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Michelle Sanver:
We can all learn from the Drupal community
Mar 02, 2017 @ 09:17:51

Michelle Sanver has written up a qucik post on the Liip blog sharing a few things she thinks we can all learn from the Drupal community.

I started hearing about Drupal 8 back in 2014, how this CMS would start using Symfony components, an idea I as a PHP and Symfony developer found very cool.

That is when I got involved with Drupal, not the CMS, but the community.

I got invited to my first DrupalCon back in 2015. That was the biggest conference I have ever been to, thousands of people were there. When I entered the conference building I saw several things, one of them was that the code of conduct was very visible and printed. I also got a t-shirt that fit me really well – A rarity at most tech conferences I go to. The gender and racial diversity also seemed fairly high, I immediately felt comfortable and like I belonged – Super cool first impression.

She goes on to talk about more of her experiences at the conference, both in how it was run and about her fellow attendees. She ultimately shares the main message of the post:

[...] Embrace our differences, and each other, and accept that we do different things and we are different people and it doesn’t matter because that is what makes community work, that is what makes us awesome. Diversity matters, Drupal got this.
tagged: drupal community opinion learn experience conference

Link: https://blog.liip.ch/archive/2017/03/01/can-learn-drupal-community.html

Matthew Weier O'Phinney:
Benefits of multiple repositories (Zend Framework)
Apr 26, 2016 @ 12:09:34

Matthew Weier O'Phinney, of Zend and the Zend Framework project, has put together a Storify stream of tweets he posted about some of the benefits of having multiple repositories in a project.

I've seen a number of critiques and write-ups recently about how monolithic repositories are intrinsically better for developing large projects than using a multi-repository approach. In the past year, we went the other direction, splitting our monolithic repository into individual component repositories, each with their own history, tests, and documentation. This is a summary of our experience.

He goes through a list of six different things they learned as a part of splitting up the (Zend) framework into multiple repositories instead of one monolithic one. He includes the contents of each Tweet and a paragraph or two giving it a bit more context and some examples of the changes that were involved. There's also a bit in there about changes they made to the documentation for the project as a result of these repository splits.

I'm quite happy with the switch from a monolithic repository to individual component repositories. I think our code quality is improving dramatically as a result, and I'm excited about the future of these various code bases.
tagged: multiple repository storify twitter zendframework learn process

Link: https://storify.com/mwop/zf-components

Laravel News:
Learn Laravel 5 with Easy Laravel
Feb 06, 2015 @ 11:19:38

The Laravel News site has a new post today about a book (from Jason Gilmore) wanting to help you learn everything you need to know about Laravel 5 - Easy Laravel 5.

Easy Laravel is a new book by W. Jason Gilmore, focusing entirely on the brand new Laravel 5. Easy Laravel features 8 chapters and over 200 pages to help you learn Laravel 5 quickly by building a real world project. Jason has spent the last 15 years using PHP, during this time he’s written seven PHP books. Including the bestseller, “Beginning PHP and MySQL, Fourth Edition”, that has been in print more than 10 years. He has a gift of explaining things clearly in a very nice style.

The post also includes some Q&A with Jason asking about why he chose to write a book on Laravel, what was the most enjoyable part of the process and what his favorite new feature is. The remainder of the post walks you through the chapters of the book and introduces you to some of the content with a brief summary of each.

tagged: laravelnews laravel easy book learn wjasongilmore interview

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2015/02/learn-laravel-5-easy-laravel/

Ben Ramsey:
Learning a New Codebase
Sep 18, 2014 @ 09:38:51

In a new post to his site Ben Ramsey shares a few suggestions around things to ask and do to learn a new codebase (whether that means in a new job or coming into a new open source project).

A few days ago, my friend Ed Finkler started a new job. Earlier this week, he posted on Twitter: "First days humble us all." Having begun a new job myself, I shared Ed’s sentiment. Last weekend, while at the Madison PHP Conference, we were discussing what developers can do during the interview process to get an idea of the kind of codebase a company has.

He includes a few questions for developers to ask, either during the interview or once hired, about the codebase itself including:

  • what coding standards the company follows
  • how much of the code is covered by tests
  • have the company’s deployment process described

He also recommends learning the codebase by diving in and either writing tests for untested areas or work through bug reports and fix (then test) them.

tagged: learn new codebase tips questions bugfix unittest

Link: http://benramsey.com/blog/2014/09/learning-a-new-codebase/

Which is a better way to learn PHP?
Sep 09, 2014 @ 15:54:59

In the /r/PHP community on Reddit there's a discussion going on about the best way to learn PHP. The op wonders:

Now a days there are numerous PHP Framework popping out and being fully supported, just to put it straight. Should i jump on one of those like CI, etc. and forget about doing a native code? I'm a new in PHP and now i'm confused which to choose.

There's lots of good answers to the questions with people leaning both ways. Suggestions include:

  • "The answer is that you should do both raw php programming as well as get familiar with frameworks. This might sound like a copout, but it's really not."
  • "I would agree with the others that it's best to learn the basics of PHP first. Understand PHP and its various constructs, particularly if you're a new programmer."
  • "PHP frameworks ARE PHP. [...] Regardless, frameworks are generally pretty advanced PHP, and may be hard to get into without a good grounding in PHP generally, and OOP specifically."
  • "Learn PHP. You might be able to make a site if all you do is focus on a particular framework, but by focusing on learning to use the language itself you'll be able to switch from one framework to another. "
  • "If you don't have at least some understanding of the basics, learning a framework to start off it a bit of overkill and may or may not actually help you much. I think it's hard to appreciate what a good framework does for you if you don't have a fair understanding of how things are often done without one."

