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July 16, 2015

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Hello PHP fans, welcome back!

This week the team has several announcements - releases all available immediately, including PHP 7.0.0 Beta 1.

If you have ever wondered why PHP is the best web programming language, we bring you an article that looks at some of its main positives.

Plus we take a look at some of Laravel 5's latest features.

Also this week, we have the introduction to a series focusing on the Instagram API, the mobile social photography service founded in 2010.

And finally, the PHP Round Table podcast team tells you how you go about transforming yourself from a PHP employee to an entrepreneur.

Thanks for reading,

Katie and Ade

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Is PHP The Best Programming Language?
There are plenty of web programming languages out there, and with all these options available, you must be wondering – why PHP? This article discusses some of the main positives of PHP, explaining why it could be the best programming language.

New Features of Laravel 5 - PHP Framework
Laravel 5 is one of the leading and most popular PHP frameworks among the Web Artisans. It has advanced query syntax that makes web development simple and rapid, by enabling general tasks that will be used in the majority of web projects such as route, queue, sessions, caching and authentication. Learn about some of Laravel 5's latest features here.

SitePoint Smackdown: PHP vs Node.js
The web is an ever-changing technology landscape. Server-side developers have a bewildering choice of long-standing heavy-weights such as Java, C, and Perl to newer, web-focused languages such as Ruby, Clojure and Go. It rarely matters what you choose, presuming your application works. But how do those new to web development make an informed choice? This article pits two development disciplines against each other.

Essential Macro Optimizations to Improve PHP Performance
This blog post describes four macro-optimizations for PHP applications that are essential to consider before investigating other possible optimizations.

Tutorials and Talks

Caching Hat-trick: Zend Opcache, Etags and Query Caching
This article is the first of a two parter, looking at some of the common caching techniques in PHP: Opcache, Expires Headers and Query Caching in MySQL. We’ll look at additional approaches in Part 2.

Introduction to the Instagram API
This is the first tutorial of a series focusing (no pun intended) on the Instagram API. Instagram is the mobile social photography service founded in 2010 and acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. That's how you build a startup!

Refactoring the Cat API Client - Part I
This is the first in a series of blogs by Matthias Noback, covering the subject matter of his Principles of Package Design book.

Controlling Autonomous Hardware Devices Using PHP Software Agents
Some hardware devices can perform useful actions autonomously by the means of software agents, like for instance, monitoring objects in the space around an unmanned vehicle (robot). Read this article to learn how to implement PHP software agents that can process actions using sequences of actions defined in JSON.

Turning a Crawled Website into a Search Engine with PHP
In the previous part of this tutorial, we used Diffbot to set up a crawljob which would eventually harvest SitePoint’s content into a data collection, fully searchable by Diffbot’s Search API. In this part, we’ll build a GUI simple enough for the average Joe to use, in order to have a relatively pretty, functional and lightweight but detailed SitePoint search engine. What’s more, we won’t be using a framework, but a mere total of three libraries to build the entire application.

How to Safely Generate Random Strings and Integers in PHP
Quick Answer: If you're developing a web application and your project needs a simple and safe solution for generating random integers or strings, just use Anthony Ferrara's RandomLib.

Understand Overriding in Magento: Blocks
This series of articles provides a thorough explanation of how to correctly override core files of different components in Magento, including blocks, models and controllers.

Quick Tips for Writing Object Oriented Code in PHP
This week on the Acquia blog, Matthew Weingarten shares some of his tips on writing object oriented code, after encountering a few issues whilst working on a recent project. 

Build a Custom WordPress User Flow - Part 1: Replace the Login Page
WordPress provides good tools for managing user roles and capabilities, and they can be further extended with the help of plugins, but for a professional touch, that's not quite enough - you also need to make sure the user experience fits that of your product as a whole. After all, seeing the default (or lightly styled) WordPress login screen when logging into a web based application can leave an unfinished impression. In this three-part tutorial series, I will show you how to fix this by customising the login and new user registration functionality to fit your site's looks, without violating WordPress's best practices.

