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April 21, 2016

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State of Drupal 2016 Survey
I've been writing a lot about what I believe is important for the future of Drupal, but now it is your turn. After every major release of Drupal I do a "product management survey" to get your ideas and data on what to focus on for future releases of Drupal (8.x/9). It shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes to fill out the survey. We'd like to hear from everyone who cares about Drupal, and I will be presenting the results during my DrupalCon New Orleans keynote next month.

Should You Learn Node.js?
I get asked this all the time, and some of my past statements may have been misleading, so let me clear this up… because it will save you a lot of time.

10 Aspects on Which BitBucket Is Better Than GitHub
Most of us are familiar with Git, which is a very popular version control system. GitHub contributed to make Git very popular, to the point that some people actually confuse Git with GitHub. However, there are several other project hosting sites that provide better features than GitHub. BitBucket is one of those sites. Read this article to learn about those features of BitBucket that, in my opinion, make it better than GitHub.

Empirical Research On Software-Engineering Myths
In a condensed version of a previous article, Paul Jones debunks some Software Engineering myths.

Common Bottlenecks in Performance Tests
Most developers by now have internalised that we should not invest time in optimisations before we know what happens exactly. How can we figure out where the problems are located in our stack?

Tutorials and Talks

Overriding Slim 3's Error Handling
Slim 3 registers two error handlers, meaning if you want to override the default error handlers, you need to override both error handlers with your own code.  

Use a Class Instead of List()
PHP's list() function is often used to achieve multiple return values. In many cases, though, it's better to use a class or interface as the return type. This can achieve the same effect but with a stronger design that's
more flexible and resistant to bugs.

Fun and Functional Programming in PHP with Macros
I was so excited about my previous article about PHP macros, that I thought it would be fun for us to explore the intersection of macros and functional programming. PHP is already full of functions, with object oriented patterns emerging relatively late in its life. Still, PHP’s functions can be cumbersome, especially when combined with variable scope rules…

New in Symfony 3.1: DateTime Normalizer
The Serializer component is one of the most improved components in Symfony 3.1. This article introduces the new DateTimeNormalizer which normalizes DateTime objects into strings and denormalizes them back to objects.

My PHP Workstation
I often read questions about how to use an old PHP version on Fedora (which have 5.6) or a more recent version on RHEL / CentOS (which have 5.4). A developer using PHP often needs to test his work with various versions. So here is a description of the Workstation I use daily.

Get Full-text RSS Feeds Using Bluemix PHP Runtime
This tutorial will teach you how to install and configure FiveFilters using a Bluemix PHP Runtime.

Securely Implementing (De)Serialization in PHP
A frequent problem that developers encounter when building web applications in PHP is, "How should I represent this data structure as a string?". This seems like the sort of problem that you could expect would have pre-existing, straightforward solutions built into every major programming language that aren't accompanied by significant security risk. Sadly, this isn't the case.

No Nonsense: What Really Accelerates WordPress Websites
Have you ever asked yourself, why there are websites with a ton of pictures on the landing page that still load in significantly less than a second? You read that correctly. Considerably less than a second. That’s possible, however, it requires a lot of expertise and, above all else, effort. For example, you can’t use a theme that updates automatically. A child theme is not an option either, as too many changes would have to be made. The effort is worth it, though, as the high speed is a real reason for Google to rank the website higher. Thus, this small series isn’t about the 100 out of 100 points for Google Page Speed but deals with the question how to make websites really fast.

Serve PSR-7 Middleware Via React
I've been intending to play with React for some time, but, for one reason or another, kept putting it off. This past week, I carved some time finally to experiment with it, and, specifically, to determine if serving PSR-7 middleware was possible.

Understand Caching in OpenCart
Caching is an important factor if you’re dealing with web development. It really helps offload the heavy lifting a web server has to do to serve thousands of requests, if not millions, concurrently. There are loads of options available nowadays that provide a performance boost to your web application, but the basic concept of caching remains the same.

Cleaning Up Form Input with Transpose
Dealing with arrays in form submissions is a pain in the ass. Imagine you need to build a page that allows users to add multiple contacts at once. 

Easy Deployment of PHP Applications with Deployer
Everybody tries to automate their development process, testing, code formatting, system checks, etc. This is also the case for deploying our applications or pushing a new version to the production server. Some of us do this manually by uploading the code using an FTP client, others prefer Phing, and Laravel users will prefer Envoyer for this process. In this article, I’m going to introduce you to Deployer – a deployment tool for PHP.

Reading Modbus Devices with Python from a PHP/Silex Application via Gearman Worker
Yes. I know. I never know how to write a good title to my posts. Let me show one integration example that I’ve been working with. Let’s start. In industrial automation there’re several standard protocols. Modbus is one of them. Maybe it isn’t the coolest or the newest one (like OPC or OPC/UA), but we can speak about Modbus with a huge number of devices.
News and Announcements

WordPress 4.5 “Coleman”
Version 4.5 of WordPress, named “Coleman” in honour of jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, is available now for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.5 help streamline your workflow, whether you’re writing or building your site.

