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Grant Lovell:
Why PHP doesn't suck anymore
June 17, 2014 @ 09:04:07

In a recent post Grant Lovell shares some of the reasons why he thinks PHP doesn't suck anymore based on his presentation from the Waterloo-Wellinton Webmakers.

Chances are if you have been in web development for any amount of time you have done some work with PHP and maybe it was a great experience like it was for me, or perhaps it was hours and hours of digging through WordPress code to figure out why a plugin wasn't working. [...] A friend from U of W was giving me a hand setting up the catalog and introduced me to PHP. He was able to build the whole catalog, at least a basic first version, in one afternoon. You can imagine I was pretty excited about something that I thought was going to be weeks of cutting and pasting being done in a few short lines of PHP code. From then I was hooked.

He looks at a brief history of PHP, from its beginnings as a set of simple scripts by Rasmus Lerdorf out to the current push and support of the language by big companies like Facebook. Despite all of this, he points out that PHP "went wrong" somewhere along the way thanks to things like bad tutorials and practices. He talks about the GoPHP5 initiative and some of the signs of improvement in PHP: frameworks, Composer, the FIG and the "PHP renaissance." He looks into the future and sees only improvement thanks to better tutorial content (on various sites) and the increased amount of cooperation between developers wanting to make the language better.

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Link: http://transmission.vehikl.com/why-php-doesnt-suck-anymore/

Phil Sturgeon:
Heroku and PHP Sitting in a Tree. K.I.S.S.I.N.G
May 12, 2014 @ 09:40:49

In a recent post Phil Sturgeon talks about the recent news from Heroku about their integrated PHP support and some of his own experience in using the new service feature and migrate his blog over.

Heroku was - as far as I remember - the first (mainstream) PaaS on the market. It was Ruby-only but it was that symbol of modern web development at the time, with the whole "slinging code", "getting shit done", make a Git repo and start shipping bro, hack project/agile-til-it-works mindset. [...] Git push your code, its deployed, one-click installs and drag to scale. It sucked that it was always for Ruby, because as I was also doing a lot of work in PHP I obviously wished I could have the same for my other projects.

He walks through some of the "evolution" of the PaaS (platform as a service) market as it related to PHP environments. He talks about other services like PHPFog, Pagodabox and Fortrabbit. The Heroku added true PHP support and he made his move. He goes through the steps he followed to get his blog migrated over and the commands needed to make the push.

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Link: http://philsturgeon.co.uk/blog/2014/05/heroku-and-php-sitting-in-a-tree

HipHop Blog:
Faster and Cheaper The Evolution of the hhvm JIT
December 12, 2013 @ 12:09:35

On the HHVM (HipHop Virtal Machine) blog there's a new post that looks at the evolution of the HHVM JIT compiler since the project started about four years ago.

When the hhvm project was started almost 4 years ago, it had a two-part mandate: First, create a PHP JIT that could serve facebook.com at least as efficiently as hphpc, the PHP execution engine we were using at the time. Second, replace hphpi, the interpreter our PHP developers were using in their daily work. hphpc and hphpi were independent pieces of software with unintentional subtle differences in behavior and a significant maintenance burden. Unifying the execution engines used in production and development would make our jobs easier while giving the PHP devs a nicer experience at the same time.

The article goes on to talk about their needs from the environment and the basics of how the JIT compiler works to "translate" the code into something more low level than even C++. They chart out the performance of the HHVM versus the HPPC, showing a major growth around the end of the last year and continuing into this year. They also give an example of how this translation happens from a PHP script to bytecode to the translated result from their "TranslatorX64" tool.

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Link: http://www.hhvm.com/blog/2027/faster-and-cheaper-the-evolution-of-the-hhvm-jit

PHP Manual Masterpieces:
PHP 2.0 A Review in Retrospect
November 01, 2013 @ 10:33:19

The "PHP Manual Masterpieces" site has varied a bit from its usual format and has gone with its own "blast from the past" doing a review in retrospect of PHP 2.0, a long forgotten version of the language with some "interesting" features.

This is not about PHP as we now know it in the waning months of 2013. This is about the waning months of the year 1997. I was nine years old. My life was not yet overshadowed by haphazard scripting languages. Somewhere in the wilderness, during a savage thunderstorm in the dead of night, a Danish Canadian pushed the 2.0 revision of his personal home page generator's tarball to a web server.

The post looks at some of the "horrors" that made up PHP at that time including:

  • The footer PHP/FI added to every page
  • No real concept of input/output filtering
  • The use of register_globals
  • Weird handling of superglobal values
  • The inclusion of magic_quotes

And, of course, all of these (and more) complete with quotes from the manual at the time talking about reasons behind their use and code where appropriate.

