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Marc Scholten:
Accidental Complexity Caused By Service Containers In The PHP World
May 24, 2016 @ 11:25:30

In this post to his site Marc Scholten talks about something that's become a side effect of using the inversion of control design pattern in PHP applications (specifically related to dependency injection): added accidental complexity.

Modern PHP development favors the use of inversion of control to keep software more configurable and flexible. This leads to the problem that one now has to create a big graph of objects to use the application. As a solution to avoid redundant setup code, service containers like the symfony2 dependency injection component are used.

The goal of a service container is to centralize the construction of big object graphs. [...] Simple, right? Actually it’s not. Commonly used service containers are complex solution for simple problems.

He illustrates with an example using the Symfony services container, a piece of the framework that allows the definition of dependency relationships via a YAML formatted file. While this configuration seems simple enough, he points out that more complex dependencies (ones that could easier be set via a "set" method) become more difficult to define when limited by the service container config structure. He also points out that it makes static analysis of the code much more difficult with dependencies being dynamically fetched from the container instead of directly related. He offers an alternative to this complex container setup, however: a simple method (or methods) inside of a factory class that creates the objects, injects the required dependencies. This makes it much easier to call from the service container instance and configuration and even a "create container" call to set all of the dependencies up at once. He ends the post with some advantages of this approach and a takeaway or two to keep in mind when managing your object dependencies.

tagged: complexity service container accidental configuration simplex complex example symfony

Link: https://www.mpscholten.de/software-engineering/2016/05/21/accidental-complexity-caused-by-service-containers-in-the-php-world.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Benchmarking: Can AppServer Beat Symfony’s Performance?
May 19, 2016 @ 10:45:51

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted a new article comparing AppServer and Symfony on a performance level and wonders if the AppServer platform can outperform the framework on some base level functionality.

After the release of the first part of our Appserver series, it was clear through the ensuing discussions on both SitePoint and Reddit that we had touched a nerve for a good number of PHP channel’s devoted readers. I also quickly realized this new (for PHP) technology had a good number of serious doubters. One of the most poignant responses in the discussions was something along the lines of,

Needless to say, those doubtful and critical comments sounded like a real challenge. I was also very interested in finding out where appserver would land, if it were to be benchmarked against another well known PHP framework. [...] I decided to use my favorite framework, Symfony, to make the comparison. This is because appserver, as a stock PHP application server, also offers a good bit of important application functionality similar to Symfony.

They start with the approach they took to the comparison and how they set up the systems to evaluate the difference between the two (including hardware specs). The remainder of the post shares the results of several Apache Bench runs - the raw command line output - and more graphical versions of the same information (bar graphs). While there are a few "wins" on the AppServer side, overall it came in a bit slower (mostly because of the technologies involved in every request, however).

tagged: appserver appserverio performance symfony comparison benchmark results

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/benchmarking-can-appserver-beat-symfonys-performance/

Symfony Finland:
GraphQL with PHP and the Symfony Framework
May 16, 2016 @ 12:19:09

The Symfony Finland site has a recent post giving an overview of GraphQL and Symfony, combing the GraphQL query language (RESTish handling) from Facebook with your application.

The origins of GraphQL stem from the needs that Facebook's mobile applications had (and continue to have). They needed a data-fetching API that was flexible enough to describe all the different kinds of data that the social network had available. [...] Back in September 2015 GraphQL was already powering Billions of API calls a day at Facebook. [...] The core idea of GraphQL is to send a simple string to the server. This string is then interpreted by the server and it sends back a JSON payload that responds to follows the structure of the query itself.

The post includes an example of what the request and response from a GraphQL query might look like for a social network's data. They also link to several PHP libraries that have come up around the functionality making it easier to integrate. There's also links to some Symfony bundles that provide functionality to make your own GraphQL servers.

tagged: graphql symfony bundle introduction facebook rest query json library

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/graphql-with-php-and-the-symfony-framework

Symfony Blog:
Announcing the Fourth Symfony Docs Hack Day
May 13, 2016 @ 09:58:29

On the Symfony Blog they've posted the official announcement of their Fourth Symfony Docs Hack Day happening on May 21st. This hack day is focused on just improving the documentation for the framework, not handling bugs in the main codebase itself.

