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SitePoint PHP Blog:
7 More Mistakes Commonly Made by PHP Developers
July 25, 2014 @ 11:29:28

Following several other posts with the "common mistakes PHP developers make" theme, Bruno Skvorc has posted his own list of seven things he sees developers doing over and over.

Back at the end of June, TopTal, the freelance marketplace, published a post about 10 Most Common Mistakes PHP Programmers Make. The list wasn't exhaustive, but it was well written and pointed out some very interesting pitfalls one should be wary of - even if I wouldn't personally list the mistakes as very common. I encourage you to give it a thorough read - it has some truly valuable information you should be aware of - especially the first eight points.

His additions to the list of common mistakes includes:

  • Using the mysql extension
  • Not rewriting URLs
  • Assigning in Conditions
  • Being Too Transparent

You can read the full list and summaries of each in the rest of the post.

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common mistakes list more

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/7-mistakes-commonly-made-php-developers/

Daniel Cousineau:
PHPRFC Internals Logo
July 23, 2014 @ 09:32:56

As anyone who subscribes to the php.internals mailing list knows, there can be a lot of drama around some of the discussions for the future of the language, both in its features and surrounding technical concerns. Daniel Cousineau has posted a lighter take on some of this drama and is issuing his own "RFC" for a proposed mascot for internals - the DramaLlama.

Branding and PR is an increasingly important factor in programming language viability and adoption. Visible instability in the core team is off-putting to large organizations who depend on long term reliability and support and only encourages them to look to languages and tools with more stable and professional core teams. This RFC proposes that the PHP core team get ahead of the issue and introduce a logo, separate from the public facing project, to provide a sense of professionalism that is lacking. I humbly submit the DramaLlama as the superior candidate.

His proposed mascot, shown here, bears the PHP logo on the side of a cartoon purple llama. As Daniel puts it, the llama is a "proud, capable animal" that can deal with a lot and still stand up under a heavy burden.

By not adopting a logo, the PHP core team risks losing the respect and trust of the end user community. However it could be argued that the core team has survived without this and could do so indefinitely.

The post is practically dripping with sarcasm, but it's a good mood-lightener around some of the drama that can come from the clash of multiple personalities in the PHP internals community.

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rfc internals logo funny llama dramallama mailing list

Link: http://dcousineau.com/blog/2014/07/22/phprfc-internals-logo/

Toptal Blog:
10 Most Common PHP Mistakes
July 17, 2014 @ 12:52:40

On the Toptal blog Ilya Sanosyan has a post sharing what he sees as the top ten most common mistakes PHP developers make on a day to day basis. While most of the tips are code-specific there are one or two that are a bit more abstract.

PHP makes it relatively easy to build a web-based system, which is much of the reason for its popularity. But its ease of use notwithstanding, PHP has evolved into quite a sophisticated language, with many nuances and subtleties that can bite developers, leading to hours of hair-pulling debugging. This article highlights ten of the more common mistakes that PHP developers need to beware of.

Among the items on his list are things like:

  • Leaving dangling array references after foreach loops
  • Confusion about returning by reference vs. by value
  • Memory usage headfakes and inefficiencies
  • Assuming $_POST will always contain your POST data
  • Thinking that PHP supports a character data type

Each of the items comes with a good description, some code and suggestions on how to avoid and/or fix it in your applications.

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common language mistakes top10 list

Link: http://www.toptal.com/php/10-most-common-mistakes-php-programmers-make

SitePoint PHP Blog:
8 Heroku Add-ons for Production Ready PHP Apps
July 14, 2014 @ 12:56:50

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post from editor Bruno Skvorc with a list of eight Heroku add-ons for PHP applications. These add-ons (they call them "dynos") he lists help with things like logging, monitoring, working with CDNs and adding deploy hooks.

Heroku uses "dynos" as units of computing power which spin up your slugs. Dynos are lightweight, isolated containers for your apps which can execute any process type and can run and scale independently. There are two types of dyno - a web dyno, which handles web requests letting you serve more users as you increase your web dyno power, and worker dynos, which handle everything else like running your code and processing background tasks.

Bruno walks you through getting a sample Laravel-based application up and running on Heroku's PHP functionality and provides a list of add-ons from the Marketplace to get you started. His list includes:

These add-ons and more all come with descriptions, configuration settings/commands to enable them and some with screenshots showing the results.

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heroku addon production application list marketplace

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/8-heroku-addons-production-ready-apps/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
10 Essential Sublime Text Plugins for Full-Stack Developers
July 09, 2014 @ 12:32:33

Users of the Sublime Text 2 editor already know how flexible and useful it can be in developing their own software. SitePoint has a new post that wants to help enhance that experience even more with a list of 10 essential plugins you can use as a full-stack developer.

When I started with web development a few years ago, Vim was my first choice of text editor. It was easy to work with and I could get the basics done without much hassle. [...] In spite of the "Vim vs Emacs" debate out there, about a year ago I decided to try out a native text editor and Twitter was abuzz with one of them (no prizes for the guessing which one.) The creators of Sublime Text say it's a text editor you'll fall in love with and, having worked with it for almost a year now, I must say I completely agree with them.

Among their "top 10" list are things like:

  • Package Control
  • GitGutter
  • AllAutocomplete
  • ColorPicker
  • DocBlockr

Each item on the list comes with a link to the library, a brief description of what it has to offer and a screenshot (in most cases) of it at work.

