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Ben Ramsey:
Learning a New Codebase
September 18, 2014 @ 09:38:51

In a new post to his site Ben Ramsey shares a few suggestions around things to ask and do to learn a new codebase (whether that means in a new job or coming into a new open source project).

A few days ago, my friend Ed Finkler started a new job. Earlier this week, he posted on Twitter: "First days humble us all." Having begun a new job myself, I shared Ed's sentiment. Last weekend, while at the Madison PHP Conference, we were discussing what developers can do during the interview process to get an idea of the kind of codebase a company has.

He includes a few questions for developers to ask, either during the interview or once hired, about the codebase itself including:

  • what coding standards the company follows
  • how much of the code is covered by tests
  • have the company's deployment process described

He also recommends learning the codebase by diving in and either writing tests for untested areas or work through bug reports and fix (then test) them.

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Link: http://benramsey.com/blog/2014/09/learning-a-new-codebase/

Developer's Lane:
Top 20 CakePHP Interview Questions and Answers
July 04, 2014 @ 13:48:25

The Developer's Lane site has posted a top ten list of questions answered about the CakePHP framework. The idea is that they could be used as a part of an interview to see how well the candidate knows the framework.

Here there are many questions and answers about How CakePHP Framework works? and basic questions related to CakePHP framework functionality.

Questions include:

  • What are are drawbacks of Cakephp?
  • What is the name of Cakephp database configuration file name and its location?
  • What are commonly used components of Cakephp?
  • Why does Cakephp have two vendor folders?
  • Can you remember what is the directory structure when you download Cakephp?

The questions provide a good overview of the framework, but won't tell you if the developer is any good...you still need to figure out that one on your own.

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Link: http://www.developerslane.com/top-20-cakephp-interview-questions-and-answers/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Talk PHP with the Experts The Transcript
October 16, 2013 @ 10:43:07

SitePoint had another "Talk with the Experts" session with two of their own developers, Jude Aakjaer and Michael Sauter. They've posted the full transcript of the session to their PHP blog today. It was a Q&A session between them and the attendees.

Topics discussed included:

  • What beginners should know about PHP
  • Most used frameworks
  • Using WordPress
  • Tools/IDEs the two developers like
  • Packagist/Composer
  • Using 3rd party libraries
  • Naming conventions and namespacing

You can read the full discussion here.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/talk-php-expertsthe-transcript/

PHPMaster.com:
6 Things to Consider when Choosing a Framework
April 08, 2013 @ 11:29:07

PHPMaster.com has posted a list of six things they think you should think about as you're selecting the framework for your next application.

You've decided that it makes sense to use a framework when writing your next new application, and chances are that if you're already familiar with a specific framework, then you'll probably be leaning towards using that one when you start. But are you sure it's really the most appropriate for the task at hand? In the name of due-diligence, here are some of questions that you should ask yourself before settling on a particular framework to make sure you're not programming "against the grain" and also to make sure it will be able to meet your needs now and in the long-term.

He doesn't get into any specifics of any PHP frameworks out there, but suggests general questions to ask even before getting too deep into the technology:

  • What do I need from the framework?
  • Do I expect the framework to help manage consistency?
  • Is good documentation available?
  • Is the framework actively developed, and does it have an active user base?
  • Does the framework work in what I run in production?
  • What business factors are influencing my decision?
Not every application needs to be written using a framework. But if you've decided that yours does, then it's beneficial to compare your needs against the features and benefits of the various framework offerings.
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Link: http://phpmaster.com/6-things-to-consider-when-choosing-a-framework

iBuildings Blog:
Verifying out software with OWASP ASVS
April 02, 2013 @ 12:20:19

On the iBuildings blog today there's a post from Boy Baukema about the use of the OWASP ASVS to help provide a framework of questions to ask about your application to help find any application security "pain points."

When a customer commissions Ibuildings for a new application, he usually has plenty of functional demands. [...] And maybe some thoughts have been given to performance metrics, but security? Well… it "needs to be secure". [...] It is said, conveniently enough mostly by software engineers, that building software is perhaps the most complex activity humans have ever undertaken.

He notes that "security is not a checkbox, it's a dropdown" and should be continuously considered continuously through out development. The OWASP ASVS provides a structure that a development group can follow to test the security of their application. It defines 4 types of testing/validation and fourteen other topics to consider.

