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Rudi Theunissen:
Efficient data structures for PHP 7
Feb 09, 2016 @ 10:49:37

In this recent article over on Medium.com Rudi Theunissen looks at more efficient data structures for PHP 7 and the introduction of a library that wants to help replace some of the current functionality and dependencies on things like arrays.

PHP has one data structure to rule them all. The array is a complex, flexible, master-of-none, hybrid data structure, combining the behaviour of a list and a linked map. But we use it for everything, because PHP is pragmatic.

[...] The recent release of PHP 7 caused a lot of excitement in the PHP community. We couldn't wait to start using the new features and get a taste of the ~2x performance boost. One of the reasons why it runs that much faster is because the array was redesigned. But it’s still the same structure, “optimised for everything; optimised for nothing” with room for improvement.

He starts with a brief mention of some of the current topics around data structures - the SPL functionality, why fixing them would be difficult and, finally, introducing the library that seeks to supersede them. The remainder of the post goes through the pieces of functionality the library offers and explains how each works including videos and graphs of the performance results:

  • Collection
  • Sequence
  • Vector
  • Deque
  • Stack
  • Queue and PriorityQueue
  • Hashable
  • Map
  • Set

He also answers some of the most common questions he's gotten about the library including the level of testing, documentation for the project and why he structured certain elements and features how he did.

tagged: data structure php7 library ds spl optimized video code

Link: https://medium.com/@rtheunissen/efficient-data-structures-for-php-7-9dda7af674cd#.xg74fpxwg

Alfred Nutile:
Feature Flags In Laravel
Jan 26, 2016 @ 09:45:02

In a post to his site Alfred Nutile has posted a guide to integrating feature flags (toggles) into your Laravel-based application to show and hide features based on different criteria. He makes use of the Atriedes/feature library to handle some of the logic and decisions for him.

We are working on using FeatureFlags or Toggles in our applications. For one we are aiming to do all our work on mainline branch at all times so this would be a key coding discipline to use FeatureFlags so we can hide a feature in progress knowing it will not interfere with the application.

[...] One key thing, as I use this in Laravel, is I will try and mix this with the existing Authorization workflow that is already present. This gives me some already prepared ways to think about this both at the view layer, model layer and controller layer and where to register these states.

He shows how to get the "feature" library installed and integrates it with the Laravel application via two service providers: one for the core flag handling and the other for defining the policies themselves. He includes the code for each of these providers and makes some simple "can see" and "can add" policies for a Twitter field. He also shows the code for the evaluation methods and how to make use of the functionality in a menu (template). He also includes a screencast showing how it all works in a live application.

tagged: featureflag toggle tutorial laravel atriedes library screencast feature

Link: https://alfrednutile.info/posts/175

Laravel News:
WordPress and Laravel
Jan 19, 2016 @ 11:33:11

The Laravel News site has a post sharing some of the tools you can use to connect your Laravel and WordPress applications directly and, potentially, allow for reading and writing between them.

WordPress is one of the most popular open source applications and that means many people are comfortable using its admin to manage their site. There are times when building out a site this is advantageous as it prevents you from having to retrain the user on how to manage content, menus, photos, and more. A popular way of setting up a site like this is to use WordPress as the admin and then build out the frontend in a framework such as Laravel.

For each package they include a brief description of what it has to offer and a code sample of it in use:

They also include links to a few other tutorials showing how to make the integration, some with their own (somewhat simpler) tools to bridge the gap.

tagged: laravel wordpress interoperability library tutorial

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2016/01/wordpress-and-laravel/

Lakion Blog:
TDD your API with Symfony and PHPUnit
Dec 31, 2015 @ 09:16:52

On the Lakion blog there's a post showing you how to use a simple test class/tool they've created to unit test your APIs with PHPUnit.

At Lakion we truly believe in TDD approach. We are convinced that rapid development can not be achieved without proper testing and SOLID code. We always start with defining our needs and writing scenarios, specifications or tests that reflect them. Thanks to this approach, we get exactly what we need and tests are protecting us from regressions. [...] We have come up with a very simple but useful PHPUnit test case for testing APIs. - ApiTestCase.

They start with a bit about the ApiTestCase library and some background on why they created it and some of the features it provides (and other libraries it includes). They then show an example of a simple project using the testing tool to make a request to an endpoint (POST) and check the response matches what's expected. According to the TDD approach, the test fails first then they go back and create the functionality behind to to make it all work.

tagged: tdd phpunit api testing unittest integration apitestcase library tool

Link: http://lakion.com/blog/tdd-your-api-with-symfony-and-phpunit

What is the difference between a framework and a library?
Dec 30, 2015 @ 11:34:10

On Reddit.com's /r/php subreddit there's a discussion that's started up around this video that proposes some of the differences between a framework and a library.

Many people have asked me this question before. It's sometimes hard to get a straight answer, but if we remove all of moot details, use cases, and focus simply on the architectural design details the difference becomes quite clear. This video attempts to explain this difference in a relatively simple and straight-forward manner.

