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Stanislav Malyshev:
PHP 5.4 (Looking Back) & 5.6 (Looking Forward)
September 01, 2014 @ 09:42:13

In two new posts to his site Stanislav Malyshev takes a look both forward and back at the PHP language, where it came from in the 5.4 version and ahead into the just released 5.6 version discussing the good, bad and road ahead.

With 5.6.0 having been released and 5.4 branch nearing its well-earned retirement in security-fixes-only status I decided to try and revive this blog. As the last post before the long hiatus was about the release of the 5.4, I think it makes sense to look back and see how 5.4 has been doing so far.

Having taken a look in the past, now it's time to look into the future, namely 5.6 (PHP 7 is the future future, we'll get there eventually). So I'd like to make some predictions of what would work well and not so well and then see if it would make sense in two years or turn out completely wrong.

In the look back at 5.4 he talks about some of the good (the release process, $this in closures) and some of the "not so good" including traits and the overall adoption rate. He also includes a few "don't know" items such as the overall performance and the inclusion of the mysqlnd driver. In the look forward he talks about the impact of things like constant expressions, phpdbg and function/constant importing (for better or for worse). He also briefly mentions two hurdles to the adoption of 5.6: OpenSSL becoming more strict and the overall adoption rate.

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Link: http://php100.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/php-5-6-looking-forward/

Volker Dusch:
Please stop pretending PHP is a good language
October 18, 2013 @ 11:57:09

In Volker Dusch's latest post he makes a suggestion to the PHP community as a whole - stop pretending PHP is a good language and admit its flaws where it has them.

I'm currently observing two kinds of discussions around the core PHP language. A couple of folks say "Sure the language sucks but look at all the amazing stuff we build with it!" and the other camp goes "Look at all the amazing stuff we build - The language can't be that bad!". The main point here is that the PHP applications that have been created over the years are incredible. [...] The astonishing dominance of PHP in the Web doesn't come from the fact that it is a good language, it comes from the fact that it allowed people to create and maintain things that are really useful.

He gets into some of the "it's not okay when..." kinds of things that PHP allows, things like:

  • Presenting the user with the "White Page of Death" when the script dies because of an error
  • Output of basic operations could depend on the environment it's run in
  • Problems with type hinting
  • Not being able to talk to two backend sources at once

He also suggests a few things that you can do to help the situation including not sending angry emails to the internals mailing list and contribute back with something useful instead (like RFCs).

The claim that "PHP is this awesome enabling language that let's you focus on doing awesome things" doesn't hold up when all of the gains are wasting dealing with the obtuse errors.
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Link: http://edorian.github.io/2013-10-19-Please-stop-pretending-PHP-is-a-good-language/

Lukas Smith:
Good design is no excuse for wasting time
March 28, 2013 @ 11:51:51

In his most recent post Lukas Smith suggests that good design isn't an excuse for wasting time. He's basically saying that Symfony2, because of how it's designed and implemented, isn't a RAD (rapid application development) framework and that it's about time for some layers to be added to help get it there.

Symfony 1.x I would put into a category of frameworks focused on RAD, aka rapid application development. [...] So for those people who were happy focusing on the 80% use case Symfony2 is a step back. Suddenly the same features take longer to implement, take longer to modify later on and on top of that the learning curve is steeper.

He suggests that work be put into "RAD layers" that can sit on top of Symfony2 and provide some of the more familiar features people are used to from things like CakePHP, Yii and CodeIgniter. There's been a few tries to accomplish this with only one getting the closest in his opinion - the KnpBundle.

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good design symfony2 rapid application development framework layer


Ulrich Kautz:
C-based Web Frameworks for PHP
February 27, 2013 @ 11:09:46

In this recent post to his site Ulrich Kautz takes a look at an interesting development in the PHP framework world - C-based frameworks installable as PHP extensions. He covers some of the good and bad things about this approach.

At the End of 2012 I had my first contact with a C-based PHP frameworks, namely YAF. Coincidently, some day afterwards Bruno from phpmaster.com pointed me towards Phalcon - a more modern interpretation of the same idea. So I was hooked.

In his "good idea" category he notes that it's faster because it's already loaded in on the request (no long list of includes) and the memory footprint is less than a PHP equivalent. The "bad" side of things mentions some pretty major hurdles though, including the small communities vs larger ones on PHP-based frameworks and the issues that could come with debugging/upgrading.

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cbased framework extension good bad phalcon yaf


The Coders Lexicon:
My Love / Hate Relationship With PHP Traits
February 11, 2013 @ 12:50:45

On the Coder's Lexicon site, there's a recent post talking about the author's love/hate relationship with PHP traits, a relatively new feature of the language that apps for more "drop-in" functionality similar to mixins in other languages.

When I saw the introduction of PHP traits in 5.4.0 I was eager to learn all about them and how they worked. [...] PHP traits, in my opinion, are handy and very flexible. I guess that is the "love" part of my relationship with them. [...] However, I feel that traits also meddle with a bit of the inheritance rules that have been proven time and time again. Is it possible to love as well as hate something at the same time?