Producer 2.0.0 Released!
Just a short note to say that most (all?) of the feedback from last month’s initial release of Producer has been incorporated into today’s 2.0.0 stable release!

Xdebug 2.4.0 is out!
This new release brings support for PHP 7, and a few new features. The new function monitoring allows you to define a list of functions with xdebug_start_function_monitor(), and then every time that function is used, it's calling location is recorded. 

I Love Active Record T-Shirt
Laracasts has a new T-Shirt style available for purchase. Enough with the naysayers. They can take their SRP and shove it. You’re done feeling guilty over your love for Active Record. Am I right? If so, why not join me and exhibit your sweet AR love to the world. Life is better on our side.

DrupalCon North America - May 9-13th 2016, New Orleans
The Drupal community is one of the largest open source communities in the world. We're developers, designers, strategists, coordinators, editors, translators, and more. Each year, we meet at DrupalCamps, meetups, and other events in more than 200 countries. But once a year, our community comes together at the biggest Drupal event in the world: DrupalCon North America. This year, from May 9-13, we'll be in New Orleans. Late Tickets are on sale now.

PHP UnConference Europe - May 28-29th 2016, Majorca
PHP UnConference 2016 is in its 5th year. Anyone who has attended a conference knows that the most interesting pieces of information and experiences do not come from the presentations themselves, but from the time spent speaking with other attendees between the presentations. The idea of an UnConference is for the attendees to decide on the topics they are most interested in, and the speakers they would like to present them, decided on the day. Tickets are on sale now.

International PHP Conference - May 29th-June 2nd 2016, Berlin
The International PHP Conference is the world’s first PHP conference and has been going for more than a decade, for top-notch pragmatic expertise in PHP and web technologies. Internationally renowned experts from the PHP industry meet up with PHP users and developers from large and small companies. Early Bird tickets are still on sale.

Laracon - 27-29th July 2016, Louisville
Three days of learning, growing and mingling with the Laravel community. It might just be the biggest Laracon yet. Tickets are on sale now.

Nomad PHP US - May 19th 2016 20:00 CST
Powerful & Flexible SQ Generation - Without the Hassle, presented by Matthew Setter. PHP is almost synonymous with databases, and it has been since the early versions. Yet creating SQL queries can still be a challenging task. What’s the right tool to use? ORMs often feel like overkill, and creating queries by hand can be unmaintainable. In this session, I’ll show you how to use the ZendDb library to generate SQL queries - from simple selects to more complex unions, filtered deletions, and updates. You’ll learn how to use the library to create flexible, secure, maintainable, and reusable queries quickly and efficiently, saving you time and effort in the long term.

Nomad PHP EU - May 19th 2016 20:00 CEST
The Rise of the Machines, presented by Josh Holmes. The Power of Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics. This session provides an introduction to machine learning and predictive analytics, and discusses how to implement such a predictive model, from access to data sources, data exploration, feature selection and creation, building training and testing sets, machine learning over data, model evaluation and experimentation – and finally – deploy the model as a service.


Lately in PHP Podcast Episode 70 - Better Type Hinting Proposal for Class Properties in PHP 7.1
PHP 7.0 brought us type hinting for class functions and return values, but there was still a missing piece in this giant leap for PHP which is type hinting for class properties. The latest improvements to the proposal for class property type hinting in PHP 7.1 were one of the main topics discussed by Manuel Lemos and Arturs Sosins in Episode 70 of the Lately in PHP podcast hangout.

dev/hell Podcast Episode 75 - Together But Alone
We’re three-quarters of the way through to The End! In this episode it was just Ed and Chris talking about two issues that are very important to them. We go over the early results from Ed’s Open Sourcing Mental Illness survey and then have a very long discussion about the events surrounding LambdaConf 2016.

Voices of the ElePHPant - Interview with Tessa Mero
Recorded live at php[world] Cal Evans talks to Tessa Mero who, among other things, organises PNWPHP and the Seattle PHP User Group.

The Laracasts Snippets Episode 21 - 8 Marketing Tips for Developers That Cost Nothing
If you're a developer launching your first product, it sometimes easy to forget that it's now exclusively your job to tell the world. Luckily, you don't have to reach into your pocket and spend thousands of dollars to get the word out; there are free - and more effective - alternatives.

Acquia Podcast: How Laura Moved from Sales to Tech - A Drupal Story
Laura Caraker's journey at Acquia is remarkable. In this podcast, she and I talk through how she joined Acquia Sales, wanted to know more about Drupal and ended up joining the technical side of the house via her stint at Acquia U, Acquia's Drupal and tech boot camp. Her advice for others interested in technology? "Don’t be afraid to get involved."

