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Ibuildings Blog:
Programming Guidelines - Part 3: The Life and Death of Objects
Feb 02, 2016 @ 11:42:05

The Ibuildings blog has posted the latest part of their series looking at some general programming guidelines and principles that can help you in your own development work. In this latest article Matthias Noback talks about the "life and death of objects" in more detail including creating, updating and how they "die".

In the first part of this series we looked at ways to reduce the complexity of function bodies. The second part covered several strategies for reducing complexity even more, by getting rid of null in our code. In this article we'll zoom out a bit and look at how to properly organize the lifecycle of our objects, from creating them to changing them, letting them pass away and bringing them back from the dead.

He starts with a brief list of things that are true about objects (they live in memory, they hide implementation, etc) and some of the issues with poor object handling. He then gets into some of the basics: creating objects (meaningful & different ways), validating the input to constructors and methods and changing them to update properties and related objects. He also suggests preferring immutable objects and talks about value objects to help towards this goal. Finally he talks about the death of objects and some of the ways you can possibly "bring them back to life".

tagged: oop object detail introduction validate immutable valueobject revive lifecycle tutorial

Link: https://www.ibuildings.nl/blog/2016/02/programming-guidelines-part-3-the-life-and-death-objects

Taha Shashtari:
A Gentle Introduction to Testing in PHP
Feb 02, 2016 @ 10:11:20

If you're not already doing testing (like unit testing) in your PHP-based applications but want to start, this new post on Taha Shashtari's site might just be for you. It provides a "gentle introduction" to unit testing, what it is and some of the tools you can use to get started.

Learning testing can be very overwhelming especially if you're just starting out. [...] You might have read a bunch of PHPUnit tutorials and maybe you tried to apply some of what you've learned in your projects, but it doesn't always feel right. And sometimes you get into situations where you have no clue how to test some feature in your application.

If anything of this happened to you, don't feel bad, we all have had this experience. And it's almost because of the way we learn it.

He starts by talking about some of the main goals of testing in your application and the difference between manual and automatic testing. He then gets into each of the three main testing types and follows it with links (and summaries) to tools you can use to get started testing. He ends the post with a brief look at test-driven development and, setting the stage for the next tutorial in the series, looks at the path ahead.

tagged: tdd definition basic introduction gentle testing unittest phpunit tools summary

Link: http://taha-sh.com/blog/a-gentle-introduction-to-testing-in-php

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Command Buses Demystified: A Look at the Tactician Package
Jan 27, 2016 @ 10:47:44

On the SitePoint PHP blog there's a tutorial posted that wants to help demystify the command bus design pattern with the help of the Tactician package, a part of the packages from The PHP League.

Command Buses have been getting a lot of community attention lately. The topic can be quite overwhelming at first when trying to understand all the concepts and terminology, but in essence – what a Command Bus does is actually incredibly simple.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at variations of the Command Pattern; their components; what a Command Bus is; and an example application using the Tactician package.

The article starts with a look at what the Command Bus design pattern is and where it could be put to use in an application. There's a bit of sample code showing how to implement a basic bus and the commands it would be used to execute. Their example application uses a "deck of cards" set of actions. They show how to use the Tactician library to build and execute three related commands: CreateDeck, ShuffleDeck and DrawCard. They show you how to build out the pieces you'll need - the extractor, locator and middleware - and join them all together to execute the commands.

tagged: tutorial tactician package commandbus designpattern introduction

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/command-buses-demystified-a-look-at-the-tactician-package/

NetTuts.com:
Getting Started With Laravel
Jan 20, 2016 @ 09:06:16

On the NetTuts.com site there's a tutorial posted helping you get started with Laravel, one of the more recently popular PHP frameworks.

Almost all CMS systems use it, including Joomla, Drupal and WordPress, and of course many frameworks like CakePHP use it as well. I arrived at Laravel in early 2014 and I was instantly hooked. It not only uses OOP, it requires it! I have to admit, this was a challenge, but I learned so much thanks to it, and it has made the code I write for other systems a lot better too!

In this article I’ll show you how to get started with Laravel by installing everything that’s needed to run the system, showing you how to use Laravel Homestead - a great virtual machine - and finally, how to install Laravel itself.

The tutorial starts with an introduction of what the framework is and briefly mentions some of its main advantages: standardization, elegance and speed. It then gets into the steps for installing Laravel and setting up a basic application:

  • Install Composer
  • Install Git
  • Install VirtualBox and Vagrant
  • Download the Box (Homestead)
  • Install the Homestead CLI
  • Configure Homestead
  • Launching the Vagrant Box

Don't worry, each of these steps comes with all the commands and config file changes you'll need to make. With the environment up and running they finish the article off with a Composer require command to install a Laravel application and how to test that it's up and running.

tagged: laravel framework gettingstarted introduction homestead environment tutorial

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/getting-started-with-laravel--cms-25386

SitePoint PHP Blog:
An in-Depth Walkthrough of Supercharging Apps with Blackfire
Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:30:32

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial posted by Reza Lavaryan showing you how to "supercharge your applications" with the help of the Blackfire.io profiling service.

With profiling, we can spot the performance bottlenecks in the code and do something about them. There is a variety of profiling tools out there, each taking a different approach. [...] With profiling, we can spot the performance bottlenecks in the code and do something about them. There is a variety of profiling tools out there, each taking a different approach. [...] Blackfire.io is the new generation of web profilers, which takes the automatic instrumentation approach, but without imposing a performance impact on our application.

