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October 8, 2015

Welcome PHP fans,

Several releases from the PHP development team to report this week, including the ninth pre-release of the new PHP 7 major series.

The 7th PHP Benelux Conference has been announced for next year, taking place in Antwerp in January. The Call for Papers is now open.

Also this week, if you are interested in database systems for your web applications, we have an article discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the top five to use with PHP.

Plus we have a tutorial showing you how to build a superfast PHP server in minutes, using Icicle.

And finally, the PHP Town Hall podcast team report live from PNWPHP 2015, joined by various guests, including Sara Golemon discussing HHVM/Hack.

Have a great weekend!

Katie and Ade

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Top Five Databases to Use with PHP
Although MySQL is the most commonly used database software in web applications, there are many other database systems that are also popular and provide good solutions in certain use-cases. In this article, we will discuss these systems and their advantages and disadvantages.

In Defense of WebSummit
After a recent pattern of attacks on WebSummit, Nick Halstead puts forward a balanced opinion of the event.

PHP Channel’s 3rd 2015 Trimester Update
On the SitePoint blog this week is an overview of the 3rd quarter, looking at new authors and the best articles that were published.

Z-Ray Tip #1: Sharing The Wealth
While Z-Ray boasts a highly intuitive and easy-to-use UI – there are still some shadowy areas that could benefit from a pointer or two. This brief post heralds the beginning of a new blog series with the sole purpose of providing tips on developing with Z-Ray.

Tutorials and Talks

Set Up Scheduled Tasks in Magento
Cron is an important utility which allows you to execute scripts at certain regular intervals. It has become an important aspect for web­-based applications as well. 

Creating an AJAX Based PHP Shopping Cart Part 2: Removing Items and Checkout
The first part of this tutorial covered the importance of shopping carts in sites that sell products, and how to make a simple shopping cart that can add products from a database via an AJAX based Web interface. Read this part of the article to learn how to perform other important operations, like removing products or emptying the shopping cart, and how to proceed to the checkout.

New in PHP 7: Null Coalesce Operator
Not the catchiest name for an operator, but PHP 7 brings in the rather handy null coalesce. Here Lorna Jane Mitchell shares an example.

Creating a Slack Bot Using PHP to Monitor Your Envato Sales
In this article we’re going to make a slack bot that will monitor the sales in our envato account and notify from time to time as soon as someone purchases an item. Pretty useful, eh?

Drupal 8 Custom Plugin Types
Drupal 8 comes with a great addition to the backend developer toolkit in the form of the plugin system. Completely new, specific to Drupal and evolved from serving only a few specific purposes, plugins have become the go-to system for reusable functionality in Drupal 8. In this two-part article we will use this system to build a feature that allows the use of custom forms, together with node entities. 

The Beginners Guide to WooCommerce: Product Tags, Categories & Attributes
In previous articles of this series about WooCommerce, I have discussed different settings and their configurations, including the addition of products. Then we explored the addition of four different kinds of products with featured images and product galleries. In the section of products, there were options for product tags, categories and attributes. This is what I will be discussing today.

Sending configurable e-mails in Symfony
Every developer, during their adventure with PHP programming, has been struggling with sending emails in a web application. However, using PHP send() function is often insufficient for common web applications, when you need templates, variables, configurations etc. Fortunately, Sylius provides SyliusMailerBundle and Mailer component, with some awesome features which are fully decoupled and can be used in any Symfony application.

Eloquent hasManyThrough: Jumping Deeper Into Relationships
Quite often in bigger projects there are DB relationships with more than one level. If we need to get the list of a deeper level, there’s a quick way of doing that with Eloquent.

Starting Long Server PHP Scripts and Monitor their Status Part 2: Solving the Problem with Classes
In the first part of this article we have presented a solution to start tasks from PHP that take a long time to finish. Read this article to learn how to implement the solution with the PHP class package named "Asynchronous Long Server Tasks".

