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PHP Town Hall:
Episode 18 PHPDBG, HHVM and Internals
January 30, 2014 @ 09:15:19

The PHP Town Hall podcast has released their latest episode today - Episode #18, "PHPDBG, HHVM and Internals". This time the lineup includes Sara Golemon, a developer on the HHVM project, and Joe Watkins, a developer on the PHPDBG project.

Joe Watkins and Sara Golemon join Phil to make one hell of an episode. These two are not only core contributors to PHP, but are behind a lot of RFCs and decisions that make PHP considerably better. We talk about a whole bunch of awesome stuff, including progress of the named parameters RFC - and the chances of it making in, the new accepted PHP 5.6 feature PHPDBG and what it means for you, HHVM and its relationship to "The PHP", wether PHP should have a spec for implementations of the language, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

You can listen to this latest interview in a few different ways - you can either listen with the in-page player, download the mp3 or you can watch the video of the live Google Hangouts recording.

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Link: http://phptownhall.com//blog/2014/01/29/episode-18-phpdbg-hhvm-internals/

PHP Town Hall:
Episode #13 - PHP Internals, Service-orientated Architecture and Language Wars
October 15, 2013 @ 13:36:30

The PHP Town Hall podcast has released their latest episode - Episode #13, PHP Internals, Service-orientated Architecture and Language Wars:

Ben, Zack K. and Phil discuss the difference between PHP's organisational structure and lack of BDFL with that of Rails, or Linux. We then discuss service-orientated architecture a little and move onto how you should not box yourself into a single programming language - on your CV or in general as a programmer.

You can listen to this latest post either through the in-page player, by downloading the mp3 or by subscribing to their feed.

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Link: http://phptownhall.com

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

Phil Sturgeon:
T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM v Sanity
September 10, 2013 @ 09:23:48

Phil Sturgeon shares some of his thoughts about the almost "fear of change" that the PHP project seems to have. He cites the example of the T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM constant, one that can be confusing for those not familiar with it.

Pretending PHP is perfect would obviously be ridiculous - it has its problems - but a list of issues being compiled gives interested developers a great chance to fix things. One such resource is PHP Sadness brought to you by Eric Wastl, to document valid bugs and freaky shit that PHP does. Whether it be the chicken or the egg, these items are one by one being scratched off as active core-contributors make RFCs and fight the good fight to get them merged.

Sadly it is not always easy to clear these items, or add new features in general. As somebody who has followed internals (and been hearing tales of woe from others) for a while, I've seen so many conversations with truly bizarre, irrelevant and trolly responses coming back from everyone all the way up to Rasmus himself.

For his example, the T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM token, he goes through some of the history of it and the suggestions it's had for change from various parts of the community. There was a suggestion it be renamed to something more clear but it turned into a "battle of epic proportions." He goes through some of the comments from this (and other) discussion around the token and the confusion it causes, providing some of his own opinions along the way. The post is a good read, especially if you're not involved in the PHP internals world. It gives you a glimpse into what can happen around such a simple suggestion.

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Link: http://philsturgeon.co.uk/blog/2013/09/t-paamayim-nekudotayim-v-sanity

Community News:
The PHP Internals Book
June 11, 2013 @ 10:44:33

For those that are interested in how PHP works "under the covers" and maybe want to get started writing your own extensions for it, you should check out the PHP Internals Book. It's a collaborative effort between Julien Pauli, Anthony Ferrara and Nikita Popov.

There are three primary goals of this book: Document and describe how PHP internals work, how to extend the language with extensions, how you can interact with the community to develop PHP itself. This book is primarily targeted at developers who have experience in the C programming language. However, where-ever possible we will attempt to distill the information and summarize it so that developers who don't know C will still be able to understand the content.

The book is a work in progress, but they're off to a good start. They already have sections covering some of the basics of working with classes and objects (including iterators and "magic interfaces").

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Link: http://www.phpinternalsbook.com

PHPClasses.org:
Lately in PHP, Episode 35 - Better Documentation for PHP internals
May 09, 2013 @ 09:12:10

On PHPClasses.org today they've posted the latest episode of their "Lately in PHP" podcast series - Episode #35, "Better Documentation for PHP internals".