Replacing Pimple in a Slim 3 Application
One feature of Slim 3 is that the DI container is loosely coupled to the core framework. You can see this decoupling in the way that you instantiate a Slim 3 application. Slim 3 ships with Pimple by default, but my preference is for Zend\ServiceManager, so I decided to integrate ServiceManager into Slim 3. RKA\ZsmSlimContainer is the result of this work.
News and Announcements

PHP 7.0.0 Beta 1 Released
The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 7.0.0 Beta 1. This is the third pre-release of the new PHP 7 major series. All users of PHP are encouraged to test this version carefully, and report any bugs and incompatibilities in the bug tracking system.

PHP 5.6.11 is Available
The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.6.11. Five security-related issues in PHP were fixed in this release, including CVE-2015-3152. All PHP 5.6 users are encouraged to upgrade to this version.

PHP 5.5.27 Released
The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.5.27. Several bugs were fixed in this release as well as CVE-2015-3152. All PHP 5.5 users are encouraged to upgrade to this version.

PHP 5.4.43 Released
The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.4.43. Five security-related issues in PHP were fixed in this release, including CVE-2015-3152. All PHP 5.4 users are encouraged to upgrade to this version.

PHPStorm 9 Released
Enjoy productive PHP and web development with PhpStorm. Take advantage of deep code understanding, top-notch coding assistance, and support for all major tools and frameworks.

Bulgaria PHP Conference - 25-27th September 2015, Sofia
This event is the initiative of a small group of developers who started the first PHP User Group in Sofia, Bulgaria just two years ago. Our desire to learn and our love for the code gave us the courage to take the initiative and bring some of the best minds in the PHP community to our home town. We have invited some top-notch speakers from all over the world who will make sure you will enjoy some high-quality talks. But most of all, we hope to get together some great people who will spend their weekend sharing their know-how and getting to know the large PHP community. Tickets are available now.

App Sec USA - September 22-25th 2015, San Francisco
AppSec USA 2015 is a 96-hour conference in beautiful San Francisco that will include the best talks and training on application and information security. It is a world-class security conference for developers, auditors, risk managers, technologists and entrepreneurs - a gathering of the world’s top security practitioners to share their latest research and practices. Tickets are available now.


Voices of the ElePHPant - Interview with Ben Marks
This week Cal Evans talks to Ben Marks, developer evangelist for Magento.

Acquia Podcast: Sustainable Contribution, 1/2 - How Drupal Has Solved and Evolved
Part 1 of 2 - Drupal user number 5622, John Faber, has been involved with Drupal since late 2003. He is a Managing Partner with Chapter Three, a San Francisco-based digital agency. Their slogan sums up well what a lot of us think about what we do: "We build a better internet with Drupal." John and I got on a Google Hangout on March 17th, 2015, to talk about the business advantages of contribution and sustainability when basing your business on open source software. We also touch on Drupal 8's potential power as a toolset and for attracting new developers, doing business in an open source context, and more! 

MageTalk Magento Podcast #50 - I Don’t Know A Lot About Sportsball
Special guest Yoav Kutner joins the guys to talk Oro, Magento, rumours, and more.

Run Geek Radio Podcast: Episode #6 - Importance Of Vacations And Being Replaceable
Adam Culp, the host of Run Geek Radio, shares a little about his vacation to South America. He highlights how vacations are so vital and important to the productivity and stress levels of employees, and shares how long weekends are great times for getaways but also how important it is to get away for one longer vacation each year. Employers are also encouraged to help employees take this much needed time off to boost their productivity in order to take advantage of the time employees are actually working. Adam speaks a bit about how employees should make themselves replaceable to ensure they are promotable, and so they can truly get away when they are on vacation.

PHP Round Table Podcast Episode 24 - Becoming a PHP Entrepreneur
So you have a 9-5 job but want to start your own business... where do you start? We discuss what realistic first-steps you'll need to take in order to transform yourself from a PHP employee to PHP entrepreneur.

