Looking for more information on how to do PHP the right way? Check out PHP: The Right Way

Laravel News:
Twine: String Manipulation, Leveled Up
Jul 11, 2018 @ 09:19:02

On the Laravel News site there's a post spotlighting an interesting string manipulation library (Twine) and some of its basica features and use.

Twine is a stand-alone PHP 7 package by Chris Kankiewicz for string manipulation and comparison with an expressive fluid syntax.

They provide several code examples showing the package in action:

  • adding padding to the left/right
  • uppercase/lowercase
  • starts with/contains/ends with
  • converting the string to a hash
  • basic string formatting

The package also makes use of a fluent interface, making it easier to stack multiple operations onto a string (like checking to see if a substring equals a value). You can find out more about the package on its GitHub repository.

tagged: string manipulation package library twine tutorial

Link: https://laravel-news.com/twine-string-manipulation-leveled-up

Jeff Madsen:
Using Laravel Translation Strings in Vue.js
Dec 28, 2017 @ 09:51:02

Jeff Madsen has a new post to his site showing you how integrate Laravel's translations strings with a Vue.js frontend making it simpler to maintain only one source for the translation of content in your application.

One issue you will face if you need to make a multi-lingual site is how to keep your translations organized for both your back-end framework and your javascript components. I’m going to demonstrate the basic technique for this, using Laravel and Vue.js for my example.

While his examples make use of Laravel and Vue.js, the approach is agnostic of most tools and could be modified to integrate with other technologies pretty easily. He builds a system where the translations are kept in PHP files which are converted into something Vue can read and use. He starts with the backend, showing how to use Laravel's localization functionality to set up the files and shift between languages. He then makes use of the lang.js library to pull the contents of these files into Vue and adds in a bit of code to push those values into components.

tagged: vuejs language translation tutorial string laravel

Link: https://medium.com/@codebyjeff/using-laravel-translation-strings-in-vue-js-e2e35b7aafca

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Why Is a String Called a String?
Jul 27, 2017 @ 11:52:40

On the SitePoint PHP blog editor Bruno Skvorc has written up a post that talks about why a string is called a "string" going back through the history of the term and discovering its origins.

Why is a string called a string? Have you ever given this some thought? We never use such a word in contexts other than programming for a set of letters sticking together, and yet – in programming it’s as pervasive as the word “variable”. Why is that, and where does it come from?

To find out, we have to tackle some related terms first. History lesson time!

He starts with these related terms including "font", "uppercase" and "lowercase". He talks about the printing process and how the "stringing together" of the series of characters might have been how customers using the press were charged. He then shifts over to the academic world for background there relating to a series of numbers and letters used in decision problems. The term caught on and showed up in several other academic papers over the years ending up eventually in programming language definitions and examples.

tagged: string term history printingpress letters sequence academic programming

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/why-is-a-string-called-a-string/

Johannes Schlüter:
Types in PHP and MySQL
Sep 05, 2016 @ 13:38:21

Johannes Schlüter has a post to his site detailing the handling of types in PHP and MySQL and how they might act differently than expected in some situations.

Since PHP 7.0 has been released there's more attention on scalar types. Keeping types for data from within your application is relatively simple. But when talking to external systems, like a database things aren't always as one eventually might initially expect.

He talks about MySQL types and how they relate to the "network protocol" being used, converting everything to strings. He includes a few examples of hinting on the results, one where an integer is expected/string provided and another where a string was type hinted but an integer was returned. He points out that sometimes this is a limitation of what PHP can handle, not always what MySQL returns. He also includes other examples of returning decimals - sometimes as a number value and others as a string.

This leaves the question whether you should disable the emulation in order to get the correct types. Doing this has some impact on performance characteristics: With native prepared statements there will be a client-server round-trip during the prepare and another round-trip for the execute.
tagged: types typehinting mysql database string integer decimal preparedstatement pdo

Link: http://schlueters.de/blog/archives/182-Types-in-PHP-and-MySQL.html

Zend Framework Blog:
End-to-end encryption with Zend Framework 3
Aug 22, 2016 @ 11:56:35

With the recent release of the latest version of the zend-crypt package, the Zend Framework has announced that it's possible to use it to create end-to-end encryption in your applications (Zend Framework based or not).

Recently, we released zend-crypt 3.1.0, the cryptographic component from Zend Framework. This last version includes a hybrid cryptosystem, a feature that can be used to implement end-to-end encryption schema in PHP.

A hybrid cryptosystem is a cryptographic mechanism that uses symmetric encryption (e.g. AES) to encrypt a message, and public-key cryptography (e.g. RSA) to protect the encryption key. This methodology guarantee two advantages: the speed of a symmetric algorithm and the security of public-key cryptography.

He starts with a brief overview of how the system works and the flow of the request/response messaging. With this base in place, he gets into the code required to perform the encryption, first generating the keys needed for the encryption (and why he chose the mode/cypher he did for each). Then, using these keys, he shows how to use zend-crypt and its "Hybrid" handling to encrypt and decrypt a simple message. He also shows how to encrypt the contents of a file using a password.

tagged: endtoend encryption zendcrypt zendframework encryption tutorial string file

Link: https://framework.zend.com/blog/2016-08-19-end-to-end-encryption.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
PHP Macros for Fun and Profit!
Mar 21, 2016 @ 13:47:17

On the SitePoint PHP blog they've posted another tutorial from Christopher Pitt, this time about macros in PHP, and how you can use the Yay library to add in custom pre-processed macros to your code.

