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Dawn Casey:
Things Developers Say
June 05, 2014 @ 09:13:45

In this new post from Dawn Casey (wife of the infamous Keith Casey) she talks about some of her "growing pains" around becoming a new developer and the learning process. She's come up against some interesting problems in the course of her learning, both good and frustrating.

In the course of my learning development (seven months at this point) I've heard quite a few things from other veteran developers, all of whom were trying to be helpful. Or I'd ask a question and get one of these things in response because it makes sense to *them*…they don't realize I have no point of reference. [...] I'm frustrated because they can't explain whatever it is I don't understand..mostly because I don't understand exactly what it is I'm not understanding.

Her frustration comes not only from not being able to ask the right questions, but also from being a "blind deaf alien" thrown into the world of development. She point out an issue common to those trying to get into programming: the wealth of information one needs to know before getting started. She also mentions another common problem, particularly for new developers (or those looking to improve one certain skill): the sometimes unhelpful nature of other, more experienced developers. While some are happy to help and guide you through the learning process, there's others that will just toss you a tutorial link and call it a day.

Here's the gist of what I'm saying: There is so much back-knowledge needed to be a web developer today that many are derailed for months trying to learn everything they need to know before they can learn anything at all. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS!!
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Link: http://sdawncasey.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/things-developers-say/

Master Zend Framework:
Simplifying Unit Testing (and asking for help when needed)
March 20, 2014 @ 11:54:16

On Matthew Ssetter's "Master Zend Framework" blog today he talks about simplifying unit testing and some of his experience with getting too complicated in his own testing practices.

Recently I was a bit stuck, trying to figure out how to test a section of an application I've been developing. Specifically, I was trying to mock a HydratingResultSet in a controller test, so it could be the return value of a method call on a datasource, my controller needed. I was sure it was the right approach to help ensure the functionality in question was working properly. But no matter what I tried, my tests didn't work, because I wasn't mocking it correctly. [...] I asked for help [on IRC], laying out the problem as I saw it. The first response which came back, from Ocramius, stopped me dead in my tracks: "Why are you trying to do that?"

He includes a bit of background on what he was trying to test and the functionality around it and how, when he stopped to think about it, wondered why he was testing it too. He talks about the refactor he made to his code with a positive end result - the tests now passed. He suggests a few questions to ask yourself when writing your tests such as "am I doing too much?" or "am I testing code in the right place?" Chances are, if you step back and really look at what you're testing, you might realize that the answer to these questions is just to simplify.

He finishes the post with a few suggestions, some of his own personal favorites, of places you can go for help when questions do pop up. He points out that the usual excuses shouldn't be a blocker on asking for help. He is "encouraging you to set your pride, ego and excuses aside and when you're stuck: ask for help."

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Link: http://www.masterzendframework.com/people/right-approach-unit-testing-asking-help

Zend Framework Blog:
Help us improve the documentation!
March 29, 2013 @ 11:07:53

On the Zend Framework blog they're asking for your help with the project's documentation. They're looking to the users and community members around the framework to help them make the documentation more useful and stay up to date.

A piece of software is only as good as its documentation. The Zend Framework team and a dozen or so contributors are working hard to improve the Zend Framework 2 documentation, but we still want you to help us improve it even more. Any kind of help is welcome and greatly appreciated.

Most of what they're looking for is clarity - they want to ensure that what's in the manual makes sense (and is correct for the release it relates to). They're also looking for feedback on what helps you learn best - tutorials, user guides, API docs, etc. Issues and suggestions should be posted to the issue tracker in github. If you're not sure where to start, check out the contributors guide.

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Robert Basic's Blog:
Helping out with Zend Framework 2
July 29, 2011 @ 10:46:56

For anyone looking to get started helping on the Zend Framework 2 project but not sure where to begin, Robert Basic has some recommendations of places to look.

OK, here are some tips and resources so you can start helping out and contributing to Zend Framework 2.0.