While ASVS is a wonderful addition, it has it's issues: verification and reporting can take a significant amount of time and validation rules are not specific enough to use the tools and techniques.
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Lorna Mitchell:
Five Clues That Your API isn't RESTful
January 23, 2013 @ 10:50:49

Lorna Mitchell has posted a quick checklist of things you can ask about your API to see if it's RESTful or not (five of them):

I get a lot of emails asking me to get involved with API projects, and that means I see a lot of both implemented and planned "RESTful" APIs. [...] A service of some other description may work better for other scenarios or skill sets, and non-RESTful services can be very, very useful. If you tell me that your service is RESTful, then I expect it to be. If you're not sure, look out for these clues:
  • It has a single endpoint
  • All requests are POSTs
  • Response metadata is in the body, not header
  • There are verbs in the URL
  • The URL includes method names

She suggests, though, that "being RESTful" isn't a requirement for "being useful" when it comes to APIs.

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Anthony Ferrara:
Designing An API Simplified Password Hashing
November 19, 2012 @ 12:42:22

A while back Anthony Ferrara proposed a standardized password hashing feature to be included into the core of PHP. It was voted on and it was decided it would be introduced in the PHP 5.5 releases. Anthony has written up a new post talking some about his process in making this upcoming feature and answering some of the most common questions he's gotten about it.

The other day, PHP 5.5 Alpha 1 was released to the public for the first round of testing the new features that are coming out. One of those new features is the Simplified Password Hashing API that I proposed (and was accepted). I have received a lot of feedback and criticism of the new API in the months since it's been committed. I figured now that Alpha 1 is out and people can play with it, I should respond to some of those items, and give a little bit more insight into why it was built the way it was...

He talks about some of his goals with the use of the functionality (simplicity, something "the 99%" can use) ans answers questions about:

  • Why the functions aren't namespaced
  • Why it's not just a class that can be included when needed
  • The choice of not going with an OOP interface
  • Why PBKDF2 and Crypt-SHA-512 aren't supported

...and several other questions, but you'll have to read the full post for the rest of those. You can find out a lot about the API for this functionality from its wiki page and, if you'd like to try it out (in an alpha state), you can download this version of PHP and compile it yourself.

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Pádraic Brady:
PHP Security Taking PHP Security Seriously By Taking It Seriously
October 02, 2012 @ 10:13:06

In his latest post, Pádraic Brady suggests that you take PHP security seriously and start really thinking about the security of your applications, not just talking about them.

Most programmers treat security as an afterthought and engage in zero self-directed education about security in general. The most common response is actually shock, followed by denial, followed by excited elation at the idea of fixing stuff, followed by the sobering realisation that someone somewhere is an evil fucker for making their lives harder by not telling them all this sooner. Some graduate further into taking security seriously, seriously. This is actually PHP's current failing: Knowledge.

He talks about some of the mislead beliefs that many PHP developers share about the "One True Way" to secure their applications from common things like XSS and CSRF. He also shares his thoughts on how to solve this knowledge problem...and it's not by reading the same things we have been for years now. New knowledge needs to be shared, new questions need to be asked and new methods need to be shared for effective security precautions.

Knowledge is the essential ingredient to improving PHP Security. What you don't know can bite you; what you do know can be hunted down and shot.
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Developer Drive:
Creating a PHP User Survey Writing to Database Tables
November 22, 2011 @ 14:54:03

On Developer Drive today they've posted the most recent article in a tutorial series showing you how to create a user survey that stores the results to a database table. In this latest tutorial, they show how to hook the current code into a MySQL backend.

In the first two parts of this series, we created the data layer that will hold the polling data and established methods for setting the variable values and reading from the database tables. In this part, we will build the methods that will write new polls and answers to the tables.

They include the code for an "addPoll" method that inserts the questions and answers for the polls. Their "editPoll" method updates the poll questions/answers and the "addVote" method does exactly like it sounds - adding a vote to one of the poll options. Also included are "deletePoll", "activatePoll" and "deactivatePoll".

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Brandon Savage's Blog:
Q&A Answering Some Questions About Object-Oriented Programming
October 30, 2009 @ 09:20:52

Brandon Savage has posted the answers to some questions that were raised by a previous post of his on object-oriented development and some best practices. In this new post, he answers the questions:

  • "Often times when a developer gives each object only one responsibility, they tightly couple objects together." Can you explain?
  • I do not know about dependency injection '" do you have any links that do not require subscription?
  • Can you please explain 'one object '" one job' concept?

Each question is answered, sometimes with code included, to help resolve any confusion about how to correct use object oriented practices in your applications.

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