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SitePoint PHP Blog:
PHP and WMI - Dig deep into Windows with PHP
December 24, 2013 @ 12:30:25

On the SitePoint PHP blog they've posted a new tutorial that "digs deep" into PHP on Windows with WMI, the Windows Management Instrumentation functionality - a web-based architecture information gathering system.

There are many devices (servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, etc) running a Windows operating system. Many of us who live in the nix based world have to work in this OS, or if we don't, we will, sooner or later. Besides the regular tools we can expect from a *nix system (say Apache, PHP, MySQL, C/C++ compilers, etc), Windows offers a set of unique features not present in any other OS, and WMI is one of them. In this article, we will address the questions like: What is WMI? How to use WMI with PHP? We will have some minimal sample codes to go through the basic programming techniques.

He starts off the post briefly explaining what WMI is and what kinds of problems it solves. He shows you how to check if it's installed (it probably is on most recent Windows machines) and that it's enabled. He also shows how to configure the firewall to allow WMI connections and the library you'll need to get the PHP support functional (php_com_dotnet.dll). He then gets into what kind of information you can get from WMI including local hardware information, BIOS details and memory usage. Some simple code is included using the COM functionality to connect to the server and run a query.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/php-wmi-dig-deep-windows-php

SitePoint PHP Blog:
New PHP Editor
October 02, 2013 @ 09:42:08

The SitePoint PHP blog has a post today announcing a new editor for the content of their site - Bruno Skvorc (replacing Timothy Boronczyk who helped build up PHPMaster.com from the start).

September 30th marked the stepping down of Timothy Boronczyk, Phpmaster's long time editor. He leaves behind a legacy of awesome: countless high quality articles, a fantastic and well formed writers pool, and a reputation one cannot easily catch up with.

[...] I realized PHP's true potential for rapid application development [after working on a Zend application], and branched out on my own. The following several years consisted entirely of experimentation, failures and endless StackOverflow trips. Finally, I applied to write an article for PHPMaster in July 2012. This was my first commercial article. I continued to write for Sitepoint and other platforms, but always strived to deliver my best work here - on the very site that gave me so many excellent tutorials which made me who I was. More than a year later, I was asked to step in for Tim as the new PHP editor, and I couldn't be more humbled and honored.

He lists out a few items on his "todo" list including improving the rebranding SitePoint's done away from PHPMaster.com back to the SitePoint site and the improved quality of upcoming articles. He also includes the ways you can get involved in the site - everything from just suggesting topics out to writing actual articles.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/new-php-editor/

Brandon Savage:
Best PHP Blogs To Follow
February 19, 2013 @ 11:51:17

Brandon Savage has posted a list of blogs he suggests following for those interested in the PHP community including (disclaimer) PHPDeveloper.org itself.

A lot of people, especially when starting out in PHP, ask me "what blogs should I read?" There are a lot of great PHP blogs (you can see a nearly complete list of them at Planet PHP) but there are a few that I read on a regular basis and I feel are important.

His list includes PHP community members like Matthew Weier O'Phinney, Chris Hartjes, Anthony Ferrara and the PHPMaster.com site from SitePoint. Check out the full list for more great blogs.

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7PHP.com:
Interview With Timothy Boronczyk The Managing Editor of PHPmaster.com
January 21, 2013 @ 12:56:37

7PHP.com has posted their latest interview with a member of the PHP community. This time it's with Timothy Boronczyk, the editor of the popular PHP tutorial/article site PHPMaster.com.

In this edition I talked with Timothy Boronczyk who is the Managing Editor of the famous PHPmaster.com - which is a network (venture?) of the eminent SitePoint (an online media company). @zaemis is also the co-author of the book "Beginning PHP 6, Apache, MySQL 6 Web Development".

They talk about some of the usual stuff like:

  • how he got started with PHP
  • what kind of tools and development platform he prefers
  • his recommendations to developers just getting started
  • people in the PHP community he admires
  • what framework he would recommend

Check out the full interview for his answers to these and more.

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SitePoint.com:
SitePoint Podcast #159 PHP Master with Tim Boronczyk
April 23, 2012 @ 13:43:27

On SitePoint.com today there's a new podcast posted, an interview with Tim Boronczyk, the managing editor of their PHPMaster tutorial site.

Episode 159 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week our regular interview host Louis Simoneau (@rssaddict) interviews Tim Boronczyk (@zaemis), the Managing Editor of phpmaster.com about the new features in PHP5.4, PHP's strengths and weaknesses, and the DIY approach of the PHP community.

