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SitePoint Web Blog:
How Do You Work With Other People's Code?
September 26, 2014 @ 10:58:56

The SitePoint Web blog has a recent post from Matthew Setter offering some helpful hints on working with other people's code. In it he shares suggestions ranging from the technical out to a bit more "learning oriented" to get up to speed on concepts and techniques.

Dealing with code created by other people is a fundamental skill for a developer. Give it a year and other people's code could even be your own. Today I'm going to look at some of the best approaches for how to deal with other people's code, read legacy code, effectively. It's not an easy topic to cover.

He's broken it down into a list of several different topics, each with their own descriptions and links to tools or reading resources for more information:

  • Interact
  • Observe
  • Run Tests
  • Fix Bugs designed for Newcomers
  • Find Available Resources
  • Use a Good IDE
  • Read Books & Blogs
  • Contribute to Documentation
  • Be Considerate

He puts some good emphasis on that final point, reminding the reader that it's not just years of experience that make for a better developer, it's more about skill.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/work-peoples-code/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
18 Critical Oversights in Web Development
September 12, 2014 @ 13:09:23

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today sharing what they (well the author, George Fekete) see as the top 18 critical oversights common to web development in recent years. While the examples are in PHP, the principles could apply across multiple other languages.

Over the past years I had the opportunity to work on some interesting projects, complex in nature with an ongoing development, constantly upgrading, refactoring and adding new features to them. This article will cover the biggest coding oversights most PHP developers make, when dealing with medium and large projects. Oversights such as not differentiating between development environments or not implementing caching and backup. [...] The root of these problems lies mainly in developers' knowledge and experience, especially the lack of it.

He's broken them up into three different overall types: design, application and database levels. Included in his list are things like:

  • Developing with error reporting off
  • Not implementing caching
  • Not using automated tests
  • Not differentiating between read / write queries
  • Not using transactions
  • No backup
  • No monitoring

Check out the full post for the rest of the items on the list, all including examples and explanations.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/18-critical-oversights-web-development/

Inviqa techPortal:
My top ten favourite PhpSpec limitations
September 11, 2014 @ 11:15:31

On the Inviqua techPortal today Marcello Duarte lists out his top ten favorite limitations with the PhpSpec testing tool. PhpSpec is a tool where the tests are driven by specifications, focusing on the "how".

PhpSpec is enjoying a growth in popularity lately, probably related to the recent release of 2.0. Lots of people have been playing with it and trying to get to grips with what it can do. Naturally they try to do the same things they would with other testing tools. Soon they find out they can't. "Oh! This PhpSpec has some many limitations… I can't do this… I can't do that…". Ironically, other people make positive comments about the same "limitations". So I decided to publish a list of my top ten favourite limitations of PhpSpec, and why I love them so much.

His limitations list includes things like:

  • I can't test private methods
  • You can't have code coverage
  • I can't use a data provider
  • My tests can't follow a code standard

Check out the full article for more of his list and some code examples ot help clarify each topic.

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Link: http://techportal.inviqa.com/2014/09/11/my-top-ten-favourite-phpspec-limitations/

VitalFlux.com:
Top 10 PHP Code Review Tips
September 10, 2014 @ 11:15:31

On the VitalFlux site there's a recent post sharing a few tips (a Top 10 list) of things to think about when doing code reviews.

This article represents top 10 areas to consider while you are taking up the task to do the code review of a PHP project. The other day, I had a discussion with one of the PHP senior developers who asked me about where to start on the task related with reviewing a PHP web application and, we brainstormed and came up with the list. Interestingly, apart from few, most of them can be pretty much applied to applications written with other programming languages as well.

Their top ten list of things to look for during code reviews extend beyond just the syntax of the code and good coding practices. They also suggest things like:

  • Adherence to Business Functionality
  • Object-Oriented Principles
  • Security
  • Integration Patterns/Protocols

Code reviews, if done effectively and efficiently, can be a major benefit for producing quality code that not only adheres to standards but also follows good practices and principles (like SOLID).

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Link: http://vitalflux.com/top-10-php-code-review-tips/

Pascal Martin:
August 2014 on internals@php
September 10, 2014 @ 09:44:39

Pascal Martin has posted his latest summary of topics and conversations from August on the php.internals mailing list.

I've been quite busy in August (and I've taken some holidays, during which I pretty much had no Internet access, which doesn't help), and I haven't been able to write my digest of internals@ for July 2014 in due time. Instead of writing it now and keeping getting late for August's one, I've chosen to skip my digest of July - and to write August's one, which you can read below.

He summarizes the around 700 messages on the list in August, including a graph showing them broken out over the days of the month. Topics up for discussion in August included:

  • the first Release Candidate of PHP 5.3.29 and the PHP 5.3.29 final release (EOL for 5.3)
  • release plans (bugfixes) for PHP 5.4
  • the release of PHP 5.6 was getting close
  • a thread wondering if they should do one last 5.x version before the release of PHP 7
  • the conversation around the RFC for moving the phpng branch into master,

Check out the full post for the details on each of these and more of the happenings on the internals list during August.

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phpinternals mailing list summary aug2014 201408

Link: http://blog.pascal-martin.fr/post/php-mailing-list-internals-august-2014-en

Geshan Manandhar:
3 Bundles to get started with REST in Symfony 2 and some tips
August 13, 2014 @ 12:18:05

Geshan Manandhar has a recent post that shares three Symfony bundles that can help you out greatly when creating RESTful applications and APIs. Links and a summary of each bundle are provided.