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Link: http://phpmanualmasterpieces.tumblr.com/post/65544023819/php-2-0-a-review-in-retrospect

The Nerdery:
Why Most Stories About WordPress Security Are Wrong
September 12, 2013 @ 09:18:55

On The Nerdery's blog today there's a new post suggesting that most of the reports of WordPress' insecurity are wrong and they're going to set the record straight.

I have often heard the remark "WordPress is insecure!" My response is "Where did you hear that?" and "When did you hear that?" [...] WordPress core is, in fact, very secure, just as secure as any other Content Management System, just as secure as any other software suite or Operating System. Security issues most often arise from administrators and users. In other words, you are the weakest link.

They suggest that between the high-profile nature of WordPress and the constant (sometimes wrongful) warning being put out there about its security, people perpetuate the message sometimes unknowingly. Besides the human element being the largest risk, they also point out a few others including issues around shared hosting and the availability of easy-to-find tools to exploit flaws. They talk about a brief history of the WP core security and how they define the real security of a product - how quickly it responds to security issues. They also include a few suggestions for you to help harden your own WP installation.

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Link: http://blog.nerdery.com/2013/09/why-wordpress-security-stories-are-wrong/

Inviqa techPortal:
Rasmus Lerdorf at PHP London
August 02, 2013 @ 10:52:31

On the Inviqa techPortal today there's a new post talking about the most recent speaker at the PHP LondonRasmus Lerdorf.

July's PHP London had a particularly notable speaker - Rasmus Lerdorf himself presenting what's new in PHP. So many people wanted to attend that, with limited venue capacity, a live (and recorded) video stream was used for the first time. You can skip straight to seeing the slides and video of the session if you like, or keep reading for my impressions of the evening.

They include a brief overview of what Rasmus talked about including: a brief history and evolution of the language, a few points about PHP 5.4 and then on to the "shiny and new" of PHP 5.5. and the features it introduced. He also added in a bit at the end about two tools that his employer, Etsy, has released to help with more atomic deployments.

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Link: http://techportal.inviqa.com/2013/08/02/rasmus-lerdorf-at-php-london

Dougal Campbell:
WordPress 10th Anniversary Blogging Project
May 02, 2013 @ 10:22:48

Dougal Campbell has a new post to his site with his own contribution to the "WordPress 10th Anniversary Blogging Project" - a remembrance of his history with the tool and where/when he first started using it.

The official 10th anniversary of the release of WordPress is May 27, 2013. It has been an amazing 10 years, during which WordPress evolved from a simple blogware to a very full-featured CMS (Content Management System), used to power some of the biggest and most popular web sites on the internet. All over the world, people are planning celebrations. As much as I like a good party, I thought this would also be a good time to celebrate WordPress by actually using WordPress - for blogging.

He talks some about when he got started with WordPress (2003) and what's happened since. He suggests that others follow suit and use the "#wp10" hashtag on Twitter to share their own posts.

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wordpress tenth anniversary blog project history

Link: http://dougal.gunters.org/blog/2013/05/01/wordpress-10th-anniversary-blogging-project

Netcraft.com:
PHP just grows & grows
February 01, 2013 @ 11:58:02

Netcraft.com has posted the results of a web server survey with data compiled starting in 2002 all the way up to 2012 about the growth and usage of PHP on the web. The title of the article, "PHP just grows & grows", gives a clue to their findings.

Netcraft began its Web Server Survey in 1995 and has tracked the deployment of a wide range of scripting technologies across the web since 2001. One such technology is PHP, which Netcraft presently finds on well over 200 million websites.

For those not familiar with the language, they give an overview of its history starting back with PHP v1 that Rasmus Lerdorf developed for his own uses. They move quickly through the years talking about versions and improvements made during their lifecycle. They also talk some about their own tracking methods and the metrics they use to measure PHP's growth - hostnames serving up PHP-based sites, removal of active (not spam) sites, unique IPs and actual computers/machines.

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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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Pro Developer:
FuelPHP history and future
December 18, 2012 @ 09:16:59

On the Pro Developer site today there's a new post looking at the past and future of FuelPHP a framework started by Dan Horigan and Phil Sturgeon (who have both since left the team).

FuelPHP was first framework which used namespaces and was production ready at the same time. Small footprint, flexibility, namespaces, modularity and other gears make this framework great for building web applications. [...] For FuelPHP team 2012 was year with ups and downs. Dan Horigan was not available for his team members few months and no one didn't know where he was. He show up on the twitter and then he was unreachable again. WanWizard (Harro Verton) and Jelmer Schreuder were most active at the building FuelPHP core and they done a great job.

He takes a look at the road ahead (FuelPHP v2) and the work that's already been done on it. He also notes that another of the core team members has left the FuelPHP development group a few days ago and that there were some things about the framework he no longer liked. The post suggests looking into something like Laravel (v4, not yet released) if you're shopping for a new framework. He does note that, while the future of FuelPHP may be rocky, it is a stable framework and is still a solid choice for a platform (especially if it's already in use).

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