The Symfony project is proud to announce its fourth Symfony Docs Hack Day. This Hack Day will be an online event to give a push to the Symfony Docs before the Symfony 3.1 release at the end of this month.

[...] Hosts Ryan Weaver, Wouter de Jong and Christian Flothmann along with you and all your friends from the Symfony community. The Hack Day is for everyone - we need Symfony experts and newcomers. If you're new to Symfony, you give us a fresh look at the documentation!

The post gives you a bit of an idea what the event will be like and what you can expect, especially as a first time submitter. It will be happening completely online via the "#symfony-docs" channel on the Freenode IRC network. You can prepare by following some of the links in the post to pending pull requests and a list of missing documentation contents.

tagged: symfony hackday documentation update event irc freenode framework

Link: http://symfony.com/blog/announcing-the-fourth-symfony-docs-hack-day

Symfony Finland:
Learn Symfony and modern PHP with Bolt 3.0 - a Silex powered CMS
May 11, 2016 @ 09:36:53

On the Symfony Finland site there's a new article posted about the recently released v3.0 of the Bolt CMS and details about this Silex-powered, modern PHP-based system.

On Tuesday 10th of May the development team released a new major version of Bolt CMS. The Open Source content management system is a lightweight and easy to use tool for managing websites and blogs. In addition it's perfect for learning modern PHP development practises.

The third major version of Bolt continues on the path, being an evolution rather than a revolution. The CMS is built on the Silex microframework based on the Symfony PHP components.

The article talks about the "solid foundation" of Silex and good project management skills of the team behind it. They then get into the installation of the tool and some of the libraries that it uses to get the job done (including Twig and YAML handling). They also list some of the things that are new in the v3.0 of the CMS including:

  • A new extensible Storage layer
  • Backend UI refresh
  • Improved tests / code coverage
  • New documentation
  • Web asset queues, and easier to keep files out of webroot

There's also mention of some of the things that were removed and didn't make the cut to be included in the release. The post ends with links to other resources where you can find out about Bolt, get its source and a few other articles about people putting it to use.

tagged: bold cms silex symfony modern release v3 overview installation

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/learn-symfony-and-modern-php-with-bolt-3-0-a-silex-powered-cms

Symfony Finland:
Using Symfony Finder and YAML components to transform Drupal 8 configurations to eZ
May 10, 2016 @ 10:58:31

On the Symfony Finland blog there's a tutorial posted showing how to translate Drupal 8 configurations into ones for eZ Platform using a bit of code inside a Symfony command.

Bolt CMS, Drupal 8 and eZ Platform all content management systems that use Symfony in one form or another. All of them use YAML to store configurations of content types and other system properties. This is great as it makes transferring between different formats quite straightforward.

This could be done by hand, but ideally configurations can be converted programatically. In this article we'll take a look at how to transfer content types from Drupal 8 to eZ Platform using a standard Symfony Command.

He starts with some background about the two configuration types (Drupal 8 and eZ Platform) before getting to the actual code to make the transformation. The code translates the Drupal 8 configurations over to the Kaliop Migrations format that can then be used in various environments. They include an example of the resulting configuration structure and, finally, the code to make the translation (allowing for multiple object types too).

tagged: symfony finder yaml component transform druapl8 configuration ezplatform

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/using-symfony-finder-and-yaml-to-transform-drupal-8-configurations-to-ez-platform

Tideways.io:
PHP Session Garbage Collection: The unknown performance bottleneck
May 09, 2016 @ 12:49:22

On the Tideways.com blog there's a tutorial talking about the "unknown performance bottleneck" that can be caused by PHP's own session garbage collection. This garbage collection happens when sessions expire and they need to be removed from the current set/data source.

Here is one performance setting in your PHP configuration you probably haven't thought about much before: How often does PHP perform random garbage collection of outdated session data in your application? Did you know that because of the shared nothing architecture PHP randomly cleans old session data whenever session_start() is called? An operation that is not necessarily cheap.

