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PHP Town Hall:
Episode 23 VirtPHP - Managing Your Herd of ElePHPants
April 10, 2014 @ 13:37:50

The PHP Town Hall podcast has released their latest episode, Episode #23 - "VirtPHP - Managing Your Herd of ElePHPants" with special guests Jacques Woodcock and Jordan Kasper to talk about a tool they've created to help create isolated PHP environments, VirtPHP.

virtPHP is a tool for managing multiple environments on your development machine. It is similar to Python's virtualenv or Ruby's rbenv, but for PHP.

You can catch this episode in a few different ways: either just the audio through the in-page player or by downloading the mp3 or you can watch the video of the live Google Hangout recording.

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phptownhall ep23 virtphp environment management

Link: http://phptownhall.com/blog/2014/04/09/virtphp-managing-your-herd-of-php-versions/

ServerGrove Blog:
Composer 101
March 21, 2014 @ 12:14:12

You might have heard about Composer but aren't quite sure what all the fuss is about it. In this new tutorial on the ServerGrove blog, they introduce you to it, help you get it installed and show how it can help you make dependency management simpler.

Composer is a tool for dependency management in PHP. It allows us to declare the libraries (packages from now on) on which our project depends on and downloads them for us. With many high quality packages available to us, the are redefining they way we are building PHP software. You can browse through the wide variety of packages at the composer main repository packagist.org. Composer is a simple tool to use and this tutorial will go over the installation and usage basics.

They walk you through the installation (or either *nix or Windows) and help you get started with your first "composer.json" configuration file. They talk about "composer.lock" and the role it plays and how Composer uses is (and the json version) to pull in dependencies for your libraries of choice. The article also briefly covers the "composer" command and the options it provides.

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composer dependency management package introduction

Link: http://blog.servergrove.com/2014/03/19/composer-tutorial/

NetTuts.com:
Building a Customer Management App Using AngularJS and Laravel (Part 1)
January 13, 2014 @ 10:37:33

On NetTuts.com today they've posted a new tutorial showing you how to combine two powerful (and popular) technologies to make a customer management application - Laravel and AngularJs. This is the first part of a series and focuses on the backend work in Laravel.

When creating a single-page app we should use some kind of framework to do some of the job for us, so we can focus on the actual functionality. AngularJS fits here perfectly, because features like dynamic dependency injection and bi-directional data binding are just great. Sometimes we also require some kind of server. If you've chosen PHP then Laravel may be your best option, as it's easy to work with and pretty powerful.

They assume that you'll already have an instance of Laravel all set up and that you'll have access to a MySQL server for a database. Other than that, they provide all of the code you'll need to get the server side up and running. The application stories simple data about customers and transactions and walks you through making models and controllers for each.

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angularjs laravel series part1 customer management tutorial

Link: http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/php/building-a-customer-management-app-using-angularjs-and-laravel/

Ben Ramsey:
The Fall of PEAR and the Rise of Composer
November 27, 2013 @ 09:17:35

Ben Ramsey has an interesting post to his site today looking at what he calls the Fall of PEAR and the rise of Composer when it comes to package management in the PHP community.

PEAR's biggest selling-point -the curation of packages by a governed community - was also its biggest problem. There was no choice, and things moved slowly. If a package stagnated in development, I couldn't find another actively supported one to solve the same need. In theory, the maintenance of the package could be taken over by someone else, but this didn't always happen, and contributing patches was not clear or easy.

Ben talks about how, despite the PEAR development's best efforts, the proposed new package manager (Pyrus and PEAR2) couldn't keep up. Then, from a discussion had at a conference, the idea of a standards group was formed, the PHP-FIG, and the first standard soon followed, PSR-0 for autoloading. With this in hand and becoming widely adopted, a new tool was created to make it easier to share and install packages with this new standard - Composer.

Composer is what PEAR should have been. Through Packagist, Composer is the democratization of PHP userland libraries. Many libraries in the repository implement similar functionality, but through a show of popularity, the community self-selects the packages that are of the best quality. [...] In just a few short years, Composer has revitalized the PHP community and changed the way we do development.
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fall pear rise composer psr0 phpfig package management

Link: http://benramsey.com/blog/2013/11/the-fall-of-pear-and-the-rise-of-composer/

Rob Allen:
Investigating Apigility
October 10, 2013 @ 09:48:05

A few days ago at this year's ZendCon PHP conference Zend introduced Apgility, a frontend that makes creating REST APIs with Zend Framework v2 as simple as pointing and clicking. Rob Allen has taken a more in depth look at the tool and has posted his findings to his site.

At ZendCon 2013, Zend announced Apigility which is intended to ease the creation of APIs. It consists of these things: a set of ZF2 modules that do the heavy lifting of creating an API, an application wrapper for creating standalone web API applications, a built-in administration website for use in development to define the API. Rather nicely, it supports REST and RPC and deal with error handling, versioning & content negotiation for you.

He uses his usual demo application (based on this repository) and shows how to get the software installed and running on the built-in (PHP 5.4+) web server with Composer. He walks you through the things you'll need to update in the application to fit it in with the Apigility structure, but they're pretty minimal. Once you fire up the server you'll be dropped into the main Apigility admin interface. From there he shows you how to set up a custom "album" endpoint and testing it with a simple cURL call.

