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Pádraic Brady:
Is Facebook's HHVM Building PHP's Coffin?
April 01, 2014 @ 09:31:52

In a new post to his site, Pádraic Brady poses a question about the HHVM project from Facebook - is it going to "be the coffin" that will replace the Zend Engine in PHP completely and change the way we know it?

With HHVM 3.0 now released, it's probably time to start talking about HHVM and the new Hack Language. It's becoming hard to ignore some of the fantastical notions spreading on the grapevine about HHVM. There is talk of significant performance improvements, a multitude of new features courtesy of Hack, that PHP Internals is actually now outnumbered by HHVM contributors. There is even treasonous talk of PHP's Zend Engine being put out to pasture.

He talks about how it was inevitable, really, that there'd be another implementation come up through the ranks (much like the variations of Ruby). He also mentions some other, less popular options in replacing the main implementation (Zephir, HippyVM, etc). He then poses an interesting question - "what is PHP?" He talks about language specifications, the PHP internals group and the delay that sometimes happens introducing new language features into the core (some of which HHVM already has).

PHP, as we know it, is starting to smell. It has gone from being the only PHP in town, to being the slowest, with the least number of features, and the one that's subject to dysfunctional governance. The new PHP is called Hack, a new language with only the briefest of documentation since you can learn the other 99.9% of this language over on the PHP manual.
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Link: http://blog.astrumfutura.com/2014/03/is-facebooks-hhvm-building-phps-coffin

PHPClasses.org:
Lately in PHP Podcast #45 - "The Security of Future PHP Versions"
March 13, 2014 @ 13:17:41

The latest episode of the "Lately in PHP" podcast series has been released by PHPClasses.org today - Episode 45, "The Security of Future PHP Versions".

As the plans for the upcoming PHP 5.6 and PHP 6 versions are being finalized, some of the proposals are about improving the security of these future PHP versions. That has been one of the main topics discussed by Manuel Lemos and César Rodas on the episode 45 of the Lately in PHP podcast. They also have talked about several other types of proposals and ideas for PHP 6, as well a tutorial on How to Use a Webcam to take Pictures in PHP Application.

You can listen to this latest episode in a few ways - either through the in-page audio player, by downloading the mp3 or you can watch the live recording over on YouTube.

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Link: http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/229-The-Security-of-Future-PHP-Versions--Lately-in-PHP-podcast-episode-45.html

Liip Blog:
Of HHVM, Hack and the future of PHP
March 12, 2014 @ 11:09:50

Lukas Smith has posted some of his own thoughts on the Liip blog about the future of PHP, HHVM and Hack (related to this previous post from Anthony Ferrara) in the context of the company and the work they're doing.

I want to specifically comment on the part about HHVM and Hack. I have of course published my own opinion on the topic fairly recently on my private blog. Fellow Liiper Chregu has also done a very popular post on this very blog showing some very significant performance improvements that can be achieved with HHVM. [...] While Anthony does not recommend running HHVM in production, we are obviously getting ready to do just that. I totally agree however with the risks he points out.

He talks more about using HHVM in a production environment and some of the possible problems with it in the future (like maybe a change in it being incompatible with PHP someday). He also touches on the Hack language and how it is possible that Facebook's team will go wholly with Hack instead of PHP.

One of the big questions is why does Facebook even care about PHP mode if they are already moving their own code to Hack? To me one big reason for this could be that they actually want to use code produced in the community. [...] So maybe in the end the best way to ensure that PHP mode in HHVM remains a goal for Facebook is to keep churning out high quality PHP code?
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Link: http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2014/03/11/of-hhvm-hack-and-the-future-of-php.html

Anthony Ferrara:
An Opinion On The Future Of PHP
March 10, 2014 @ 09:41:40

In his latest post Anthony Ferrara shares some of his personal opinions about the future of PHP and how some of the pieces in play now might fit in.

There's been a lot of buzz in the community lately around PHP and its future. The vast majority of this buzz has been distinctly positive, which is awesome to hear. There's been a lot of talk about PHP6 and what that might look like. There's been a lot of questions around HHVM and its role in the future of the language and community. Well, let me share with you some of my thoughts in this space...

He covers a few different topics including backwards compatibility, the suggestions of a complete engine rewrite and turning the SPL all OOP. He spends most of the post talking about HHVM (the HipHop VM), how it compares to "plain old PHP" and why it's not exactly "magic".

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Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2014/03/an-opinion-on-future-of-php.html

Matthias Noback:
PHP - The Future of Packages
January 22, 2014 @ 09:04:03

In a recent post to his site Matthias Noback looks at what he sees as the future of packages in PHP including some thoughts about the offerings on PHPClasses.org and the rise of Composer/Packagist.

When you ask me: what is the reason for a PHP developer to write classes? I answer: in order to separate responsibilities and hide data. Many principles have been devised to help developers fulfilling these tasks. But in most cases there was no sign of these principles underlying the code on phpclasses.org. This is why many people have turned their back on phpclasses.org. I was about to do the same. But in response to my tweet some people, including Manuel Lemos, responded that everybody needs a place to learn and try.