I get really excited when developers feel empowered to create new tools, and even new languages with which to solve their problems. You see, many developers come to PHP from other languages. And many PHP developers can code in more than one language. Often there are things in those languages — small syntax sugars — that we appreciate and even miss when we’re building PHP things.

Adding these to a language, at a compiler level, is hard (or is it?). That is unless you built the compiler and/or know how they work. We’re not going to do anything that technical, but we’re still going to be empowered.

He starts off by describing the goal: a simple "range" macro that creates an array and fills it with integers. He helps you get the library installed and shows how to use it to pre-process a file and output the PHP version. He shows how to create the syntax for the macro in the format Yay is expecting for the array_slice shortcut. He also includes handling letting you slice out a portion of an array using the same notation. Finally he shows the resulting code after the pre-processing has happened and the macros have been resolved.

tagged: macro library yay tutorial range integer string array

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/php-macros-for-fun-and-profit/

Sebastian de Deyne:
Normalize Your Values on Input
Mar 11, 2016 @ 11:55:58

In a post to his site Sebastian de Deyne makes the suggestion that you should normalize your values (input) as soon as possible.

Dynamic languages allow us to pass anything as a parameter without requiring a specific type. In turn, this means we often need to handle some extra validation for the data that comes in to our objects.

This is a lightweight post on handling your incoming values effectively by normalizing them as soon as possible. It's a simple guideline worth keeping in mind which will help you keep your code easier to reason about.

He gives an example of a HtmlClass object instance that can take in either a single string or an array of strings. With this structure he shows the complexity it would add for methods like toArray and toString. Instead he recommends normalizing the value in the constructor, making it an array if it's not already. The the code required in the rest of the class to use/translate it is much simpler.

tagged: normalize values input array string example tutorial

Link: https://sebastiandedeyne.com/posts/2016/normalize-your-values-on-input

Joshua Thjissen:
Incrementing values in PHP
Oct 13, 2015 @ 10:50:01

Joshua Thjissen has a post to his site looking at a relatively common operation in PHP code - incrementing values - but gets a lot more in-depth than just a simple overview.

Take a variable, increment it with 1. That sounds like a simple enough job right? Well.. from a PHP developer point of view that might seem the case, but is it really? There are bound to be some catches to it (otherwise we wouldn’t write a blogpost about it). So, there are a few different ways to increment a value, and they MIGHT seem similar, they work and behave differently under the hood of PHP, which can lead to – let’s say – interesting results.

He starts with the most basic situations, updating known integer values, but shows the curious things that can happen when the same operations are done on strings. He digs down into the bytecode that's generated from these bits of code, showing the order of operations when the code is actually executed. He then gets into more detail on each kind of operator, starting with the unary increment operator then moving on to the add assignment expression and add operator. For each he describes the behind the scenes bytcode actions happening and where in the PHP source code its being handled (and how).

tagged: increment value integer string bytecode indepth source

Link: https://www.adayinthelifeof.nl/2015/10/13/incrementing-values-in-php/

Amine Matmati:
Testing PDF content with PHP and Behat
Jul 31, 2015 @ 13:49:52

In this post to his site Amine Matmati shows you how to use Behat (with a bit of additional PHP) to test the contents of a rendered PDF file.

If you have a PDF generation functionality in your app, and since most of the libraries out there build the PDF content in an internal structure before outputting it to the file system (FPDF, TCPDF). A good way to write a test for it is to test the output just before the rendering process.

Recently however, and due to this process being a total pain in the ass, people switched to using tools like wkhtmltopdf or some of its PHP wrappers (phpwkhtmltopdf, snappy) that let you build your pages in html/css and use a browser engine to render the PDF for you, and while this technique is a lot more developer friendly, you loose control over the building process.

He shows how to get all of the required software installed including the smalot/pdfparser library used to read in the contents of the PDF file. He initializes a Behat test directory and writes a simple test, checking for a string of some "Lorem ipsum" text in the document's title and that it contains only one page. Some additional methods have to be created to integrate the PDF parsing and string location/page counting and code is included for each. When all the pieces are put in place, executing the test passes for both checks. You can find the code for the tutorial in this repository that also includes two sample PDFs to work with.

tagged: integration test behat contents string pages tutorial

Link: http://matmati.net/testing-pdf-with-behat-and-php

Davey Shafik:
Class Constants, How Do They Work? (Or: You Learn Something New Every Day...)
Jul 09, 2015 @ 08:24:43

Davey Shafik has posted a quick article to his site talking about class constants and something new he learned about them (and how it relates to the uniform variable syntax handling in PHP7).

Yesterday on Twitter there was a conversation started by Marco Pivetta regarding a particularly horrible bit of code he had spotted [that] creates a string using sprintf() by prefixing ::PARAMNAME with the result of calling get_class() on the $api variable, and then passes that string into constant() which will give you the value of a constant using it’s string name.

The conversation continued with comments from Elizabeth Smith about why this workaround was needed in the past. Davey also suggests that it won't work as expected if the input is an object and not a string but a test from Trevor Suarez proved that incorrect as well (it does work). He ends the post talking about PHP7 and showing how, thanks to the uniform variable syntax changes, this same kind of handling can be done in many other ways too.

tagged: class constant php7 uniform variable synatx getclass object string

Link: http://daveyshafik.com/archives/69193-class-constants-how-do-they-work-or-you-learn-something-new-every-day.html