PHP Annotated Monthly – December 2015

PHP Annotated Monthly

With the Holiday season fast approaching, and the game-changing release of PHP 7, we have a lot to cover in the December edition of PHP Annotated Monthly.

This month has been compiled by the Santa of Script, Gary Hockin – Developer Advocate for PhpStorm.


We’ve had our usual slew of releases… WAIT…

PHP 7 has been released!

PHP 7.0.0 was released on December 3rd, 2015, with a huge thank you from everyone at JetBrains going out to all the contributors who helped make this milestone release possible. We also saw PHP 5.6.16 released. It bears repeating that PHP 7.0.0 and 5.6.16 are the only supported versions of PHP (while 5.5 is still in the security fixes only phase). There’s never been a better time to upgrade your version of PHP.

PHP 7 regales us with significant performance increases – you can expect to see 100% improvement on PHP 5.6 (even more if you’re running older versions of 5.x). It also brings a number of new language functions and features, including scalar type hints, return types, anonymous classes, the abstract syntax tree, catchable fatal errors, and much, much more.

Of course, benchmarks are very subjective, but you can read Mark Gavalda blog on The Definitive PHP 7.0 & HHVM Benchmark. The HHVM blog also blogged about PHP 7 Support which tells us that the upcoming 3.11.0 stable release will support all the features of PHP 7.

Andi Gutmans of Zend fame blogged on The Web is about to get 2x faster. Engineering heroism at its best!, while community hero Cal Evans also blogged, PHP 7 Lives!.

Thijs Feryn blogged on PHP 7 is now available: new features & improvements (which has a very nice video), and Bruno Skvorc at SitePoint also gave a great introduction of the new features in PHP 7 in Learn PHP 7, Find out What’s New, and More. Both are definitely worth visiting if you need an introduction to PHP 7.

To round off our PHP 7 overload, Michelangelo van Dam blogged on Installing PHP 7 on OS X Yosemite – handy for anyone of a Mac persuasion who would like to give PHP 7 a try (please do!). Rob Allen also blogged on Installing Phan on OS X. Phan is a PHP 7 static analysis tool, and I’m very interested in installing and trying this out myself.

An interesting post on Jordi Boggiano’s blog where Jordi reveals 2015’s PHP version usage based on number from composer and packagist, PHP Versions Stats – 2015 Edition.

Frameworks and Tools

We’ve seen a number of big releases in the last few weeks, including the release of Slim 3! It’s a near complete re-write over Slim 2, and is a PSR-7 middleware-based framework. It looks really exciting, and I’m looking forward to giving it a go (I’m also hoping Josh will send me some free swag for mentioning it here). Congratulations to everyone involved!

Symfony also announced their milestone version 3.0.0 release. Congratulations to all concerned!

Drupal 8 also has released. This is a massive update, which has been 5 years in the making, and again, JetBrains would like to congratulate everyone involved in such a marathon development. Drupal 8.0.1 is the current version. Larry Garfield blogged “Drupal 8: Happy, but not satisfied” about his unbiased opinions on this new major release of Drupal.

Reza Lavaryan on SitePoint writes on Managing Cronjobs with Laravel, and Joshua Thijssen blogged on Symfony, XDebug and the maximum nesting level which I actually found interesting despite not using Symfony.

Again on SitePoint, Bruno Skvorc blogged on using a small Date/Time library called Carbon to handle your date and time woes, Suggesting Carbon with Composer – Date and Time the Right Way. This is a really nice little library that solves an annoying problem elegantly.

Remi Collet penned a really interesting post on benchmarks using Xdebug and phpdbg to provide code coverage with PHPUnit, PHPUnit code coverage benchmark. Tyler Longren wrote a very cool article about how to Use Composer in Your WordPress Plugin or Theme.

Supreme Allied Commander of Zend Framework, Matthew Weier O’Phinney (*salute*) released an information packed update in “Zend Framework 3 Update and Roadmap” where he outlines the plans for Zend Framework 3 and how Zend Expressive fits into this puzzle.

Matthew Setter also blogged a really cool article on using ZF’s AggregateHydrator for Sophisticated Object Hydration. Hydration is the concept of converting an array into an object, and is very useful in converting things like database results into more manageable value objects.

Community (and more)

Larry Garfield blogged on Why I Speak – a very interesting insight into why one of the most active conference speakers does what he does.

Symfony has announced that Voting is Open for the Symfony Community Awards – a very interesting concept that I am watching with fascination. The PHP Architect team have also announced they are running a PHP Cruise in July 2016, a good excuse to take a working holiday while learning from some amazing speakers.

Interested in knowing more about our cuddly mascot, the PHP ElePHPant? Then look no further, A Field Guide to ElePHPants will tell you all you need to know about each species of the plush little pachyderm.

If you’re looking for a very interesting read, you could do far worse than 24 Days in December, which is an astounding collection of blog posts, one for every day in December until Christmas written by a guest poster. Each post I have read has blown me away, so it’s definitely worth catching up on this over a coffee and then, like me, looking forward to each new post.

The podcasts just keeping on coming in the last few weeks:

Conference season winds down for Christmas, but there are a number of calls for papers open. I’m lifting these directly from The CFP Report; if you’re interested, why not sign up there and get the open CFPs emailed to you directly?

I’d like to finish this month with a mention of Ed Finkler’s amazing initiative Open Sourcing Mental Illness. Ed travels the world helping educate developers cope on mental illness issues, and challenging the stigma surrounding mental health problems, and I encourage you to support him.

Again, please get in touch if you’d like to see anything featured on new month’s PHP Annotated Monthly. I hope everyone has a great festive period followed by a positive and exciting new year. See you in 2016!

– Gary and the PhpStorm Team


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