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SitePoint PHP Blog:
The PHP Channel’s Survey Results and 2016 Plans
Jan 22, 2016 @ 10:12:46

A while back the SitePoint PHP blog did a survey asking for reader feedback about the content they provide, what they thought was good/bad about it and what they'd like to see more of in the future. In this new post they share some of these results.

On the last day of 2015, we published a survey asking you, the readers, for an opinion about the PHP channel. It was a pretty open survey with mostly freeform answers allowed, so you could tell us literally anything. All in all, we collected 78 responses so far (the survey will remain open indefinitely, in case someone wants to give us more feedback).

On the average satisfaction scale, we scored 7.42 out of 10, and that’s without excluding the potential trolls who voted 1. That’s a very good result, but we’re determined to improve it further.

The rest of the post then gets into the results in detail, talking about:

  • overall satisfaction with the blog and its contents
  • opinions on the newsletter
  • author feedback
  • favorite types of posts
  • their presence on social media

They end the post with a summary of the things people wanted the most out of the site including more demos/practical examples and more PHP 7-related content. While these results are mostly applicable to the SitePoint PHP blog, they also can be applied a bit more widely across the community and on other sites that publish articles with technical content.

tagged: sitepoint channel survey results article feedback

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/the-php-channels-survey-results-and-2016-plans/

Joshua Thijssen:
My guide to commenting on joind.in
Dec 21, 2015 @ 10:44:16

If you've been to any PHP conference (or attended a PHP-related online event) in recent years, you probably have heard of the speaker/event feedback site Joind.in. The concept is simple: when you attend a talk or event you go to the site, give the speaker a star rating and leave them comments. This gives the speakers direct feedback on how they did and where they can improve. There's a a trick to giving valuable feedback, though, and Joshua Thijssen has posted some helpful tips to guide you and your comments in the right direction.

The joind.in website can be considered a presenter’s portfolio: it contains a list of talks they have done in the past (and where), plus it contains reviews from attendees. [...] This is why many conferences and presenters will talk about joind.in and ask you to rate and comments on their talks: it gives them feedback on how you experienced the talk, what can be improved to make it even better, and gives the presenters more chance to get accepted on even the larger conferences, where sometimes there are only 50 slots, but over 500 people submitted talks).

[...] Even though commenting and rating talks by itself isn’t really difficult and is quick to do so, there are some common “mistakes” and pitfalls which I’d like to discuss.

He breaks it down into five main points, elaborating on each as he goes through them:

  1. Stars don’t tell you everything
  2. Rate the presentation and speaker, not your expectations.
  3. Don’t punish the presenter for external faults
  4. Comment anonymously
  5. Give suggestions on how to improve

For each one he also gives examples of good feedback versus comments that aren't as helpful to the speaker. Each one of these is an easy trap to slip in to, so remember them next time you're giving a speaker feedback (even if it's not on Joind.in!).

tagged: speaker feedback useful commenting joindin event conference guide

Link: https://adayinthelifeof.nl/2015/12/17/commenting-on-joindin.html

Reddit.com:
How do you see the PHP-FIG?
Dec 14, 2015 @ 09:48:49

There's been a big discussion happening over on the PHP-FIG (Framework Interoperability Group) mailing list recently about the goals and vision for the project. While the group originally started out as a way to define standards for frameworks and projects to work together, some have begun to wonder if it's a bit more far reaching than that. This discussion/poll on Reddit sums up the question nicely:

There are some ongoing discussions on the PHP-FIG mailing list about, among other things, how the FIG is seen by the wider PHP community. [...] Since an earlier discussion pointed out that perhaps the FIG, while well-known, don't do enough "active outreach", consider this an attempt to "reach out."

Do you think:

  • The FIG is a bunch of self-aggrandizing elitist jerks who couldn't write a competent or useful "proposed standards recommendation" if their lives depended on it, and should disband entirely.
  • The FIG, while aware that the wider PHP community is watching, writes PSRs primarily for itself, and others can adopt or ignore as they wish;
  • The FIG has become the closest thing to a userland standards group that the PHP community has, and should accept that role;
  • Some other opinion?

There's already 50+ comments on the thread with several of the options being supported. There seems to be a leaning towards either the second option or the third with advantages and disadvantages for both. The group has undoubtably helped to change the way that modern PHP is written and they want to keep the tradition going and be what the community and language need. Go over an voice your own opinion on the matter too!

tagged: phpfig organization opinion poll standards community feedback interoperability

Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/3wownq/how_do_you_see_the_phpfig/

Community News:
PHP 7 Has Arrived (and Everyone's Talking About It)
Dec 04, 2015 @ 09:58:09

The big news in the PHP ecosystem is the release of the stable version of PHP 7.0.0. This was officially released late yesterday and the response has already been great. Members of the PHP community (and some companies) have also posted about the release too:

These also come along with a whole host of tweets about the PHP 7 release too. If you have a post you'd like to have added to this list and I've just missed it, let me know and I'll drop it in!

tagged: community article blog feedback php7 twitter

Link: http://phpdeveloper.org

Paul Jones:
SQL Schema Naming Conventions
Nov 04, 2015 @ 12:15:59

Paul Jones has a post to his site looking at SQL schema naming conventions and some of his own thoughts on the matter. There's a lot of different camps of thought around naming, much less database ones, and he makes a few suggestions learned from his experience over time.

Several weeks ago I asked on Twitter for SQL schema naming conventions from DBA professionals. (I’m always interested in the generally-accepted practices of related professions; when I can, I try to make my work as compatible with theirs as possible.)

