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JetBrains.com:
Just-In-Time debugging and PHP Exception Breakpoints with PhpStorm and Xdebug
December 19, 2013 @ 09:30:59

On the JetBrains site there's a recent post showing you how to use just-in-time debugging and breakpoints in their PHPStorm IDE combined with the popular PHP debugging tool Xdebug.

In every project comes a moment where code stabilizes and we don't want to keep the debugger attached to our code all the time. Or maybe we just want to run our code and only attach the debugger when an error occurs or an exception is thrown. Meet Xdebug's just-in-time (jit) mode and PHP Exception Breakpoints in PhpStorm!

This feature makes use of the "jit" setting for the "remote_mode" setting that Xdebug offers to only send debugging information back to the remote debugger with an error occurs. They show you how to set up PHPStorm for these debugger connections and some example screenshots of it in action. The breakpoints feature compliments this functionality by allowing you to set breakpoints on which kind of errors you want to see information about (ex. warning, notice or deprecated issues).

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Link: http://blog.jetbrains.com/phpstorm/2013/12/just-in-time-debugging-and-php-exception-breakpoints-with-phpstorm-and-xdebug/

Mathias Verraes:
Value Objects and User Interfaces
November 18, 2013 @ 11:35:07

Mathias Verraes has a new post today with a response to an email he received about some comments on a recent Elephant in the Room podcast about Value Object usage. The question asks about usage of Value Objects, specifically when it comes to things like country information.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with modeling countries as entities and storing them in the database. But in most cases, that overcomplicating things. Countries don't change often. When a country's name changes, it is in fact, for all practical purposes, a new country. If a country one day does not exist anymore, you can't simply change all addresses, because possibly the country was split into two countries. Whenever you have this kind of friction, there's usually some missing concept screaming to be discovered.

He talks some about the concepts around the "country" data and some of the functional concerns around it (duplicate checking, validation of existence, etc). He takes the concept and breaks it out into two different concepts - the actual Value Object of a single country and an "AvailableCountries" set (and "AvailableCountryRepository").

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Link: http://verraes.net/2013/11/value-objects-and-user-interfaces/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Responsive Images Using Picturefill and PHP
October 10, 2013 @ 10:08:11

On the SitePoint PHP blog there's a new post from Lukas White showing you how to use the Picturefill plugin (Javascript) along with PHP to make responsive images.

One of the key challenges with responsive web design, and a subject of much discussion in recent years, is how to deal with images. Setting a max-width on image elements enables designers to allow their size to adapt to the page dimensions, but in itself that approach can lead to far bigger images being downloaded than are required. [...] You can use a similar approach [to "source sets" of images] straight away and in a cross-browser compatible manner by using Javascript; one such method is the Picturefill plugin. In essence, Picturefill allows you to specify different src attributes for an image, each image file corresponding to a different media query. Thus

The tutorial helps you create an application, powered by the Slim framework and the ImageMagick extension, for the basic structure. He then grabs the Picturefill library and drops them into place. Some sample code is also included showing how to create the HTML structure for the images and the Javascript to handle the switching.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/responsive-images-using-picturefill-php/

Chris Jones:
Using PHP and Oracle Database 12c Implicit Result Sets
July 26, 2013 @ 09:12:40

Chris Jones has a new post to his site showing you how to use Oracle 12c's implicit result sets in your code. Note: this functionality is still in development, so the naming/exact functionality might change.

The new Oracle Database 12c "Implicit Result Sets" (IRS) feature allows query results to be returned from a stored PL/SQL procedure (or a PL/SQL anonymous block) without requiring special PHP code. Support for IRS is available in PHP OCI8 2.0.0-devel extension when it is compiled and used with Oracle Database 12c. (OCI8 2.0 can be compiled and used with other versions of Oracle Database but the available feature set is reduced).

He shows a normal fetch loop that calls the oci_* functions and grabs each row with a oci_fetch_row call. He updates this to use an anonymous PL/SQL block (a string) instead that allows for more flexibility. He includes examples that fetch from one table, multiple tables and returns multiple result sets (that can be fetched one at a time) from the same single call.

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Link: https://blogs.oracle.com/opal/entry/using_php_oci8_2_0

Sameer Borate:
Debugging Laravel with MonoLog and FirePHP
June 07, 2013 @ 09:08:37

Sameer Borate has a new post to his site showing you how to debug a Laravel application with Monolog and FirePHP.

By default, Laravel is configured to create daily log files for your application, and are stored in app/storage/logs. All Laravel logging features are handled by the wonderful MonoLog library. Monolog includes various log handlers you can use - FirePHP, ChromePHP, CouchDB, Stream and many more. One of my favorites is FirePHP while debugging PHP apps.

