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Loosely Coupled:
Episode 19 How We Work
February 13, 2015 @ 09:45:50

The Loosely Coupled podcast has posted their latest episode today - Episode #19, How We Work. Join hosts Jeff Carouth and Matt Frost as they talk about work life, personal life and what tools, processes and techniques they've used during their careers to get the job done.

In this episode Jeff and Matt explore how they go about organizing their work life and our personal lives. They cover the idea of how the process evolves depending on your environment and even your personal inclinations. In 2011, Jeff wrote a blog post about the tools he used back then and realized that it has changed a little but for the most part works for him. They cover some pitfalls of processes that require tickets/stories to be broken down into parts where developers cannot understand what they're doing or why, and how they've learned over time to get to that information. They also talked about learning how to be professionals and defend against situations that would impact your work or your code in negative ways. Finally they touch on Matt's work scheduling experiment which is inspired by the Makers Schedule versus the Managers Schedule and how it has helped him be more productive.

You can listen to this latest episode either by using the in-page audio player or by downloading the episode directly and listening at your leisure. Be sure to subscribe to their feed or follow them on Twitter for the latest updates and show announcements.

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Link: http://looselycoupled.info/blog/2015/02/12/episode-19-how-we-work/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
PHP Tips, Resources and Best Practices for 2015
January 05, 2015 @ 09:59:18

The SitePoint PHP blog has shared a list of their suggestions of the best tips, resources and best practices for 2015. This includes tips about your environments, tools and techniques you can use to improve your everyday work.

PHP has had many reputations over the years, but being insecure as a language never really was one of them. The core team, all its faults notwithstanding, is rather quick in pouncing on all security matters, and updating PHP to the latest version will often allay all worries. But the end users, such as we are, tend to mess things up. We don't update, we use outdated packages or packages with holes in them we're not aware of, we use ancient extensions… we expose ourselves to risk in some truly creative ways.

Some of the things mentioned include:

  • Keeping your PHP up to date
  • Adopt HTTPS
  • Secure your PHP
  • Stay on the Right Way
  • Avoid Bad Packages
  • Dodge common mistakes
  • Use Virtualization

Each section comes with a description and plenty of links to point you in a good direction and get you started off right for 2015.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/php-tips-resources-best-practices-2015/

Acquia Blog:
The Future of PHP is Shared Power Tools
October 17, 2014 @ 09:06:42

On the Acquia blog there's a recent post from Ryan Weaver from KnpLabs, well known for his contributions to the Symfony2 framework. In his post he suggests that the future of PHP is "shared power tools", less around the monolithic frameworks or installable software and more about the combinations of small pieces of code doing exactly what they need and nothing more.

[Things like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress are] painstakingly thought about and solved the same problems from scratch. And despite that, the results were incredible. How? Because they leveraged the sheer size and passion of their respective PHP communities. But it makes me wonder: what crazy things could we build if we worked together? Fortunately, we're on our way to finding that out. The PHP world is transforming and the individual armies and empires are blurring together.

He talks about how PHP developers should stop fighting the same battles and start working together using existing libraries to solve problems. He points out that applications, even the big names, are becoming more and more modular. Even Drupal has recently made the move to include Symfony packages for some of its functionality (other examples are given too). He also talks about "developer experience" in using these tools, what Symfony is doing to help it and how building on these and other components is essentially "standing on the shoulders of giants" to solve problems easier, faster and with better quality code.

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Link: https://www.acquia.com/blog/future-php-shared-power-tools

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

Reddit.com:
PHP devs -What are your 'must have' tools and apps?
June 23, 2014 @ 12:54:45

If you're a PHP developer and are looking for some new tools to "up your game" and improve your development life, check out this new post to /r/php on Reddit.com. Developers of all kinds have shared tools they've found useful in their own development (and maybe you can too).

In other words, what tools make your development life easier and why? Can be anything from database design to FTP clients to workflow planners. Which tools can you just not live without?