MageTalk Magento Podcast #88 - That Badonkadonk Booty Tho
The guys discuss Vanna White, Street Fighter II, and Kalen doesn't know what a chaise lounge is.

PHP Round Table Podcast Episode 44: Asynchronous PHP
Async? Isn't that like AJAX in Javascript or something? Most PHP developers encounter asynchronous code for the first time in Javascript, but not many are aware that PHP can do async too. We discuss asynchronous programming in PHP and how we might be able to implement it in our own projects using various libraries. We also take a look at how async features could be added to PHP core to support async natively.

LaraChat Live - Episode #5
The fifth episode from the Slack Channel devoted to learning about Laravel.

Zend Framework Quick Bites Episode 6 - Understanding the Zend Expressive Directory Structure
In this episode, I’m stepping through the standard directory structure, common to all Zend Expressive applications setup using the skeleton application and installer. It's a good discussion about what comes by default, and what each directory contains.

That Podcast Episode 30 - ...
Beau and Dave talk about Beau's recent trip to Cornwall, some family stuff like schools, Linux binaries on windows, parallel shell woes, cloud formation woes and

Full Stack Radio Podcast Episode 40: Edd Mann - You Should Switch to Postgres
In this episode, Adam talks to Edd Mann, host of Three Devs and a Maybe, about the advantages of using PostgreSQL over MySQL, common obstacles people run into when switching to Postgres, and deciding when to push work into the database instead of doing it in code.

Free The Geek Podcast: Episode 16 - Talking Testing and Building YOUR Dream with Chris Hartjes
In this episode I chat with Chris Hartjes, the Grumpy Programmer himself, about the ins and outs of testing and what it’s like to spend part of your working week building your dreams, instead of someone else’s. Among the talk on testing, we cover a range of interesting points, such as monkey patching, mutation testing, and how TDD is more a design process than anything else. When it comes to building your dream, Chris shares some personal insights into what prompted him to build grumpy learning, and who some of his greatest mentors have been.

Reading and Viewing

Dayle Rees Gets Nerdy In A Candid Chat About PHP 7, Laravel And His Authored Books
Dayle Rees is a Laravel Framework contributor and developer, with a vast experience of Web Development using Laravel, Symfony and Codeigniter. In his interview with Cloudways, he talks about the start of his career, compares different PHP frameworks, compares PHP 7 with Node.js and also talks about which developer to follow in the PHP community. 

Zend Expressive in 15 Minutes
Micro-frameworks and routing frameworks are nothing new to the PHP ecosystem, but with the advent of PSR7 and the rise of middleware, new doors have opened up. Zend Expressive, built using components of various libraries both of Zend and third party, is a new middleware-based framework that takes PSR-7 to heart. We’ll go through what PSR-7 and middleware are, how Zend Expressive is leveraging them, and how you can quickly build not only APIs but full micro-framework-based applications.

C Programming in Linux For Bizzies Paperback (by Norman Brock, published 5th Jan 2016)
This updated and expanded second edition of Book provides a user-friendly introduction to the subject, Taking a clear structural framework, it guides the reader through the subject's core elements, which can be used as a learning material for students pursuing their studies in undergraduate and graduate levels, in universities and colleges, and those who want to learn the topic via a short and complete resource. We hope you find this book useful in shaping your future career.

Zend PHP Certification Guide 5.5: A programmers guide to PHP (by Andrew Beak, published 9th January 2016)
This book is designed to help you prepare for your Zend PHP Certification and addresses the core examination topics for the exam. The book is geared at experienced programmers wanting to learn PHP rather than teaching basic programming concepts, and focuses on PHP as a language.

Magento: Questions and Answers Paperback (by George A Duckett, published 19th Jan 2016)
If you have a question about Magento this is the book with the answers. Magento: Questions and Answers takes some of the best questions and answers asked on the website. You can use this book to look up commonly asked questions, browse questions on a particular topic, compare answers to common topics, check out the original source, and much more.


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Interesting Projects, Tools and Libraries

Cachearium is an advanced PHP Cache system.

PHP hyperclick package for atom text editor, open your files on the go.

Simple CMS written in PHP. It is based on Silex and Symfony components, uses Twig and either SQLite, MySQL or PostgreSQL.

The lightest PHP database framework to accelerate development.

Rapid workflow for project maintainers and contributors.

PHP matrix data structure.

Cloak is a library that takes a code coverage.

Execute PhantomJS commands through PHP.

The easy way to learn web frameworks.

Simple PHP library for RESTful APIs.

Purl is a simple Object Oriented URL manipulation library for PHP 5.3+.

PHP Phiber framework - Build light-weight lightning-fast PHP applications with Phiber.

PHP binding for the figo Connect API.

VFS is a virtual file system for PHP built using the stream wrapper API.

Cross-language UserAgent classifier library, PHP implementation.

Installer for PHP extension, supports pecl package or install from src tree directly.
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