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July 6, 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of your favourite PHP newsletter.

This week a new regular feature has been started on the WordPress blog, to keep everyone up-to-date with the happenings all across the WordPress open source project and highlight how you can get involved. A roundup of all the major WordPress news will be reported at the end of every month, starting with June news.

Also this week, the Three Devs and a Maybe podcast team discuss the Varnish HTTP accelerator with Mattias Geniar.

With a wide range of PHP testing tools out there, it's difficult to know which one to go for. Here we have an article listing 8 of the best quality assurance testing tools.

Plus, learn how to build a simple chat server based on ReactPHP Socket Component.

And finally, billed as the largest gathering of the PHP and open source communities, ZendCon Las Vegas has been booked for October this year. For four days of professional and business development, Early Bird tickets are currently on sale.

Have a great weekend folks,

Katie and Ade

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Is PHP a Good Language for Beginners?
Since I’m a web dev who mostly works with PHP, I get a lot of questions whether or not PHP is a good language for a beginner who would like to learn programming from scratch. My answer to that question would be no, if we’re talking about a complete novice to the world of programming.

The Month in WordPress: June 2017
Aside from other general news, the three big events in June were the release of WordPress 4.8, WordCamp Europe 2017, and the WordPress Community Summit. Read on to hear more about these as well as other interesting stories from around the WordPress world.

Community Discussions Findings and Webinar
Over the last few years, many of us have seen the need to evolve community governance. Up until now, we had to focus on other priorities, but now is the time to address our needs for community governance especially in light of recent community events.

8 Must Have PHP Quality Assurance Tools
For shipping quality code, we must have testing in mind while coding (if not doing TDD). However, with the wide range of PHP testing tools out there, it’s hard to make a choice! Exploring PHP is a fun adventure (premium course on that here!) but it’s hard to assemble a toolbelt that’s not too heavy to wear to work! This popular article will highlight the most popular testing tools and has been updated to reflect the state of QA tools in 2017.

Advice For Aspiring PHP Developers
My advice to aspiring PHP developers: there is no great Wizard of OZ. There are only opinionated men and women behind a veil of authority who bicker of politics and standards. It's not magical. It's messy. It's a minefield of polarising politics, sensitivities, and opinions.

7 Best Weather WordPress Widgets & Plugins
There are many instances when providing current temperatures and weather forecasts on a website can be useful. Restaurants, retreat centres, country clubs, and many other businesses and organisations can benefit from this kind of feature. Every website has its own unique needs, so you may need to consider additional things as well. Take a look at these 7 best weather WordPress widgets and plugins, and I'm sure you'll find something that will meet your needs.

Tutorials and Talks

Image Optimisation in PHP
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to perform and implement image optimisation in one of the most common server-side languages on the web, PHP. However, before we dive right in, let’s explore why image optimisation is so important.

Poka Yoke – Saving Projects with Hyper-Defensive Programming
Poka Yoke is a Japanese term which roughly translates to “mistake-proofing”. The term originated in lean manufacturing, where it refers to any mechanism that helps a machine operator avoid mistakes.

Video is Not Playing in WordPress on Azure with IIS Server
As per issue I was facing on my website, when we are uploading a video with m4v extension in any page with video tag, it results to a black screen occupying video space at front-end as showing image. When I explore this error in depth, I find that is is showing “Error loading this resource”. When I dig more to the problem I found a very simple solution to this issue.

Build A Simple Chat With ReactPHP Socket: Server
In this article, we are going to build a simple chat server based on ReactPHP Socket Component. With this component, we can build simple async, streaming plaintext TCP/IP or a secure TLS socket server.

A Guide for Prioritising Application Errors
Bug fixes and building new features are always in competition with each other, and it’s common for teams to have a hard time deciding where they should spend their time when it comes to prioritizing these two conflicting, but equally important tasks. Here’s a best practices guide for managing the prioritisation of software bugs.

A Programmers Cognitive Load
Today I want to share some techniques that can help you reduce this cognitive load while coding. In contrast to some recent advocates of "visual debt", I won't talk about stripping away pieces of your codebase. We'll look purely into the visual aspect: what makes code hard to read and reason about, and how to make it easier.