Build a Superfast PHP Server in Minutes with Icicle
Languages like JavaScript show us what PHP could be like if event loops were at the center. Some folks have taken these insights and coded them into event loops and HTTP servers. Today we’re going to create an HTTP server, in PHP. We’ll connect it to Apache to serve static files quickly. Everything else will pass through our PHP HTTP server, based on Icicle.

Exporting Drupal Nodes with PHP and Drush
Drupal 8 development has shown that PHP itself, and the wider PHP community, already provides ways to solve common tasks. In this post, I’ll show you some core PHP functionality that you may not be aware of; pulling in packages and libraries via Composer is a topic for another day.

Fun with Symfony's Console Component
One of the best parts of using Symfony's Console component is all the output control you have to the CLI: colours, tables, progress bars etc. Usually, you create a command to do this. But what you may not know is that you can get to all of this goodness in a single, flat PHP file.
News and Announcements

PHP 5.6.14 is available
The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.6.14. This is a security release. Two security bugs were fixed in this release. All PHP 5.6 users are encouraged to upgrade to this version.

PHP 5.5.30 is available
The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.5.30. This is a security release. Two security bugs were fixed in this release. All PHP 5.5 users are encouraged to upgrade to this version.

PHP 7.0.0 RC 4 Released
The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 7.0.0 RC 4. This is the ninth 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.

Homestead Now With PHP 7 Support
Laravel Homestead just received a new update, with support for PHP 7 which is due out this month.

Marketplace Updates to Highlight Contributing Organisations
We are excited to announce some big changes to the Marketplace. In Dries’ Amsterdam Keynote, he made a compelling case for showing the contributions of organisations that are helping to build Drupal. By highlighting organisations that give their employees time to give back, we make it possible for more people to give time to making the project better.

PHP Benelux Conference - January 29-30th 2016, Antwerp
We’re very pleased to announce the 7th edition of our conference. The PHPBenelux Conference 2016 should be one of the best PHP community conferences, where community members from around the world come together to learn and share information about the latest trends in professional PHP development. The Call for Papers is open for one more week.

Symfony Live San Francisco - October 29-30th 2015
SensioLabs’ North American SymfonyLive conference will be held in San Francisco on October 29th-30th. We are super excited to be back in San Francisco for the SymfonyLive conference and even more excited as Symfony turns 10! Join us for all the best Symfony presentations, discussions, symposiums, meetups and the after-conf cocktail party. Regular Tickets are onsale now for the next couple of days

OSCON - October 26-28th 2015, Amsterdam
OSCON in Amsterdam celebrates, defines and demonstrates the best that open source has to offer. From small businesses to the enterprise, open source is the first choice for engineers around the world. The last few tickets are onsale now.


PHP Town Hall Podcast Episode #44: Live From PNWPHP
Live from PNWPHP ‘15, Ben and Phil are joined by guests Ben Marks, Yitzchok Willroth and, later, returning guest Sara Golemon, who popped in to talk about HHVM/Hack while Phil played waiter for the rest of the episode.

Voices of the ElePHPant - Interview with Adam Culp
This week Cal Evans talks to the host of the Run Geek Radio podcast, Adam Culp.

Three Devs and a Maybe Podcast - Shooting The Breeze
On this weeks episode we are lucky to finally be in the same room recording the podcast in person, apologies for the low volume. We start off the discussion with the Drobo, BeyondRAID, how hard giving estimates is, ‘bad’ code and impostor syndrome. Following on from this is a brief history behind the Mozilla name and Netscape, along with how bullish Microsoft was in the 90s. This leads us on to talk about TDD coding katas, the current state of testing in JavaScript and Android fragmentation. Finally, we finish up the show with Hypermedia endpoints (HAL), and epic Microsoft Office - El Capitan bugs.

The Changelog Podcast #172: GitUp, Git UX, and More with Pierre-Olivier Latour
Our guest this week is Pierre-Olivier Latour. He joins the show to discuss his history as a software developer – everything from creating Quartz Composer and working at Apple to his new project GitUp and the user experience of Git.

