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php|architect — April 2011

Get this month’s code package: April 2011 Code package

Can Component Libraries and Frameworks Coexist?

This article explores if and how these two different concepts can coexist in the PHP ecosystem. –by Helgi Þormar Þorbjörnsson

Keeping Code Smelling Pretty with PHP_CodeSniffer

Quality assurance is an ever-increasing area of concern for software developers. While testing is a large and very important part of that, it is only one of several quality metrics. Great software must not only function, but be readable and understandable by human beings. In the lifetime of the average application, a significant amount of time and cost will go toward maintenance that is rarely limited to the application’s original author. To maximize maintainability, code must be consistent, intuitive, predictable, and well-documented. A coding standard is one tool that can contribute toward accomplishing these goals. –by Matthew Turland

Uncovering Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP

Adobe and Zend recently announced their partnership in the new Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP, providing a seamless experience, end-to-end. Flash Builder 4.5 will even be able to handle debugging for all your platforms – desktop, IDE, server-side PHP and device – all in one roundtrip debugging session. –by Arturo Alvarado

Worst Best Practices

Have you ever searched the web for “Best Practices in PHP programming”? It is amazing. While some of the advice considered a “Best Practice” is actually funny, others are just plain wrong. Let’s look at a few of the gems being offered up as “Best Practices” to the PHP community and why they may be of less value than you think. –by Cal Evans

Continuous Integration with Sonar

Continuous Integration is a buzzword that we hear more and more these days. The process is very hard to implement in practice, either because of lack of understanding and support from management or because of ignorance and reluctance on the part of the development team. However, with a little bit of training and increased visibility of the overall code quality across the business, you can overcome this. While I can’t help you with the training, I can definitely show you how you can make your code speak for itself. –by Sebastian Marek

Bug Zapper: A Bug-fix Attempt for Zend Framework

Fixing bugs can be easy. Keeping bugs fixed over the lifetime of your software can be hard. That’s why Zend Framework (ZF) comes with unit tests and guidelines on how to use these when fixing bugs. ZF’s project lead Matthew Weier O’Phinney wrote a convincing article about fixing bugs in the September 2009 issue of php|architect. While building and running unit tests to prove you fixed a bug is a rock solid way to demonstrate the quality of your work, it can be quite a challenging task. I decided to start this column to encourage everyone to take up the challenge and try for themselves! –by Bart McLeod

Community Corner: Pleased to Meet You

Nothing beats the face-to-face communication found at conferences, unconferences and user group meetings. –by Stefan Koopmanschap

php|architect Announces the 2011 Impact Awards

We at php|architect have long felt that there needs to be a way to recognize projects that have had an impact on the lives of PHP developers. –by php|architect

Security Corner: The Professional Paranoid

Being paranoid means more than just discussing features and their implications. It also includes developing with a “need to know” concept in mind. –by Arne Blankerts

exit(0): Deep in the Dungeon, Up in the Sky

If you find yourself coming across something that challenges your preconceived notions on a technology topic, you should always pay attention. –by Marco Tabini

Functions I Love

Learn more about html_entity_decode() –by Elizabeth Tucker Long

Editorial: Educated PHP

Why aren’t schools teaching PHP? –by Elizabeth Tucker Long

Responses and Pingbacks

Is there any way I can get a hard copy subscription? When I click on subscribe it only offers me electronic formats…

Thank you!
Ray

 
Marianne Mason on April 28th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Hello Elizabeth,

Regarding your editorial in this month’s PHP Arch, I’ve wondered the same thing myself. For years I taught at an adult post-secondary vocational school. Since I was an MSCE, I taught the NT 4 classes (dating myself eh?) and any IT-related class they threw my way. I finally got them to let me teach a basic programming class using PERL or PHP which morphed into a beginner’s class on PHP. I also managed to get them to let me develop and teach a JavaScript course.

Slowly, interest for these classes dropped away. It was both with the administration and the students. Enrollment for the PHP class was always low though I usually got plenty of people for JavaScript. (Perhaps it had to do with all the outsourcing that was going on at the time — people started to see IT or programming as a bad career choice since all the jobs around here seemed to be going off-shore.)

I never understood the lack of interest and support for the PHP class. I thought the class was a lot of fun (but maybe it was too much work for what the students wanted to put into it.) Eventually I was pushed aside by instructors who were teaching MS courses or how to put together a site using Photoshop. Because I taught part-time at night, I got less and less opportunities to teach and even my JavaScript class was dropped. Eventually they stopped sending classes my way. I knew my supervisor was happy with my work and I got good student evaluations so it certainly wasn’t because I was a lousy teacher. (at least no one was willing to say it to my face!)

Eventually the local community college took over and the county shut down the adult votech.

I have lost track of how many times people told me they tried to find a class on PHP and there wasn’t anything. Certainly you can go to places like Learning Tree or onsite classes through PHP Arch or Zend, but the cost of tuition is quite a bit more than we paid for our county adult votech or community college. (This is not a comment on the quality of instruction provided through Zend, PHP Arch, Learning Tree or other private company.) And there are people that just prefer the classroom environment. It beats me why a school would not want to offer instruction on PHP considering how widespread it is and how it can be used for more than just web.

 

I’ve found the same thing. I’ve offered courses in PHP through craigs list and had no results which is strange considering that where i live there are a lot of PHP jobs available and the pay is between 55,000 and 100,000 per year. I can NOT understand the lack of interest in a language that is so flexible, and so much fun to work with. I think the new requirement for OOP may be a difficulty for people in the PHP world. I’ve found the standard for new hires are very very high in the PHP world right now and this may be a deterrent but there is definitely opportunity there for the right people. I hear you Marianne, it doesn’t make much sense to me either.

 

From an employers standpoint we feel it’s hard to find skilled Php developers – meaning 2+ years Php programming, have some formal training, who know a framework, MVC, etc. Most resumes we get are from developers who hack together existing scripts but can’t actually program. So we offer books and online Php training from php|architect, but it makes turnover or up-sizing expensive and to time consuming. And I know we’re one of many companies who feel this way. Yes, there is a need for Php courses in schools because we all need more skilled developers.

 

Hi Elizabeth,

Good editorial piece and actually had me thinking about my own personal struggles to have PHP seen as a viable WEB technology at school. I believe the issue is that most instructors have not ventured out of their development stack environment long enough to see the vast wilderness of competing technology stacks.

I also think we as PHP developers should take the time to review other languages to possibly see what we can take away from those technologies. PHP is great as a tool but we should guard ourselves from becoming like the instructors as well.

@Chris Hess – Is 2 years a bit too early to call someone “skilled”? Ive seen MANY senior roles looking for 2 years in the industry.

 

wonderful editorial.
I have learned more things from here about php
thanks to phparch.

 

Hi Ray,

No, we are an electronic only magazine since October of 2009.

=C=

 

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