It's his general advice to avoid PHP's random garbage collection (it happens one in every 1000 requests, randomly) and opt for a more consistent method using background scripts. He gives an example using the Laravel framework and it's modified session garbage collection happening every 50th request (making use of the Symfony Finder component). He points out the problem with its implementation and the negative impact it could have on large, highly used applications. They share some of their own statistics and how to change this default (modifying the lottery option and making a custom "cleanup" command).

tagged: session garbage collection performance bottleneck unknown modify laravel symfony

Link: https://tideways.io/profiler/blog/php-session-garbage-collection-the-unknown-performance-bottleneck

Symfony Finland:
Universal Rendering in PHP/Twig could be done with the Angular 2 Template Compiler
May 09, 2016 @ 11:15:01

The Symfony Finland site has a post about Angular 2, its server-side rendering support and how Symfony can fit into the picture.

At the ng-conf event in May 2016 there were sessions discussing how Angular 2 can support server side rendering in various platforms. If you're working on a project running on Node.js, then Angular 2 is a native citizen. For other options like ASP, Java and PHP there are a few options on the table.

[...] Later during the ng-conf more details on the Server Side Rendering (Universal Rendering in Angular lingo) can be implemented in different environments to improve first page load experience. [...] The downside of these approaches is that you need to add additional complexity either by adding a dependency to an external service or require a rather exotic PHP extension at this point.

Instead he suggests using Twig along with the Angular 2 template compiler and some custom extensions to the base templating to format the output as Angular is expecting it. He talks about how the current backend rendering of templates could easily be translated to this handling. He also suggests that even just partial server-side rendering might be enough to help with the performance of the application.

tagged: symfony universalrendering angular2 twig template backend frontend performance

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/universal-rendering-in-php-twig-with-angular-2-template-compiler

Symfony Blog:
The New Symfony Documentation Search Engine
Apr 29, 2016 @ 10:49:27

In an effort to improve their "developer experience" (DX) around using the Symfony framework the development team has introduced new searching functionality to help more effectively find what you're looking for in the expansive Symfony documentation.

Symfony boasts one of the largest documentation pools ever written for an Open- Source project. Considering the ten different Symfony versions (from 2.0 to master) and including the code samples, Symfony Documentation has around 3.6 million words, more than three times the word count of the entire Harry Potter series.

They share some of the things they learned around creating a search engine ("it's hard") and what they ultimately ended up using - the Algolia service. The post talks about how they indexed the current documentation and broke it up into "chunks" of meaningful content. They also include the simple Javascript they use that links the search field to the Algolia service and renders the results using a view partial.

The proof of concept for the new search engine was a success and we decided to stop the ElasticSearch integration and stick with Algolia. The new search engine is greatly faster than the previous one and the search results are more accurate and relevant.
tagged: symfony documentation search engine new algolia service

Link: http://symfony.com/blog/the-new-symfony-documentation-search-engine

Symfony Blog:
PHP-PM grows up to be a credible option for high performance PHP
Apr 25, 2016 @ 12:29:58

On the Symfony Finland site there's a post about a relatively new way to run PHP applications and how it's "growing up" to become a viable option: PHP-PM.

PHP-PM is a novel way of running PHP applications. Instead of creating an exotic high performance runtime for the PHP language, it takes an alternative route to mechanism of running PHP applications with existing runtimes.

This translates to real performance gains with existing complex applications, not just impressive theoretical benchmark results.

Instead of the usual complete bootstrap that normal PHP process goes through in its lifecycle, PHP-PM runs them as a continuous process, making for a huge boost in overall performance. The project has started gathering more momentum and is being worked on to make it a more credible platform for PHP applications.

From the humble beginnings the PHP-PM now has over 1700 stars on GitHub and a number of developers working on it. Great strides have been done since the early stages with the documentation and ease of use, but most importantly the platform now supports multiple frameworks: Symfony, Zend and Laravel.
tagged: phppm process option high performance application project symfony

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/php-pm-grows-up-to-be-a-credible-option-for-high-performance-php