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Simon Holywell:
Memoization or function cache
May 18, 2015 @ 11:09:17

Simon Holywell's latest post shares an interesting feature of PHP's static function handling that lets you cache the results of a function call to improve performance.

A little known feature of PHP's static keyword is that it allows for memoization or function caching. This is a process whereby a functions heavy lifting can be cached so that subsequent calls are faster. It is possible to store any value in a memoized way such as arrays or even objects. This is done without any external side effects - that is to say that the code calling the function will require no changes to support memoization.

He includes an example of this in action, showing the use of a "static" keyword on a variable over two function calls. He goes through and explains how it works and the flow of the simple function. He builds this up a bit and shows the same functionality in the handling (and parsing) of a JSON document. He then gets more into the "real world" usage of this kind of static handling, pointing out that it can be very useful for caching without the need for an external service (like memcache or redis). His final example shows the caching of a function call using the same method and dependent on the arguments provided.

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function cache static example tutorial memoization

Link: https://www.simonholywell.com/post/2015/05/memoization-or-function-cache/

Zend:
Turbocharging the Web with PHP 7 (Infographic)
May 14, 2015 @ 09:06:35

In the /r/php subreddit on the Reddit.com site there's a new post that links over to this infographic from Zend sharing some of their own benchmark results for PHP 7 (and comparing it to other versions).

We ran performance benchmarks on popular PHP apps to compare PHP 5.6, PHP 7, and HHVM 3.7.

Their benchmarks includes results for:

  • Magento (1.9)
  • Drupal
  • WordPress
  • Laravel and Zend Framework
  • SugarCRM

They also compare PHP 7 against other languages, showing the execution in seconds when generating a Mandelbrot fractal.

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zend infographic performance benchmark php7 php56 hhvm

Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/35vf1y/get_performance_insight_into_the_upcoming_release/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Top 10 Z-Ray Features to Check Out
March 26, 2015 @ 09:50:23

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today from Daniel Berman (of Zend) with the top 10 features of Z-Ray to be sure to check out. Disclaimer: Z-Ray is a tool provided by Zend, a part of their Zend Server product.

Necessity is the mother of invention goes the famous saying. For PHP developers, there is no greater need than visibility. But developers today have a tough choice to make as they develop and debug their apps. Either use crude methods such as printing, debugging information, or storing it in a log file, or - use multiple debugging/profiling tools that are awkward and require a lot of work from the developer's side. [...] This article introduces the top 10 features of Z-Ray - an innovative new technology from Zend that makes PHP development a whole lot quicker and easier by giving developers unprecedented insight into their code - and the visibility they need to develop top-notch apps.

Among the items on their Top 10 list are things like:

  • Viewing information about page requests
  • Execution time and memory consumption
  • Showing errors and warnings
  • Viewing functions called during execution
  • Debugging features for mobile apps and APIs

Check out the full post for a list of more features and screenshots/detail on each one.

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zend zray zendserver top10 list features screenshot

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/top-10-z-ray-features-check/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Exploring the Cache API in Drupal 8
February 26, 2015 @ 11:41:45

On the SitePoint PHP blog today there's a new tutorial (by Daniel Sipos) talking about the Drupal 8 cache and showing how to use it in an example, caching the latest post data pulled from the Drupal content.

Drupal 8 comes with many improvements over its predecessor we have grown to both love and hate. Next to prominent systems such as Views in core, configuration management or a useful translation service, there are also less known changes but that are equally important to know and use. One such improvement has been the cache API that solves many performance problems we have in Drupal 7.

They start with a basic introduction to the new cache handing and how the caches are separated out into different "bins" rather than all stored in one place. He includes sample code showing how to: save data to the cache, getting information back out and invalidating the cache to be handled by garbage collection. He also covers the cache tags, a feature that allows you to "tag" items across multiple caches and remove/invalidate them all at the same time. He wraps up the post getting into the more practical example showing the caching at work in a controller caching the contents of the posts to the Drupal site.

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drupal cache drupal8 tutorial introduction improvement

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/exploring-cache-api-drupal-8/

Zend Blog:
Developing a Z-Ray Extension
February 25, 2015 @ 11:54:41

Zend recently introduced their Z-Ray inspection tool that allows you to see inside your application and know what's happening in your code, your database and has support for major PHP projects. In this new post to their blog they show you how to develop a custom extension for the Z-Ray system.

One of the coolest features in Z-Ray is the ability to plug in your own extensions. Meaning, you can customize existing Z-Ray panels or add your own personalized Z-Ray panel for displaying information you think is important for developing your specific application. This short tutorial will describe how to write a basic extension for Z-Ray. More specifically, we'll be writing a Z-Ray extension for WordPress that extracts and displays a list of loaded WordPress plugins.

They give you a list of things you'll need to set up before you can get started including a simple WordPress installation on a Zend Server instance. With these in place they help you create the "zray.php" file to define the extension, how to enable it and setting up a "trace" on a function to hook it into the execution. They then dump the WP plugin information and reformat it a bit to show only the list of names and versions in the output panel. As a last touch, they add a logo to the panel to show in the bottom menubar with the WordPress logo.

