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

Joe Fallon:
Immutable Objects in PHP
Aug 27, 2015 @ 11:53:36

Joe Fallon has a post to his site talking about immutable objects in PHP, objects that once the property values are set they cannot change.

When I first learned to program, I made many objects that were mutable. I made lots of getters and lots of setters. I could create objects using a constructor and mutate and morph the heck out of that object in all kinds of ways. Unfortunately, this led to many problems. My code was harder to test, it was harder to reason about, and my classes became chock full of checks to ensure that it was in a consistent state anytime anything changed.

[...] Now, I favor creating immutable objects. The folks over in the functional camp are super excited about this concept. However, it’s been around for quite a while and it has so many benefits.

He talks about how immutable objects make it easier to not only test code but also allow for more rational reasoning about their contents. He points out that they also make it easier to understand the state of an application should an exception arise. He then gets into some examples of immutable objects, creating an ImmutableClass and a ImmutableClassBuilder to help create instances based on values provided.

tagged: immutable object introduction class builder example benefits

Link: http://blog.joefallon.net/2015/08/immutable-objects-in-php/

Ahmad Hajjar:
Mocking Objects for Unit Testing in PHP Using Go! AOP
Aug 18, 2015 @ 11:55:01

In an interesting post to his blog Ahmad Hajjar shows you how to use to Go! PHP AOP framework to help mock objects in your unit tests. The Go! AOP framework provides some of the base functionality for using aspect-oriented programming techniques in your code.

These have been always very important questions in software development industry; what should I test in unit testing? And how can I make tests as small as possible, and how to avoid testing already tested code? or 3rd party libraries? [...] In principle, unit test must fail for one and ONLY ONE reason, this makes sense actually, as it complies with the S in the SOLID object-oriented design principles. [...] We can use mocks in the problem listed above, to make the unit test, real unit test, that is testing only the things that needs to be tested. [...] However, what we are going to do today is something different. OK! Why should we re-invent the wheel? the answer is : because it is simpler wheel ! also it is a wheel that uses different technology which is AOP.

He uses a simple Laravel application and the Go! framework for his testing examples. He uses the AOP functionality from Go! as the mock handling instead of something like PHPUnit's own mocking or Mockery. He shows how to configure the AOP functionality first, then creates a basic aspect class with a few interceptors for method calls. He creates an AopMocker class that adds the class requested to the mock configuration. Finally he improves the initial unit test example using these tools, building mocks for User and Post classes and making the same assertion.

tagged: unittest mock object aop aspectoriented programming goaop framework

Link: https://ashajjar85.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/mocking-objects-for-unit-testing-in-php-using-go-aop/

StarTutorial.com:
PHP Object-Oriented Programming Beginner's Guide
Aug 12, 2015 @ 09:45:14

For those working to move from procedural PHP into a more object-oriented world but may be having some trouble with the transition, the Star Tutorial site has a great beginner OOP in PHP guide you should check out.

They cover all of the basics you'll need to get started with objects in PHP including:

  • classes versus objects
  • visibility
  • inheritance
  • polymorphism
  • interfaces versus abstract classes

Each section is a quick definition and a bit of code to help illustrate the point. This isn't going to be a hand-holding kind of tutorial showing you each step to making an OOP application. Instead, it provides quick, high level summaries of the main OOP concepts to get you on the right road.

tagged: oop object beginner concepts guide tutorial section concepts

Link: http://www.startutorial.com/homes/oo_beginner

Freek Lijten:
Value objects
Jul 16, 2015 @ 10:17:14

Freek Lijten has written up a post looking at value objects, how he feels they're not used enough in modern development and a few practical applications of them in action.

I would like to talk about value objects for a bit. Value objects are very underused, very powerful and general good stuff. They might not change your world but they will change, very subtle, a lot of the code you write. I hope to give the shortest possible introduction to the concept and follow up with a couple of example that make me like value objects so much.

He briefly introduces some of the basics of value objects including one of the main points: their immutability. He gives an example of working with a "10 Euro" object, pointing out that once an operation is performed using it, it becomes a different object not just one with a value changed. He also illustrates with an email address example pointing out that email addresses themselves (not the relation to the user) almost never change. He ends the post with another interesting value object scenario using IDs and making them type hint-able.

tagged: value object

Link: http://www.freeklijten.nl/home/2015/07/16/Value-objects

Julien Pauli:
PHP closures
Jul 10, 2015 @ 10:54:29

Julien Pauli has posted a look at PHP's closures and how they're actually handled internal to the language.

Back in 2009, when PHP 5.3 got released, a new feature (among many others) were introduced : anonymous functions (also called lambdas or closures). The feature was very expected, as closures have proved their utility through several other languages, particularly javascript that web developers master. [...] Let's see together how Closures have been added to PHP, as usual by turning to the truth : the PHP source code.

He starts at the beginning (a good place to start) and talks about the work that needed to be done on the internals before closures could even be introduced. He walks through the changes made to object handling to make them "callable" and the addition of the "zend_closure" object type. He then gets to the part where "the magic happens" and shows how the userland closure is translated and executed. He ends the post with a look at two other topics: scoping with "$this" and the special handling that was needed for reflection and direct calls to "__invoke".

tagged: closure language functionality object callable scope reflection invoke

Link: http://jpauli.github.io/2015/07/08/php-closures.html

Davey Shafik:
Class Constants, How Do They Work? (Or: You Learn Something New Every Day...)
Jul 09, 2015 @ 08:24:43

Davey Shafik has posted a quick article to his site talking about class constants and something new he learned about them (and how it relates to the uniform variable syntax handling in PHP7).