"I found out that you guys just build an amazing mobile app for your e-commerce venture, I heard you are using Symfony 2 for your back-end APIs. How did you make it that fast?" This is not very different that what I was asked some months back. The answer is we use a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) where all back-end service follow the REST architecture to communicate with all the clients. The client can be built in any language as longs a they can do HTTP calls. Lets look at what Symfony 2 bundles you can use to build a similar scalable, fast and cacheable REST APIs.

His suggested bundles (all available to be installed via Composer) are:

The first two help more with the overall API structure and handling while the last (Lexi) is an effective way for handling authentication for the requests to your application.

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Link: http://geshan.blogspot.ae/2014/07/3-bundles-to-get-started-with-rest-in.html

Symfony Blog:
Pre-conference workshops at SymfonyLive New York and SymfonyCon Madrid are online!
August 13, 2014 @ 10:22:55

On the Symfony blog today they've officially announced the workshops that will be happening at this year's SymfonyCon Madrid and Symfony Live New York.

About 3 weeks ago, we launched 2 different polls to ask you what workshops you wanted to attend before SymfonyLive New York and SymfonyCon Madrid. First, we want to thank all the people who participated in the poll, so many of you answered, thank you very much for your time! Thanks to your votes, we were able to know which workshops were really interesting for you.

At Symfony Live New York you'll be able to attend Fabien's "Symfony Best Practices" or "Building RESTful Applications with Symfony" (the top two most requested training sessions). At SymfonyCon Madrid there's even more choices:

  • Building RESTful Applications with Symfony
  • Symfony Best Practices
  • Deploying Symfony Applications
  • Profiling PHP Applications

You can find out more about these two conferences from their main event websites: Symfony Live New York and SymfonyCon Madrid.

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Link: http://symfony.com/blog/pre-conference-workshops-at-symfonylive-new-york-and-symfonycon-madrid-are-online

SitePoint PHP Blog:
7 More Mistakes Commonly Made by PHP Developers
July 25, 2014 @ 11:29:28

Following several other posts with the "common mistakes PHP developers make" theme, Bruno Skvorc has posted his own list of seven things he sees developers doing over and over.

Back at the end of June, TopTal, the freelance marketplace, published a post about 10 Most Common Mistakes PHP Programmers Make. The list wasn't exhaustive, but it was well written and pointed out some very interesting pitfalls one should be wary of - even if I wouldn't personally list the mistakes as very common. I encourage you to give it a thorough read - it has some truly valuable information you should be aware of - especially the first eight points.

His additions to the list of common mistakes includes:

  • Using the mysql extension
  • Not rewriting URLs
  • Assigning in Conditions
  • Being Too Transparent

You can read the full list and summaries of each in the rest of the post.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/7-mistakes-commonly-made-php-developers/

Daniel Cousineau:
PHPRFC Internals Logo
July 23, 2014 @ 09:32:56

As anyone who subscribes to the php.internals mailing list knows, there can be a lot of drama around some of the discussions for the future of the language, both in its features and surrounding technical concerns. Daniel Cousineau has posted a lighter take on some of this drama and is issuing his own "RFC" for a proposed mascot for internals - the DramaLlama.

Branding and PR is an increasingly important factor in programming language viability and adoption. Visible instability in the core team is off-putting to large organizations who depend on long term reliability and support and only encourages them to look to languages and tools with more stable and professional core teams. This RFC proposes that the PHP core team get ahead of the issue and introduce a logo, separate from the public facing project, to provide a sense of professionalism that is lacking. I humbly submit the DramaLlama as the superior candidate.

His proposed mascot, shown here, bears the PHP logo on the side of a cartoon purple llama. As Daniel puts it, the llama is a "proud, capable animal" that can deal with a lot and still stand up under a heavy burden.

By not adopting a logo, the PHP core team risks losing the respect and trust of the end user community. However it could be argued that the core team has survived without this and could do so indefinitely.

The post is practically dripping with sarcasm, but it's a good mood-lightener around some of the drama that can come from the clash of multiple personalities in the PHP internals community.

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rfc internals logo funny llama dramallama mailing list

Link: http://dcousineau.com/blog/2014/07/22/phprfc-internals-logo/

Toptal Blog:
10 Most Common PHP Mistakes
July 17, 2014 @ 12:52:40

On the Toptal blog Ilya Sanosyan has a post sharing what he sees as the top ten most common mistakes PHP developers make on a day to day basis. While most of the tips are code-specific there are one or two that are a bit more abstract.

PHP makes it relatively easy to build a web-based system, which is much of the reason for its popularity. But its ease of use notwithstanding, PHP has evolved into quite a sophisticated language, with many nuances and subtleties that can bite developers, leading to hours of hair-pulling debugging. This article highlights ten of the more common mistakes that PHP developers need to beware of.

Among the items on his list are things like:

  • Leaving dangling array references after foreach loops
  • Confusion about returning by reference vs. by value
  • Memory usage headfakes and inefficiencies
  • Assuming $_POST will always contain your POST data
  • Thinking that PHP supports a character data type

Each of the items comes with a good description, some code and suggestions on how to avoid and/or fix it in your applications.

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Link: http://www.toptal.com/php/10-most-common-mistakes-php-programmers-make


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