With the inclusion of Zend Optimizer+ extension in PHP 5.5, the need for better documentation of PHP internals became more evident, so PHP contributors can write extensions that take the most of the core PHP features. That is one of the topics discussed by Manuel Lemos and Ernani Joppert in the episode 35 of the Lately In PHP podcast. They also talked about having more optimized PHP opcodes, some interesting PHP feature proposals that got rejected, as well the article about the top version control systems used by PHP developers.

You can listen to this episode in a few different ways - either through the in-page player, by downloading the mp3 or by watching the video of the recorded Google Hangout session.

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Link: http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/207-Better-Documentation-for-PHP-internals--Lately-in-PHP-podcast-episode-35.html

NetTuts.com:
So You Want to Accept Credit Cards Online?
June 14, 2012 @ 09:30:25

On NetTuts.com they're posted a new tutorial about using the Stripe service to accept credit cards on your site. Thanks to some handy libraries they provide, integration is a relatively simple process.

Until recently, accepting credit cards on a website was expensive and complicated. But that was before Stripe: a radically different and insanely awesome credit card processing company. Today, I'll show you how to start accepting cards in 30 minutes or less - without spending a dime.

They step you through the whole process you'll need to get the full flow set up:

  • Install an SSL Certificate (on your server)
  • Create an Account
  • Create Your Payment Form
  • Collect The Form Values
  • Request a Token
  • Create a Server-Side Script

Screenshots of the Stripe interface, HTML, Javascript and PHP code are all included - everything you need to make the simple card handling work. One of the keys to how Stripe deals with credit cards is that you provide it the card info, it gives you a token. Your app uses this to work with the card instead of storing the card information in your database (also making it more secure).

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Anthony Ferrara's Blog:
PHP's Source Code For PHP Developers - Part 3 - Variables
March 22, 2012 @ 08:30:45

The third part of the "PHP source for developers" series has been posted over on Anthony Ferrara's blog today looking at the variables PHP's internals use.

In this third post of the PHP's Source Code for PHP Developers series, we're going to expand on the prior posts to help understand how PHP works internally. In the first post of the series, we looked at how to view PHP's source code, how it's structured as well as some basic C pointers for PHP developers. The second post introduced functions into the mix. This time around, we're going to dive into one of the most useful structures in PHP: variables.

He starts with one of the most important variable types used in PHP's source - the ZVAL. This is one of the keys to PHP's loose typing and can be thought of as "a class with only public properties". He gets into more detail with the properties of this "class" (value, refcount__gc, type and is_ref__gc). Also included is a look at how it's actually used - creating new ones, getting the value of them, converting their types and how the internal PHP functions parse their variables.

There's a lot more covered about variables in the post so if this is interesting stuff to you, be sure to read it all. They've done a great job of explaining one of the more complicated parts of the internals that power PHP.

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Anthony Ferrara's Blog:
Parameter Type Casting in PHP
March 06, 2012 @ 11:05:32

Anthony Ferrara has a new article posted to his site today about parameter typecasting and the discussions that have been happening about it on the PHP "internals" mailing list.

As any of you who follow the PHP internals list know, scalar type hinting has been a hot topic as of late. You'll also know that I've submitted two new RFC (Request For Comment) proposals for inclusion of two new major features in the PHP language. I figured it was worth going into both RFCs and patches a little deeper, explain my rationale and (hopefully) garner some more visibility of the proposals.

He shares the details of the two main RFCs that are proposed right now - parameter type casting hints and object scalar casting magic methods (both with code examples). Right now, they're only in the patch stage and there's talk of improving the current casting functionality of PHP before something like one of these goes into place.

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UMumble.com:
Working with memory
February 14, 2012 @ 08:44:02

On the UMumble blog there's a recent post looking at memory consumption in PHP applications - what PHP does for you when managing how it uses your system's memory and what you need to worry about in your code.

There is a widespread view that the ordinary PHP developer does not need to control memory management, but "controlling" and "knowing" are slightly different concepts. I will try to throw light upon some aspects of memory management when working with variables and arrays, and some interesting pitfalls of the internal optimization of PHP. As you can see, the optimization is good, but if you do not know exactly how it is optimized, you might meet the pitfalls, which can make you pretty nervous.

They talk about some of the basics - how variables are stored in hash tables and how this helps memory consumption - as well as using the memory_get_usage method to find your current consumption. This is show for both regular strings and arrays, comparing larger data (and assigning it multiple times) to simpler structures. They also mention how PHP handles memory usage in passing by reference and copying of values.

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