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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Getting Started with Assetic
April 14, 2014 @ 10:37:00

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post from Lukas White today looking at the Assetic asset management library and how you can get started using it in your application.

There was a time when asset management meant little more than inserting a <link> tag or two and a couple of <script> tags into your HTML. Nowadays, though, that approach just won't cut it. There's performance, for one thing. [...] Also, as client-side applications have become more and more sophisticated, managing dependencies amongst scripts and libraries has become increasingly complex. Furthermore, technologies such as Less, Compass and Coffeescript require assets to be compiled, adding yet another step to the process of managing assets. In this article I'm going to look at a PHP package called Assetic which helps manage, compile and optimize assets such as scripts, stylesheets and images.

He briefly discusses asset management first, just to get everyone on the same page as far as what "assets" are and some considerations about their use. Next is an introduction to the Assetic library itself and the install/usage of a simple "AssetCollection" object. He also shows how to add assets to the object and how to configure compression and generation of the files (like with LESS). He also shows how to use the AssetManager and FilterManager object types along with the AssetFactory handler. Finally, he talks about some of the sample output and caching the tool can do with file-based cache handling.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/getting-started-assetic

ServerGrove Blog:
Deployment of Symfony2 applications with Ansible
April 02, 2014 @ 10:41:54

The ServerGrove blog has a new post today showing you how to deploy Symfony2 applications using Ansible, an automation tool that uses "playbooks" to define steps.

Ansible is a powerful automation engine that simplifies deploying systems and apps. Its popularity has been rising rapidly as developers and system administrators look for simpler ways to manage servers and deploy applications. The selling points of Ansible are: simplicity, agentless and extensible.

ServerGrove, traditionally a Capistrano/Capifony user, decided to give Ansible a try. They include the steps to go through to get the correct environment set up and how to execute commands on the remote servers. There's also an example of a sample task that updates packages on the remote server, moves a config file into place and restarts Apache. With this foundation, they get into the actual Symfony2 deployment, sharing their custom role that sets up the directory, clones the Git repository, runs Composer and executes an Assetic dump.

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Link: http://blog.servergrove.com/2014/04/01/deployment-symfony2-applications-ansible

SitePoint Web Blog:
HTTPS Basics
April 02, 2014 @ 09:06:08

If you're relatively new to web development, you might not know exactly what kinds of benefits that using an HTTPS connection might provide. In this new article from the SitePoint PHP blog, Mufleeh Sadique covers some of the basics of HTTPS and gives some reasons why to "go HTTPS" in your applications.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or Hypertext Transfer Protocol over SSL is used for secure communication over a network, or perhaps more importantly - over the Internet. You would see https:// in the URI and a lock icon in the browser when you access a page that uses HTTPS. [...] If you ever wondered whether and how to go HTTPS with your website, we'll attempt to clear this up in this article by briefly describing what HTTPS is about, and why and how to implement it.

He's broken the rest of the article up into a few different sections. The first answers the question "why HTTPS" with a few reasons including the most important - encrypted communication. In the second section, he starts showing you how to "go HTTPS" using a self-signed certificate to start. With the certificate installed, he moves into the last part, ensuring your application is always using the HTTPS version and redirecting anything else.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/https-basics

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Composer Cheatsheet
April 01, 2014 @ 11:22:35

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post from Matthew Setter today sharing a Composer cheatsheet he recently discovered with an example of the common commands and "composer.json" file structure.

Unless you've been living under a rock, today's PHP isn't your grandmother's PHP; it's an entirely different, much more elegant and mature language with countless improvements and additions. One of the key additions is Composer, the de facto standard for managing PHP project dependencies which, by default, gives you access to hundreds of ready-made libraries, via Packagist.org.

He goes through the parts of the guide, introducing some of the commands and covering the details of the full "composer.json" JSON structure. There's also a video introduction if you'd like the more visual version.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/composer-cheatsheet

NetTuts.com:
Test Code Coverage From Myth to Reality
March 31, 2014 @ 11:50:09

There's a good post over on the NetTuts.com site today talking about unit testing, the myths around code coverage and why it may not be as important as you think.

Most cubicle workplaces disappeared and programmers started loving their craft. With the advent of Agile techniques and the Software Craftsmanship movement, many new tools emerged to help the programmer and the process. TDD is slowly becoming the de facto way of writing code and the secrets of SCRUM or Kanban were revealed even to the programmers in the darkest corners of the cubicle world. Automated testing and test driven development (TDD) are some of the essential techniques Agile provided to us programmers. And a tool that comes with those methodologies is used to produce test code coverage, which is the topic of this article.

The article starts with a brief definition of code coverage and gets right into an example class, PHPUnit test and the results of a code coverage generation. They show both output options, the text-only output and the full HTML output with clickable links and visualization of the covered lines of code. There's also an example of generating the coverage inside an IDE (PHPStorm). The post finishes with a look at the myths of code coverage including: "100% covered is bug free" and that "gaming the system" is pretty easy.

