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QaFoo Blog:
Basic Refactoring Techniques: Extract Method
Mar 09, 2017 @ 11:24:35

On the QaFoo blog there's a tutorial posted to their blog sharing one of their basic refactoring techniques: the "extract" method:

Refactoring is the process of restructuring code without changing its behaviour and the technique "Extract Method" is one of the most important building blocks of refactoring.

With extract method you move a fragment of code from an existing method into a new method with a name that explains what it is doing. Therefore this technique can be used to reduce complexity and improve readability of code.

In this post I want to explain the mechanics of extract method using an example so that you have a checklist of steps when performing this refactoring. Extract method is a technique that you can use even without tests, because the potential risks of breaking are manageable when you follow the steps.

While things like PHPStorm provide their own "extract" functionality to help with refactoring, they want you to understand the manual steps involved. They start with a sample method that mixes controller logic with low level query logic. They break the process down into a few steps:

  • Identify code fragment to extract
  • Create empty method and copy code
  • Identify undeclared variables that must be arguments
  • Identify variables that are still used in old method
  • Call new method from original method

They also include a "risky" checklist with a few questions to ask about the refactor to see what extra steps might need to be considered.

tagged: refactor extract method technique tutorial

Link: https://qafoo.com/blog/098_extract_method.html

Laravel News:
Laravel Collection “tap” Method
Feb 20, 2017 @ 10:05:55

In this recent post to the Laravel News site Eric Barnes introduces a new method that's included in Laravel 5.4.10: the "tap" method.

Laravel 5.4.10 introduces a new tap method on collections which allow you to “tap” into the collection at a specific point and do something with the results while not affecting the main collection.

He includes an example, showing a sample array of user data and how, after converting it into a collection, he can "tap" into it at any point. He tapping pulls out the name of the current record following a "where" to locate the matching value. The quick post ends with a look at how the "tap" method is different from "pipe". Essentially the difference is that using "pipe" returns a different collection, potentially with modified data while "tap" does not.

tagged: laravel collection tap pipe method introduction

Link: https://laravel-news.com/collection-tap

Matthew Weier O'Phinney:
PSR-7 Request and Method Utilities
Jan 27, 2017 @ 09:52:37

Matthew Weier O'Phinney has written up a new post for his site covering PSR-7 request and method utilities and a package that contains some handy tools to help with just that.

Some time ago, a few folks floated the idea of creating a utility repository related to the PSR-7 psr/http-message package, but containing some useful bits such as constants for HTTP request methods and status codes.

Six months ago, we released it... but didn't publicize it. I remembered that fact today while writing some unit tests that were utilizing the package, and thought I'd finally write it up.

The package is fig/http-message-util, and is available via Composer and Packagist.

He goes on to describe the two interfaces it provides (RequestMethod and StatusCode) and what they're designed to help with. He includes an example of middleware written using these interfaces, defining allowed methods and returning a "method not allowed" status code - based on a constant - in the response message object. He ends the post with two quick points to note in this example: how the interfaces are used and his use of aliases to make using the interfaces just a bit shorter.

tagged: psr7 middleware request method utility package httpmessageutil tutorial

Link: https://mwop.net/blog/2017-01-26-http-message-util.html

Freek Van der Herten:
Making overloaded functions readable
Jan 10, 2017 @ 12:18:19

Freek Van der Herten has a new post to his site sharing some of his ideas around making overloaded functions more readable, functions that can take in variable types of parameters (ex: both a string or an array) and can handle them correctly.

Sometimes you might allow a function to accept multiple data types. I don’t know for certain if it’s the correct term but for the remainder of this post I’m going to call such a function overloaded. In this post I’d like to show you a little trick to make overloaded functions more readable.

He starts off with an illustration from the Laravel framework of a "session" helper method that, in turn, calls "put" and checks for an array versus string input with some interesting logic behind it. He gives another example from a recent pull request where the code could be simplified using the same method as the "put" example, making it much more readable in the end. The post ends with one more example from this package and how the "respond" method was refactored with the same process, simplifying it down to a more readable and less-nested version.

tagged: overloaded method readability refactor loop variable argument

Link: https://murze.be/2017/01/making-overloaded-functions-readable/

Freek Van der Herten:
Method overloading is possible in PHP (sort of)
Oct 21, 2016 @ 09:33:41

Freek Van der Herten has a post to his site showing how PHP functions can (sort of) be overloaded with the help of a trait from Adam Wathan.

PHP does not support method overloading. In case you’ve never heard of method overloading, it means that the language can pick a method based on which parameters you’re using to call it. This is possible in many other programming languages like Java, C++.

However, with some clever coding, Adam Wathan made a trait, aptly called Overloadable, that makes method overloading possible. It works by just accepting any parameters using the splat operator and then determining which of the given functions must be called according to the given parameters.

He shows how to use the trait in a simple example, defining a single "bar" function and using the "Overloadable" trait to handle the switching between the methods based on the input variables. You can find more information about the trait and the source for it in this gist over on GitHub.

tagged: method overload trait custom splat operator variable

Link: https://murze.be/2016/10/method-overloading-possible-php-sort/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Control User Access to Classes and Methods with Rauth
Mar 17, 2016 @ 13:55:22

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted a tutorial from Bruno Skvorc showing you how to use Rauth, a tool that's designed to control access to parts of your application as set by annotations in the code.

Rauth is SitePoint’s access control package for either granting or restricting access to certain classes or methods, mainly by means of annotations.

