to be updated. In order to help out (and prepare my own PHP code for PHP 7!), I needed the latest version of PHP7 working in a vagrant VM. Fortunately Rasmus has created a such a VM called php7dev, so let's start there.

He walks you through the process of grabbing the latest version of the virtual machine and set it up as a Vagrant VM instance. He talks about the different PHP versions contained in the VM and how to update PHP 7 to the latest pre-release version. Finally he talks about building an extension on the VM (he uses the apfd extension) and how to configure the VM to be able to test your own code too.

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php7 test vm extension rasmuslerdorf vagrant tutorial

Link: http://akrabat.com/building-and-testing-php7/

NetTuts.com:
Programming With Yii2 Integrating User Registration
March 24, 2015 @ 12:27:16

NetTuts.com has posted the next part in their "Programming with Yii2" series today with this tutorial showing you how to integrate user registration into your sample application.

This is part four of a series on Yii2. In Programming With Yii2: Getting Started, we set up Yii2 locally, built a Hello World application, set up a remote server, and used Github to deploy our code. In part two, we learned about Yii's implementation of its Model View Controller architecture and how to build web pages and forms that collect and validate data. In part three, we learned about working with databases and ActiveRecord. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through integrating a popular user registration plugin.

They walk you through the use of the Yii2-User extension to provide the user handling functionality. The tutorial shows you how to get it installed (via Composer), run its database migrations to create the needed tables and where to update the configuration files to pull the plugin into the execution. They also help you set up SwiftMailer (what it uses to send its emails) and then gets into the integration of the registration with the application with a signup page.

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programming yii2 integration user registration yii2user extension tutorial

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/programming-with-yii2-integrating-user-registration--cms-22974

Freek Lijten:
Testing PHP extensions - what makes a good test
March 23, 2015 @ 09:52:58

Freek Lijten has a new post today continuing his look at the world of PHP extensions and focusing in on testing this time. He hopes to answer the question of what makes a good, effective set of tests to help increase the stability and quality of the extensions you write.

In my previous blog I took you through the process of getting PHP and extensions compiled, generating code coverage and running tests. What I did not talk about was what makes a good test. I hope to correct on this by adding this post and going into more detail on the actual writing of tests itself.

Using the same extension as before (enchant) he goes through the addition of a test for the enchant_dict_add_to_session function. He start by showing how much the function is currently tested (hint: none) and code coverage. He points out that 100% coverage is just one metric in a set that should be considered and not the final goal. He shares a simple test for the function that checks to see if a certain word exists in a dictionary. The coverage report shows all lines being executed, but there's a lot not tested, at least conceptually. He shows how to test "the spirit" of the function with additional tests for non-existent words, spell checking and if a word is not in the dictionary at all. PHP example code shows these tests kinds of tests to illustrate the steps he's talking about.

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test extension phpt spirit codecoverage metric goal

Link: http://www.freeklijten.nl/home/2015/03/22/Testing-PHP-extensions-what-makes-a-good-test

Freek Lijten:
Testing and improving PHP extensions for PHP 7
March 13, 2015 @ 10:02:47

In his latest post Freek Lijten talks about PHP extensions, the upcoming PHP version - well, PHP7 - and the things that can be (and are being) done to help improve and prepare the extension ecosystem. In his post he walks you through the process of getting a PHP7 install set up, a sample extension set up and writing some tests to help improve it.

PHP7 is coming. And it is coming to a neighbourhood near you :) A couple of people started an initiative to ensure extensions will be running out of the box once PHP7 hits the shelves. The fun part: You can help too! No C knowledge is necessary (although it is fun to dive into PHP's internals!). This piece is a short intro to help you help PHP! Help triaging extensions, write tests, add documentation and who knows when you'll be diving into C code.

He's encouraging this work as a part of the recently launched GoPHP7 - Extensions initiative launched a while back. He starts by helping you get PHP7 installed (from source, compiled). Once that's installed and working, he helps you get an extension up and running, in this case the enchant extension. He shows you how to run the tests for the extension and how to write some tests to contribute back to the project. He includes instructions for generating code coverage reports, walks you through some sample code and a link to a page with more information if you get stuck.

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testing improving extension php7 version phpt unittest coverage gophp7

Link: http://www.freeklijten.nl/home/2015/03/12/Testing-and-improving-PHP-extensions-for-PHP-7

MongoDB Blog:
Call for Feedback The New PHP and HHVM Drivers
March 12, 2015 @ 11:33:23

The MongoDB blog has a new post asking for feedback on what the user community thinks of their approach to supporting MongoDB functionality in PHP 5.x, HHVM and even out to PHP7.

Since the PHP driver first appeared on the scene, MongoDB has gone through many changes. [...] Beyond MongoDB's features, our ecosystem has also changed. [...] During the spring of 2014, we worked with a team of students from Facebook's Open Academy program to prototype an HHVM driver modeled after the 1.x API.

[...] Although the final result was not feature complete, the project was a valuable learning experience. The C driver proved quite up to the task, and HNI, which allows an HHVM extension to be written with a combination of PHP and C++, highlighted critical areas of the driver for which we'd want to use C. This all leads up to the question of how best to support PHP 5.x, HHVM, and PHP 7.0 with our next-generation driver.

They've shared the overview of the new driver structure including three layers: the system level functionality, the extensions themselves and a MongoDB userland library. They walk through the thinking on each of the pieces of the puzzle and how they all couple together to make for a more robust, flexible system that's also easy to use.

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mongodb drivers extension mongo userland library architecture opinion feedback

Link: http://www.mongodb.com/blog/post/call-feedback-new-php-and-hhvm-drivers

Community News:
Gophp7-ext Project
February 27, 2015 @ 12:39:00

The GoPHP7 project has posted their initiative to try to improve the world of PHP for extensions and make them "first class citizens of the PHP community".

The goals of gophp7(ext) [are to]: get PHP extensions running "out of the box" when PHP7 is released (no lag time), make extensions in general easier to install and use (binaries, ppas), get more people involved in extension maintenance (and travis/appveyor running on them all, killing off bugs), get more documentation written for extension writing and codify some of the "best practices" of extension writing and design (a la PSR).

They're asking for help from anyone interested, even if you don't know C (what PHP extensions are written in). The project asks for just 30 minutes a day to help achieve their goals. The page also lists out the different ways you can help including cataloging the work that needs to be done on the catalog page and working on the development systems for PHP7 to make working with the extensions easier.

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gotphp7 extension project involvement community

Link: http://gophp7.org/gophp7-ext/


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