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Rob Allen:
Using Doctrine Migrations as a standalone tool
November 13, 2014 @ 10:14:56

Rob Allen has a recent post to his site showing you how you can use Doctrine migrations as a standalone tool for its migrations functionality. Migrations allow you to script the setup of your database, replacing the need to manually create and configure the system by hand.

My current project has reached the point where a good migrations system is required. As I'm targeting two different database engines (MySQL and MS SQL Server) and we're already using DBAL, it made sense to use Migrations from the Doctrine project.

He walks you through the installation (via Composer and a command-line script to bootstrap the Doctrine environment outside of the usual framework context. He includes an example yaml configuration file and PHP-based connection information config. He finishes off the post by showing how to build a simple migration that creates an "artists" table (with "name" and "id" columns) and run the command to do the work.

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Link: http://akrabat.com/php/using-doctrine-migrations-outside-of-doctrine-orm-or-symfony/

Fabien Potencier:
PHP CS Fixer finally reaches version 1.0
November 13, 2014 @ 09:34:34

Fabien Potencier has a new post to his site talking about a milestone for the PHP-CS Fixer tool (used to fix code to be compliant to the PSR-1 & PSR-2 standards) - a full, stable 1.0 release.

A few years ago, I wrote a small script to automatically fix some common coding standard mistakes people made in Symfony pull requests. It was after I got bored about all the comments people made on pull requests to ask contributors to fix their coding standards. [...] After a while, I decided to Open-Source the tool, like I do with almost all the code I write. [...] To my surprise, people started to use it on their own code, found bugs, found edge cases, added more fixers, and soon enough, we all realise that using regular expressions for such things is doomed to fail.

In recent months the tool has undergone a rewrite to work with the tokens instead of regular expressions (lead by Dariusz Ruminski) and the 1.0 release of this updated version has been made:

After 13,000 additions and 5,000 deletions, I'm very proud to announce version 1.0 of PHP-CS-Fixer; it is smarter, it is more robust, and it has more fixers. Any downsides? Yes, speed; the tool is much slower, but it is worth it and enabling the new cache layer helps a lot.
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phpcs fixer tool release stable v1 fabienpotencier dariuszruminski psr2 psr1

Link: http://fabien.potencier.org/article/76/php-cs-fixer-finally-reaches-version-1-0

Facebook Code Blog:
Announcing the Hack Transpiler
November 12, 2014 @ 12:11:47

On the Facebook Hack blog there's an announcement about a new tool they've created to "reverse engineer" Hack code and turn it back into normal PHP - the Hack Transpiler. There's also more information in the Facebook announcement:

Today, we're proud to announce a first, experimental release of h2tp, or the "HH (Hack) Transpiler," a tool which allows projects that have converted from PHP to Hack to still make releases that target the PHP language.

Since the launch of Hack, many community members have asked us how to manage forward compatibility. Hack is backwards-compatible with PHP - if you're running PHP on HHVM, Hack code will seamlessly integrate with it. But the inverse is not true.

The announcement talks about the things that make Hack, well, Hack and how it's not just a simple find and replace to convert it back into PHP. Their "h2tp" tool also converts things like collections and short lambda expressions back into structured PHP. To illustrate, they include some before and after code, showing the addition and substitution of PHP for the Hack shorthand operators. The post also covers some of the hurdles they faced during the implementation of the "h2tp" tool, including error handling.

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Link: https://code.facebook.com/posts/398235553660954/announcing-the-hack-transpiler/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
5 Easy Ways to Get Started with PHP on Vagrant
October 30, 2014 @ 10:44:49

On the SitePoint PHP blog there's a new tutorial showing you how to get started with Vagrant and PHP to create easier, more flexible development environments via virtual machines.

Vagrant is a tool for creating and managing virtual environments that help many developers not have to care about the "works on my machine…" problem. Vagrant creates reusable development systems that can be used again and again, helping you keep your system clean of too many installations.

They offer "five easy ways" to get started including various tools and services:

You can find summaries about each of the items on the list as well as links to more information in the full post.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/5-easy-ways-getting-started-php-vagrant/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Strategic Archive Extraction with Distill
October 27, 2014 @ 12:09:54

In this new tutorial from the SitePoint PHP blog about using the Distill tool to extract information and files from remote archives.

Perhaps you are building an application which depends on archives; for example, you constantly have to download archives and extract files from them. There are many libraries out there that can help you get files extracted from an archive, and a new player in town capable of doing this job is Distill. With Distill, you can easily extract an archive into a specified directory. You can also give multiple archives to Distill and let it pick the most optimal one, as per a strategy you define yourself.

He walks you through the setup of the tool (installed via Composer) and some of the basic usage. He creates a simple "Extractor" object setting the Distill object and an "extract" method that handles the actual functional part of the process. He also adds some configuration constants to the class for size checking, compression speed and random strategy types (Distill will pick the most optimal). He then makes a "chooser" method to pick the best one and calls the "extract" method to get the results.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/strategic-archive-extraction-distill/

Michael Dowling:
Managing Changelogs With Chag
October 27, 2014 @ 10:24:17

Michael Dowling has a new post today with a new tool he's worked up that aims to make creating Changelogs simpler, building on the effort started by keepachangelog.com. A Changelog is a human-readable listing of changes between versions, ideally generated but usually manually created.