He talks first about "the love" he feels for using traits in his code. He talks about their usefulness for geting around PHP's single inheritance structure and being able to "bolt on" functionality as needed. Then comes "the hate" of them, noting that in the wrong hands, they could lead to very messy and lazy coding practices (including the deadly diamond of death problem).

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love hate traits good bad example mixin opinion


PHPMaster.com:
PHP Traits Good or Bad?
January 21, 2013 @ 09:19:48

In this new post to PHPMaster.com, Callum Hopkins takes a look at one of the more recently added features of the PHP language, traits an tries to determine if they're a good or bad thing for PHP development.

In early March 2012, the PHP Group announced the release of PHP 5.4. Developer eagerly anticipated the release because of the many new features 5.4 would bring, the most sought after being traits. [...] Traits have have been generally accepted by the PHP development community, mainly because it's a feature that exists within other programming languages like Java, C++, and Python. [...] Are they a feature which will help raise the level of PHP development, or are they just a fad?

The starts with a few reasons why he thinks traits are bad like their potential for abuse and the difficulties that could be caused by using them instead of something like an interface. On the good side, though, he mentions things like allowing for "multiple inheritance" and their addition showing growth in the language.

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traits feature language introduction good bad


PHPMaster.com:
Practical Refactoring, Part 1 - What is Good Code?
October 12, 2012 @ 11:15:26

On PHPMaster.com they've started up a new series focused on refactoring code to make your applications not only easier to maintain but easier to expand on in the future. In this first part they focus on what the term "good code" really means.

The main goal of refactoring is clean code, better code, or whatever you might call it. But what actually constitutes good code? Good code is smelled and tasted. If you've written a lot of code, you understand what I mean; you can easily identify whether code is good or bad with experience. But what if you are new to coding but still want to do things right? We can summarize the aspects of good code with these three guidelines: Readable, Extensible and Efficient

He goes on to explain each of these three guidelines with descriptions of what they are and what they mean to you as a developer. In the next part of the series, he'll take these three ideas and apply them to code, showing some of the most common points where they can be applied to clean things up.

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good code refactor readable extensible efficient series


/Dev/Hell Podcast:
Episode 4 The Cool Kids Club
January 27, 2012 @ 12:54:53

The latest episode of the "/dev/hell" podcast has been released - Episode 4: "The Cool Kids Club".

Our fourth episode is all ready for your listening pleasure. In this exciting episode we focus on "The Conference Experience" and discuss why programming conferences are so important to developers. Chris talks about why CodeMash was so awesome and the awesome talks full of awesomeness that he attended. Ed talks about his own experiences with speaking and attending conferences, complete with a total derail by Chris on why a certain conference rubbed him the wrong way. Oh yeah, you also find out our opinions on what constitutes a "well-written PHP application". I'm sure you will be surprised by our answers.

You can either listen to this latest episode either via the in-page player or you can download the mp3 directly.

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podcast devhell conference experience good application


Michael Maclean's Blog:
Where are all the decent PHP CMSes?
January 18, 2011 @ 09:49:17

In a new post to his blog Michael Maclean looks at the current CMS ecosystem and wonders "where are all the decent CMSes?" He's been having trouble finding one and really wants to know.

I've been recently asked to check out some CMSes for someone, and try to find a recommendation. What I've been finding hasn't really been encouraging. Out of the several CMSes I've tried, they've all failed for various reasons. I admit that I might be looking at this from a slightly different perspective than most - that of admining it and coding against it, rather than as a user - but it's still rather disappointing.

He briefly looks at a few of the more popular offerings - Silverstripe, Concrete5, CMS Made Simple, Joomla! and the old standby - WordPress.

What's going on? This is what PHP is supposed to be good at. Where are the simple, lightweight CMSes with modern code?

There's plenty of comments so be sure and read them - everything from suggesting that the net should be cast wider to "PHP applications" versus just CMSes out to suggestions for other CMSes to try out (quite a few of those).

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opinion content management system good cms


Kevin Schroeder' Blog:
Getting good PHP programmers
November 16, 2010 @ 10:15:40

Kevin Schroeder has posted some of his thoughts how how you, the one looking for good PHP developers, can really get the best talent out there you can find based on his experiences in interviewing other developers.

I can interview for certain (but by no means all) PHP positions because I know a fair about PHP and I believe that being smart but being an asshole does not make you a good PHPer. But not everyone who interviews knows that. And not only that, it is getting difficult to find good PHP developers. A lot of the good ones are being taken up by top companies, but even they are having trouble finding all the good developers they need.

He suggests coming up with something a bit more concrete than just this vague picture of what a "good PHP developer" is and how, even once that's defined, the quality of all developers should be raised to that level. He asks for some feedback on a few related questions like: is there really a shortage of good PHP developers or what are the significant topic areas that PHP developers should know well? Lease him some feedback on the post.

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