Reading and Viewing

PHP 7 and Script Languages Future: Insights from Lead Developer
On the Amasty blog this week is an interview with PHP 7 lead developer, and Zend Technologies Chief Performance Engineer, Dmitry Stogov. He spoke about the newest trends in PHP development and the world of script languages.

Setting up Laravel 5.1 on Semaphore CI
Watch this video to learn how to set up continuous integration for Laravel 5.1.

PHP - HTML for a Multilevel Menu (by Gian Piero Taricco, published 29th June 2015)
This book introduces you to an "easy and ready to use" PHP code that generates a webpage with a multilevel menu (from 1 level up to 3 levels). Each menu item is associated with a PHP file to be launched when the item itself is clicked. 

Object-Oriented Programming with PHP5 (by Hasin Hayder, published 1st July 2015)
PHP is one of the most popular languages for web application development, and PHP5 supports OOP very well. This book will help you to master core OOP features in PHP as well as advanced topics like Design Patterns, including Model-View-Controller (MVC) and Unit Testing.

FuelPHP Application Development Blueprints - A Review
At least until a few years ago, for some people, PHP was considered to be a language mainly for templating and programming utility applications, thus should not be used for any purpose other than that. But since PHP got better support for OOP, MVC frameworks, ORM libraries and other modern programming approaches, it has gained a lot of support from its users. This six chapter book is an introduction to the FuelPHP framework.


Helpling in Berlin is Looking for Experienced PHP Developers (m/f)
Helpling is one of the most dynamic start-ups in the vibrant centre of Berlin, Germany. It is our mission to provide our services as easily accessible and conveniently as possible. To achieve that, our service is available online and through our mobile app. Up to this point, Helpling is active in more than 200 cities in 12 countries around the globe. To enhance the technical architecture behind the scenes, we are currently looking for experienced PHP Developers (m/w) to join our highly professional and dynamic IT team in Berlin.

Senior Software Engineer, Payments
Help us build the next-generation systems behind and be a part of a team that is working to empower merchants throughout Latin America. You’ll use your skills in modern frameworks (Symfony, Laravel) and PHP 5.6+ to write code that is performant, maintainable, clear, and concise. You’ll enjoy working with a team of equally strong developers who value your technical competence and positive attitude. This is a rare opportunity to join our team at the ground level of an enterprise project and make a direct impact on the design and implementation of the solution.

To post a job advert please contact [email protected]

Interesting Projects, Tools and Libraries

Web-based news feed aggregator, designed to allow you to read news from any location, while feeling as close to a real desktop application as possible.

Map from PHP arrays/JSON to objects and back.

A simple classic MVC PHP framework with a sqlite3 helper class.

PHP Coding Style Continuous Integration Service powered by Laravel 5.1.

A super fast PHP router, with route parameters, restful controllers, filters and reverse routing.

A faster, safer templating library for PHP, Brainy is a replacement for the popular Smarty templating language.

Codeception is a modern full-stack testing framework for PHP. Inspired by BDD, it provides you with an absolutely new way of writing acceptance, functional and even unit tests.

Self-hosted pastebin software written in PHP. Pastes are editable, may have multiple files and are stored in git repositories.

Provides a simple Symfony 2 Bundle to Wrap the Stripe PHP SDK.

The universal PHP library to convert any values and measures.

OpenCFP is a PHP-based conference talk submission system.

A lightweight Web Development Framework written in PHP.

Knob is a PHP MVC Framework for creating Wordpress templates easier and with more fun than ever before.

Library that adds the ability to reverse-engineer classes, interfaces, functions, constants and more.

Coast is a web application framework for PHP 5.5+. The goal of Coast is to provide a simple, lightweight and flexible framework for building high-performance, modern web apps.

Enlighten is a simple, lean, high-performance PHP micro framework that acts as the foundation for your web application.
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