I got back only a handful of responses, representing MySQL, PostgreSQL, and DB2 administrators, really not enough for a statistically useful sample. Even so, I’m going to present their anonymized responses here, because they led me to work I had not previously considered at length.

He asked about things like singular vs plural names, primary key choices and naming of association tables. The uses the rest of the post sharing the responses he got from his questions with a good range of responses representing both sides of each question. He wraps up the post looking at what these answers mean to the average developer and the answers that Joe Celko and Simon Holywell have to say on the matter.

tagged: sql schema naming convention feedback table primarykey association feedback

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6188

Paul Jones:
SQL Schema Naming Conventions
Nov 04, 2015 @ 12:15:59

Paul Jones has a post to his site looking at SQL schema naming conventions and some of his own thoughts on the matter. There's a lot of different camps of thought around naming, much less database ones, and he makes a few suggestions learned from his experience over time.

Several weeks ago I asked on Twitter for SQL schema naming conventions from DBA professionals. (I’m always interested in the generally-accepted practices of related professions; when I can, I try to make my work as compatible with theirs as possible.)

I got back only a handful of responses, representing MySQL, PostgreSQL, and DB2 administrators, really not enough for a statistically useful sample. Even so, I’m going to present their anonymized responses here, because they led me to work I had not previously considered at length.

He asked about things like singular vs plural names, primary key choices and naming of association tables. The uses the rest of the post sharing the responses he got from his questions with a good range of responses representing both sides of each question. He wraps up the post looking at what these answers mean to the average developer and the answers that Joe Celko and Simon Holywell have to say on the matter.

tagged: sql schema naming convention feedback table primarykey association feedback

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6188

MongoDB Blog:
Call for Feedback: The New PHP and HHVM Drivers
Mar 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.

tagged: mongodb drivers extension mongo userland library architecture opinion feedback

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

Cal Evans:
What Developers Want Recruiters to Know
Oct 15, 2014 @ 11:56:25

Cal Evans asked a question on Twitter the other day of his followers for advice, from developers, to share with recruiters and how they can do their job better when it comes to recruiting talent.

I post this not to belittle or ridicule recruiters. I think that good recruiters are a valuable part of the tech ecosystem. I post this to hopefully help more recruiter become good recruiters.

He's listed all of the responses he's gotten in the post (via Storify) as individual tweets. There's a few recurring themes happening and lots of good advice including:

  • "treat developers as human beings"
  • "We're smart people, we can see an email isn't personal. Treat us like the individuals we are."
  • "Read the profile before sending out CV, I am not a Ruby developer."
  • "Googlebing someone before emailing them. Know who they are."
  • "don't try to sound like you know what you're talking about if you don't. You just lose respect."
  • "build a relationship with me, not a one night stand"
  • " Have the decency to at least get back to devs if the end client hasn't chosen them"

If you are or know of a recruiter, please share this post with them. The unfortunate fact is that there's a lot of recruiters out there that don't realize that this is how to talk to developers (and sadly, some don't event care).

tagged: recruiter developer advice twitter feedback opinion

Link: http://blog.calevans.com/2014/10/14/what-developers-want-recruiters-to-know/

Inviqa techPortal:
"Your code sucks" - Tips on giving feedback
Jul 25, 2014 @ 12:15:21

If you're a part of a development team anywhere, chances are at one point or another you've asked for someone else to take a look at your code and give their opinions. Maybe it was you looking over a coworker's latest addition and it was...somewhat lacking. How can you say it in a constructive and nice way? The Inviqa techPortal has some suggestions.

Feedback on performance matters. It not only maintains quality, refines and hones performance, but it can also improve morale and trust, and build relationships. It can stop minor problems from escalating into major capability issues. It’s something that every people manager or team leader should be doing as standard, and yet it’s so hard to get right. For some people, giving good feedback is easy. [...] Delivering negative feedback can be a tricky process so how do you give negative feedback, or (as the much hackneyed phrase would have it) “constructive” feedback?

The post includes a list of six things to think about as you provide feedback to other developers (and even as a manager to your employees). The list suggests things like making it timely, listening to their side of things and setting a plan for resolving the issue.

tagged: feedback tips code positive negative

Link: http://techportal.inviqa.com/2014/07/23/your-code-sucks-tips-on-giving-feedback-2/

Rob Allen:
Use statements
Mar 17, 2014 @ 10:13:08

Rob Allen's latest post focuses in on something that's been a part of PHP for a while now, back when namespacing was introduced - the "use" keyword. He shares some thoughts, both from others and himself, about whether or not they make code more readable.

I was having a discussion on IRC about use statements and whether they improved code readability or not. [...] Those longer class names make it a little hard to quickly parse what it going on. The [example with "use" statements] is clearly less cluttered, but is at the expense of ambiguity. Exactly what class is User? I would have to go to the top of the file to find out. Should I use aliases? If so, how should I name them?

He went out to Twitter for advice from other PHP developers on the issue too. The feedback from his question came mostly in support of the "use" statements:

  • "I think use statements just abstract where the class is coming from. Some people find that useful."
  • "I think it's helpful seeing all of the packages used by a class without having to look through the full code."
  • "One reason I like them is that I can glance at a file and know dependencies immediately."
  • "I do appreciate what you are saying about the indirection use statements introduce."

There's also a bit of talk about "aliasing" with namespaces rather than the full classname, then using the namespace and class name in the code to "minimise ambiguity".

tagged: use statement namespace twitter advice feedback alias

Link: http://akrabat.com/php/use-statements/