Open source projects often include some kind of changelog file that helps consumers of the project know the important changes that have been made between versions. The format and filename of a changelog typically varies from project to project; however, there's some promising news…http://keepachangelog.com hopes to standardize how open source projects represent changelog files. I've recently begun modifying the changelog files of all of my projects to conform to this new changelog standard.

He then gets into the tool he's created, chag, and how to aims to help make this Changelog standardization even easier. He walks you through the installation and options it provides for extracting current contents, listing versions, getting the latest versions and updating the contents. There's also an option to tag the version with a Git tag and uses the entry data as the annotation. He then talks about the release process with two different flows: the one GitHub itself includes (GitHub Releases) and the other configured through Travis CI.

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Link: http://mtdowling.com/blog/2014/10/26/managing-changelogs-with-chag/

Inspire Trends:
40 Useful PHP Classes and Libraries for Efficient Development
October 24, 2014 @ 09:56:08

On the Inspire Trends site they've listed out what they think are 35 useful PHP classes and libraries that can make you more efficient in your development.

PHP is a scripting language that also happens to be the most popular in the domain. It is famously used in web development and may not be all that easy to learn for newbies, but it certainly does work wonders and magic. The best part about the internet are the numerous free resources offered on pretty much everything known to mankind and since this particular posts regards PHP, we shall be focusing on that. PHP has allowed web developers around the world to make the web a better environment. It supports several features that automate several processes making your job easier. If you are looking to learn this language, which we believe a developer should, you have come to the right place.

Their list includes tools like:

Check out the full post for the entire list, screenshots of them in action and links to the project sites.

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Link: http://inspiretrends.com/35-useful-php-classes-libraries-for-efficient-development/

NetTus.com:
Understanding PhpSpec
September 04, 2014 @ 11:09:42

The NetTuts.com site (well, TutsPlus) has posted a new tutorial that gets you more intimate with PhpSpec, a PHP-based testing tool that lets you define tests as specifications and using behavior-driven development principles. If you need an introduction to the tool, check out this other tutorial first.

If you compare PhpSpec to other testing frameworks, you will find that it is a very sophisticated and opinionated tool. One of the reasons for this, is that PhpSpec is not a testing framework like the ones you already know. Instead, it is a design tool that helps describing behavior of software. A side effect of describing the behavior of software with PhpSpec, is that you will end up with specs that will also serve as tests afterwards. In this article, we will take a look under the hood of PhpSpec and try to gain a deeper understanding of how it works and how to use it.

They provide a quick overview of some of the internals of the PhpSpec tool and a brief look at the difference between BDD (behavior-driven) and TDD (test-driven) development practices. There's also a look at how the tool differs from the popular PHP testing tool PHPUnit. Code examples are provided through out the post with simple tests, making the separation between the methods and tools easier to follow.

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Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/understanding-phpspec--cms-21915

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Mock your Test Dependencies with Mockery
June 26, 2014 @ 14:26:58

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today by Peter Nijssen showing how to use a library that's an alternative to the internal PHPUnit mock handling. The post shows you how to use Mockery to test your applications and abstract out any outside dependencies.

Although not everyone is doing it yet, testing your application is one of the most essential parts of being a developer. Unit tests are the most common tests to run. With unit tests, you can check if a class behaves exactly like you intended it too. Sometimes, you are using a third party service within your application and it's hard to get everything set up to get this unit tested. That's exactly when mocking comes into play.

He starts with a brief introduction to the concept of mocking before getting into his examples. He shows how to get it installed (via Composer) and how to add it as a test listener to your PHPUnit configuration file. He then gets into an actual example: mocking out an external API dependency for a weather service. He shows a simple one-method mock example as well as a more complex example using a more randomized result rather than just a static one.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/mock-test-dependencies-mockery/

Codacy.com:
Review of PHP Static Analysis Tools
May 09, 2014 @ 11:35:15

The Codacy.com blog has posted a review of various static analysis tools for PHP-based applications. These tools can help provided quality and consistency in your code in a more automated way.

Maintaining code quality over time is a hard challenge. It becomes even harder in large projects developed by many programmers. Each person has different code styles and different ways to approach problems. Over time, this may result in confusing and unmaintainable code. Static analysis tools can help developers solve this problem, they enforce coding standards, detect common errors and cleanup code blocks.

Tools mentioned in the post include: PHP_CodeSniffer, the PHP Mess Detector and the PHP Copy & Paste Detector. Each comes with an example of the command to execute it and some sample results. They also talk briefly about where and how these tools could fit into your current workflow, either during development or as a part of a full deployment process.

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Link: http://blog.codacy.com/2014/05/06/php-static-analysis-tools/


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