He looked a bit more into the PHPClasses site and found some new features not known about (including Composer support). He points out some issues with their approach about publishing packages and how they're released. He contrasts this with how Packagist.org handles the Composer information and package statistics. He looks at some recommended ways to judge the quality of packages and mentions a new book he's writing to help PHP developers create better, more useful (and flexible) packages.

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Link: http://php-and-symfony.matthiasnoback.nl/2014/01/php-the-future-of-packages

Lukas Smith:
The future of PHP .. at a distance
December 17, 2013 @ 10:18:02

In his latest post Lukas Smith looks at what he sees coming for PHP and its community as well as some thoughts about the current state of the language and ecosystem around it.

To me it feels like PHP development has become much better structured. It also feels like the RFC process has enabled an influx of new contributors that previously simply didn't know how to get their stuff in. [...] The beauty of clearer processes is that it can also help in clearer delegation, which can lead to subgroups within an open source organization that again have an inner circle of 10-20 really active people.

He suggests, however, that this whole structured process could be "turned upside down" in the coming year or so by things like the HHVM from Facebook and some of the things it would "fix" as a compiler of PHP code. He points out one of the issues with this approach, though - that Facebook (and the HHVM developers) could start to be in control of the evolution of PHP. It does bring up an interesting idea though...that with HHVM compiling code, PHP "extensions" could just become userland code and wouldn't need to be written in C as they'd just be compiled down anyway.

So in conclusion there are lots of reasons to be excited about HHVM's impact on the PHP community. But we should also ensure that in the process the community does not become dependent on a commercial entity.
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Link: http://pooteeweet.org/blog/0/2259#m2259

Paul Jones:
Publish Your Failures; or, The Way Of All Frameworks
October 29, 2013 @ 12:19:59

Paul Jones has an interesting post on his site today talking about how how your "framework of choice" will eventually fail even if there is long term support for it. He points to another article about trial and error and emphasizes that (as Richard Feynman has said) failures are just as important as successes.

When it comes to expanding a body of knowledge, the failures are just as important as the successes, perhaps more so in some cases. (Be careful here; they have to be "honest" failures, where you had some reason to believe in advance that it had a good chance of working.) So what is it about the "Pipe Dream" article [here] that impressed me? It is that the the author first signals his tribe membership by mentioning his "framework of choice", then proceeds to try to do some work outside of that tribe.

Paul goes on to talk about the usefulness of stepping outside of your norm - your framework of choice - and getting a wider perspective on how others do things. He looks at some of the ways that current frameworks could fail in the future and figuring out how well it will deal with it when it does. He points out that several times the failure comes from "subsystem failures" and that systems that allow the swapping out of these components would handle things more gracefully. He gives the example of the Aura framework of this, being highly component-based.

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Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/4757

Engine Yard:
Podcast - Future of PHPWomen
September 30, 2013 @ 09:05:12

In their latest podcast Engine Yard (as hosted by Davey Shafik) talks with Lineke Kerckhoffs-Willems and Michelle Sanver about the future of PHP Women, a group within the PHP community to help encourage women in technology and support the PHP community overall, regardless of gender.

Among the topics discussed in this episode are things like:

  • The official mission of PHPWomen
  • How to get involved
  • Future plans for the group
  • A mention of the CodeConnexx conference (Europe edition)

You can either listen to this episode through the in-page player or you can subscribe to their feeds to get this and other episodes - iTunes, RSS.

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Link: https://www.engineyard.com/podcast/future-of-phpwomen

SitePoint PHP Blog:
A PHP from the Future
August 20, 2013 @ 11:27:12

On the SitePoint PHP blog Timothy Boronczyk has a new post trying to predict the future of PHP and where the language might be heading:

As developers, we find ourselves living in exciting times. With increasing attention paid to online activities, we're working with larger data sets (even "big data"); scalability and connectivity are more important than ever before; the very nature of privacy is being re-examined. But quietly, in the shadow of all of this, sits perhaps a more pragmatic question. How will PHP change and grow to enable us to build the future, whatever it may hold?

Among the things he proposes are ideas about future versions with double-digit minor release numbers, less frameworks and more meta-frameworks, the introduction of lots of new extensions and the adaptation and positive outlook for a thriving, constantly improving web-centric language.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/a-php-from-the-future

NetTuts.com:
PSR-Huh?
January 18, 2013 @ 09:14:59

On NetTuts.com today they've posted a good primer for those that may have heard about the PSR standards that have been introduced to PHP but aren't quire sure what they are (or what they mean to you as a developer).

If you're an avid PHP developer, it's quite likely that you've come across the abbreviation, PSR, which stands for "PHP Standards Recommendation." At the time of this writing, there are four of them: PSR-0 to PSR-3. Let's take a look at what these are, and why you should care (and participate).

They start with a brief history of the standards, the PHP-FIG (Framework Interoperability Group) and where the idea for the PSRs came from. Then the article gets into the details of each:

  • PSR-0: Autoloader Standard
  • PSR-1: Basic Coding Standard
  • PSR-2: Coding Style Guide
  • PSR-3: Logger Interface

They also do a good job mentioning some of the criticism that's come with the standards and what sort of future there is including the creation of a standard for a HTTP messaging package.

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