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Jordi Boggiano:
My view of PHP version adoption
November 18, 2014 @ 09:28:12

Jordi Boggiano has a new post today sharing some of his own insights about PHP version adoption but, unlike some of the raw numbers shared before, his perspective comes from aggregating data from Packagist.

Pascal's number are interesting but I believe they have a bias towards older PHP versions. I would argue that people configuring their servers properly are also those that tend to keep up to date with newer versions, and part of the best practices is to avoid publishing the software versions you are using (i.e. disable expose_php in php.ini). If I am correct here that means early adopters are mis-represented in those numbers. In any case, I do have another biased dataset to present so here it comes! I looked in the packagist.org logs of the last fifty days for GET /packages.json which represents a composer update done by someone.

He notes that the data is biased towards development machines (not always running the same version as their production counterparts) but that it shouldn't skew the numbers too much. He compares two different datasets, one from November 2013 and the other from November 2014, showing a major change in the overall numbers and moving the largest version used up from 5.3.10 to 5.5.9. He also shares some interesting statistics around the requirements developers are putting on Packagist packages...that have basically remained the same over the past year (sadly).

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jordiboggiano version adoption packagist statistics

Link: http://seld.be/notes/my-view-of-php-version-adoption

Matt Stauffer:
Introducing Laravel Homestead 2.0
November 17, 2014 @ 10:41:45

In his latest post Matt Stauffer has posted a guide to the latest release of the Laravel Homestead project, version 2.0, walking you through the installation, configuration and validation of this virtual machine.

When Laravel Homestead first came out, it was a Github repository that included a base Homestead.yaml by default. There was no prescribed place to install it, no global commands for accessing the box, and any time you actually customized your Homestead.yaml file you instantly dirtied your Homestead Github clone, making upgrading difficult.

You can guess where I'm going with this. All of these things are problems no more. The latest version of the Homestead ecosystem has just been released, and it's moved Homestead into a globally installable Composer package which copies Homestead.yaml (and any other user-editable files) into ~/.homestead on your machine.

He covers the two different ways you'd get this updated version - the fresh install (no previous VM installed) and the upgrade path. For each all of the commands and configuration updates you'll need are included. He also points out some of the new features and handling as he goes along.

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laravel homestead version introduction install configure setup tutorial

Link: http://mattstauffer.co/blog/introducing-laravel-homestead-2.0

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Joomla's Coming of Age
November 13, 2014 @ 12:56:15

In the latest post to the SitePoint PHP blog Adedayo Adeniyi talks about Joomla's "coming of age" and some of the changes that have come/are coming in the latest versions.

Over the years, there has been a healthy rivalry between the main CMSes in use on the planet: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!, and all three have hosts of die-hard fans that would pitch for their favorites over the others any day. Don't worry, I'm not about to add to the high pile of subjective CMS comparison posts available on the web. Instead, I will briefly review all the recent changes in Joomla! that have modernized it for the present day developer - from version 3.0 onwards (currently 3.3).

She talks about some of the most recent changes including easier updating, the tool being mobile friendly out of the box and more flexible user access handling. She also mentions the improvements in "developer friendliness" and that it's become a good bit more security-conscious. Other topics mentioned include the JED (Joomla Extension Directory), smart search/tagging and improved database handling.

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joomla improvement version update cms contentmanagement

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/joomlas-coming-age/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
How to Run Multiple Versions of PHP on One Server
November 07, 2014 @ 10:54:27

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial by Thien Tran Duy showing you how to run multiple versions of PHP all on the same server. The key is in using a few custom configuration options (you'll be compiling PHP manually for this) to place the different versions in different locations.

In this particular post, we'll demo a solution to install multiple versions of Phalcon and PHP and run them on a single web server. PHP 5.5.x and 5.6.x will be used here, but you can replace them with other versions. Any servers that support PHP-FPM should be enough but we recommend using Nginx. The environment used in this tutorial is Fedora OS - a Linux system, but the instructions are almost identical for any other *nix OS.

