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HHVM Blog:
Hack Recent Updates
October 22, 2014 @ 09:37:26

On the HHVM blog today they've posted some updates about the language that helps power the HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine), Hack, and the most recent changes and improvements made to the language.

One thing we haven't talked about much is the progress and evolution of the language itself. We've been busy driving the language forward, improving its PHP base as well as adding new features requested inside and outside Facebook to further increase developers' productivity. But unless you're the sort of person that reads every commit going into the HHVM github repository or every change to our docs site, you probably have no idea about any of these changes since we haven't talked much about them yet.

This post is a "kickoff" of a series of posts they'll be doing covering some of the major changes to the language including:

  • Typechecking new static()
  • First-class enums
  • Better understanding the type signatures of the PHP standard library
  • Covariance

Stay tuned to the blog for the full series.

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hack language update series improvement update

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/6443/hack-recent-updates

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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opinion suck language history improvement future

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

Geshan Manandhar:
5 PHP development improvements rediscovered in 2013
January 24, 2014 @ 11:54:20

Geshan Manandhar has a new post talking about five development improvements that were "rediscovered" in 2013 in the PHP community.

Love it or hate it, the fact is 80% of the web is PHP and its usage has been in an increasing trend since 2010. [...] In this process of having a robust back-end API, we have rediscovered and utilized some technologies inline with PHP development and improved on them in the past year. Here is a summary of these PHP related technologies/methods/best practices that will help all PHP developers.

The five things on his list are things that were around before 2013, but they all had much more of an effect in the past year than prior:

  • PHP Specification Request - PSR
  • Composer and Packagist
  • Virtual Development Environment - Vagrant
  • Debugging with X-Debug
  • Automated Testing with PHPUnit
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development improvement rediscovered 2013

Link: http://geshan.blogspot.ae/2014/01/5-php-development-improvements.html

Phil Sturgeon:
Solving the PHP Internals Workflow
September 12, 2013 @ 10:24:56

If you're not a subscriber to the php-internals mailing list, you may not know of several discussions happening right now. On of them relates to how the PHP project is currently run and include suggestions from a wide range of folks for improvements. Phil Sturegon has shared some of his own suggestions in a new post to his site.

On Monday I posted a tale of woe, which like any good tale had a moral at the end. The moral was that while PHP internals has its troubles, the troubles are really being perpetuated by a small few, and there is a clear path to solving the problems. [The PHP-FIG had similar problems and] It soon became incredibly clear that this approach would never work. We needed a workflow, and so does PHP.

He gets into some of the details behind the "growing pains" the PHP-FIG went through before defining their own workflow approach. He points out some of the problems with the workflow on the PHP side (defined here) but suggests that some of it could be avoided with a bit of tweaking. He also points out that the php-internals list "could be awesome" and that steps are already being taken (like improving news.php.net) towards that goal.

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internals workflow phpfig opinion improvement newsphpnet

Link: http://philsturgeon.co.uk/blog/2013/09/solving-the-php-internals-workflow

Ben Youngblood:
MVC Is Not Enough
September 04, 2013 @ 09:12:25

Ben Youngblood has a new post to his site suggesting that MVC is not enough to build good, robust applications (PHP or not) just because a good portion of the frameworks implement it.

With few exceptions, any software engineer worth his/her salt have at least heard of the model-view-controller pattern. It's been around since it was introduced to Smalltalk in the late 1970s and has been a staple pattern in object-oriented languages for as many years. Nearly all the leading PHP frameworks include some form of MVC implementation. With so many frameworks and developers espousing its use, you would think it's the best pattern for building your application. And you would be wrong.

He's not suggesting abandoning MVC altogether for something else. He just wants a reexamination of how it's being used and how to improve the structure of the applications using it. One option is to adhere more to the SOLID principles, avoiding things like domain logic in controllers and "fat" models with too much logic.

Chiefly, MVC is one part of your application, not your application. If you find that you are building your domain logic inside models, views, or controllers, then you are abusing MVC. No substantive application can, or should, be made to fit inside MVC.
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mvc opinion solid principles improvement

Link: http://blog.bjyoungblood.com/2013/08/21/mvc-is-not-enough

Simon Holywell:
Improve PHP session cookie security
May 14, 2013 @ 14:55:37

Simon Holywell has a new post talking about cookie security in PHP, focusing on some of the PHP configuration settings that can help.