Full Stack Radio Podcast Episode 26: Josh Pigford - What Do You Need When You Launch?
In this episode, Adam talks to Josh Pigford, founder of Baremetrics, about what you should have ready when you start a SaaS business. They also talk about how most businesses aren't doing as well as you think, content marketing, the benefits of different pricing models, and staying focused on your best idea.

Acquia Podcast - Nudge, nudge: Drupal as Pluggable Enterprise Resource - OnCorps
Beyond websites: Drupal as a rapid development and deployment platform for enterprise applications - Behavioral Science + Analytics + Collaboration + Drupal = OnCorps. I spoke with Laura Lafave and Peter Hallett, two-thirds of the founding team at OnCorps, after meeting them at the business day of Drupal Camp Bristol, 2015. I find their product concept - apps to improve team performance at companies - very interesting, but at least as exciting is how they are using Drupal to make it all happen.

MageTalk Magento Podcast #62 - “I Like Git Butts and I Cannot Lie”
The guys discuss ReactJS, MageOverflow elections, B2B and more.

PHP Round Table Podcast Episode 31 - Checking In With PHP & HHVM Internals
We chatting with some PHP & HHVM internals folks to learn what's been going on in the world of internals.

Reading and Viewing

Learn PHP 7 Today - Sergey Popoff
PHP 7 is almost here, bringing impressive performance boosts and new language features. Get ready for it with this book, containing a detailed overview of the PHP 7 features and changes with real examples.

php[architect] - October 2015
We’re just over a month away from the release of PHP 7 and I’m really looking forward to using the new features added to the Zend Engine. However, as important as it is, the PHP ecosystem would be nothing if the engine wasn’t easily extendable. Extensions allow integration with other libraries and add existing solutions to our toolbox. We can handle new problems without reinventing any wheels. Early on, it was the ease of talking to MySQL through libmysql that fueled the use of xAMP to build websites. Today, there are many extensions for PHP available - both well known and more niche ones. In this issue, we’ll look at 3 extensions that will prove useful to you.

Joomla Community Magazine - October 2015
The October 2015 issue of the Joomla! Community Magazine is here! 

Interviewing Michelle Sanver
At the recent DrupalCon event in Barcelona, Thijs Feryn interviewed Michelle Sanver, discussing Drupal 8, Drupalcon and her move to Zürich.

Add Active Navigation Class to Menu Item Based on URL Using jQuery
In this jQuery tutorial, you’ll learn how to add an active class to a menu item based on the page URL using jQuery… so you can highlight that menu item.

The #ZendCon Interview - The Unique 2015 Edition of ZendCon
With the imminent arrival of PHP 7, this years ZendCon promises to be one of the most unique and exciting to date. This 7PHP interview with Cal Evans focuses entirely on ZendCon.


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Interesting Projects, Tools and Libraries

Kahlan is a full-featured Unit & BDD test framework a la RSpec/JSpec which uses a describe-it syntax and moves testing in PHP one step forward.

Solid libraries for rapid PHP development.

A lightweight PHP namespace aware autoload generator.

Config is a lightweight configuration file loader that supports PHP, INI, XML and JSON files.

Light & tiny micro PHP framework scales from small to big applications.

An api-driven CMS without forcing you to make compromises in how you implement your site.

PHP Rest Micro Framework.

Mockster is a full-fledged, zero-configuration mocking framework for PHP.

CSV data manipulation made easy in PHP.

Stream-php is the official PHP client for Stream, a web service for building scalable newsfeeds and activity streams.

A thin wrapper over PHP iterators.

Thruway is an open source client and router implementation of WAMP (Web Application Messaging Protocol), for PHP. 

PHP Parser
This is a PHP 5.2 to PHP 5.6 parser written in PHP. Its purpose is to simplify static code analysis and manipulation.

The objective of ParaTest is to support parallel testing in a variety of PHP testing tools. Currently only PHPUnit is supported.

This PHP package uses the Reddit API to do dedicated searches on every subbreddit.

A web-based application that produces publication-quality geographic maps.

Phansible is a simple generator for Vagrant projects, targeting PHP development environments, using Ansible as Provisioner.
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