Things on the list include:

  • a getting started page on the ZF wiki
  • Fixing unit tests on the framework
  • working on the port of ZendService
  • Porting patches from ZF1 to ZF2
  • Check out the quickstart on github to get the ball rolling
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Pablo Viquez's Blog:
Zend Framework Documentation
March 12, 2010 @ 13:13:47

Pablo Viquez has put together something that all of the Windows-based Zend Framework developers might find very useful during their next offline (or online, really) development session - a Windows Help file version of the Zend Framework manual.

As you might now, you can view and download the Zend Framework reference manual from the Zend Framework site and download it from the download section, however what I wanted was the Windows compiled version of it (CHM file). In order to get this version you need to compile the documentation, after running into some small issues, I manage to do it, and to save you some work.

He only had to fix an issue with one XML file to correct some escaping in the Zend_Feed_Writer.xml and zend.feed.writer.html files. You can download both the English CHM and the Spanish CHM files depending on your needs.

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Lukas Smith's Blog:
Wanna help out on wiki.php.net?
January 19, 2010 @ 09:21:03

Want to help out on the PHP project but not sure where to start? Lukas Smith suggests helping out with the wiki (at wiki.php.net).

I feel that I can make more of a difference in these other [personal] projects. [...] I hope others will pick up the slack and make sure that PDO gets love, at people diligently follow up on todo items mentioned on internals and that someone else picks up wiki.php.net and takes care of some regular maintenance stuff.

He mentions one thing specifically - an update that will need to happen to the Dokuwiki software the wiki runs on. If you're interested, send Lukas an email/leave a comment and he'll point you in the right direction.

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PHP vs. .NET Blog:
Ten PHP Best Practices Tips that will get you a job
June 26, 2008 @ 11:13:59

Blake has posted some of his opinions on "best practices" that can help you land that new job you've been looking for:

The last couple of weeks have been quite the experience for me. I was part of a big layoff at my former company, which was interesting. I've never been in that position before, and it's hard not to take it personally. [...] Before the face-to-face portion, I chatted with the owner and head programmer on a conference call, and they ended up sending me a technical assessment quiz.

In the quiz, there was one question the prompted him to come up with his tips - ten things that you can do to keep your code clean, lean and easy to maintain. His tips include things like "use single-quotes around array indexes", "don't use open short tags" and "document your code". Some of the suggestions don't make that much of a difference, but others (like the documentation one) can make the world of difference down the line.

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Tilllate.com Blog:
PHP @ OpenExpo
June 11, 2008 @ 08:47:01

Leo Buttiker has posted about an upcoming event for the PHP community, the Swiss conference OpenExpo 2008.

At 24./25. of September 2008 there will be the OpenExpo in Winterthur. I will be in charge of the PHP booth. I am looking for PHP-Developers, -Evangelists and -Fanboys (and girls) to help me out.

PHPers already attending include Harry Fuecks, Lukas Smith and Chregu Stocker. If you're interested in helping out at this year's conference, see his post for more details on contact methods.

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PHPImpact Blog:
30 Useful PHP Classes and Components
May 30, 2008 @ 10:23:52

The PHP::Impact blog has posted a list of thirty classes and components that can make your PHP development life so much easier:

Simplicity and extensibility are the main reasons why PHP became the favourite dynamic language of the Web. In the last decade, PHP has developed from a niche language for adding dynamic functionality to small websites to a powerful tool making strong inroads into large-scale Web systems.

Their list includes software like:

...and many more. Check out the full list for all sorts of useful tools.

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Stoyan Stefanov's Blog:
PHP/Javascript dev tools for TextPad
July 16, 2007 @ 12:54:00

Stoyan Stefanov posts about some handy PHP development tools that he's added to his TextPad software and wanted to share with the community.

There's four tools in the list (links off of his Tools menu):

  • PHP lint (a.k.a. syntax check)
  • PHP help
  • PHP Manual
  • JS Lint

On ones like the PHP manual, it's really a link to a browser that opens the right page on the PHP.net website.

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