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php[architect] — September 2016

We don’t always have the luxury of working on greenfield projects where we can try out the latest language features, component libraries, or programming techniques. More often, we’re asked to take care of and add features to an application that just works and supports a company or organization’s objectives—like making money to pay salaries. Unless it’s a relatively new project, you are sure to run into corners of the codebase that should be modernized. The trick is to find the time and marshal your team to do so.

Illuminating Legacy Applications

Congratulations! You’ve finally gotten the stakeholders to realize you can’t continue to maintain, and add new features, to that 10-year-old PHP application which may be solely responsible for generating the money everyone in your company uses to pay their mortgages. Not only did you get them to realize the fragility of the application (the one keeping the company from bankruptcy) but you also got them to agree to allow you, and your team, to start a concerted effort to refactor it. You did it by selling them on infinitely more stable application, which is more maintainable and most importantly, easier to extend with new features. It’s time for you to deliver, are you ready? by Colin DeCarlo

The Modernization of Multiple Legacy Websites

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Most developers will need to maintain legacy code at some point in their career. That code will hopefully be contained in a single codebase, but may instead be contained across several and working with multiple legacy systems can be daunting. In this article, I share my experiences in maintaining multiple legacy websites which were primarily written with procedural PHP. I describe the steps I used to migrate the existing code to a single codebase utilizing a Composer-based Model-View-Controller framework. After describing the process, I will share points of success, as well as possible improvements. by Jack D. Polifka

Legacy Code Needs Love Too

The latest framework of the moment usually gets all the press, but these usually only work when you are starting with a brand new project. There are millions of lines of code out there which are not new and need loving developers like you to help take care of them. by John Congdon

Building for the Internet of Things in PHP

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the big buzzword nowadays. You can’t escape it. It’s on the news and everywhere in tech magazine sites. Unfortunately, little of the IoT buzz seems to have made it to the PHP community. We are late to the party. The good news is the party has really just begun, and there’s still plenty of room for PHP. If you are like most PHP developers, you probably thought IoT was only for C or JavaScript developers. If so, you’ll be surprised to discover you are dead wrong. IoT development is not only possible in PHP; it’s fairly easy to do in PHP as well. All it takes is a little education and desire to learn. by Adam Englander

Education Station: Your Dependency Injection Needs a Disco

Dependency injection, what would any modern PHP application be without it? Likely big ball of hard to manage mud. Right? While some developers don’t like them—even run screaming from them—I’m firmly in the camp that they are worth their weight in gold. When you understand them, and when you use a good one, you’re off to the races with an easier to build, configure, and maintain codebase. by Matthew Setter

Leveling Up: Behavior Driven Development With Behat

Writing tests for your code is an outstanding way to ensure your application is doing what it should and not what it shouldn’t do, without needing to hire a lot of QA staff or relying on your users to beta test and find bugs. Since this column started, I’ve written about various testing topics and tools—PHPUnit, phpspec, and Humbug, as well as testing philosophies like TDD. It’s been six months since the last testing article and I’ve got another testing tool and another technique to tell you about. by David Stockton

Community Corner: Be a Community Builder

Past U.S. President Ronald Reagan said it best, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, I’m here to help.’” I feel that way about communities as well. The most vibrant tech communities I’ve been a part of have not so much had appointed leaders, as they have had leaders rise up for a time to fill a role or solve a problem. Then, these people would quietly fade back into the community. The next time something happened and the community needed a leader, they might rise back up or a new voice might rise up. by Cal Evans

Security Corner: Two-Factor All the Things

When it comes to protecting your application, a simple username and password combination isn’t enough anymore. In the early days of the web, that combination was defined as a “best practice,” mostly as a carry-over from the early days of computing where the same was required to log into large mainframe systems or local terminals. Thanks to this early and widespread adoption, the standby of username and password has stuck with us and just about any large application out there defaults to this for its authentication mechanism. In this article, I’m going to talk about something you can do to enhance your application’s security without having to replace the username/password combo with something more obtuse: the addition of two-factor authentication. by Chris Cornutt

On the Value of a Degree…

Recently I got into a discussion with a good friend who was considering going back to school after having over a decade of experience in her industry. Many other people were chiming in, saying how going back to school late in their career was the best choice they ever made and how it opened up so many doors for them. by Eli White

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