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Tomas Votruba:
Brief History of Tools Watching and Changing Your PHP Code
Oct 24, 2018 @ 10:52:23

Tomas Votruba has a new post to his site sharing a listing of some of the more useful and well-established development tooling for PHP and related technologies.

From coding standard tools, over static analysis to instant upgrade tools. This post is going to be a geeky history trip.

Which tool was first? How they build on shoulders of each other?

Are you a lazy programmer who wants to delegate as much work as possible to 3rd party code? Today, you'll become even lazier.

He breaks the article down into three sections, each with several tools linked under them:

  • Coding Standard Tools
  • Static Analysis Tools
  • Instant Upgrade Tools

The items under each link to more information about the tool and provides a brief summary of how it helps you and your code. There's not any examples of them in use, though. You'll need to visit the project's page for more information about that.

tagged: tools code quality standards upgrade summary list

Link: https://www.tomasvotruba.cz/blog/2018/10/22/brief-history-of-tools-watching-and-changing-your-php-code/

Christian Maioli Mackeprang:
Strategies for dealing with poor code in limited time
Aug 17, 2018 @ 12:52:49

Christian Maioli Mackeprang has a new post to his site sharing some of his recommendations of how you can deal with poor code in limited time when making changes (or adding new features) to an older codebase.

You’ve been given the task of implementing a new feature on an old codebase, but the code looks awful. How can you understand it as quickly as possible? Here are several shortcuts to help learn the important parts of new code without getting lost in the irrelevant details.

His list includes both technical and "people" related suggestions including:

  • Ask for help
  • Make it easy to reproduce bugs
  • Prepare for automated testing
  • Get on familiar ground before tackling critical code

For each item in the list he includes a summary of what's involved along with "dos" as well as "donts".

tagged: strategy code poor quality suggestion tutorial

Link: https://chrismm.com/blog/strategies-for-dealing-with-poor-code-in-limited-time/

Web Technologies Blog:
Code quality tools in PHP to check and improve your code
Apr 12, 2018 @ 10:52:55

On the Web Technologies blog they've posted a guide to some of the top PHP code quality assurance tools to ensure your codebase is kept neat, clear and clean from any unnecessary complexity.

You’ve got the good approach dear reader: code quality tools are essential to write solid and error-free PHP code. It can help your colleagues detect defects in the codebase and teach them some key concepts.

Don’t forget however that the advises and data they can provide won’t be appropriate everywhere. Your experience and your analysis skills are the one you should trust first.

The tutorial starts of with some of the tooling you'll need to get the system up and running: Composer for package management, terminal access for command execution and editor/IDE integrations (optional, obviously). It then lists out each of the tools and includes installation steps and links to more information:

  • PHP-CS-Fixer (PHP Coding Standards Fixer)
  • PHPCS (PHP CodeSniffer)
  • PHPMD (PHP Mess Detector)
  • PHPStan (PHP Static Analysis Tool)
  • PHPUnit and the CRAP metric

It also includes a few "bonus" tools that might be useful to track other quality aspects of your code including PhpLoc (lines of code), PHPMND for detecting "magic" numbers and churn-php for evaluating complexity of code based on number of commits. there's several more listed in the full post so be sure to check it out and see how you can integrate them into your development process.

tagged: quality assurance tool list improve code tutorial

Link: http://web-techno.net/code-quality-check-tools-php/

Ben Ramsey:
Announcing Testfest 2017
Jul 17, 2017 @ 11:14:53

In a new post to his site long time PHP community member Ben Ramsey has officially announced PHP Testfest 2017, an event that gathers developers to write tests for the PHP language itself to help improve its quality and show them how to contribute back to the project.

For those who’ve been around the PHP community for a while, you’ll recall the successful PHP TestFest events that began after a discussion at PHP Quebec in 2008. Many user groups and mentors signed on to host and help with events, and a lot of folks became first-time contributors to the PHP project, helping improve our code coverage. It ran strong in a global sense from 2008 to 2010. After that, various groups (particularly the Brazilian groups) have continued the tradition.

