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Tony Marston:
Please do not break our language
January 15, 2015 @ 09:40:25

Tony Marston has posted a plea to the core developers of the PHP language when it comes to some of the changes happening with constructors in classes: "please do not break our language."

This post is addressed to PHP's core developers who are proposing to break our beloved language yet again in the next major version of PHP (version 7) by removing functionality which has worked perfectly for years simply because it does not fit in with their ideas of how it should be done today. I am talking about PHP RFC: Remove PHP 4 Constructors (and this post on php.internals) which proposes that all code with PHP 4 style constructors be made invalid in favour of the "correct" method which was introduced in PHP 5. This is despite the fact that both types of constructor have lived quite happily side by side for over a decade and that large volumes of code, including PEAR libraries, were written in the PHP 4 style.

He suggests that this kind of change would require quite a bit of code to be changed, causing headaches for a large audience out there using older PHP code. He then gets into some of his opinions and thoughts about who "owns" PHP - is it the core development team working on the language itself, the community that uses the language (or a combination of both)? He proposes two definitions of "improvement" in respect to the needs of developers using the language and core developers. He suggests that the core developers are changing the language "just because they can" and that breaking backwards compatibility with something like this is a big mistake.

He then shares some of the comments from the php.internals mailing list on the subject of the constructor change, both for and against. He also points out a few other places where backwards compatibility was broken and the resulting changes that had to be made by developers. He suggests a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of approach

If there is a choice between a lazy or incompetent core developer doing only half a job and leaving the 240 million members of the greater PHP community to clear up his mess, then it should be obvious to anyone who has more than two brain cells to rub together that it is the core developer who needs to put in the extra effort so that the greater PHP community does not have to.
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Link: http://www.tonymarston.net/php-mysql/please-do-not-break-our-language.html

HHVM Blog:
Wikipedia on HHVM
January 07, 2015 @ 11:47:20

In a new post to the HHVM blog, Brett Simmers looks at the recent announcement from Wikipedia and how they made the switch to HHVM and the impact it made.

If you've been watching our GitHub wiki, following us on Twitter, or reading the wikitech-l mailing list, you've probably known for a while that Wikipedia has been transitioning to HHVM. This has been a long process involving lots of work from many different people, and as of a few weeks ago, all non-cached API and web traffic is being served by HHVM. This blog post from the Wikimedia Foundation contains some details about the switch, as does their page about HHVM.

Brett spends the rest of the post talking about his time working with the Wikimedia foundation and some of the hurdles they had to tackle along the way. This included things outside of PHP too like an issue with their Lua extension and compile changes in the installed PCRE version (no JIT). He also shares some of the statistics (in graph form) of the results of the move to HHVM from normal PHP5 - an impressive drop of around 7 seconds, median save time. He also includes a graph showing the server loads and the resulting (very impressive) drop from the move.

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Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/7205/wikipedia-on-hhvm

Halls of Valhalla:
From PHP 5 to 7
September 22, 2014 @ 10:56:32

On the "Halls of Valhalla" site there's a new post the tries to explain the jump from PHP5 to PHP7 and what all that means for the language (and community around it).

Since around 2005 we've heard talk about PHP 6 development. There have even been books sold about it. But where is it? As of July of this year it was decided that there won't be one and that PHP will skip directly to version 7. Why is it skipping to the next major version, and what ever happened with PHP 6? And if we're already jumping to PHP 7, what kinds of features will it have?

They start with a "brief history" of PHP since its inception back in the mid 1990s and follow its evolution at a high level through the years. Then comes the topic of PHP6 and the work that was already being put towards it and integrated Unicode support. It talks about some of the difficulties of this conversion and the delays that ended up happening. Instead, it was decided that things would stay in the PHP 5.x series and 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5 have been created since. The jump to PHP7 came from this vote with several different reasons influencing the decision.

The post finishes with a look at some of the new things that will be coming in PHP7 including major performance improvements, abstract syntax tree functionality and asynchronous programming, allowing for the execution of parallel tasks in the same request.

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Link: http://halls-of-valhalla.org/beta/news/from-php-5-to-7,146/

Engine Yard Blog:
Celebrating 10 Years of PHP 5.0.0
July 16, 2014 @ 11:56:24

On the Engine Yard blog Davey Shafik has a new post celebrating ten years of PHP 5 as of July 13th, 2014:

Ten years ago yesterday on July 13th 2004, PHP 5.0.0 was unleashed onto the world. Bringing with it the Zend Engine 2, effectively a brand new PHP. [...] The truth is that until PHP 5, PHP was a mostly procedural language, while it supported classes and objects, they were a bolt-on feature. This history is still visible in the majority of its default feature set even today - including some of its newest additions like the new password hashing API.

He talks about the evolution of PHP even since version 5.0.0 and how other technologies, like Ruby on Rails, has influenced the language and its developers towards greater things. He shares his answers to a few questions including:

    What is the most significant change to PHP in the last 10 years?
  • What's the biggest change in the community in the last 10 years?
  • What's the most pressing issue for PHP?
  • What would you like to see in the next major version?

He also includes an infographic of the timeline that lead up to the PHP 5.0.0 release and the advancements since then. There's even a look at the "Future of PHP" with some emerging technologies and what might lie in store for "PHP 6" (whatever that may end up being).