First he defines some of the basic terms it's helpful to know when profiling and using Blackfire. He then walks you through getting what you'll need set up:

  • a Homestead VM instance with the necessary configuration options
  • a script using Faker to generate and write user data to a local database

He then shows you how to execute the first profiling run and what the results look like in the Blackfire views. He uses these results to make some modifications to the script and re-runs the tests to see what kind of gains it provides. Most of his examples use the web interface for the service but the post ends with a look at using the command line tool and getting back some simple metrics as a result.

tagged: profiling performance evaluate blackfireio service introduction faker

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/an-in-depth-walkthrough-of-supercharging-apps-with-blackfire/

Michelangelo van Dam:
PHP Arrays - Associative Arrays or Hash Maps
Jan 14, 2016 @ 10:50:54

Michelangelo van Dam has continued his introductory series looking at arrays in PHP with this latest post covering associative arrays (otherwise known as hash maps).

Associative array or hash maps are listings of key and value pairs with a possibility to nest additional keys and values. An associative array is a very powerful construct within PHP.

He mentions the previous article and its examples of numerically indexed arrays. He then shows how to use strings as the keys instead, pointing out that these are widely used in things like framework configurations. He shows how to use a foreach to work with the associative array and loop through each of the values, yielding the index and value for each. He also includes examples of for and do-while loops using the array_keys method to get the indexes before hand. He ends the post with a look at using the array_filter function to iterate over and find a certain record.

tagged: assoicative array hashmap tutorial introduction loop filter

Link: http://www.dragonbe.com/2016/01/php-arrays-associative-arrays-or-hash.html

Michelangelo van Dam:
PHP arrays - simple operations
Jan 06, 2016 @ 09:13:29

Michelangelo van Dam continues his series on some of the basics of PHP with another look at arrays (started in this article).

Like all things in life, we need to start with simple things. So, in order to understand what arrays are in PHP, we need to take a look at the PHP manual to read what it is all about. [...] The thing with PHP is that an array is probably one of the most used data structures in web applications build with PHP and used for a wide variety of purposes.

He covers the basics of:

  • storing multiple values in an array and pushing additional values onto the end
  • removing the last item added to the array
  • pulling the first element off of the array

In his next article, he plans on expanding this introduction to arrays by looking at associative arrays.

tagged: array introduction simple tutorial multiple shift pop

Link: http://www.dragonbe.com/2016/01/php-arrays-simple-operations.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Easier Authentication with Guard in Symfony 3
Dec 22, 2015 @ 09:49:03

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted a new tutorial from author Daniel Sipos showing the Symfony framework users out there how to do easier authentication with Guard, a newer component introduced to the framework to take some of the complexity out of the process.

The Symfony2 security system is a complex part of the framework, one that is difficult to understand and work with for many people. It is very powerful and flexible, however not the most straightforward.

[...] With the release of version 2.8 (and the much awaited version 3), a new component was accepted into the Symfony framework: Guard. The purpose of this component is to integrate with the security system and provide a very easy way for creating custom authentications. It exposes a single interface, whose methods take you from the beginning to the end of the authentication chain: logical and all grouped together.

He starts off with the configuration changes you'll need to add/make to use the Guard component, defining an "in memory" admin user type. He shows how to define the firewall to use a Guard form authenticator and update the security configuration with the path matches and related roles. He then gets into the controller side of things, defining a loginAction and a simple username/password form in the matching view. Finally, he updates the services configuration for the authenticator and creates the full FormAuthenticator class to go along with it. He then explains each piece of this puzzle and how it all works together to make the authentication happen.

tagged: authentication guard symfony3 tutorial easy introduction security

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/easier-authentication-with-guard-in-symfony-3/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Feature Toggling Explained with Qandidate’s Toggle
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:49:57

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted a tutorial showing you how to use the Toggle library from Qandidate to handle the enabling and disabling of features in your application.

A frequently used development workflow in version control systems is feature branching. The idea is that we develop new features in branches other than the master one. After a feature is tested and ready to be released, it is merged back into the master branch or a release branch for deployment. This approach helps us develop new features without disturbing the main code base.

However, developing a feature branch might take much longer than a normal release cycle. [...] One of the techniques widely used as an alternative to feature branching is feature toggling. Feature toggles (or feature flippers) act like on/off switches. [...] We can temporarily hide a partially built or risky feature (release toggles) or limit finished stable features to a certain group of users (business toggles).

They introduce the basics of the Toggle library and it's main components: the Manager, Toggles, Operators, Conditions and Context. These are all combined together to help determine if a feature should be enabled or hidden. Examples of each are included along the way as well as one showing a toggle in action. They also show how to integrate it with a framework, in this case a Laravel project as middleware. The post ends with a look at strategies, giving you even more customization around the conditions of the toggle (example: Affirmative, Majority and Unanimous), statues and creating the conditions from either YAML or array configurations.

tagged: feature toggle flag qandidate library tutorial introduction functionality

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/feature-toggling-explained-with-qandidates-toggle/

NetTuts.com:
What Are Laravel Packages?
Dec 11, 2015 @ 11:13:14

On the NetTuts.com site they've published a tutorial that explains Laravel packages - what they are and how you can create your own to seamlessly integrate with this popular framework.

As a PHP developer, you may be interested in working with frameworks. Frameworks attempt to make the process of development easier by simplifying common practices used in the majority of developing web projects such as packages, modules, plug-ins, and even components (CakePHP).

[...] There are two types of packages; some are framework independent (stand-alone) and the others are for a specific framework. This tutorial will exclusively cover Laravel packages.

They start with a look at what these packages are and how they integrate with the framework and your application. They also link to a few of the packages they've found useful in their development including an IDE helper and OAuth wrapper. With this knowledge in place the tutorial then gets into to creating your own packages, installable via Composer and using a Service Provider to set up configuration needs. The post ends with a look at integrating and enabling your package through the application configuration.

tagged: laravel framework package introduction example composer

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/what-are-laravel-packages--cms-25013