A few months ago, at php[tek] in Atlanta, I mentioned to Michelangelo that I’d love to bring back PHP TestFest. Sammy had given an excellent talk on writing PHPT tests, and <a href="https://twitter.com/ellotheth/status/868583446498734084>Gemma tweeted a link to the old PHP TestFest wiki page. From there, things snowballed.

Ben the provides the details of the planned Testfest that will run for four months and can be worked on from anywhere, not just one single event. The plan is to have it run from September through December of 2017 and there's plenty of support to help out. Organizers can email for more help getting started. There's also a website, Google Group and IRC channel as well as tools and resources to help bring you up to speed on testing the PHP language with phpt tests.

tagged: testfest17 testing language phpt event quality testfest community

Link: https://benramsey.com/blog/2017/07/phptestfest/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
The Theory of Constraints in PHP
Jul 12, 2017 @ 11:22:44

On the SitePoint PHP blog they've posted a tutorial about the Theory of Constraints, how it can be related back to PHP and what it means for building effective code.

I had been reading The Phoenix Project, a great novel about IT (you read that right), which presents day to day IT and devops problems at a large Amazon-like company in a way which makes mortals understand the complexities and chaos of 21st century technology.

Without giving away any spoilers, at one point in the book the Theory of Constraints is mentioned. [...] The Theory of Constraints can be distilled to the idea that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

In the book it was phrased thusly: "Any improvements made anywhere besides the bottleneck are an illusion." For some reason, this resonated with me much more than the chain idiom. There’s just something about building something that’s ineffective that’s more relatable to me than breaking something that’s weakly built.

He goes on to talk about the subject of "factories" and "browsers", relating work done (or not done) on browsers to a factory where throughput of work isn't optimized. He then applies this back to PHP, mentioning some of the tools that can help optimize your workflow to prevent the same kind of factory backlog. This list includes services like Blackfire, XDebug and MySQL optimization techniques.

tagged: theory constraints quality factory optimize workflow tools qa

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/theory-constraints-php/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
8 Must Have PHP Quality Assurance Tools (2017 Update)
Jul 03, 2017 @ 13:43:09

As you write your PHP code, you'll need to verify that everything is working as expected and that the code follows all style and formatting requirements. In this list from the SitePoint PHP blog they give you a list of eight tools you can use to ensure all of these criteria are met.

For shipping quality code, we must have testing in mind while coding (if not doing TDD). However, with the wide range of PHP testing tools out there, it’s hard to make a choice! Exploring PHP is a fun adventure (premium course on that here!) but it’s hard to assemble a toolbelt that’s not too heavy to wear to work!

This popular article will highlight the most popular testing tools and has been updated to reflect the state of QA tools in 2017.

Included in their list are tools like:

  • PHPUnit
  • Cucumber
  • Selenium
  • Kahlan
  • php_testability

The post ends with a brief look at continuous integration and how they can help execute these tools automatically when code changes or before production builds are deployed, taking most of the burden off of developers to remember.

tagged: top8 list quality assurance tools ci continuous integration

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/8-must-have-php-quality-assurance-tools/

Leonid Mamchenkov:
Quick and easy introduction into PHP Mess Detector (PHPMD)
Dec 13, 2016 @ 10:07:54

Leonid Mamchenkov has posted a "quick and easy introduction" to PHPMD, the "PHP mess detector" tool. PHPMD automatically scans your code looking for potential issues including "suboptimal code, overcomplicated expressions and unused parameters, methods, properties".

PHP Mess Detector is yet another one of those tools that help to keep the code base manageable and clean. Here is how you can jump right in. It’s super easy. It only takes 6 steps.

