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SitePoint Web Blog:
How Do You Work With Other People's Code?
September 26, 2014 @ 10:58:56

The SitePoint Web blog has a recent post from Matthew Setter offering some helpful hints on working with other people's code. In it he shares suggestions ranging from the technical out to a bit more "learning oriented" to get up to speed on concepts and techniques.

Dealing with code created by other people is a fundamental skill for a developer. Give it a year and other people's code could even be your own. Today I'm going to look at some of the best approaches for how to deal with other people's code, read legacy code, effectively. It's not an easy topic to cover.

He's broken it down into a list of several different topics, each with their own descriptions and links to tools or reading resources for more information:

  • Interact
  • Observe
  • Run Tests
  • Fix Bugs designed for Newcomers
  • Find Available Resources
  • Use a Good IDE
  • Read Books & Blogs
  • Contribute to Documentation
  • Be Considerate

He puts some good emphasis on that final point, reminding the reader that it's not just years of experience that make for a better developer, it's more about skill.

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work other people suggestion list technical learning softskill

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/work-peoples-code/

Codeacy Blog:
Your Greatest Code Quality Threats and How to Solve Them
June 23, 2014 @ 09:22:42

On the Codacy blog there's a recent post that looks at some of the biggest threats to code quality (six of them) and some brief advice on how you can prevent them. Code quality goes beyond just style guides and common coding practices too.

In the process of building Codacy, I've learned that software companies in different life stages have different needs in terms of code quality. Early startups have, for example, very different needs in comparison to digital agencies and freelancers. There is however a common ground that links them all together: code quality is not being taken seriously enough, regardless of the stage. If this resonates with you, take action today. Continuous improvement is the central piece of software engineering craft.

Among the six things in their list are suggestions like:

  • Using continuous integration
  • Living with broken windows
  • Heterogeneity (code styles)
  • Not using static code analysis

They also link to some tools that can help fix some of these suggestions including JSHint, some PHP static analysis tools and CSSLint for CSS.

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code quality threat suggestion opinion tools solve

Link: http://blog.codacy.com/2014/06/19/your-greatest-code-quality-threats-and-how-to-solve-them/

Adam Culp:
Developer Anxiety, we're not alone
May 23, 2014 @ 09:39:07

In his latest post Adam Culp discusses something that developers are all to aware of, whether they will admit it openly or not, is a feeling of anxiety around problems they have, both personal and work/development related.

Yesterday I was approached by a developer, apprentice, friend, and sometimes mentor, who was having some personal issues. I consider this person to be very strong, and capable of great things. [...] During the conversation it was revealed how they're experiencing HUGE anxiety, complete with panic attacks, and are even consulting a physician who prescribed medication for it. [...It's a] common misconception is that anxiety is caused by the stress of the moment, which is simply not true. [...] For each of us the cause is slightly different, because we each struggle with our own problems and OCDs.

Adam shares some of the common stressors developers can feel around their work and life including not being "busy enough" at work, wanting to contribute but not knowing where to start and loud or open work spaces. He includes a few bits of advice on these things, some from his own experience including how to say "no" to deadlines, talking and sharing with others and doing some kind physical activity. Be sure to check out the comments for thoughts and ideas from other members of the community too.

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developer anxiety personal experience types suggestion

Link: http://www.geekyboy.com/archives/880

Reddit.com:
Can anyone suggest a php ecommerce solution that isn't terrible?
March 28, 2014 @ 12:56:42

Over on Reddit.com there's a good discussion (with plenty of feedback) to a user looking for "a PHP ecommerce solution that isn't terrible" to replace their aging implementation.

I've been using Lemonstand V1 for a couple of years now, it's been really decent, though they're zoning it out to make way for V2. They're moving to a cloud hosted monthly cost, without a lot of core features from V1, which means my agency needs to find an alternative. Obviously the one that stands out is Magento, but I've logged in and clicked around and looks so bad. [...] I have recently found "builtwith.com" which seems to show usage stats for different ecommerce systems, though I cannot seem to find anything very good on that list which looks reliable. The most promising thing I could find was called "Sylius" (http://sylius.org/) which looks fantastic, BUT, it's newish, and there are no docs, it's not being supported by a company, it's only being held up by the community. Can anyone suggest any other alternatives to look into?

The comments to the post range from suggestions of other solutions to attempts to reinforce ones already mentioned:

  • "I'd go with the biggest names in eCommerce for PHP. That will give you the most leverage. We run our own ecommerce software and when your missing a community, features, and market share, it will be a ruff battle selling customers on your solution who are aware of software like Magento."
  • "No, sorry. No joke. Every ecommerce solution I touched is terrible. And Magento is hell."
  • "Drupal with the Ubercart module is pretty nice."
  • "You have checked out OpenCart, haven't you?"
  • "WooCommerce has been pretty good if you're on WordPress. Actually similar to Magento."
  • "In my experience none stand above the rest and all have their drawbacks, especially when you just need to getting something slightly custom up and running. We most recently used CS Cart and it was not terrible."

Check out the post for more feedback and suggestions.