Have some thoughts of your own? Check out the full post and share them!

tagged: learn language framework oop opinion

Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/2frwdy/which_is_a_better_way_to_learn_php/

Jani Hartikainen:
In order to become a better developer, you must first become a teacher
Aug 18, 2014 @ 10:35:28

In his latest post Jani Hartikainen makes a recommendation for those wanting to become better developers: first become a teacher. He suggests that communication is the second most important skill a developer can have.

What is the most important skill for a developer besides actually writing code? Communication. What do you typically do when you communicate as a developer with someone else? You explain problems, you describe solutions, you talk to non-programmers about what you’re doing. You could also say that you’re teaching others about what you’re doing. [...] Being a good communicator is often completely overlooked.

He looks at why it's important for a developer to have good communication skills and what it means to "communicate well" with fellow developers. He suggests that real teaching can start when developers understand the domain and code they're working with. He also talks about the flip side of things, the importance of listening to other developers and those trying to help. Listening well means understanding the question and being open to different ideas, even if they contradict your own.

As with all aspects of programming, the best way to improve communication and your ability to reason about code on a higher level is practice.
tagged: better developer teacher listening learn mentor

Link: http://codeutopia.net/blog/2014/08/18/in-order-to-become-a-better-developer-you-must-first-become-a-teacher/

Brandon Savage:
Frameworks DO matter.
May 26, 2014 @ 10:51:15

In his latest post Brandon Savage follows up his previous post (about learning the language first) that points out that frameworks are important/useful but they shouldn't be the focus.

In writing about how the framework you learn doesn’t matter, I hoped to advance a position that articulated the fact that among the many frameworks, picking the right one is less important than getting a solid grasp on the underlying language. In fact, frameworks have tremendous advantages to them. They take care of a great deal of things for us, things that most applications need and nobody wants to write every time they need it. Frameworks are tremendously helpful.

He points out that learning a framework first and depending on it for common functions limits your skills and hinders you from the power of the language (PHP) itself. He suggests that it's not a "language or framework" debate, but more of a "language then framework" perspective.

tagged: framework importance language learn education

Link: http://www.brandonsavage.net/frameworks-do-matter

Brandon Savage:
The framework you learn doesn’t really matter
May 20, 2014 @ 09:21:50

In this new post to his site Brandon Savage suggests that you don't learn any particular framework - learn PHP first, then move up from there.

Towards the end of my talk at phpDay in Verona, I was asked by two developers which framework I thought they should learn: Symfony or Laravel. I understand the pressure that developers feel like they’re under to learn a framework, and to somewhat “predict the future” by figuring out what is likely to be popular in PHP for the next few years. But my answer to them wasn’t what they expected. I told them that if they were new to PHP, that they should focus on learning PHP.

He notes that while frameworks can make it easier to get up and running more quickly, they can also make "tribes" if there's not a solid foundation in the language first. If the developer knows the language first, they can move into any framework and with limited effort pick it up and run with it. PHP frameworks come and go, and learning just one can limit you future when its popularity fades.

tagged: framework learn language opinion basics

Link: http://www.brandonsavage.net/the-framework-you-learn-doesnt-really-matter

Why PHP should be the first language you learn
Feb 13, 2014 @ 10:43:46

On the KillerPHP.com site there's a new post from Stefan Mischook where he suggests that PHP is the first language you should learn if you're new to development.

Anyone who reads my stuff knows that if I am anything, I am practical. So when it comes to learning (and teaching) programming to someone new to the whole programming game, for several pragmatic reasons, I think PHP by far is the best language to begin with. Here are some of the reasons: it is easy to learn, it is the most popular web scripting language and it is fast to program with.

He shares these thoughts and a few more in a short video (or here on YouTube).

tagged: first language video opinion programming learn

Link: http://www.killerphp.com/articles/why-php-should-be-the-first-language-you-learn

Learn OOD - to unlearn it again
Feb 11, 2014 @ 12:52:10

In this latest post to the QaFoo blog Tobias Schlitt recommends learning proper object-oriented design first before trying to worry about the interactions between the objects.

One topic we regularly teach in workshops for our customers is object oriented design (ODD), i.e. the art of crafting classes/interfaces in a way that the result is an easy-to-understand, maintainable and flexible code base. With the agile focus on shipping working software, some might consider the skill of OOD less important. One popular argument is that quick reaction to change is more important than designing objects and their interaction carefully. I personally look at it the exact other way around. This blog post summarizes why you need to learn OOD first, in order to avoid it to some degree again.

He's broken up the rest of the post into a few different topics reinforcing this idea:

  • Learning OOD the classical way
  • OOD in fast pace and agile
  • Refactoring is the key
  • Learning OOD to unlearn it

Finally, he makes the recommendation that all developers should learn about effective refactoring and automated testing to help create well-structured OOP applications.

tagged: learn ood oop objectorienteddesign design object learn

Link: http://qafoo.com/blog/064_learn_ood_to_unlearn_it.html