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Tobias Hermann:
Programming language subreddits and their choice of words
August 21, 2014 @ 12:14:13

Tobias Hermann has put together some interesting statistics pulled from the various programming subreddits on the site. He measures the choice of words for each community based on how own they're used.

While reading about various programming languages, I developed a hunch about how often different languages are mentioned by other communities and about the average conversational tones used by relative members. To examine if it was just selective perception on my site, an unconscious confirmation of stereotypes, or a valid observation I collected and analysed some data, i.e. all comments (about 300k) written to submissions (about 40k) in respective programming language subreddits from 2013-08 to 2014-07 using PRAW and SQLite. In this article I will present some selected results.

He first covers the "mutual mentions" for each of the groups with the largest connection from the PHP subreddit being to Python. He also compares the results to the TIOBE index for each (average popularity). He gets into more details about the words used (abstract, category, pure, etc) with PHP placing somewhere roughly in the middle for most data sets. The most interesting result, however, came with the set of curse words and the frequency of their use. In the PHP Reddit community the usage of these terms is, by far, the most of any group. Unfortunately, PHP also ranks lower on the "happiness" scale.

If you're interested in seeing how he came up with these results, you can get the raw results and the code he used.

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Link: Blog:
Asynchronous fault tolerant programming with PHP
August 12, 2014 @ 12:17:20

On the blog there's a new post looking at fault tolerant programming in PHP, a follow up to their previous post introducing the topic and creating a "circuit breaker" to prevent major issues when a problem pops up.

Now we will show you a running demo of the application where the circuit breaker library Phystrix is combined with asynchronous programming. The advantage of this approach is that it allows the querying of multiple backend services asynchronously. A timeout can be set for each of the calls and the circuit breaker will deal with failing services.

A screencast included in the post shows a script in action and how it reacts when the various services it needs fail. They've posted the code for the demo can be found over on GitHub and full instructions to run it are included in the post. Also included is some of the output from the test and a peek inside the logs showing where things were broken and if they were able to recover.

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Ramon Kleiss:
Introduction to Aspect-Oriented Programming
August 07, 2014 @ 11:09:10

Ramon Kleiss has posted a tutorial to his site recently introducing you to the concept of AOP in PHP (Aspect Oriented Programming). In it he provides an overview of some of be basic AOP concepts and code examples showing them in action.

For my first blog post, I'm going to take you on a little trip into a really cool programming paradigm: aspect-oriented programming, which is a little known style of programming while it can come in really useful. It is common knowledge that in software development you should have a Separation of Concerns (the first letter in SOLID). Although it is accepted that the Single Responsibility Principle is hard to design, it is still valued as one of the top best practices one can use.

He starts with a base class (ArticleManager) and how it's easy for it to grow when more dependencies are needed. He then evolves this example to use a more AOP approach, resolving the scope creep in the main class using cross-cutting concerns, advice, pointcut and aspects. He moves away from his basic example and uses a Symfony-based example to show how to implement a LoggingPointcut, inject it into the class and set up an "intercept" method to handle the notification of which method was called.

You will have to be careful to remember that you are using AOP as the application development continues, since it is very easy to forget about if you're happily developing away. Just take this rule of thumb: does the class I'm modifying care about the extra functionality? If it doesn't see if you can use inheritance or see if you can use AOP.
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Matt Frost:
Avoiding Burnout
July 28, 2014 @ 09:59:32

Matt Frost (one of the two hosts on the Loosely Coupled podcast) has a new post to his site about some of his own experiences and advice around avoiding burnout.

Writing software is an incredibly gratifying profession; the idea that you can take a problem and find creative solutions through the use of technology is what drives a lot of us forward. What happens though when the drive is gone? What happens when that nifty little side project, training course, blog post or book goes from being nifty to being a drudgery? I came to this point a number of months ago and stayed there for a while, having now come out of this funk there are some things I learned that I'd like to share.

He talks about some of his own trouble with burnout, the project he was involved in and what it taught him about dealing with it (and life in general). He gives some sensible advice including "don't sit at your desk all day" and "prioritize things". The advice is simple and to the point - avoiding burnout is something only you can do for yourself. Waiting for things to "just get better" isn't going to work.

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Freek Lijten:
Consistency vs. "The itch"
February 20, 2014 @ 09:11:31

In this latest post to his site Freek Lijten talks about "the itch" of having or working on something outside the normal project standards.

I assume everybody has certain rules, regulations, guidelines or conventions at their jobs/open source projects. I like structure and consistency so, as long as they are sensible, these things make me happy. Still, every once in a while, something itches. What wins, itch or convention?

