Looking for more information on how to do PHP the right way? Check out PHP: The Right Way

Larry Garfield:
Composer vs. Linux Distributions: A Mental Model Battle
Feb 25, 2016 @ 11:41:11

In his latest post Larry Garfield talks about the Composer problem that was recently brought up by the Gentoo linux project and is related to how Composer packages and system-level shared libraries differ.

This is not a new complaint; Other distributions have complained about Composer's impact before. But fundamentally I think the issue stems from having the wrong mental model of how modern PHP works when viewed from a distribution or sysadmin perspective.

In a recent heated GitHub thread, several people referred to PHP "linking" to 3rd party libraries, as if they were shared C libraries. That is simply not the case. Neither "static linking" nor "dynamic linking" really applies to PHP. From a sysadmin perspective, PHP is closer to highly complicated bash scripts than anything else.

Larry starts with a bit of history on the subject, pointing out the two methods most developers used PHP code: copy/pasted from the web or installed via PEAR. He talks about the common issues with both approaches. He then talks about how modern PHP development and Composer related and how, from a sysadmin perspective, Composer is the "compile" step of PHP and only supports static links. He also makes some suggestions to the distribution packagers around how to handle these system-level Composer dependencies (and how to treat it like a "binary" if needed).

The mistake here is trying to treat dependent packages of modern PHP applications like shared libraries. They're not. The community has spoken, and PHP simply doesn't work that way anymore. Fighting that is a losing battle. But by viewing composer as a compiler, distributions can still slot PHP into their typical workflows and get all of the security update ease that they're looking for.
tagged: composer linux distribution mental model shared library system dependency gentoo

Link: http://www.garfieldtech.com/blog/composer-distribution-mental-model

Loosely Coupled Podcast:
Episode 15: Mental Health in the Tech Industry
Dec 08, 2014 @ 12:12:30

In the latest episode of the Loosely Coupled podcast, Episode #15: Mental Health in the Tech Industry, hosts Jeff Carouth and Matt Frost talk about mental health issues, their own personal experiences with it and some of the work that's being done to help and address it in the industry.

In this episode, Jeff and Matt discuss mental health, a very important and very personal topic. There is a lot of great work being done right now in our industry to bring awareness to issues of mental health including > prompt by EngineYard, Open Sourcing Mental Illness by Ed Finkler, and #HackTheStigma, among others. This discussion talks about our thoughts on the topic in general as well as gets into personal experiences.

You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page player or by downloading the mp3 directly. If you enjoy the show, be sure to subscribe to their feed to get the latest shows as they're released.

tagged: looselycoupled podcast ep15 mental health tech industry

Link: http://looselycoupled.info/blog/2014/12/05/episode-15-mental-health-in-the-tech-industry/

Community News:
php[tek] Announces Mental Health Summit
Feb 13, 2014 @ 12:37:22

As a part of their continuous contributions back to the PHP community, php[architect] (the people behind the php[tek] conference) are hosting a special event one evening during this year's conference. The >Mental Health Summit is a joint effort between them and the work Engine Yard has done in the same area.

We are excited today to announce that, in conjunction with Engine Yard’s Prompt initiative we are going to be hosting a mental health summit at php[tek] 2014. Similar to the Mentorship Summit that we hosted last year, this will be an evening event we will be hosting for conference attendees featuring four speakers taking about 15 minutes each to speak together on a central topic. We will provide dinner just before and during the summit, and an open social time afterwards so that the conversation can continue.

The speakers at the summit are Ed Finkler, Greg Baugues, Ben Marks and Paddy Foran. Each will present some of their own experiences and thoughts around mental health, especially when it comes to development communities.

Mental health concerns are serious issues that affect a large percentage of the population and includes our community. It’s important that we become aware of the issues that are faced, to bring light to the problems that plague so many, and to perhaps even help those near us who are suffering quietly. Whether they realize it yet or not.
tagged: tek14 conference mental health summit

Link: http://tek.phparch.com/mental-health-summit

Rafael Dohms' Blog:
Problem Solving technique #1: Taking a mental break
Feb 07, 2011 @ 12:08:44

Rafael Dohms has posted a new tip for developers (and really anyone else that has to concentrate on mentally challenging tasks all day) that could sometime help you break through that wall you've hit in your code - take a mental break.

Developers are modern day artists whose masterpieces are not hung on walls but stretched out thin on web servers all over the world, yes that is very poetic, but I really try to look at developers as artists and puzzle solvers. [...] A different activity, to most its the simple act of going to get coffee or water, taking a stroll outside in the fresh air, some like sports, some like games.. everyone has their escape valve.

He gives an example of a friend (Chester) who, when he hit a mark he just couldn't pass, turned to a set of lego blocks to help clear his mind. The subconscious mind kicks in as you preoccupy the conscious and a lot of times the answer floats up to he top with little or no effort.

tagged: problem solving technique mental break developer

Link:

techPortal:
Debugging Development
Mar 16, 2009 @ 09:33:38

On the techPortal site Ian Barber has posted a new article looking at debugging - not just in the usual technical sense, but also in the environmental and thought process problems that can come up.

Programming, as much as it is about machines, is conducted by humans, and is as susceptible to human error as any process. These bugs can be frustrating, particularly when found by a client, but they can give an insight into underlying problems, and sometime suggest solutions – or at least ways of catching errors early. This article looks at four different classes of bugs: mechanical, mental, social and environmental, their causes, and some preventative steps.

He has the article broken up into his four categories - mechanical errors, mental errors, social errors and environmental errors. Each section contains a few things that can help thwart those sorts of problems including tools like PHPUnit for unit testing, PHPDoc for documenting your source and things more on the environmental/social side like seige for load testing or a Sun VirtualBox to test multiple environments.

tagged: debug development mechanical mental social error environmental

Link: