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Master Zend Framework:
Simplifying Unit Testing (and asking for help when needed)
March 20, 2014 @ 11:54:16

On Matthew Ssetter's "Master Zend Framework" blog today he talks about simplifying unit testing and some of his experience with getting too complicated in his own testing practices.

Recently I was a bit stuck, trying to figure out how to test a section of an application I've been developing. Specifically, I was trying to mock a HydratingResultSet in a controller test, so it could be the return value of a method call on a datasource, my controller needed. I was sure it was the right approach to help ensure the functionality in question was working properly. But no matter what I tried, my tests didn't work, because I wasn't mocking it correctly. [...] I asked for help [on IRC], laying out the problem as I saw it. The first response which came back, from Ocramius, stopped me dead in my tracks: "Why are you trying to do that?"

He includes a bit of background on what he was trying to test and the functionality around it and how, when he stopped to think about it, wondered why he was testing it too. He talks about the refactor he made to his code with a positive end result - the tests now passed. He suggests a few questions to ask yourself when writing your tests such as "am I doing too much?" or "am I testing code in the right place?" Chances are, if you step back and really look at what you're testing, you might realize that the answer to these questions is just to simplify.

He finishes the post with a few suggestions, some of his own personal favorites, of places you can go for help when questions do pop up. He points out that the usual excuses shouldn't be a blocker on asking for help. He is "encouraging you to set your pride, ego and excuses aside and when you're stuck: ask for help."

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Link: http://www.masterzendframework.com/people/right-approach-unit-testing-asking-help

Justin Carmony:
Tech Interviews & Softball Questions
January 10, 2014 @ 09:31:11

Along similar lines as this recent post to the SitePoint PHP blog, Justin Carmony has a new post talking about types of interview questions and the "softball" ones that are commonly used.

While it seems every few months the topic of the interview process goes around the community, and I think the general consensus is most of the time it is ineffective. At DDM, there has been a lot of thought put into our interview process, and so over the next few weeks I hope to share some ideas we've had.

He starts with the "status-quo" of an interview that's set up to ask questions of the candidate, either by a single interviewer or a group, that focuses more on strengths and weaknesses than technical aspects. These usually include the "softball" questions that just about any PHP developer could answer. He then moves on to the more difficult follow up questions relating to specific technologies and features of the language. He also offers some advice on the questions for an interview including writing them down first and ensuring that they're short and to the point.

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tech interview softball question statusquo

Link: http://www.justincarmony.com/blog/2014/01/08/tech-interviews-softball-questions

Easybib Blog:
Extending Composer
October 07, 2013 @ 12:20:41

In this recent post to their site, Easybib shares a presentation and the answers to some questions about extending Composer, the popular package management tool for PHP.

Composer is one of the core tooling we use at EasyBib when we work on the various products for the company. [This] deck of slides is from a talk I gave at the Berlin PHP Usergroup meetup in November. [...] In addition, there were a few questions how dependencies are handle in a project when installed through composer's global command.

They answer questions about loading global vendors (and what should/shouldn't be installed this way) as well as which one wins - the globally installed version or local.

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easybib extend composer slide berlinphp global question

Link: http://drafts.easybib.com/post/63085455706/extending-composer

Phil Sturgeon's Blog:
Hijacking Headers to Force Downloads
March 29, 2012 @ 11:29:28

Phil Sturgeon shows how you can hijack headers in his latest post to force a download to the client (even on a hosted service like PagodaBox).

The question [I posed on Twitter] was: "How to force a download of any file of any type, not on your server, without Apache tweaking? Images are displaying and need em to download." Essentially, I wanted to be able to link to a file that was not on the server in question and anywhere in the world, which could be of any size, any media type and could be potentially very high traffic.

Answers varied from using readfile to just letting the browser handle it. None of the responses were quick right until he came across one that recommended some settings in an .htaccess file. It uses

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file download force header question htacess


PHPMaster.com:
The PHP People
November 22, 2011 @ 15:31:18

On PHPMaster.com there's a new post by Michelle Sanver about The PHP People, a.k.a the PHP community, and some of the great resources you can use to get help on a problem or just reach out and meet some other PHP-ers in your area (or at a national conference!)

If you're ever stuck on a problem, Google it and you'll find a swarm of users have most likely experienced the same issue and have already shared their solution. If it's not out there, ask in a public forum and people will help you find the answer. And if you've managed to solve it yourself, then write about it! That way you'll be contributing to helping others the same way others are willing to help you. That's one part of the PHP community that makes it really stand out - people share their knowledge and are more than willing to help others along their journey with PHP.

Some resources/places to meet like-minded developers include:

The community in PHP is huge and is growing every day, and it's all about sharing. If you see someone in need and you're able to help, offer him guidance. If you see an open-source project that's great; contribute and help it grow.
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Kevin Schroeder's Blog:
Why do you use PHP?
April 08, 2011 @ 08:48:32

In a new post to his blog Kevin Schroeder asks a simple question - why do you use PHP?

In one or two words, please comment to answer this question. Why do you use PHP?

So far, answers have included "the large community", "ease of development", "portability", "versatility" and the "power" the language offers. Leave your own comment on the post to share your thoughts with Kevin and others in the community.

1 comment voice your opinion now!
opinion question usage language


Joshua Thijssen's Blog:
Tutorial how to manage developers
December 24, 2010 @ 14:42:10

Most developers have heard of "The Joel Test" to help improve the quality of their software and the processes surrounding it. Joshua Thijssen has taken this one step further and created his own set of questions to act as a test for software development managers to make sure they're doing the right things for their group.

This post is not so much for developers as it is for the managers and bosses from those developers. As you probably know by now, managing software engineers (or programmers) is not an easy task. They just don't like to play by the rules you always took for granted. Why is that? Why are those pesky programmers too hard to handle? Why is it so hard to sit down, write code and shut up??

The questions are yes/no and, at the end of the test, your questions will be assigned to points from 0 to 12. Here's just a few of the questions (they all come with summaries to help you understand what its asking):

  • Do you work with lenient working hours?
  • Do you give enough time for planning?
  • Do you enforce an IDE?
  • Are your programmers in the loop?
  • Do you have enough distraction for programmers?
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manager developer question test score


LearnComputer.com:
PHP Interview Questions and Tips
December 06, 2010 @ 08:56:12

From LearnComputer.com there's a few hints they've put together that might help you with that next PHP-related job interview.

So you've been slinging resumes for a while and now you have an interview for an awesome PHP job. While part of the interview will be the typical job interview, you should also be prepared for a technical interview. Technical interviews are often given to determine how well you truly know the technologies with which you'll be working. There are numerous books and articles to help you prepare for the job interview portion but very little has been said on preparing for a PHP technical interview.

They've broken down their advice into a few different sections including some sample PHP questions you might get asked about both PHP and MySQL, a quick look at frameworks and the recommendation of the book PHP and MySQL Web Development to help round out your knowledge.

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interview tips opinion book question bestpractices framework


Kevin Schroeder's Blog:
Building better PHP programmers, part 2
November 23, 2010 @ 08:36:20

Kevin Schroeder has posted his second part of his thoughts on building better PHP programmers - things developers can do to move from the average to exceptional in their skills.

I have no "findings", no "conclusions", but I have some thoughts on my continuing goal to help bad/nominal PHP programmers become better PHP programmers.

He talks about the questions he asked in his previous post (like "is there a shortage of good programmers" and the requirements on memorizing) and some of the responses both for and against them. He stands by several of them, noting that, which a developer may not know the whole story, they should at least know enough.

One of the things I've also found a little interesting is that there is some resistance to standards. The argument goes; developers get better by different means and so having something set in stone to evaluate them is difficult, nigh impossible, to do
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better programmer opinion skill question


Stuart Herbert's Blog:
Should is_array() Accept ArrayObject?
July 20, 2010 @ 10:08:09

In a quick blog post today Stuart Herbert asks the community at large a question - should is_array accept an ArrayObject?

Here's a quick question for the wider PHP programming community ' if you're writing code that tests for the presence of an array, should is_array() also accept objects that behave like arrays?

Some quick code snippets show that, currently in PHP 5.2, an is_array test will return false. If you use an instanceof to check it, however, you can get it to return true. There's plenty of comments on the subject with quite a few "no"s in the group.

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arrayobject isarray question instanceof



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