He gives an example from some of his current work with an "itch" around using only a call to a registry to save information where business logic isn't needed. He recommends not scratching the itch though, as consistency should win out over other solutions. As he points out, "one day, you will have the need for business logic" and you want to have that structure there to fit it into.

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Why PHP should be the first language you learn
February 13, 2014 @ 10:43:46

On the site there's a new post from Stefan Mischook where he suggests that PHP is the first language you should learn if you're new to development.

Anyone who reads my stuff knows that if I am anything, I am practical. So when it comes to learning (and teaching) programming to someone new to the whole programming game, for several pragmatic reasons, I think PHP by far is the best language to begin with. Here are some of the reasons: it is easy to learn, it is the most popular web scripting language and it is fast to program with.

He shares these thoughts and a few more in a short video (or here on YouTube).

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SitePoint Programming Blog:
What is the Best Programming Language to Learn in 2014?
February 07, 2014 @ 10:44:59

On the SitePoint Programming blog today Craig Buckler has published a new post with some suggestions as to which programming language is the best to learn in 2014. The results come from a compilation of job postings and popularity, but it's interesting none the less.

It's been a year since I revealed the best languages to learn in 2013. Once again, I've examined the data produced by Jobs Tractor who analyzed more than 45,000 developer jobs advertised on Twitter during the past twelve months. [...] Take this survey with a large pinch of salt. Then add pepper, ketchup and numerous other condiments. I'm not convinced Twitter is a reliable source of job-related data and regional differences can skew results.

The results of surveys from other outside sources are also included, showing slight variations compared to Craig's numbers. Most of the languages are the same but their orders are pretty different depending on who you ask. Of course, he does make one major recommendation about all of these results: "Never use statistics as the sole basis for learning a language."

If you've mastered a language or two, the choice is far simpler: pick something that interests you (intellectually or financially). Programming skills are transferable and the learning curve will be shallower when learning a new language compared to when you first started.
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10 Programming Languages You Should Learn in 2014
January 23, 2014 @ 12:09:46

According to this new post over on the Mashable site, PHP is one of the "languages to learn" for 2014. Others in the list include Java, C and relatives, Python and Ruby.

The tech sector is booming. If you've used a smartphone or logged on to a computer at least once in the last few years, you've probably noticed this. As a result, coding skills are in high demand, with programming jobs paying significantly more than the average position. Even beyond the tech world, an understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any resumé.

They point out that PHP powers more than 200 million websites all around the internet and shares a few links of places to learn more about the language (including Udemy and Codeacademy).

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Chris Jones:
DTracing a PHPUnit Test Looking at Functional Programming
November 04, 2013 @ 11:04:20

On his Oracle blog Chris Jones has shared more details about using DTrace for dynamic tracing of the execution of your application. In this new post he looks more specifically at using it to trace through a PHPUnit test for a functional programming example.

I was reading the article Functional Programming in PHP by Patkos Csaba and wondering how efficient this type of programming is. I thought this would be a good time to fire up DTrace and see what is going on. Since DTrace is "always available" even in production machines (once PHP is compiled with --enable-dtrace), this was easy to do.

Using the code provided from the other post he sets things up to run some sample tests via PHPUnit. He makes a simple DTrace D script to configure a tracer to watch for "function entry" and "function exit" during execution, outputting the function tree each time when the given function is found (via a parameter). He includes both the command to run the test with the trace and an example of the output result.

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Functional Programming in PHP
October 04, 2013 @ 10:52:24

On today they've posted an introduction to functional programming in PHP. Functional programming is a programming style that "treats computation as the evaluation of mathematical functions and avoids state and mutable data. Functional programming emphasizes functions that produce results that depend only on their inputs and not on the program state."

The new hype in programming is all about functional programming paradigms. Functional languages are used more and more in greater and better applications. Scala, Haskel, etc. are thriving and other, more conservative languages like Java started to adopt some of the functional programming paradigms (see closures in Java7 and lazy eval for lists in Java8). However, what only few people know is that PHP is quite versatile when it comes to functional programming. All the main functional programming concepts can be expressed in PHP.

The tutorial introduces some of the basics of functional programming, including terminology and the flow of the average functional application. They list some of the limitations that PHP developers might be used to (like not assigning values to normal variables) and some example code to get you started. There's also unit tests (PHPUnit) included to help you understand what the code is doing as it progresses. They also provide a more practical example - a basic auth and admin system to verify access.This tutorial is definitely not for those just learning PHP, but it's a good look into another, very different, programming style.

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