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Ewan Valentine:
Designing Domain Specific Language
Sep 25, 2015 @ 11:56:54

In a post to his site Ewan Valentine looks at some considerations to think about when creating a domain specific language in your applications. This kind of language helps define common terms, conventions and practices for developers to follow in their code.

When you spin up a framework such as Laravel, Symfony etc. The first thing you'll notice, is that they have their own 'feel'. I often joke that Symfony2 is like Java and Laravel is like Ruby.

But what gives an application or a framework a 'feel'? Domain specific language or 'DSL'. Domain specific language is almost like a syntax or a language specific to your application and ecosystem. DSL is what makes your applications code unique and more usable.

He gives a specific example of a Laravel application he was creating and how he wanted the interface to function, transforming the result of a find() into a JSON response. He shows how it could actually be done but that introduces more maintenance and more code to cover. Instead he worked backwards into the domain context the request was operating in and found an ideal injection point for transformation that would keep it out of the controller action itself.

So, to design usable domain specific syntax, start at the front. In other words the part you'll be writing the most, and then work backwards to abstract the logic and make it actually work.
tagged: domain specific language design laravel injection transform json

Link: http://ewanvalentine.io/designing-domain-specific-language/

Rob Allen:
Improved error handling in Slim 3 RC1
Sep 08, 2015 @ 12:23:52

Rob Allen has a quick post to his site talking about some of the improved error handling that's been updated in the latest version of the Slim microframework to help make reporting issues easier in multiple contexts.

From RC1 of Slim 3, we have improved our error handling. We've always had error handling for HTML so that when an exception occurs, you get a nice error page [...] However, if you're writing an API that sends and expects JSON, then it still sends back HTML. [...] At least we set the right Content-Type and status code! However, this isn't really good enough. We should send back JSON if the client has asked for JSON. Until RC1, the only way to do this was to register your own error handler.

With Slim 3 the framework handles things more correctly based on the value of the "Accept" header sent along with the request. This value is checked and, if it references JSON or XML, the error message is translated either giving the default output or reporting back for the "notFound" and "notAllowed" error types.

tagged: slimframework slim3 error handling context html json xml accept header

Link: http://akrabat.com/improved-error-handling-in-slim-3/

Davey Shafik:
GuzzleHTTP VCR
Aug 24, 2015 @ 10:54:54

Davey Shafik has published a post about library he's created that's a sort of "recorder" for connections made with the Guzzle HTTP client - the Guzzle VCR.

A few days ago I pushed out a very small library to help with testing APIs using Guzzle: dshafik/guzzlehttp-vcr. [...] This is a simple middleware that records a request’s response the first time it’s made in a test, and then replays it in response to requests in subsequent runs.

The handler works by recording the responses from the API (ex: the JSON response data) and records them to files (again, JSON). A one-line call turns the "recording" on and points to a directory where the cached files should be stored. He shows how to use it in the constructor of your Guzzle client, setting it up as the "handler" for the requests. He also includes an example of a few unit tests that make use of the recording feature to check the response of a /test endpoint.

tagged: guzzle http client vcr recording response json cache handler

Link: http://daveyshafik.com/archives/69384-guzzlehttp-vcr.html

ServerGrove Blog:
Linters for PHP projects
Jun 03, 2015 @ 12:34:53

In a new post to the ServerGrove blog they look at linting tools for various circumstances including standard PHP, Twig templates and Composer configuration.

Today’s projects are built up from dozens of different components, configuration files, third-party libraries, tests, build scripts, etc. And even if you have the greatest test suite, bad things can happen sometimes. It’s important to catch bugs as early as possible, and syntax validators can be a great (and easy) addition to your continuous integration system. You would be surprised at how many problems are caused by syntax errors. At ServerGrove, we see these kind of problems with our clients almost every day.

Their list shows you how to lint (syntax check) several different types of content:

  • standard PHP code
  • Twig templates
  • Composer configuration
  • XML files
  • Bash scripts
  • JSON files
  • YAML files

Some of them use tools that already come built-in (like PHP's "-l" or Twig's "twig:lint") but others require the use of external software such as xmllint or melody. Command examples are also included for each.

tagged: lint project types twig bash composer xml json yaml tools

Link: http://blog.servergrove.com/2015/06/02/linters-php-projects/

Phil Sturgeon:
The Importance of Serializing API Output
Jun 01, 2015 @ 09:50:16

Phil Sturgeon as a new post to his site today talking about the importance of serialized API output and why it's important to think about what to share and how they're shared.

One section that seems to get a lot of feedback and questions is when I talk about serialization, which I refer to as “adding a presentation layer to your data”. [...] To PHP developers, they often consider serialization to be using the serialize() function. Yes, this is one form of serialization, but it’s not the only one. Another common serialization approach is of course to use the json_encode() function. [...] Excuse the drastically simplified chunk of code here, but the point is we’re taking a model (probably using an ORM) and returning the result directly. This seems fairly innocent, but leads to a range of problems.

He suggests that, when thinking about the data coming out of your API, you have to assume that every possible value could be shared if models are output directly. He gives the example of user passwords which, obviously, don't need to be shared at all. He includes an example of formatting the output with the Fractal library and why using something like that is important. He covers some of the topics to think about including attribute data types, renaming fields to make them more clear, the ability to pull from multiple data stores and the ability to version serializers. He ends the post with links to a few different serialization formats and some solutions (not just PHP ones) that can be used for the sort of handling he recommends.

tagged: serialize api output json fractal datatype json tutorial versioning

Link: https://philsturgeon.uk/api/2015/05/30/serializing-api-output/

Phil Sturgeon:
The Importance of Serializing API Output
Jun 01, 2015 @ 09:50:16

Phil Sturgeon as a new post to his site today talking about the importance of serialized API output and why it's important to think about what to share and how they're shared.