You can listen to this latest episode either via the in-page player, by downloading the mp3 directory or subscribing to their feed.

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PHPWomen.org:
Book review PHP Master
January 10, 2012 @ 08:19:03

On the PHPWomen blog today there's a new book review of SitePoint's latest major PHP publication - "PHP Master" (by Lorna Mitchell, Davey Shafik and Matthew Turland).

At 357 pages (375 including index), this book provides a thorough grounding in the key topics todays PHP developer should strive to know, and know well. The back cover ambitiously states that the book is "guaranteed to take your PHP skills to the next level". Keep reading to find out whether or not I agree.

She walks you through the contents of the book, noting that, despite her being an experienced developer, there were still things that she found new.

Despite the stated demographic, I think this book has a lot to offer novice developers. It would be a real challenge to properly digest and understand the wide range of topics covered, but an achievable and worthwhile one nonetheless. [...] If you're still undecided, my advice is buy the book - you won't regret it.
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SitePoint Blog:
Book Release - "PHP Master Write Cutting-Edge PHP Code"
October 21, 2011 @ 09:58:25

As is mentioned in this new post to the SitePoint blogs, a new book has been released (by SitePoint press, naturally) about "writing cutting-edge PHP code" by a few well known authors in the PHP community - Lorna Mitchell, Davey Shafik and Matthew Turland.

Savvy PHP web developers can now keep ahead of the game and ensure that their PHP code is safe, secure, and well-structured for the future with the latest release from SitePoint: "PHP Master: Write Cutting-edge Code" by Lorna Mitchell, Davey Shafik, and Matthew Turland.

The book covers a wide range of topics (somewhat replacing SitePoint's usual "anthology" type of book) including:

  • An introduction to OOP
  • Working with databases
  • Creating and working with APIs
  • Design patterns
  • Security
  • Automated testing

As part of a special offer, you can pick up your print+ebook bundle for the price of just the book, about $40 USD. If you'd like a sample before purchasing, they've posted three sample chapters.

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Community News:
SitePoint Launches PHPMaster.com
September 15, 2011 @ 10:16:52

The crew over at SitePoint have introduced a new PHP-specific resource that's looking to provide a good resource for those looking for community info and tutorials - PHPMaster.com.

PHPMaster is the latest and greatest in the SitePoint family, dedicated to bringing you the highest quality in tutorials from some of the web's best PHP Developers, as well as news and information on events in the PHP Community.

Tutorials posted so far include:

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Juozas Kaziukenas' Blog:
How to use external libraries in PHP?
May 23, 2009 @ 20:26:09

As a part of his work for the WinPHP Challenge Juozas Kaziukenas looks at some of the external library types that you can use with your (Windows) PHP applications.

External libraries are useful for performance demanding tasks where PHP is simply too slow. Also PHP can work as front-end system for various back-end systems (where server doesn't provide any PHP supported communication types). I have written some posts about using .Net libraries in PHP so far, but there are some other choices available too.

He looks at the three types of library choices - PHP extensions, exec call. For what he wants to do, though, the COM objects are the best fit for the job.

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An Phillips' Blog:
COM/.NET Interop in Zero PHP
January 29, 2009 @ 15:03:25

Ant Phillips looks a bit at some interoperability between the PHP and Project Zero when to comes to using the COM/.NET extension.

Zero doesn't currently support the COM/.NET extension in PHP. No matter though, there is a handy open source project called JACOB that bridges between Java and COM/.NET. In fact, there is an easier way to do this using a Groovy library called Scriptom. This is really just a friendly wrapper around JACOB to provide a better syntax for calling methods and accessing properties.

He also includes a quick introduction and howto on getting the functionality up and working in a Windows environment - download, add the JAR to your path, edit your php.ini and copy and paste some example code in to see it in action.

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Developer Tutorials Blog:
Extracting text from Word Documents via PHP and COM
March 26, 2008 @ 12:02:06

In a recent blog post Akash Mehta showed how to reach into a Microsoft document (a Word file) and pull out the content inside via a PHP script.

Communicating via COM in PHP is easy as ever; especially for people coming from a VB background where executing complex tasks in MS-applications is a piece of cake, you will feel right at home in PHP. In fact, VB COM calls can be converted to PHP COM calls in just a few simple search and replaces.

He shows how to use the COM extension in a (Windows) PHP installation to access the text inside the document and manipulate the contents however you'd like (even writing them back out to another Word file).