Easily Convert Webpages to Images Using PHP
Browsershot is a package that can easily convert any webpage into a image. Under the hood the conversion is made possible new headless options in Chrome 59. In this post I’d like to show you how you can use Browsershot v2.

WordPress REST API versus Custom Request Handlers
Last year I wrote a blog post comparing the performance of using admin-ajax.php and the WordPress REST API, and found that the REST API was about 16% faster than using the traditional AJAX API. While that was a solid improvement, quite a few developers (myself included) were wondering how the REST API compares to using completely custom endpoints. Since the REST API loads most of WordPress core and any active plugins, it should be quite a difference! There’s little doubt that a custom endpoint will be faster, but it should be interesting to see how much faster it will be. It’s also worth taking a look to see if a custom endpoint makes sense from a development and future support perspective.

Type-Hint All The Things!
Recently, a video about "visual debt" has sparked a lot of controversy in the PHP world. In this article, I'll present the best practices we are using at TheCodingMachine, and a brand new tool we use to enforce those best practices.

How to Build a Lyrics Website with Laravel Scout and Algolia
Laravel Scout is a driver-based library for adding full-text search to Eloquent models. If you’re not familiar with Laravel or Eloquent models in general, we have a good premium course available here. In this tutorial, we will create a minimal lyrics web site using Laravel Scout and Algolia. To do so, we need a CRUD app to work with our data, and a search interface to let users search through the content. However, instead of creating the full app from scratch, let’s just install the finished CRUD app that we’ve created for this tutorial.

Extending ReactPHP's Child Processes
react/child-process is very flexible and can work a lot of ways but sometimes you don't want to be bothered with the details of how it works and just want a simpler API to do that.
News and Announcements

FluentDOM 6.1 Released - Improvements
Thanks to some issues reported by Kyle Tse the multibyte handling for HTML was improved. It should now work properly. The HTML loader can read the encoding/charset from meta tags or you can specify as an loader option. The default is UTF-8. FluentDOM\Document::saveHTML() has got some additional logic as well.

Symfony 4: Directory Structure Updates
After a long discussion in the community, the directory structure has been slightly changed.

Northeast PHP/UX Conference - August 9-11th 2017, Charlottetown, PEI Canada
Now in its 5th year, the Northeast PHP Conference is a web developer conference focused on PHP, Web Technology, and UX. Whilst grounded in PHP, the Northeast PHP Conference is not just about PHP. As the organisers know, most PHP developers are working on websites and applications, which means that they need more than just PHP skills to get ahead. The User Experience and Web Technology talks will help these developers broaden their skill sets and expand their knowledge & experience. Tickets are on sale now.

ZendCon - October 23rd-26th 2017, Las Vegas
Now in its 13th year, ZendCon is the "must attend" event and the largest gathering of the PHP and open source communities. ZendCon brings together industry thought leaders, recognised PHP experts, enterprise decision makers, IT managers, dev and ops teams, and independent developers for four days of professional and business development. ZendCon connects the vast open source ecosystem and provides unique opportunities to engage with prominent speakers, community leaders, and vendors. You'll learn about the latest innovations and network with peers to get educated, advance your coding practices, and solve business challenges. Early Bird tickets are on sale now.


Lately in PHP Podcast Episode 84 - PHP Hybrid VM to Make Small PHP Benchmarks 1.5 Faster
PHP evolution efforts in terms of performance optimisation continues. Now there is an effort to implement a Hybrid VM that can provide great performance improvements for PHP 7.2 with the JIT engine or not. This was one of the main topics discussed by Manuel Lemos and Arturs Sosins in episode 84 of the Lately in PHP podcast. In this episode they also talked about the Raspberry PI PHP extension, using NULL parameters in PDO queries, and the evolution of support of SSL/TLS connections from PHP code.

Voices of the ElePHPant - Interview with Sara Golemon
This week Cal Evans chatted with Sara Golemon, one of the release managers for #PHP 7.2

Caching Using Varnish with Mattias Geniar
In this weeks episode we discuss the Varnish ‘HTTP accelerator’ with Mattias Geniar. We start off the show with the problem Varnish is trying to solve, how it decides to cache content and the power within its’ request/response life-cycle. We then move on to highlight testing strategies, tools to gain insight into your Varnish instance and cache invalidation options (Purging vs. Banning). Finally, we touch upon Edge Side Includes, Mattias’s own podcast and his new DNS Spy product.