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Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/21flle/can_anyone_suggest_a_php_ecommerce_solution_that/

Reddit.com:
What are the must see talks/tutorials about php?
December 11, 2013 @ 12:47:36

On Reddit.com a conversation has started about some of the "must see" talks or tutorials that are out there for PHP. It starts with a suggestion of this talk about Symfony2 and includes other suggestions of:

If you have a talk or tutorial you think is a good resource for any level of PHP developer, head over and add it to the list!

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mustsee talk tutorial suggestion video phptherightway

Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1shr8o/what_are_the_must_see_talkstutorials_about_php/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Easy Wins For More Performant PHP
November 14, 2013 @ 16:18:53

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today with some easy wins you can update your PHP applications with to gain some overall performance. These five helpful tips cover a few different topics, including some that make use of external tools to provide that extra boost of speed your app may need.

Making your website more performant can require a lot of layers. From setting up a reverse-proxy cache with Varnish to configuring a group of load balancers, there are many well-documented options. What if you're just starting out? What if you have a smaller application? Are there things you can do now that will make difference? This article will explore easy wins for more performant PHP you can implement either as standard practices for your development team or principles you can retrofit for an existing application.

Their five tips involve using:

  • At least PHP 5.4
  • Autoloading with classmaps
  • A reduced amount of memory in classes
  • XDebug to do some profiling
  • OpCode caching
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performance suggestion tips application tutorial

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/easy-wins-performant-php/

Procurios Tech Blog:
Autocompleting a lot of parameters
October 16, 2013 @ 11:14:05

Pim Elshoff has a recent post on the Procurios tech blog looking at autocompletion on function calls and an alternative to the "too many parameters" problem.

Some methods have many parameters. Sometimes they start out like that, sometimes they grow like that over time. Even though a maximum of two parameters is preferable, configuration for a method that does a big thing is difficult. Take curl for example; curl has a lot of options and so several wrappers around curl have arisen to deal with configuring it in a more humane manner. How can we keep the clutter of many parameters as low as possible, while maintaining autocompletion?

He gives an example of a function that takes too many arguments and how it's difficult to read (and remember the right order/types to give). He does mention one way that's sometimes used - arrays - but you lose typing checks with that. His best recommendation is to use a fluent interface instead. Not only does it make it more readable but it also works with the autocompletion in most IDEs.

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autocomplete parameters suggestion array fluent interface

Link: http://tech.procurios.nl/archief/2013/10/11/Autocompleting-a-lot-of-parameters

Engine Yard:
Improving Your Local Tech Group
October 04, 2013 @ 11:28:47

On the Engine Yard blog today PJ Hagerty has a new post sharing some of his suggestions to help improve your local tech-related group and promote growth.

There are hundreds of User Groups across North America and around the world. These groups are primarily socially based or hacker groups who gather regularly to work on group or individual "toy" projects. Most groups will remain small and insular. It's easy to stick with what is familiar and keep recycling the same format every month. Unfortunately, this leads to stagnation and apathy by group members. People will eventually stop showing up and the group will either suffer along or just cease to exist.

He suggests things that are easier when there's more than one person involved in making it a success - things like "diversify responsibilities" and having a "coordinator for outside the group activities", but they're helpful tips. He also points out a few other things to remember - that communication with the group is key, "thinking globally" to get your group involved outside the local scope and getting sponsors involved.

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suggestion improve technology group communication

Link: https://blog.engineyard.com/2013/improving-your-local-tech-group

SoftLayer Blog:
Four Rules for Better Code Documentation
September 24, 2013 @ 12:07:56

On the SoftLayer blog today there's a new post with some recommendations for better code documentation - four tips to help make things clearer and cleaner.

Last month, Jeremy shared some valuable information regarding technical debt on SLDN. In his post, he discussed how omitting pertinent information when you're developing for a project can cause more work to build up in the future. One of the most common areas developers overlook when it comes to technical debt is documentation. This oversight comes in two forms: A complete omission of any documentation and inadequate information when documentation does exist. Simply documenting the functionality of your code is a great start, but the best way to close the information gap and avoid technical debt that stems from documentation (or lack thereof) is to follow four simple rules.

Their four recommendations cover several aspects of documentation:

  • Know Your Audience
  • Be Consistent - Terminology
  • Forget What You Know About Your Code...But Only Temporarily
  • Peer Review

They've also provided some examples of what they're talking about with PHPDocumentor-formatted comments.

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code documentation rules suggestion phpdocumentor phpdoc

Link: http://blog.softlayer.com/2013/four-rules-for-better-code-documentation

Reddit.com:
Tools to test a REST API?
August 16, 2013 @ 12:53:17

On Reddit.com today there's a post asking for suggestions of tools to test a REST API from the outside (like a user, not unit testing).

Does anybody know of any tools to test a rest API from the POV fo a client? Behat and Cucumber seems to be cool, but are these the right tool to benchmark directly through http?

There's a wide range of suggestions including:

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testing tool suggestion rest api user http

Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1kg515/tools_to_test_a_rest_api


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