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Milw0rm.com:
Exploit - PHP5 COM Object Security Bypass (Windows)
October 23, 2007 @ 09:31:00

An exploit for PHP's COM objects on the 5.x series has been reported by shinnai - an issue that allows for a bypass of safe_mode and disable_function settings.

The exploit has been published as a PHP file for easy testing on your Windows/PHP installation (it was tested on WinXP Pro SP2 on both the CLI and Apache). No additional modules are needed for this exploit - only the COM functions and a Windows system.

The issue comes from an overflow in the str_repeat function allowing for the execution of whatever applications the developer wants on the remote Windows machine (including the ability to create and remove files and directories). There is no path for this issue currently (should be corrected in the next minor PHP release).

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JSLabs Blog:
How to create Microsoft Office Documents with PHP
July 02, 2007 @ 12:02:00

From the JSLabs blog today, there's a quick illustration of how to dynamically create three different types of Microsoft Office files - a Word document, Powerpoint and an Excel file.

There are two main ways to build Excel, Word, and PowerPoint documents using PHP. The first is by using the COM library (only if you are using a Windows server) and the other is by using a more standardized approach such as HTML or CSV.

All three examples use the COM method and make basic structures to save out. They also include a screenshot (and description) showing where you can find the list of functions you can call to the COM object for each application.

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Adam Trachtenberg's Blog:
PHP 5 + COM + Skype Help Wanted
September 13, 2006 @ 07:15:49

Adam Trachtenberg is looking for some help in the COM department, specficially in using it with PHP5.

I'm trying to use PHP 5.2 to talk to Skype via the COM extension and Skype4COM interface.

I'm using this example from the Skype Forum, but I get a COM exception of "Skype client is not installed."

He also points to someone else with the problem, but still hasn't quite found a solution. Anyone want to help?

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InformBank.com:
How to create Microsoft Office documents on the fly using PHP
August 07, 2006 @ 11:57:37

In this new tutorial from InformBank posted today, they show how to use PHP (and a few handy tricks) to create Microsoft Office documents on the fly.

Sometimes you have to generate some MS Office document for the users of your website using dynamic data. For example, few days ago, I had to generate some Excel reports using data from some tables in MySQL. I knew about the COM but it has a lot of disadvantages, including Windows-only platform and not very high speed. CSV is much easier and faster but you can't format the cells to make them better-looking. The method I've never thought about before was using HTML.

So here came the inspiration and after some research and experiments I wrote this tutorial for all of you who are looking how to create Office documents on the fly using PHP. Of course, I included the COM methods and some methods to create other MS Office documents like DOC and PPT, to make this tutorial as full and as useful as possible.

The tutorial starts with the creation of documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) with the COM functionality (the standby method PHP has had for a while). Of course, it also requires the script to be running on Windows to work. So, what's the other option? As he goes on to explain, it's something as simple as HTML.

He includes two examples of alternate mathods, showing hhow to use HTML or a CSV file to create a custom Excel document. He also throws in some code to help you stream out the resulting document as a zip file to the browser.

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Justin Silverton's Blog:
Excel and php without COM
March 28, 2006 @ 07:01:46

At times, working within the confines of a Microsoft world can be frustrating, especially when it comes to making more advanced versions of files (i.e. a "real" Excel file versus a CSV). In this example, Justin Silverton gives us an example of how to do just that - use PEAR to create an Excel 5 file.

He uses the Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer package to create the file without the need for getting COM in the mix. The package makes it simple to take in a dataset and write it out to a workbook - complete with column headers.

He shows two ways to save the file as well - creating a local file (on the web server) and pushing it out to the browser.

It's a simple introduction, but it's a starting place - especially for those with a project plan that requires it.

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excel com without spreadsheet_Excel_writer PEAR excel com without spreadsheet_Excel_writer PEAR


Marcus Whitney's Blog:
Microsoft on PHP (podcast)
March 09, 2006 @ 07:02:23

In this new blog entry, Marcus Whitney talks about the upcoming php|architect webcast he'll be hosting interviewing two people from Microsoft - Brian Goldfarb and Joe Stagner.

I'm pretty excited about this weeks webcast. I'll be speaking with Brian Goldfarb and Joe Stagner of Microsoft about how PHP can be used for enterprise development on the Windows platform.

I think that everyone should consider checking in and asking these guys some questions.

He also mentions that Microsoft, for a long time, only saw PHP in the context of the LAMP "package" and not as a stand-alone language. Seems their outlook has changed a bit - check out the webcast to see just how much...

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