He gives an example of it in use on a CakePHP plugin showing the process to install, execute and view the report it provides. He looks in detail at one of the issues it found, an unused local variable, and how he fixed the issue and pushed the result back to the main repository. He finishes up with some suggestions about ways to run the tool, integrating it into your automated workflow and using it on other Open Source projects to find "low hanging" issues to fix and contribute back.

tagged: phpmd mess detector tool automation introduction tutorial code quality

Link: http://mamchenkov.net/wordpress/2016/12/12/quick-and-easy-introduction-into-php-mess-detector-phpmd/

QaFoo Blog:
Analyze the Quality Of Your PHP Code
Oct 23, 2015 @ 14:08:12

QaFoo has posted an announcement to their blog about a new tool they're offering to help developers better visualize the quality of their PHP code with a new visualization tool, the Quality Analyzer.

In code reviews we often browse metrics, source code and reported code issues together with our customers. This leads to discussions about the current state of the code and possible improvements. First we used a bunch of shells scripts for that. In a second step we developed a simple PHP (Open Source) application helping us to do the job. Now we did the third step and rewrote that application into a React based client side (Open Source) application.

They start with an overview of why they created the tool (an evolution of the older Code Review tool) and why it was split into a frontend/backend model to provide easier pipeline integration. They then introduce the functionality in the new tool, based on a D3.js interface. A few screenshots of the interface are also included to give you an idea of how it reports its findings and the dashboard providing an overview of the findings. You can try it out by grabbing it from the project's GitHub repository.

tagged: analyze quality code tool d3js visualize dashboard

Link: https://qafoo.com/blog/076_quality_analyzer.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Inspecting PHP Code Quality with Scrutinizer
Apr 29, 2015 @ 11:24:24

The SitePoint PHP blog has a recent tutorial showing you how to use the Scrutinizer service to evaluate the quality and "pain points" in your PHP code, be it a library or full application.

We’ve gone through a decent number of tutorials about code quality, inspections, auto-build systems and so on here at SitePoint. [...] In this article, we’ll take a look at Scrutinizer CI – a continuous integration tool that’s quite expensive and closed to private projects, but very handy for public ones.

He starts with a quick comparison of Scrutinizer versus (and really plus) the popular CI service Travis CI. He then walks you through the setup of Scrutinizer to evaluate your application automatically when code is pushed to GitHub. He then gets into the configuration options the service provides including filters, specific checks to evaluate and other tools to execute in the evaluation build. The article then gets into examples of the reports that are provided and a bit of detail about what each view provides. There's also options to hide certain errors that you know aren't actually problems and the "follow up" links it provides for the issues you may not understand.

tagged: inspect code quality scrutinizer tutorial setup configure

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/inspecting-php-code-quality-scrutinizer/

Piotr Pasich:
Ant, composer and code quality tools
Mar 18, 2015 @ 11:33:47

In his latest post Piotr Pasich shares some handy tips (and tools) to help you use Composer to do some of the common tasks you might use Ant or Phing for.

I decided to start with something uncomplicated – a simple solution that could help me solve a prosaic, but annoying issue. For instance, XML format. No, I won’t fight with it. I see it as great and practical, however mostly I don’t need so sophisticated code to cover my needs – the yaml usually fits the purpose. [...] Yet, do I really need this flexibility [of XML configuration] when I use vagrant or docker to maintain the same environment as on the production? For 90% of PHP projects probably I won’t use all of the features of the virtualization tools. I only want to install necessary libraries, check the code quality before committing or introduce fixtures. Most of those points are easily feasible in composer.

He then shows how to execute these checks through the functionality included with Composer to run custom scripts. His example measures the quality of the code based on the results first from a single run of the PHP Mess Detector (phpmd) command. He then extends this with the open source contribution he mentions earlier with his CodeQualityThreshold library allowing not only for more checks (phpmd, phpcs, phpcpd, etc) but also allows you to configure the thresholds for each class if desired. He includes an example of it in action and screenshots of the results.

tagged: ant composer code quality phpmd commandline library codequalitythreshold threshold

Link: http://piotrpasich.com/ant-composer-and-code-quality-tools/