The conversation doesn't just talk about PHP frameworks specifically. There's also some mention of things like jQuery from other programming communities. There's plenty of suggested definitions in the conversation but most revolve around two ideas: that the library is a "tool" to use when needed and the framework is the structure of the application (hence "framework") that "uses you".

tagged: framework library difference video youtube discussion

Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/3yei0q/what_is_the_difference_between_a_framework_and_a/

Paul Jones:
Atlas: a persistence-model data mapper
Dec 30, 2015 @ 09:48:50

Paul Jones has a new post to his site about a library he's worked up to provide "persistence-model data mapper" functionality for you to use in your PHP applications in accessing your database.

Atlas is a data mapper implementation for your persistence model (not your domain model).

As such, Atlas uses the term "record" to indicate that its objects are not domain entities. Note that an Atlas record is a passive record, not an active record; it is disconnected from the database. Use Atlas records indirectly to populate your domain entities, or directly for simple data source interactions.

The library is mostly an experiment on his part to create a tool that allows switching from the Active Record pattern to Data Mapper pattern for accessing your database without much hassle. The README on the library shows some of the basic usage of the tool, including the usual CRUD (create, read, write, execute) functionality.

tagged: atlas persistence model datamapper activerecord designpattern database library

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6210

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/

Davey Shafik:
PHP 7 ext/mysql Shim
Dec 07, 2015 @ 11:10:24

With the release of PHP 7 comes a major shift in how your programs may interact with databases - the removal of the mysql extension (in favor of mysqli or PDO). Depending on how your application is written, this can cause all sorts of headaches. Davey Shafik has offered a temporary solution in a post to his site today, a mysql shim library that can be used to mimic the older mysql functions until you can upgrade your application.

To help ease the transition from 5.6 to 7.0 I have created a simple package that acts as a shim between the newly removed ext/mysql and ext/mysqli. I was a little hesitant to even publish this as I don’t want to encourage the continued use of potentially insecure code, however, I want people to upgrade to 7.0 and don’t want this to be the blocker.

It does require 5.6 (though it would be possible to lower that) — however I suspect that most people who are upgrading to 7.0 are either coming from 5.6 or have the native ext/mysql. The primary reason for support 5.6 is to be able to compare the test suite results against native ext/mysql.

The library can be easily installed via Composer and, while useful in its current form, still has some work yet to be done on it to bring it up to fully compatible. If you'd like to help on the effort and make life a little easier for those upgrading to PHP 7 on older code, head over to the repository and think about contributing.

tagged: mysql extension php7 shim library backport upgrade

Link: https://daveyshafik.com/archives/69726-php-7-extmysql-shim.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Filling out PDF Forms with PDFtk and PHP
Dec 03, 2015 @ 12:35:08

On the SitePoint PHP blog they've posted a tutorial from Reza Lavaryan showing how to fill out PDF forms with PDFtk and a bit of PHP on the side. PDFtk is a toolkit that provides easier handling for PDF files and content.

PDF files are one of the most common ways of sharing documents online. Whether we need to pass our clients’ documents to third-party service providers like banks or insurance companies, or just to send a CV to an employer, using a PDF document is frequently the first option.

PDF files can transfer plain/formatted text, images, hyperlinks, and even fillable forms. In this tutorial, we’re going to see how we can fill out PDF forms using PHP and a great PDF manipulation tool called PDFtk Server.

They walk you through the installation of the pdftk tool on a Homestead (Improved) virtual machine and give an overview of how it works and what makes up a PDF file. He then shows how to use PHP's exec function to make calls to the pdftk command line tool and fill in a form by editing the raw PDF content. To make it even easier he shows how to create a simple wrapper class around this that takes in the data to populate, the PDF to use and spits back out the download of the new PDF. The post ends with a quick example of extracting the current fields from the PDF, getting back more human readable output.

tagged: pdf form pdftk tutorial library populate data

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/filling-pdf-forms-pdftk-php/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Sourcehunt PHP: Contribute to Crypto, Validation, Payments…
Nov 19, 2015 @ 11:17:54

The SitePoint PHP blog has published the first edition of their "Sourcehunt" effort, sharing several PHP libraries to promote them and give them wider exposure to the community at large. In this post they talk about tools covering a wide range of functionality including cryptography, validation, user agent parsing and "humanizing" strings.

Last month, we introduced a new effort called Sourcehunt – a category of post intended to direct attention to less popular open source projects that show promise and need exposure. We’ve called for new submissions and accumulated an impressive list.

Included in their list for this edition are tools like:

...and many more. A summary of the features, code and output examples are provided for most of the tools mentioned and the number of GitHub stars at the time of the posting is listed next to each library name.

tagged: sourcehunt sitepoint library tool spotlight example summary

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/sourcehunt-php-contribute-to-crypto-validation-payments/