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December 4, 2014

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Welcome back to your favourite weekly PHP newsletter :)

This week the SitePoint team has posted PHP news that you may have missed over the past month or so.

Also, on the WordPress site is a quick explanation of their most popular plugins, and some of the popular alternatives.

This week the Voices of the ElePHPant interview was recorded during this year's ZendCon, with Cal Evans talking to four developers.

Plus the That Podcast team touch on PHP conferences and Podcast co-hosts.

If you are interested in sponsoring PHPs most popular weekly newsletter, drop me an email on [email protected].

Have a great weekend folks,


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PHP News You May Have Missed – October/November 2014
In an already all too familiar format on the SitePoint website, here’s more PHP news you may have missed over the past month or so. Some of these will be presented in more depth in future posts, but it’s just as important to have a heads up about them.’s Most Popular Plugins for 2014
You might have noticed that lists the most popular plugins in the right sidebar in the plugins directory. As we’re nearing the end of 2014, I thought it would be interesting to not only provide a quick explanation of each of these plugins, but to also explore some of the other popular alternatives. Just because a plugin is listed in the most popular list, doesn’t always mean it’s the best fit for your project.

Why Developers Love and Hate PHP
PHP, the venerable server-side scripting language, is famous for its use in Web development. Like any technology, however, it has its devotees and bashers. Here's why advocates swear by PHP and why some dissenters might swear at it.

Tutorials and Talks

Building an Internationalised Blog with FigDice
Part one of this two-part series started looking at FigDice, a PHP templating system that takes a slightly different approach to most. In this second and final part we’re going to add a simple blog to our example site, which allows us to look in more detail at Figdice’s concept of data feeds. We’ll also look at internationalisation, translating some of the site’s content into a couple of additional languages.

It's All About Time
An interesting pull request has been opened against PHP to make bin2hex() constant time. This has led to some interesting discussion on the mailing list. There has been pretty good coverage over remote timing attacks in PHP, but they talk about string comparison. In this post, Anthony Ferrara talks about other types of timing attacks.

Installing and Securing Jenkins
Earlier this year there was an article on the SitePoint website about PHP-CI, which you can use as a continuous integration tool for your PHP projects. Jenkins was the preferred CI tool, and this article dives into Jenkins to see how to set this up for a PHP project.

MongoDB Tutorials: Aggregation Framework
The MongoDB Aggregation Framework groups sets of documents together, and performs certain operations on this group, returning results in the form of documents.

PHP 7: Introducing a Domain Name Validator and Making the URL Validator Stricter
DNS comes with a set of rules defining valid domain names. A domain name cannot exceed 255 octets (RFC 1034) and each label cannot exceed 63 octets (RFC 1035). It can contain any character (RFC 2181) but extra rules apply for hostnames (A and MX records, data of SOA and NS records): only alphanumeric ASCII characters and hyphens are allowed in labels (we’ll talk about IDNs at the end of this post), and they cannot start nor end with a hyphen.

Puli: Powerful Resource Management for PHP
Since the introduction of Composer and the autoloading standards PSR-0 and PSR-4, the PHP community changed a lot. Not so long ago, it was difficult to integrate third-party code into your application. Now, it has become a matter of running a command on the terminal and including Composer’s autoload file. As a result, developers share and reuse much more code than ever before.

Digging in to Laravel's IoC Container
Inversion of Control, or IoC, is a technique that allows control to be inverted when compared to classical procedural code. The most prominent form of IoC is, of course, Dependency Injection, or DI. Laravel's IoC container is one of the most used Laravel features, yet is probably the least understood.

How to Build an OctoberCMS Theme
October CMS is the new star in the sky of CMSes. Built on top of Laravel, it promises joyful coding and a back to basics approach. Read our introduction here and find out how to build plugins for it here. In this article, we’re going to see how we can build a theme.

Generate Notifications From Your Web App With the Pushover API
Pushover is a great service, which makes it easy and inexpensive for developers to send push notifications to iOS and Android devices without having to develop their own application.
News and Announcements

Symfony CMF Hackdays in Würzburg - 12-13th December 2014
The Mayflower Gmbh will host the next Symfony CMF Hackday in Würzburg, Germany. It will be focused on the roadmap for the 1.3 release. We are going to have nearly two days of hacking and pushing the CMF forward to the next version.