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zray zend extension custom wordpress tutorial plugin

Link: http://blog.zend.com/2015/02/25/developing-z-ray-extension

NetTuts.com:
Using Plugins to Speed Up WordPress
February 23, 2015 @ 09:54:06

On the NetTuts.com site today they've posted the first part of their "Speeding Up WordPress" series - Using Plugins to Speed Up WordPress. In this start to the series, they show you how to use two methods to speed up your WordPress installation: using caching and database optimization.

One of the most popular talking points in the WordPress community is speeding up WordPress and optimizing web pages. I don't think there is a WordPress blog without an "X Tips to Speed Up WordPress" article. Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing. But we need better articles about this topic instead of dull plugin round-ups. This may look like yet another "tips for speeding up WordPress" tutorial, but in this three-part series, we're going to go through every aspect of optimizing and speeding up your WordPress website.

They start with caching and show how do both client and server-side caching using techniques both inside and outside of WordPress itself. They also link to two plugins to help with the server-side handling. Following the caching talk they look at optimizing the database. They point you towards the WP-Optimize plugin as the best way to squeeze the most performance from your database (without breaking how WordPress works).

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plugin wordpress speed optimizae cache database

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/using-plugins-to-speed-up-wordpress--cms-22055

Julien Pauli:
On PHP function calls
January 22, 2015 @ 09:58:39

Julien Pauli has a new post today sharing an interesting function optimization he found using the Blackfire execution profiler.

This blog post is a technical explanation of a PHP optimization found with BlackFire profiler into a PHP script. The related post is located here : http://blog.blackfire.io/owncloud.html

He found that a replacement of a call to strlen with an isset optimized the script by about 20%. It's not typical though, he explains. He points out that the optimization worked so well because the call was part of a loop. He gets into some of the "under the covers" details of why this speed boost happens and even includes the op code output showing the difference. He then starts getting deep into the internal code for PHP and walks through each step made in the evaluation of a string's length. He finishes the post looking at isset (not technically a function) and how it handles its data checking. He also includes information about opcode caching and how to best maximize its impact.

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function call strlen loop isset internals opcode cache performance

Link: http://jpauli.github.io/2015/01/22/on-php-function-calls.html

Joshua Thijssen:
Debugging Symfony components
January 02, 2015 @ 09:44:53

Joshua Thijssen has a quick new post today talking about debugging Symfony components, sharing a simple but useful hint.

Don't you hate it when you are stepping through your debugger during a Symfony application debug session, and all of a sudden it cannot find files anymore as Symfony uses code located in the bootstrap.php.cache instead of the actual Symfony component. Symfony creates these cache-classes in order to speed up execution, but it makes that xdebug cannot find the correct code to step through anymore.

He found a solution in a few changes to his "app_dev.php" bootstrap file to alter the location of the autoloader and disable cache loading. This prevents issues with Symfony trying to access cached versions and use the actual files and locations, making debuggers much more happy.

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debug symfony component tip cache disable dev

Link: https://www.adayinthelifeof.nl/2014/12/31/debugging-symfony-components/

Liip Blog:
Functional Programming in PHP
November 06, 2014 @ 12:20:35

On the Liip blog today there's a tutorial from Gilles Crettenand giving you an overview of functional programming in PHP. While PHP is not normally used as a functional language, it is possible to simulate the same effect.

Functional programming has gained a lot of traction those 3 to 5 last years. [...] Those [frameworks and languages] are all cool and shiny new toys, but we can benefit from some techniques without having to learn a new tool, just by applying some principles to our everyday PHP! But first of all, what exactly is functional programing?

He starts off with some of the basics of functional programming, some of the difficulties that can come with it and, of course, the advantages it can provide. From here he starts in with code examples. He shows how functions become "first-class citizens" and how they can be applied to various elements. He illustrates this with a few array manipulation examples. Next up are "utility functions" for evaluating the data given (like "any" or "all"). He ends the post looking at the idea of "memoization", or the caching of the results of function calls against data. He shows how to accomplish this with static local variables in PHP and includes a wrapper you can pass any callable function into and have the results cache automatically.

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functional programming introduction language function cache

Link: http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2014/11/05/functional-programing-in-php.html

Zumba Tech Blog:
Caching CakePHP 2.x routes
October 28, 2014 @ 10:47:02

On the Zumba Tech Blog today there's a new post with some helpful hints around caching routes in CakePHP 2.x to help optimize the requests and response time even further.

At Zumba we are continuously looking for optimization in our applications. These optimizations help to reduce the server loads, consequently reducing the number of servers and saving money. Besides that, it gives a better user experience for the end user by serving content faster and in some cases saving on consumer bandwidth (specially for mobile users). This week we profiled our app using Xdebug profiler and we identified the router was responsible for a big part of the request time. [...] In order to optimize the routing time, we started looking at options to optimize our routing process. After some research and deep checking in our codebase as well as CakePHP's code, we found we could cache the routes easily.

Taking a cue from how FastRoute does their caching, their implementation uses a temporary file with the routes completely resolved and written out for easier handling. Since the routing is relatively static, this method works well and can be much faster than resolving them every time. They talk about some of the work done to optimize their method and some of the issues they came across during the process.

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cakephp framework cache route file resolve

Link: http://tech.zumba.com/2014/10/26/cakephp-caching-routes/


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