The tutorial also includes the installation of a few other PHP extensions including APC caching, memcache and ioncube. He walks you through the installation of Nginx first to get the web server up and running. Then he starts in on the PHP installs and the requirements to ensure you have to be able to compile from the PHP source. He shows how to pull the different versions of PHP down (5.3, 5.4, 5.6 and master) from the GitHub repository and execute the "buildconf" to make the configure script. He includes the example configuration command with options, ensuring it will work with PHP-FPM and the Nginx server. He then reproduces the process, making slight changes, for the other versions of PHP. Finally, he shows the installation of the two different versions of Phalcon and configuring it to all work with the installed web server.

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multiple version one server language tutorial phpfpm nginx

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/run-multiple-versions-php-one-server/

Phil Sturgeon:
Composer It's ALMOST Always About the Lock File
November 05, 2014 @ 11:44:49

In his latest post Phil Sturgeon talks about a point that's been argued on both sides of the Composer users out there - whether or not to commit the "composer.lock" file. Phil talks some about it in his article and suggests that you should commit it for applications but not for components.

If you and your employees are a little vague with your composer.json specifications and you don't have a composer.lock then you can end up on different versions between you. Theoretically, if component developers are using SemVer and you're being careful then you should be fine, but keeping your lock in version control will make sure that the same version is on your dev teams computers. This will happen every time you run $ composer install. If you are on Heroku or EngineYard then this will be used for the deployment of your production components as a built in hook, which is awesome.

He mentions an article from Davey Shafik, this being his reaction to it. He suggests, though, that an absolute of "always commit for components" may be too much and could potentially cause other problems. He points out that since the "composer.lock" handling is local to the directory, you can hit up against version requirement issues between them in your application as a whole. He wonders "how strict is too strict" when defining dependencies and some things to think about (like your users) when making the choice to upgrade the libraries you use.

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composer composerlock file commit version semanticversioning semver component application

Link: https://philsturgeon.uk/blog/2014/11/composer-its-almost-always-about-the-lock-file

PHP.net:
New Supported Versions Timeline Page
October 29, 2014 @ 11:18:40

The PHP.net website has introduced a new feature to help make it a bit clearer which versions of PHP are supported and which have reached their end-of-life mark. This new Supported versions page off the main site provides listings of currently supported versions and graphical timelines of past (and future) support milestones.

Each release branch of PHP is fully supported for two years from its initial stable release. During this period, bugs and security issues that have been reported are fixed and are released in regular point releases. After this two year period of active support, each branch is then supported for an additional year for critical security issues only. Releases during this period are made on an as-needed basis: there may be multiple point releases, or none, depending on the number of reports.

The page includes information on when the initial release in a series was made (like the 5.4.x or 5.5.x series), when active support did/will end and how long the timeline is for security fixes and support. As of the time of this post, PHP 5.3.x is the only series that has reached end-of-life, but the 5.4.x series is coming close being in security fix only mode now and EOL-ing completely in ten months.

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version support timeline page phpnet release bugfix security

Link: http://php.net/supported-versions.php

Pascal Martin:
PHP Version Statistics - October 2014
October 28, 2014 @ 11:23:13

Pascal Martin's latest post (in French, but the English version is coming soon) shares some statistics he's gathered around the usage of various software around the web, more specifically those involved in web-based applications.

I've collected statistics about the use of different PHP versions several times. The first time was in September 2011 and the most recent was in November 2013. At this point, PHP 5.2 still accounted for 34.4% of all PHP installations with PHP 5.3 moving up to 48.7%. This new data was collected the weekend of October 19th, 2014. At this point, the current stable versions of PHP are 5.4.34, 5.5.18 and 5.6.2. PHP 5.3 is no longer maintained (since August 14th 2014) and PHP 5.2 hasn't been supported for 4 years now.