[...] Traditional access control layers (ACLs) only control routes – you set anything starting with /admin to be only accessible by admins, and so on. This is fine for most cases, but not when: you want to control access on the command line (no routes there) or you want your access layer unchanged even if you change the routes Rauth was developed to address this need. Naturally, it’ll also work really well alongside any other kind of ACL if its features are insufficient.

He starts by dispelling the common thought (at least in most of the PHP community) that annotations are a bad thing and relying on them for functionality isn't a good practice to follow. With that out of the way, he shows a simple example: a set of users and fake routes that are evaluated by Rauth based on the annotations in a One controller-ish class. He describes what the evaluation is doing and how changing the annotations would make a difference in the results. He also includes a dependency injection example with PHP-DI and the Fast-Route package and a more "real world". He ends the post with a look at another handy feature of the library: bans (blocking based on other types of annotations, @auth-ban).

tagged: rauth access control class method annotation tutorial

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/control-user-access-to-classes-and-methods-with-rauth/

Intracto Blog:
Paying Technical Debt - How To Rescue Legacy Code through Refactoring
Mar 17, 2016 @ 09:36:16

On the Intracto blog there's a new article posted from Jeroen Moons with some suggestions you can use to pay down technical debt in your legacy code through a bit of effective refactoring.

I have good news for you! Squirrels plant thousands of new trees every year by simply forgetting where they leave their acorns. Also: your project can be saved.

No matter how awful a muddy legacy code mess your boss has bravely volunteered for you to deal with, there is a way out of the mire. There will be twists and turns along the way, and a monster behind every other tree. But, one step at a time, you will get there.

He gives lost of different suggestions for things that can be done to "save your code" and make it not only easier to maintain but more flexible:

  • Persuading the customer
  • Don't replace [a huge mess] with a new one
  • Make problems visible
  • Fight what hurts most
  • Build a library

There's plenty more great suggestions here too with some thoughts and methods to back them up and help you accomplish them in your own code. If you're suffering through a large legacy codebase from day to day, I highly recommend reading through this article.

tagged: technicaldebt legacy legacycode rescue opinion method refactor

Link: http://marketing.intracto.com/paying-technical-debt-how-to-rescue-legacy-code-through-refactoring

Robert Basic:
Tags for PHP in Vim
Mar 10, 2016 @ 11:32:34

In a post to his site Robert Basic has shared some helpful plugins for PHP developers using Vim as their primary editor. These plugins not only help you jump around in your code but get more context on where you're at.

One thing I was missing for a long time in Vim is to be able to "jump to definition" in an easy and painless way. The other thing I wanted to improve is to be able to tell easily where am I actually in the code base; to see the current class and method name of wherever the cursor was.

With a bit of googling and poking around, I finally came up with a perfect combo of 5 plugins (yep, five!) that enables me to do both, and a little bit of extra.

He shows examples of using three different things he wanted to be able to do when working in his code and the plugins that satisfy each:

One line examples are included showing how to configure them with your current Vim use.

tagged: tags vim plugin jump definition context class method

Link: http://robertbasic.com/blog/tags-for-php-in-vim

Questioning PHPUnit Best Practices
Feb 05, 2016 @ 12:13:04

In this new post to thePHP.cc blog Sebastian Bergmann (creator of the PHPUnit unit testing tool) questions of some the current "best practices" involved in using the tool. More specifically he looks at the handling for expected exceptions and proposes a new practice to use going forward.

It is important to keep in mind that best practices for a tool such as PHPUnit are not set in stone. They rather evolve over time and have to be adapted to changes in PHP, for instance. Recently I was involved in a discussion that questioned the current best practice for testing exceptions. That discussion resulted in changes in PHPUnit 5.2 that I would like to explain in this article.

He talks about the currently widely used practice of the @expectedException annotation to define when an exception should be thrown from the code inside the unit test. Sebastian talks about the evolution of this into other annotations around the code and message returned from the exception too. He then proposes the new best practice as a result of some discussion around the annotation method: returning to the use of the setExpectedException method. He provides some reasoning behind the switch including the timing of the exception being thrown (not just "any time" but a more specific time).

tagged: phpunit bestpractice expected exception annotation method expectedexception

Link: https://thephp.cc/news/2016/02/questioning-phpunit-best-practices

Anna Filina:
Testing Methods That Make Static Calls
Jan 13, 2016 @ 09:03:40

Anna Filina has posted a quick hint around testing methods that make static methods calls to other parts of your application. Static method calls are notoriously difficult to test, especially with PHPUnit.

I had trouble testing a particularly painful codebase. It had static calls and implicit dependencies all over the place, to name just a few problems.

One of the things that it often did was to call static methods that would increment counters in the database and cache stuff. Example: Record::incrementViews() It was making things difficult. To avoid messing with the original codebase too much, I came up with this quick and dirty way to ignore those dependencies.

Her solution makes use of a mockStaticDependency method that then turns around and redefines the class in question (like her "Record" above) with a __callStatic through an eval. She points out that usually using eval is "evil" but in this case it made testing the functionality much simpler when no feedback was needed from the static method. In the comments on the post, someone also makes a recommendation of the Patchwork library for PHP that allows for "monkey patching" and modifying classes/functionality to redefine functions and methods in a similar way.

tagged: unittest method static call monkeypatch eval callstatic example

Link: http://afilina.com/testing-methods-that-make-static-calls/