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Link: https://blog.engineyard.com/2014/php-5-10th-anniversary

PHPBuilder.com:
Implementing User Defined Interfaces in PHP 5
August 16, 2012 @ 08:35:53

On PHPBuilder.com today there's a new tutorial that talks about creating interfaces in PHP and how to use them to effectively structure your application.

Starting with PHP 5 the object model was rewritten to add features and bring PHP in line with languages such as Java and Visual Basic .NET. In this article I'll discuss interfaces, which is among the most important features in PHP 5. Other important features include abstract and final classes, methods and additional magic methods. You will learn how to define your own interfaces and how to work with them using different object model mechanisms.

The introduce you to some of the basic concepts behind using interfaces and how to create a basic one - a simple definition of a string class with one method, "getString". They then show how to extend a different example (a RandomNumber interface) and add on an additional method. He also shows how to extend multiple interfaces and integrate functionality from multiple sources, overloading and overrides.

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HowToForge.com:
Installing Cherokee With PHP5 And MySQL Support On Ubuntu 11.04
August 17, 2011 @ 13:46:09

On the HowToForge.com site there's a new tutorial stepping you through the process of getting Cherokee+PHP+MySQL working on an Ubuntu linux installation.

Cherokee is a very fast, flexible and easy to configure Web Server. It supports the widespread technologies nowadays: FastCGI, SCGI, PHP, CGI, TLS and SSL encrypted connections, virtual hosts, authentication, on the fly encoding, load balancing, Apache compatible log files, and much more. This tutorial shows how you can install Cherokee on an Ubuntu 11.04 server with PHP5 support (through FastCGI) and MySQL support.

The tutorial makes use of the package manager (apt-get) to install the needed software, so don't look for complete compiling information from this process. They include a bit of the configuration of the Cherokee installation and how you enable PHP support via its interface. Screenshots of the Cherokee interface are included to help make it easier to follow along.

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TechZinger Blog:
Fat-Free Framework for PHP
February 10, 2011 @ 13:43:39

On the TechZinger blog today there's a new post looking at the Fat-Free PHP framework and some of their opinions on it and the features it offers.

Even though I am pretty proud of my efforts, late last year I stumbled onto a framework that really caught my attention, the PHP Fat-Free Framework. It has the elements of simplicity I feel really allow a developer to push out code quickly. It's very well thought out and feels very tornado-like in it's design style.

He found the Fat-Free Framework to be a "breath of fresh air" in his development and how it uses things like namespacing and OOP handling for rendering and routing. He notes that it feels similar to the tornado framework in its handling and that the included ORM is useful enough for most needs.

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PHPEverywhere:
Moving to PHP 5.3
January 06, 2011 @ 11:57:13

On PHPEverywhere John Lim has posted some of his experiences in his migration up from PHP 5.2 to version 5.3 for his site, including code issues and how he upgraded.

Now that PHP 5.2 is at the end of life, we are starting to migrate to PHP 5.3.

Things he mentions are:

  • The deprecation of session_register
  • The change of creating a new object by reference
  • Other deprecated functions listed here
  • His commands to upgrade his Zend Server instance from 5.2 to 5.3
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Query7.com:
Book Review PHP5 CMS Framework Development
December 27, 2010 @ 11:14:42

New from Query7.com today there's a book review of a release from Packt Publishing titled "PHP5 CMS Framework Development" covering the creation of a custom CMS system from the ground up.

PHP5 CMS Framework Development is a 322 page book that covers all aspects of creating a full featured content management system (CMS) in PHP5. The author Martin Brampton has a history of developing extensions for the Mambo and Joomla CMS projects. He became lead developer of the CMS Mambo before starting his own CMS, Aliro. The book is split up into 14 chapters. The first is an introduction to CMS and PHP5 concepts and the remaining 13 each look at a key feature of the CMS.

The review covers the contents of the book in a bit more depth, talking about a few chapters specifically and how they felt it was overall a "great learning experience". He mentions a few negatives about the book, however - the code examples are all pulled from an existing CMS (Aliro), the conventions used in them and the heavy use of singletons. He still recommends it if you're looking to write your own CMS, though. It still provides some good insight into the methods and pieces that make them up.

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PHP.net:
PHP versions 5.2.15 and 5.3.4 Released!
December 10, 2010 @ 11:17:11

Yesterday saw the release of the two latest versions of PHP in both the 5.2.x and 5.3.x series - 5.2.15 and 5.3.4. Here's a bit from each release announcement.

For 5.2.15:

The PHP development team would like to announce the immediate availability of PHP 5.2.15. This release marks the end of support for PHP 5.2. All users of PHP 5.2 are encouraged to upgrade to PHP 5.3. This release focuses on improving the security and stability of the PHP 5.2.x branch with a small number, of predominately security fixes.

For 5.3.4:

The PHP development team is proud to announce the immediate release of PHP 5.3.4. This is a maintenance release in the 5.3 series, which includes a large number of bug fixes.

For full details you can the the Changelogs for each release - 5.3.4 and 5.2.15. As always, you can download these latest versions from the main PHP site or your favorite local mirror.

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