Among the many tools on the list are things like:

  • PHP CodeSniffer
  • PHPUnit
  • IDEs like PHPStorm, Netbeans and editors like Sublime Text
  • Git
  • Composer
  • Vagrant/VirtualBox
  • Xdebug
  • Redis
  • Behat

Check out the full post for the complete (and growing) list.

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Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/28r11n/php_devs_what_are_your_must_have_tools_and_apps/

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

Wojciech Sznapka:
Software developers care too much about tools
April 29, 2014 @ 09:17:24

In his latest post Wojciech Sznapka suggests that software developers care too much about tools and not enough about software quality and structure.

Lately I see perilous situation in software development area. There are plenty of good devs so much bounded to tools. By tools, I mean mostly frameworks. [...] First of all, we all need to admit, that quality of modern MVC framework raised a lot, comparing with state of things few years ago. [...] On the other hand, there's huge temptation to write own frameworks, ignoring the great work of community.

He talks about more of the benefits of using a framework but instead of being dependent on it for your application, make it just another tool. He recommends quality, decoupled and well-designed code separate from the framework. Additionally, he suggests using things like domain driven design to encourage reusability and accurately modeled business needs in the code.

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Link: http://blog.sznapka.pl/software-developers-care-too-much-about-tools

PHPMaster.com:
PHP News You May Have Missed
April 24, 2014 @ 10:30:22

PHPMaster.com has posted some news you might have missed that's happened in the development and open source communities recently. In the post Bruno Skvorc covers updates to projects, resources and various online tools/environments related to PHP.

The last month or two have been chock full of small news and releases not warranting a full story in their own right but still interesting, I've decided to make a small compilation and direct your attention to the interesting developments around us. Just because we don't cover something immediately, doesn't mean we don't notice or care.

Included in the post are updates about:

  • Ubuntu 14.04. LTS
  • Google App Engine 1.9.1 - 1.9.3
  • Hack
  • Phalcon 2 beta 1
  • the Zend Framework 2 Certified Architect certification
  • Zend Framework 3 Progress

...and several more. Check out the full post for more information on these and several other recent happenings around the web.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/news-may-missed

Mastering Zend Framework:
Gary Hockin's Maximising Zend Framework 2 Performance Talk (Review)
February 28, 2014 @ 10:33:30

From the Master Zend Framework blog there's a new post reviewing a talk from this year's PHPUK (2014) from Gary Hockin, "Maximising Zend Framework 2 Performance".

Whether you're new to Zend Framework 2, or an old hand (can someone really say they're an old hand after such a short period of time?) the talk covered a range of tools, tips, and techniques for increasing application performance. This wasn't an academic run through; it was a talk based on practical, hands-on, experience from Gary's time as a core ZF2 contributor, and his work at Roave, Yamgo and AdSpruce.

The post talks some about the tools Gary used to benchmark his improvements and some common metrics to be aware of in your own results. Xdebug and Xhprof were also recommended for more introspection into what the application is doing and where the bottlenecks lie.

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phpuk14 zendframework performance tools talk session

Link: http://www.masterzendframework.com/reviews/maximising-zend-framework-2-performance-phpuk14

Rob Allen:
Global installation of PHP tools with Composer
December 23, 2013 @ 09:39:13

Rob Allen has a quick post today showing how to use Composer to globally install tools and libraries on your system.

The Composer package manager along with the Packagist repository site is quickly becoming the defacto PHP package management system. One feature I found out about recently is that you can install packages globally rather than locally into your project. I think that this is most useful for development tools, such as PHPUnit which are then available everywhere.

He includes the command syntax you'll need to do the global install, showing an example with the popular PHP unit testing tool PHPUnit. There's also a "global update" command you can use to update these packages (or add more) later on too.

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global install tools composer example command

Link: http://akrabat.com/php/global-installation-of-php-tools-with-composer/


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