One section that seems to get a lot of feedback and questions is when I talk about serialization, which I refer to as “adding a presentation layer to your data”. [...] To PHP developers, they often consider serialization to be using the serialize() function. Yes, this is one form of serialization, but it’s not the only one. Another common serialization approach is of course to use the json_encode() function. [...] Excuse the drastically simplified chunk of code here, but the point is we’re taking a model (probably using an ORM) and returning the result directly. This seems fairly innocent, but leads to a range of problems.

He suggests that, when thinking about the data coming out of your API, you have to assume that every possible value could be shared if models are output directly. He gives the example of user passwords which, obviously, don't need to be shared at all. He includes an example of formatting the output with the Fractal library and why using something like that is important. He covers some of the topics to think about including attribute data types, renaming fields to make them more clear, the ability to pull from multiple data stores and the ability to version serializers. He ends the post with links to a few different serialization formats and some solutions (not just PHP ones) that can be used for the sort of handling he recommends.

tagged: serialize api output json fractal datatype json tutorial versioning

Link: https://philsturgeon.uk/api/2015/05/30/serializing-api-output/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Integrate Elasticsearch with Silex
Apr 13, 2015 @ 08:38:55

The SitePoint PHP blog has continued their look at integrating Elasticsearch into a simple Silex-based PHP application. In this latest part of the series (part two) they move away from the full Drupal example in part one and go a bit more simple and create a basic site to show a node's detail (content and title).

In the previous article I started exploring the integration between Drupal 7 and the Elasticsearch engine. The goal was to see how we can combine these open source technologies to achieve a high performance application that uses the best of both worlds. [...] We’ll now create a small Silex application that reads data straight from Elasticsearch and returns it to the user.

Using Silex and the same Elasticsearch PHP SDK they create this simple site. The tutorial walks you through the installation of both tools, the configuration of the Elasticsearch client and creating the controllers to respond to the view requests. They also show how to use the Twig templating engine to render the results as a simple page containing the node title, any images attached to it and the body content. The tutorial ends with a brief mention of how this same data could also be rendered as JSON output with a different view handler.

tagged: silex tutorial elasticsearch simple twig template json node drupal

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/integrate-elasticsearch-silex/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Using Github Webhooks with PHP
Apr 08, 2015 @ 10:16:21

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial posted from Younes Rafie continuing their series about using the GitHub API from PHP. In this second part of the series he shows how to integrate the GitHub Webhooks with your applications.

In the first part of our series, we talked about the Github API and built a demo in the process. In this part we are going to explore the Webhooks API, and we will build a demo to showcase the API usage.

The demo application they set up gets a push request from the GitHub API and save the resulting data to a local database. They use Laravel 5 to build the application but it could easily be in any other framework (or just plain PHP). They're also deploying to Heroku, but again, you can use your own service. The article then shows you how to go and register a webhook in the repository on the GitHub site and create the "hooks" table to store the event name and contents of the request. He makes use of a JSON output route and the ChartsJs library to render a simple bar graph of the contributors to the repository based on the number of commits they've made.

tagged: tutorial series part2 github webhooks api laravel5 chartsjs json

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/using-github-webhooks-php/

AWS Development Blog:
DynamoDB JSON and Array Marshaling for PHP
Feb 04, 2015 @ 10:51:30

In the latest post to the AWS PHP Development blog Jeremy Lindblom looks at a new feature of their PHP SDK that allows for more flexibility (and easier handling) when using DynamoDB for document storage in storing more complex data.

Back in October of 2014, Amazon DynamoDB added support for new data types, including the map (M) and list (L) types. These new types, along with some API updates, make it possible to store more complex, multilevel data, and use DynamoDB for document storage.

He talks about a new class thats been added to help work with the DynamoDB storage, the DynamoDb Marshaler (in version >= 2.2.7) that handles the push and pull of the JSON document data directly from the storage, reducing the need to perform the operation manually. He includes code examples of its use and JSON examples of what results are returned on a get request. He also shows how to use it with a native PHP array, translating it with help from the Marshaler and the "marshalItem" method.

tagged: aws development sdk amazon dynamodb json storage marshaler

Link: http://blogs.aws.amazon.com/php/post/Tx3QE1CEXG8QG1Z/DynamoDB-JSON-and-Array-Marshaling-for-PHP

Rob Allen:
Validating JSON with ZF2's ZendValidator
Dec 09, 2014 @ 10:42:40

Rob Allen has a quick post today showing how to use the ZendValidator component from Zend Framework 2 to handle JSON validation.

Let's say that you have an admin form where the user can enter JSON and you'd like to validate that the JSON parses before allowing the user to submit. To do this, you can use the rather excellent jsonlint project by Jordi Boggiano. Obviously, add it via Compser.

He starts with a quick example of using the "JsonParser" in isolation to validate a JSON string. Then he integrates it into the framework as a custom validator class (extending the AbstractValidator) and enabling the "isValid" call to be made and return a pass/fail result. You can find out more about the ZendValidator component in this page of the Zend Framework manual.

tagged: zendframework2 json validate jslint custom validator

Link: http://akrabat.com/zend-framework-2/validating-json-with-zf2s-zendvalidator/