MageTalk Magento Podcast #134 - “Getting an MBA in MBI” with Bob Moore of Magento
Bob Moore of Magento takes us to school on Magento Business Intelligence.

The Laracasts Snippets Episode 65: You Are Your Code
In the development world, you'll frequently hear the phrase "you are not your code." At its core, this is very good advice, however, too often it is used as an excuse to publicly belittle your peers.

Zend Framework Quick Bites Episode 28 - How to Migrate from Zend Expressive Version 1 to 2 with Command-Line Tooling Support
In this episode, I’m discussing the latest tutorial: How to Migrate from Zend Expressive Version 1 to 2 with Command-Line Tooling Support. It picks up where the previous one left off, and shows, as the title indicates, how to migrate Zend Expressive applications from version 1 to 2. I’m so excited about this tutorial, as it gets to showcase the ever-growing tooling support available in Zend Framework/Expressive. Plus, all the exciting new features and improvements in Zend Expressive v2 make it compelling to upgrade.

PHP Ugly Podcast #62: PHP Round Ugly Hall
Special Episode of PHPUGly where John Congdon and Eric Van Johnson do a combined Podcast with SammyK of PHP Roundtable and Amanda Folson of PHP Town Hall at the php[arch] php[tek] Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Reading and Viewing

php[architect] Magazine July 2017 - Safe At Speed
I smiled when I ran across the CAP theorem in one of this month’s articles. I’d been familiar with a similar theorem “Cheap-fast-good–pick two” from my web agency working days. In this issue, our contributors look at one aspect of this conjoined triangle of success. I’ve returned to this heuristic when I have to evaluate tradeoffs. Often when you’re making a decision, you can boil it down to 3 desired outcomes, of which you can only pick two because of the way they interact.

Switch Your WordPress Site to PHP 7 for Increased Performance
A few weeks ago, a customer asked us if newer versions of WordPress had improved performance. Surprisingly, we found there isn't much literature on this topic. Thinking about it, this makes sense because the performance of WordPress is very dependent on multiple variables — such as themes and plugins — and also by the volume of content hosted on the site. Our curiosity now piqued, we decided to check on how WordPress' core performance changes between releases. The idea is to first set up a basic WordPress install of an official release, with only one post, the default theme, and the plugin sets distributed with that release. We'd then run a very basic set of stress tests against that machine, collect the results, and do it again with another WordPress release.

Cloudways Interview - Pascal Birchler Talks About Core Development Of WordPress
Pascal Birchler is a student, web developer, public speaker and committed to WordPress core, striving to make the web a better place. He built his first website as a 12-year-old. Whether it’s for clients or for projects like WP Talents, he always tries to make something great even more awesome. As an active member of the WordPress community, he knows how important it is to give something back. That’s why he helped co-organise the WordPress Zurich Meetup and WordCamp Switzerland.

A List of Podcasts
I had sitting in travel not being able to do anything. Listening to music can help, but can end up also being frustrating. While I was working at Schiphol last year I got pointed to podcasts. Since then I've been really getting into listening to podcasts on my daily commute and it's been making the trip a lot more fun... and useful. Here is a random collection of podcasts that I've been listening to in the past year and a half, on many different subjects. My main problem right now is that it's so many that I'm way behind on the episodes of most of these. Ah well, it's still quite good content.


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Interesting Projects, Tools and Libraries

A flawless framework for building scalable and testable API-Centric Apps with PHP and Laravel. 

A super-sexy voice interface for the Plex HTPC.

PHP 7.1+ lightweight message bus supporting CQRS and Micro Services

A complete network graphing solution designed to harness the power of RRDTool's data storage and graphing functionality.

The "Symfony Demo Application" is a reference application created to show how to develop Symfony applications following the recommended best practices.

A set of useful Laravel collection macros.

A multi-paradigm programming language with gradual and duck typing that targets PHP and JS.

A thing to make PHAR self-updates easy and secure.

A platform to create documentation/wiki content built with PHP & Laravel.

Getopt.PHP is a library for command-line argument processing. It supports PHP version 5.3 and above.

Open Source Point of Sale is a web based point of sale system written in the PHP language. It uses MySQL as the data storage back-end and has a simple user interface.

Documentation generator for PHP Code using standard technology.

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