The security of session handling in PHP can easily be enhanced through the use of a few configuration settings and the addition of an SSL certificate. Whilst this topic has been covered numerous times before it still bears mentioning with a large number of PHP sites and servers having not implemented these features.

He talks about the httponly flag when setting the cookie/in the configuration, the "use only cookies" for sessions and forcing them to be "secure only".

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session cookie security improvement tutorial phpini configuration

Link: http://simonholywell.com/post/2013/05/improve-php-session-cookie-security.html

Brandon Savage:
Making Conferences Better
February 28, 2013 @ 11:19:50

Brandon Savage has posted some ideas about making conferences better and how they can appeal to a wider (and maybe more inexperienced) level of developer.

I love PHP conferences. I attended a lot of PHP conferences when I was a brand new developer. Zendcon, OSCON, php[tek], Wordcamp Baltimore, DC PHP and others were my stomping grounds. I learned a lot, and the conferences I attended were on the whole useful, beneficial and wonderful experiences. But I also felt challenged by the fact that conferences don't offer much for bringing up new developers with concrete information and training. This isn't necessarily the fault of conferences: it's impossible to truly impart a useful skill into a developer with only a 45 minute talk.

He includes four ideas in the post and talks some about the role of training at the events:

  • Are conferences even the right place for training?
  • Creating Different Tracks of Different Lengths
  • Including Hands-On Training During Tutorial Days
  • Offer Learning-Focused Hackathons

He also notes that some of it is up to the developers to find a good fit for what they need and the skills they're looking to learn. There's other options out there besides just the usual conferences, too and, as Brandon states, "investing in your career is the most valuable thing you can do for yourself."

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conference suggestion improvement training tracks handson hackathon


Jacob Mather:
How to act like you (maybe actually) care about your work
October 09, 2012 @ 12:49:03

Jacob Mather has written up a (somewhat lengthy) post about things for developers to consider when wanting to improve at their jobs.

At Symfony Live San Francisco 2012, I gave a little talk. No, really. A little talk. Seven minutes. I'm not even sure I used all of it. That's not a lot of time, but I think I managed to at least provoke some thinking. At least I hope I did. Hmm. How do you act like you care about your work, as a developer?

He has the post broken up into several different categories including being involved in the community, continuing your education constantly, working with automation to make your day-to-day easier and what your real job is (hint, it has more to do with problems and less with code). He also includes a section with suggestions about dealing with coworkers of all different types - everything from management to designers.

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opinion work improvement suggestions developer


Symfony Blog:
Form Goodness in Symfony 2.1
July 30, 2012 @ 13:41:26

On the Symfony blog there's a new post from Bernhard Schussek about some of the changes that have happened in the Forms component of the Symfony 2 framework (in version 2.1).

Those of you who already upgraded to Symfony 2.1 Beta probably noticed that the new version comes with many backwards compatibility breaks in the Form component. Many of you probably ask yourselves: Why? The simple answer is that the Form component is one of the most complex components in Symfony at all.

They list out some of the improvements (plus code showing then at work) for changes like:

  • No more bindRequest()
  • Custom field constraints
  • Error mapping fu
  • Collection improvements
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symfony2 form component improvement


Lorna Mitchell's Blog:
Proof that PHP 5.4 is Twice as Fast as PHP 5.3
June 14, 2012 @ 10:04:55

In this quick post to her blog, Lorna Mitchell shares an interesting bit of benchmarking she did between PHP versions 5.3 and 5.4, finding 5.4 twice as fast as it's previous version sibling.

So recently I was working on some benchmarks for different versions of PHP, because I heard that PHP 5.4 is "faster" and since I'm a data geek I want to know how much faster! Now, PHP 5.4 is, in general, faster than PHP 5.3 but not twice as fast* unless you pick a use case which has been particularly optimised. My first attempt at benchmarking the two versions produced this. This was a surprise to me; was PHP 5.4 really so much faster??

Her benchmark was a pretty simple one - looping and creating a new object, evaluating the timing of how long it took to execute. A commentor also points to some more official benchmarks that were done and posted to the php.internals mailing list.

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speed version difference improvement create object benchmark



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