Midwest PHP Conference: March 14-15th 2015, Minneapolis
Now in its third year, the conference will bring together developers from across the PHP community to learn about modern web development practices across a range of technologies, including PHP, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and more. Ticket details available soon.

Sunshine PHP Conference - February 5-7th 2015, Miami
Hosted by the South Florida PHP Community, early bird tickets are on sale now. With some of the best speakers, awesome talk topics, latest technologies and up to date news in PHP, as well as a Hackathon and an Unconference, this year's event has something for every level of PHP developer.

Reading and Viewing

Voices of the ElePHPant: It's The Booze Talking - Zendcon 2014
During ZendCon, several weeks ago, Cal Evans talked to four developer "evangelists" about the pros and cons of the job.

Static Sites with Sculpin
We can build anything we want with PHP, be it a small blog for ourselves or a giant world-spanning social media network. There are times, though, that we do not need all of the dynamic goodness that PHP brings and we just need a site that sits there. Sculpin is a static site generator that leverages the power of PHP and Twig to allow developers to quickly generate flat HTML sites, but completely automate the process of stitching all of that HTML together. This video runs through getting started with Sculpin and the power that it provides.

PHP and JavaScript Innovation Award Podcast Report November 2014 Edition - August 2014 nominees
This is the November edition of the Innovation Award podcast hangout recorded by Manuel Lemos and Arturs Sosins, to comment on the outstanding features of all the past month nominees' and winners' PHP and JavaScript packages, and the prizes that the authors earned, starting with the nominees from the month of August 2014. Listen to the podcast, or watch the hangout video, or read the transcript to learn why the nominated packages were considered to be innovative.

That Podcast Episode 11: The One that Dave Thought was Kinda Wishy Washy
Beau and Dave have officially crossed beyond the 10 episode milestone but were forced to keep things short because of various scheduling conflicts. Oddly enough, the actual topic of the episode was supposed to be along the lines of "making the time for projects and things" so that should make for a fun episode 12. That will be so meta. This time, though, they discuss what it looks like for podcast co-hosts to not always get along, colour blindness, recent and upcoming PHP conferences, PHP-FIG, recent happenings at work, and more fun encryption stuff. For those of you who like them to keep it short, this one is for you!

Heroku Cookbook (by Mike Coutermarsh, published 26th November 2014)
This practical guide is packed with step-by-step solutions to problems faced by every production-level web application hosted on Heroku. You'll quickly get comfortable with managing your Heroku applications from the command line and then learn everything you need to know to deploy and administer production-level web applications.

The Loosely Coupled Podcast: Episode 14 - The Not-So-Secret Life of Remote Developers
In this episode, Jeff and Matt talk about some things they have learned about being remote developers. While both are currently employed as remote developers they have also worked in on-site jobs. This episode is a collection of things that might be different, things to expect, things that might be hard, and, of course, whether you need to wear pants.


To post a job advert please contact [email protected]

Fuzzy Matching Project Work
We are looking for someone to help on a specific project which will involve matching products on one website with products on another website. Someone with skills and demonstrable experience of matching algorithms is a necessity. If you can’t prove that you can do this kind of work please do not contact us. For the right person there is ongoing exciting work. In the first instance please contact us at [email protected] with “Fuzzy matching project” as the subject and we will then create a shortlist, providing the shortlist with information about our company.

Toptal PHP Developer
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Interesting Projects, Tools and Libraries

Concise is a test framework for using plain English and minimal code, built on PHPUnit.

Simple mocking library for PHP.

PSX is a framework written in PHP to create RESTful APIs.

Thread based PHP daemon to implement stuff like message queues.

Phalcon profiler including dev toolbar.

Rock solid PHAR compiler for PHP.

Liquid templates for CakePHP 3.

Markdown parser for PHP based on the CommonMark spec.

Lavender is a templating language for PHP loosely based on jade.

A simple yet powerful query system.

Simple package for laravel 4 to export lang folders to JSON.

Parser bundle.

Push notifications for mobile devices based on the Symfony Components.

A static analyser for PHP version migration.

Enable a functionality to specific IP, specific group/users or by percentage of visitors.

Core functionality for Felix Online.

Ice is a general purpose PHP framework.

Please help us to keep doing this each week by visiting our sponsor:

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