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apigility rest api management build tool zend zendframework2

Link: http://akrabat.com/zend-framework-2/investigating-apigility/

Erika Heidi Reinaldo:
Productivity and The Pomodoro Technique
October 09, 2013 @ 09:26:24

While not specifically relating to PHP, Erika Heidi's latest post talks about a technique that could help you be more productive in the coding work you do - focusing in on your "time problems" and possibly using the Pomodoro technique to help correct them.

This is a quite famous quotation that is being repeated through the years. "Time is money" is a very contrived way to say that if you lose time, you might be losing money. I personally don't like this quote; lets refactor it to something that better reflects reality: "Productivity is Money" sounds way more realistic. [...] What we really need is to figure out a way to better use the time we have. How do we maximize our productivity?

She breaks it up into four things that can help identify these "time problems":

  • Diagnosing your time problems
  • Managing your Focus
  • Self-sabotage by the scumbag brain
  • The Pomodoro Technique

In this last section she introduces the technique (and tool - the tomato timer) and how it works. She points out the places where the process is flexible and how, especially if you're deep in code, getting to the point of taking a timed break (and sticking with it) can help give perspective.

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pomodoro development time management practice

Link: http://www.erikaheidi.com/2013/10/08/productivity-pomodoro-technique/

Liip Blog:
Updating old Symfony2 CMF projects
September 17, 2013 @ 10:36:09

If you're a user of the Symfony CMF (content management framework) and want to keep up with the latest release, they've just posted the RC1 version for public consumption. If you have a current installation and want to upgrade, though, there's some things you'll need to do. That's where this new post on the Liip blog comes in.

Now it is time now to upgrade older installations to the latest and greatest. I decided to keep a record of what i had to do and write it down for others to follow the steps. There are notes in the CHANGELOG.md files of each CMF bundle, but a common blogpost is more convenient. The whole update took me a bit less than a day of work. Now that we are in release candidate state with the project, further upgrades should need no more changes, or only small ones.

There's a few things that have to be manually updated including:

  • Doctrine & Default model classes
  • Images
  • Publish Workflow
  • Dependency injection
  • Sonata

Check out the full post for the complete instructions (and commands) to bring you up to date.

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symfony2 cmf content management framework update version

Link: http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2013/09/17/updating-old-symfony2-cmf-projects.html

Snipe.net:
Failing Well Managing Risk in Web Applications
August 02, 2013 @ 09:27:38

In this new post Snipe looks at something that we, as web developers, don't seem to think about too much when designing our applications and architectures - risk (and how to manage it).

When I talk about risk as it relates to web applications, people usually assume I'm talking about hardening applications from hackers, spammers and other ne'er-do-wells. While malicious attacks are absolutely a non-trivial part of risk management, there's a lot more to it that's just as important.

She introduces some of the basic concepts behind risk management, specifically as it relates to web applications. She points out that it's not always an external threat you'll need to worry about either. Sometimes its your own development group that introduces bugs or something that makes the system come to a crashing halt. She recommends starting all projects "risk first" and include it into your planning process. She shows how to create a "risk matrix" to get insight into the problem and the data that should be on it.

Finally, she reminds you of a few good rules (including "keep your systems simple") and that analyzing risk doesn't have to be a boring process. Figuring out where things will break, how to break them and what happens when they do can be an interesting process.

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application risk management mitigation introduction

Link: http://www.snipe.net/2013/08/failing-well-managing-risk-in-web-applications

7PHP.com:
A Chat With Adminer - A Simple, Yet Effective, Database Management tool written in PHP
May 13, 2013 @ 09:12:36

On 7PHP.com today there's a new interview with Jakub Vrana about his tool Adminser, a lightweight alternative to things like phpMyAdmin for database management.

Adminer, formerly known as phpMinAdmin, is a full-featured database management tool to be used as a more simple, effective and fast alternative to the famous PHPmyAdmin. Being curious about it, I had a chat with the creator of Adminer, Jakub Vrana.

They talk about the problem the tool tries to solve and where the idea to make it came from. There's also a bit about why to use it over something like phpMyAdmin and what the current status/future plans for it are. If you want to read an interview with Jakub about his work and experiences, you can check out this post.

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adminer interview jakobvrana database management tool

Link: http://7php.com/adminer-interview

PHPMaster.com:
Scrum - An Agile Project's Best Friend
April 12, 2013 @ 09:26:24

PHPMaster.com has posted a bit less of a technical article than usual and shares some of the concepts behind scrum, the project management style that's currently quite popular with development groups.

In an earlier article I wrote, we took a general look at project management and discussed what some of its pitfalls are that should be avoided. As part of that, I mentioned that you should, as much as possible, be using an Agile methodology, particularly Scrum, to manage development. I'd like to follow that up with a look at Scrum and at how we can use it to tame our projects.

He talks about the typical "waterfall" technique of project development - requirements up front and cross your fingers for the rest. He compares this to the agile process and how scrum, in particular, helps keep things from falling apart. He then gets in to "how to scrum" by defining some of the key terms and talking about things like:

  • Holding smaller meetings
  • Limiting scope and time frame
  • Looking for feedback
  • Constant reworking remaining time

...all at the same time, multiple times during the life of the project. Agile focuses on quick changes and updates because the project is constantly getting feedback from those asking for the product, giving them (hopefully) exactly what they want.

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scrum agile project management introduction

Link: http://phpmaster.com/scrum-an-agile-projects-best-friend


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