He's broken up the statistics into a few different sections:

  • Web server software
  • Usage of major versions of PHP
  • Usage of minor versions of PHP
  • Versions in use under each of the major version numbers

He includes both the raw numbers (percentages) and some graphs showing the results in a bit more consumable fashion. It's interesting to see that, despite it being quite an old version now, PHP 5.3.x still has the largest share in the usage results.

UPDATE: He's posted the English version now as well.

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usage statistics oct2014 version major minor webserver

Link: http://blog.pascal-martin.fr/post/statistiques-versions-php-2014-10

Rafael Dohms:
Installing Composer Packages
October 14, 2014 @ 12:04:58

Maybe you've heard about Composer and how it makes working with PHP libraries and packages easier. There's lots of articles (besides the project documentation) that can help you get started but Rafael Dohms has just shared an excellent overview of versioning and the features the tool makes available to fine tune your requirements to just the right level.

I have been putting together a new talk about Composer, and that means looking around the community, doing loads of research and trying to identify the items that need to be covered in a talk. Mostly I have been trying to identify things that people do on a regular basis that according to composer internals is either wrong or not ideal. One such thing that I have found is the proper selection of versions, and that also led me to find a new feature in composer that makes everyone's life so much easier. So let me break this down.

He starts with a look at the selection of the actual version you'll need and how Composer treats each type of version match (strict vs wildcards vs a mix of the two). He shows an example of adding one of these version strings to a "composer,json" file, both manually and via a command line call.

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composer version package require install tutorial

Link: http://blog.doh.ms/2014/10/13/installing-composer-packages/

Lorna Mitchell:
How to Choose PHP Hosting
October 10, 2014 @ 09:15:36

Lorna Mitchell has a new post today sharing some helpful hints to help you pick a good PHP hosting provider for your next application or website.

I've been thinking a lot about the state of hosting in PHP lately, mostly as a result of working with a few different clients on their setups (including one that bought brand new hosting a month ago and got a PHP 5.3.3 platform), and also being at DrupalCon and meeting a community who is about to make a big change to their minimum requirements. With that in mind, here are my thoughts and tips on choosing hosting.

She starts off with one of the bigger criteria she looks for in a host: the minimum PHP version available (some might have more than one, especially some PaaS). She suggests that even things like PHP 5.3 should be considered too old and should be passed over in favor of newer releases like 5.5 or even 5.6. She then talks about some of the benefits that come from using a newer platform and the current levels of adoption and performance by PHP version. Finally, she includes an unofficial list of hosts that have set themselves out as good, solid PHP-friendly providers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

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choose hosting provider paas dedicated version performance

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2014/how-to-choose-php-hosting

SitePoint PHP Blog:
How to Use PHPbrew and VirtPHP
October 06, 2014 @ 13:08:41

Phil Sturgeon has written up a new tutorial for the SitePoint PHP blog showing you how to use PHPbrew and VirtPHP to be able to work with more than one PHP version on the same system.

We've all been in the situation where we have one version installed. Maybe that version is whatever came installed on our operating system. Maybe it is a version bundled into MAMP/WAMP/XAMPP. How do you go about switching that PHP version? How do you switch to one version, then switch back again? How do you go about switching that version of PHP, but only for one single application on your computer? The Ruby and Python communities have had tools for dealing with this for years. PHP has them now too, but there was nowhere near enough fanfare.

He starts with PHPbrew and walks you through a basic install and configuration of a version of PHP 5.6.0. He shows how to add extension support and switch between the different PHP versions at will. Next comes the look at VirtPHP, a similar system that takes a little bit different approach. It creates "environments" that contain the PHP version to a bit more isolated setup. With an environment created, VirtPHP lets you install PECL extensions without changing anything globally. He ends the post with a comparison to how most developers (developing locally) handle their setup and mentions Vagrant, but notes that it may be a bit much for the solo developer.

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virtphp phpbrew tutorial multiple version install configure

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/use-phpbrew-virtphp/


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