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essential sublimetext2 plugin list fullstack developer

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/10-essential-sublime-text-plugins-full-stack-developer/

PHPBuilder.com:
Top 11 Best Practices for PHP Development
July 07, 2014 @ 18:08:30

PHPBuilder.com has offered the top eleven practices they see as a must for any PHP developer to incorporate.

Right from its inception, PHP was widely used to develop web based applications. Since PHP is a scripting language, one must follow some rules while developing. This article will discuss the best practices that are generally followed in the PHP world.

Their "top eleven" list includes things like:

  • Error reporting should be turned on
  • Meaningful and consistent naming standards
  • Deep Nesting should be avoided
  • Use adequate comments
  • Use Cache mechanism wherever required

You can read up on their full list and the descriptions of each in the full post.

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bestpractices development tips list top11

Link: http://www.phpbuilder.com/articles/application-architecture/optimization/explore-the-top-11-php-best-practices.html

Pascal Martin:
June 2014 on internals@php
July 01, 2014 @ 10:37:01

Pascal Martin has posted a summary of the PHP internals mailing list discussions for the month of June.

June 2014 came back down to a reasonable 493 messages on PHP's internals@ mailing-list, after a month of May with more than 800 mails, including some long discussions about phpng.

He goes over several other topics discussed last month including:

  • the upcoming PHP 5.6 release
  • the end of life on PHP 5.3
  • a discussion around "pickle" (an alternative extension installer)
  • the "bare name array" RFC
  • the serialization break (that was later rectified)

...and many more. Check out the full summary for more discussions and links to several of the topics and resources involved.

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phpinternals mailing list wrapup summary june2014

Link: http://blog.pascal-martin.fr/post/php-mailing-list-internals-june-2014-en

Toptal.com:
The Insider's Guide to PHP Interviewing
June 26, 2014 @ 10:43:39

The TopTal.com site has posted some suggestions on things to ask when interviewing PHP developers, especially those shooting for a senior level role.

Ubiquitous…that is definitely one word you could use to describe PHP in relation to the web. It really is everywhere. [...] What makes PHP so popular and widely-used? While there's no single answer to this question, PHP's ease of use is certainly a significant contributing factor. [...] But therein lies much of the challenge of finding highly-skilled PHP developers. PHP's relatively low barrier-to-entry and 20 year history means that PHP developers have become practically as ubiquitous as the technology itself. Yet while many can legitimately claim to "know" PHP, those who are true experts in the language are capable of producing software that is much more scalable, functional, robust, and maintainable.

There's a wide range of questions included in their list, each one with a brief description and the "right" answers a knowledgable candidate might give. This includes questions about:

  • Defining and using closures
  • What "global" is and when to use it
  • Describing the PHP superglobals
  • The use of "static"

There's also a section for the even more advanced development positions out there with questions about PHP's internals (the actual C code) as well as the differences between some built-in object types.

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insider guide interview developer question list effective

Link: http://www.toptal.com/php#hiring-guide

Docnet.nu:
SSL And PHP Streams - Part 1 You Are Doing It Wrong™
June 26, 2014 @ 09:54:40

On the Docnet.nu blog today they've kicked off a series looking at the use of streams and SSL in PHP and asking if you're doing it wrong in your current applications. The focus is more on the security aspect, breaking it down into a set of common problems (and how to work around them).

The upcoming PHP 5.6 release brings with it a number of improvements to encrypted PHP streams, both internally and externally. In these articles I will try to cover the most important changes, and how they affect your code. This article will focus on how to get the best security level in code that needs to be run on PHP versions below 5.6, and highlighting some of the gaps in the currently available functionality. Version 5.4.13 is the earliest version that supports all the options described below - and if you are running something earlier than this, then you really should consider upgrading to at least the latest version of the 5.4 series 1.

Their list is made up of six different problems:

  • Problem 1: Peer Verification
  • Problem 2: Cipher Lists
  • Problem 3: Protocol Support
  • Problem 4: TLS Compression Attack Vulnerability
  • Problem 5: Cipher Order
  • Problem 6: TLS Renegotiation Attacks

Each problem comes with a brief description of what it is and why it's an issues. Some also include code snippets showing how to correct the issue, usually relatively simply.

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streams problem list solution https tutorial

Link: http://www.docnet.nu/tech-portal/2014/06/26/ssl-and-php-streams-part-1-you-are-doing-it-wrongtm/C0

SitePoint PHP Blog:
8 Must Have PHP Quality Assurance Tools
June 25, 2014 @ 09:22:42

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today with what it calls the eight must- have PHP QA tools to ensure the overall quality of your codebase. These tools cover everything from unit testing out to ensuring code standards are met.

The [QA Tools] site is a simple list of interesting tools that can help you properly test your application, while also analyzing it and producing interesting data for you to look at. This post will be little more than a re-iteration of some of those tools with added information, use cases and advice about them - however, we're open to expanding this list with other QA tools you throw our way that get plenty of votes in the comments below or seem interesting and/or useful enough.

Their list of eight covers a wide range of QA needs:

  • PHPUnit
  • Behat
  • vfsStream
  • PHPLOC
  • PHP Mess Detector
  • PHP CodeSniffer
  • Dead Code Detector
  • Copy Paste Detector

For each there's a brief description and some of the commands you'll need to get it installed. Configuring them for your environment is a bit out of the scope of the article, though, so you'll have to pick that up on your own.

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list eight qualityassurance tools install summary

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


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