Yesterday on Twitter there was a conversation started by Marco Pivetta regarding a particularly horrible bit of code he had spotted [that] creates a string using sprintf() by prefixing ::PARAMNAME with the result of calling get_class() on the $api variable, and then passes that string into constant() which will give you the value of a constant using it’s string name.

The conversation continued with comments from Elizabeth Smith about why this workaround was needed in the past. Davey also suggests that it won't work as expected if the input is an object and not a string but a test from Trevor Suarez proved that incorrect as well (it does work). He ends the post talking about PHP7 and showing how, thanks to the uniform variable syntax changes, this same kind of handling can be done in many other ways too.

tagged: class constant php7 uniform variable synatx getclass object string

Link: http://daveyshafik.com/archives/69193-class-constants-how-do-they-work-or-you-learn-something-new-every-day.html

Paul Jones:
A Factory Should Create, Not Retain
Jul 08, 2015 @ 08:45:31

Paul Jones has posted his thoughts about factory behavior in PHP applications (well, really any kind of application as it's a pan-language concept). He suggests that factories should only create the objects requested and not persist them.

In a recent Reddit conversation, some of us went off on a tangent about factories. I maintained then, and do now, that a “factory” always-and-only returns a new instance. If you have a “factory” that returns anything other than a new instance, it’s not a factory alone. In the case of factory methods, it is a factory + accessor; in the case of factory objects, it is a factory + registry. A “factory” (whether a factory method or factory object) is one way to separate object creation from object use.

He gives an example of a case where an object needs to be created for a "doSomething" method. His first example shows the creation of the "Item" inline, mixing the creation and use of the object into the same place. He replaces this with a "factory" class/method that only returns the new "Item" requested. He points out that a factory method that retains the object (like as a class property) has the same problem as the first example - retention. Instead he suggests an intermediate "collaborator" that splits out the creation and retention once again.

tagged: factory retain create object method collaborator example

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6161

Paul Jones:
Modernizing Serialized PHP Objects with class_alias()
Jul 01, 2015 @ 09:57:50

Paul Jones has posted an article to his site with another helpful hint to modernize your legacy PHP application. In the post he looks at updating serialized object handling with the help of the class_alias function.

Several weeks ago, a correspondent presented a legacy situation that I’ve never had to deal with. He was working his way through Modernizing Legacy Applications in PHP, and realized the codebase was storing serialized PHP objects in a database. He couldn’t refactor the class names without seriously breaking the application. [...] Before I was able to reply, my correspondent ended up changing the serialization strategy to use JSON, which was a rather large change. It ended up well, but it turns out there is a less intrusive solution: class_alias().

He talks about how this function could be useful to prevent the need for updating the class name in every serialized instance by setting up an alias to the new name. You can even use namespacing in the alias that will let the autoloader work with the PSR-0/PSR-4 handling to correctly load the class. With this in place, you can then refactor to the new version of the class without worry of breakage.

tagged: modernize serialized object classalias namespace psr0 psr4

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6158

Nikita Popov:
Internal value representation in PHP 7 - Part 2
Jun 22, 2015 @ 10:45:41

Nikita Popov has posted the second part of a series looking at how PHP 7 represents values internally. In the first part of the series the focus was on the major change from PHP 5: the zval updates and how they're allocated. This new post gets into more of the details on each of the types and how they're handled.

In the first part of this article, high level changes in the internal value representation between PHP 5 and PHP 7 were discussed. As a reminder, the main difference was that zvals are no longer individually allocated and don’t store a reference count themselves. Simple values like integers or floats can be stored directly in a zval, while complex values are represented using a pointer to a separate structure.

[...] In the following the details of the individual complex types will be discussed and compared to the previous implementation in PHP 5. One of the complex types are references, which were already covered in the previous part. Another type that will not be covered here are resources, because I don’t consider them to be interesting.

He goes through a few of the different types including strings and arrays and then gets into detail on how objects have changed from PHP 5 to PHP7. He also talks about "indirect zvals" (the IS_INDIRECT handling) that points to another zval instance rather than embedding it. Finally, he talks about two other constants, IS_CONSTANT and IN_CONSTANT_AST, and how they're used behind the scenes with some example code to illustrate.

tagged: internal value variable representation php7 zval types string array object constant ast

Link: http://nikic.github.io/2015/06/19/Internal-value-representation-in-PHP-7-part-2.html

Jonathan Wage:
Using the Symfony Expression Language for a Reward Rules Engine
May 28, 2015 @ 10:07:27

Jonathan Wage has a new tutorial on his site showing you how to use the Symfony Expression Language to create simple logic statements. He illustrates with a project they (OpenSky) applied it on - a "reward" rules engine.

We recently adopted the Symfony Expression Language in the rules engine at OpenSky. It has brought a new level of flexibility to our system and creating new logic has never been easier. [...] The expression language allows you to perform expressions that get evaluated with raw PHP code and return a single value. It can be any type of value and is not limited to boolean values.

He starts with a simple example, showing how it can return a boolean based on the results of an evaluation of an array of data. He then takes this up to the next level and use it with a Doctrine object, evaluating the results of methods to apply "rewards" to a user's account. He shows how to define the Doctrine objects with the necessary methods, how to write the rule and a lookup class to find rules that apply to the current situation.

tagged: symfony expression language rules engine tutorial doctrine object

Link: http://jwage.com/post/76799775984/using-the-symfony-expression-language-for-a-reward