Getting Monolog to write out to FirePHP is pretty easy and he includes the sample code to make it happen - basically pushing a "FirePHPHandler" into the Monolog instance and using it from there.

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Link: http://www.codediesel.com/laravel/debuggin-laravel-with-monolog-and-firephp

Chris Hartjes:
Testing Smells - Try/catch
May 01, 2013 @ 11:42:29

In this new post to his site Chris Hartjes gives an example of what he calls a "testing smell". This particular illustration deals with the poor handling of testing and exceptions with try/catch blocks.

As part of a project to migrate the PHP code at work from PHP 5.2 to PHP 5.4, I'm using our extensive test suite to look for instances where something that changed between the versions of PHP that we are using has caused some unexpected behaviour. In one of our code bases, I found some tests that are exhibiting a test smell through their use of a try / catch block in the test itself.

He includes a (contrived) example showing the use of an exception in a unit test to run an assertion in the "catch" for the test to pass. He points out that this particular check is being done to see if the user input is valid...and that it's a bad way to enforce it using exceptions. He also suggests that if you have an "if" situation, don't use one test with logic in it, write two tests. He mentions a disenting opinion but notes that a failing test is a failing test, regardless of what caused the failure.

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Link: http://www.littlehart.net/atthekeyboard/2013/04/30/testing-smells-try-catch

Rob Allen:
Simple logging of ZF2 exceptions
April 25, 2013 @ 10:31:40

In this new post to his site Rob Allen shows you how to implement a simple logging method for catching exceptions in your Zend Framework 2 application.

I recently had a problem with a ZF2 based website where users were reporting seeing the error page displayed, but I couldn't reproduce in testing. To find this problem I decided to log every exception to a file so I could then go back and work out what was happening. In a standard ZF2 application, the easiest way to do this is to add a listener to the 'dispatch.error' event and log using ZendLog.

He uses an event listener to attach a service that contains a "logException" method. This method uses the ZendLog component to write out the error message to a local log file including a backtrace of where the issue occurred.

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Link: http://akrabat.com/zend-framework-2/simple-logging-of-zf2-exceptions

Larry Garfield:
On empty return values
March 29, 2013 @ 09:15:59

Larry Garfield has posted some of his thoughts on return values and reminds you about consistent return types, regardless of the result.

Earlier today, I posted a brief tweet (isn't that redundant?) about return values in PHP (or really, any language). Originally it was about return values from functions (such an exciting topic, I know), but it ended up generating a fair bit of lively conversation, as well as a patch against Drupal 8. So lively, in fact, that I think it deserves more than 140 characters.

He proposes a new rule of thumb: "If your function returns a collection, its null value return must also be a collection." A more broad version of this might be: "make your return types consistent." It's all about predictability and the contracts you have between different parts of your code. If a user calls your method expecting to be able to loop over the results, they'll be disappointed with a "false". He talks some about using and throwing exceptions more effectively for error handling and answers several "but wait..." arguments for his return strategy.

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Joshua Thijssen:
PHP5.5 Try/Catch/Finally
February 12, 2013 @ 10:03:23

Joshua Thjissen has a new post to his site today about a feature that's been introduced in the upcoming PHP 5.5 release of the language - the addition of "finally" to try/catch exception handling. He gets into it a bit more technically than just the "introductory" level, discussing parent/child exception handling and using returns.

Exception handling is available in PHP since version 5. It allows you to have a more fine-grained control over code when things go wrong ie, when exceptions occur. But since PHP 5.5, exception handling has finally evolved into what it should have been from the beginning: the "finally" part has been implemented.

He includes a basic example showing how a certain part is always executed, regardless of if the exception is thrown or not. He also shows how a "chained catch" would work to catch multiple kinds of exceptions and when the "finally" is run as it relates to the "trickle down" handling of exceptions. He then gets a little more complex and introduces "return" into the mix. Of special note, even if you return, the "finally" will still get called.

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Matt Frost:
Mocking SoapClient
December 21, 2012 @ 10:23:02

Matt Frost has shared some of his work he's done with the SoapClient in PHP and how he mocked it out for his unit tests (since it's an external resource).

The concept of mocking web services for testability took a little while to sink in for me. A big part of it was that my job doesn't see me consuming web services all that often, but I had an opportunity to give it a shot with SOAP. I found that I learned a lot more about testing in general having worked through this. I used SoapClient and wrapped it, so here's a little bit about some of things I learned. Hopefully you don't have to work with SOAP, but if you do you can test it pretty easily.

He walks through the mocking of the client itself and how he handled it's ability to translate function calls into SOAP method calls (using "__call") and how he mocked that. He also makes the suggestion that you actually wrap the SoapClient inside of another class rather than trying to mock the actual SoapClient. He also touches on the testing of exceptions that might be thrown by the service and how he tested those using his wrapper class.

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