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Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/articles/test-code-coverage-from-myth-to-reality--cms-20442

Matthew Weier O'Phinney:
Apigility Using RPC with HAL
March 28, 2014 @ 10:48:37

Matthew Weier O'Phinney has a new post sharing some of the details about using RPC and HAL in the Apigility API tool from Zend. HAL stands for "Hypermedia Access Language" and basically provides a way to define objects in an API and what they relate to.

A few days ago, we released our first beta of Apigility. We've started our documentation effort now, and one question has arisen a few times that I want to address: How can you use Hypermedia Application Language (HAL) in RPC services? Hypermedia Application Language is an IETF proposal for how to represent resources and their relations within APIs. Technically, it provides two mediatypes, application/hal+json and application/hal+xml; however, Apigility only provides the JSON variant.

He introduces some of the basics of HAL and includes an example of JSON output showing metadata about the current object such as a full link to the resource. He also includes an example of the "embedded" data, additional related data, other objects, with their own structure and links. He also briefly mentions what RPC is and how it works before getting into how to set up the endpoints in your Apigility API with the help of "ContentNegotiation" functionality.

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Link: http://mwop.net/blog/2014-03-26-apigility-rpc-with-hal.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Getting Started with PHP Extension Development via PHP-CPP
March 27, 2014 @ 12:15:08

On the SitePoint PHP blog today there's a new tutorial from Taylor Ren showing you how to get started with PHP-CPP for creating PHP extensions. PHP-CPP is a C++ library that makes it simpler (and faster) to create PHP-specific extensions.

In your dealings with PHP, you may come to consider writing a PHP extension yourself. [...] When it comes to choosing a tool to build PHP extensions, we see two different approaches: use more pro-PHP semantics, like Zephir or use more pro-C/C++ semantics, like PHP-CPP, which will be addressed in this article. For me, the main drive to select the second approach is simple: I started my programming hobby with C/C++, so I still feel more comfortable writing those lower level modules in C/C++. PHP-CPP's official site gives a few other reasons to do so.

He walks you through the installation of the library (for now, just a git clone) and getting the needed environment set up to be able to compile and test out the extension. He helps you set up the "skeleton" files for the extension, including some sample content. He includes code for a typical "Hello World" example extension as well as its use in a sample PHP script.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/getting-started-php-extension-development-via-php-cpp

Ralph Schindler:
Authentication & Authorization in Apigility
March 27, 2014 @ 11:04:21

Those interested in the Apigility project from Zend might want to check out this new post from Ralph Schindler on how it handles authentication and authorization for all of the requests.

Apigility takes a lightweight, layered, yet extensible approach to solving both problems of authentication and authorization. The infrastructure is already in place and ready to be configured to use, or for more advanced use cases: to be extended. Many of these feature can be easily explored through the Apigility user interface.

He gets into authentication first, defining it briefly before getting into the Apigility-specific implementation. He talks about the three methods (HTTP basic, HTTP digest and OAuth2) and mentions where it falls in the execution as well as some screenshots of its setup. Following this he talks about the other half of the equation, authorization. He covers the "Authentication" header, the identity types and where you can find the configuration settings. He finishes off the post with an in-depth look at the different components, events and services/models that make up the authentication and authorization system and make it work.

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Link: http://ralphschindler.com/2014/03/26/authentication-authorization-in-apigility

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Self-hosted Free Invoicing App - FusionInvoice
March 25, 2014 @ 11:18:53

On the SitePoint PHP blog today Denis Rendler introduces you to FusionInvoice, a self-hosted invoicing and tracking software based on the Laravel framework. One note, it has since been released commercially, but he focuses on the previous, freely available version instead.

As a freelancer or a small business your time is better spent creating that next big project or meeting the client's requirements than keeping track of invoices. FusionInvoice is an open-source, self-hosted invoicing web application built for freelancers and small businesses. Although there are quite a few free online invoicing applications, none of them give you the privacy or the flexibility which FusionInvoice provides. Client management, dashboard and reports, recurring invoicing and invoice history are just few of its features.

He starts by listing out some of the other software requirements you'll need to run FusionInvoice and how to verify their settings. He helps you create the database for the app and points you to the installer (web-based) to help get you set up. Each step is documented with screenshots and any other commands you might need along the way. Finally, he shows you how to create a virtual host on your Apache server to handle the redirection to the front controller and set a domain name.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/self-hosted-free-invoicing-app-fusioninvoice/

Allan MacGregor:
Hello Hack
March 25, 2014 @ 09:50:33

Allan MacGregor has a new post to his site introducing you to Hack, the recently released language from Facebook based on their work with the HipHop virtual machine.

Recently Facebook unveiled Hack, a new programming language that aims to provide developers with the tools to write and ship code quickly while catching errors on the fly. Hack is as programming language designed to work with HHVM and the same time it works seamlessly with PHP as Facebook lead devs. [...] So does that mean that Hack is just a faster more efficient PHP implementation, right? Wrong, Hack is much more than that, the language brings features that are normally found in statically typed languages to the dynamically typed world of PHP.

He focuses in on the static typing functionality of Hack a bit more and includes an example of PHP code where Hack would catch the type shifting. He also briefly mentions some of the other features including built-in collections, traits, generics and asynchronous programming.

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Link: http://coderoncode.com/2014/03/23/hello-hack.html


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