PHP Annotated Monthly – January 2016

Happy New Year!php-annotated-monthly

Welcome to the first PHP Annotated Monthly of 2016, a year that may well become one of the most interesting and exciting in the life of PHP.

This month has been compiled once again by PhpStorm Developer Advocate Gary Hockin.


PHP 7 had its first minor updates, with the latest being PHP 7.0.2. The PHP 5 releases were PHP 5.5.31 and PHP 5.6.17. It’s worth noting that currently these are the only officially supported versions of PHP, and PHP 5.5.x only gets security fixes. So as usual, if you’re running anything older, I encourage you to upgrade.

While mentioning upgrading PHP, Jack Skinner posted a very interesting article looking at the versions of PHP in the wild, and how they compare to last year in his PHP Version Roundup. It’s an interesting (if scary) read.

Michelangelo van Dam continued from his last blog post on installing PHP 7 on OSX, with more information in the post Installing PHP 7 with XDebug, Apache and MySQL on OS X Yosemite. It includes information on installing Xdebug which is very useful for any developer. If you aren’t using Xdebug to develop, I encourage you to start using it.

Zend have released an official supported Docker container for running PHP 7 on Zend Server – this is very useful for those of a Docker persuasion. Docker is a great virtualization tool that I’m trying to use more myself. You can find more information including installation instructions on the article Dockerizing PHP 7 with Zend Server. If you’re interested in learning more about Docker, then I can highly recommend Chris Tankersley‘s new book Docker for Developers. It really helped me understand more about what Docker is, and how to use it in my development environment.

PHP Code in 2006 and 2016 by Evert Pot was probably the most interesting read for me personally in the last month. It shows how Evert wrote code in 2006 and how he writes code now in 2016. I always find it intriguing seeing how other people write and style code, along with their reasoning.

Matthew Weier O’Phinney wrote a very interesting article on Secure PHAR Automation. A PHAR is a compressed PHP bundle that contains all the code needed for an application to run, and can be used for deployment. Creating a PHAR securely hasn’t been something I’d considered before, so it’s definitely worth reading. Michelangelo van Dam also posted a couple of  nice articles on PHP arrays – the basics and Simple Operations – it’s the start of a series and something I’ll be following with interest.

Frameworks and Tools

Zend Expressive posted RC5 this month. Expressive looks to be the centerpiece of the forthcoming Zend Framework 3, and is a PSR-7 middleware based micro-framework. It’s worth a look, and is certainly gathering momentum. In keeping with PSR-7 middleware based micro-framework, Slim released 3.1.0 which is quite an achievement given the relatively low number of contributors. Good job!

Symfony released 3.0.1 (on Boxing Day of all days), and Laravel released version 5.2.

Sitepoint, who had some of the consistently best posts of 2015 in my opinion, finished the year with the second part in their Liking, Watchlisting and Uploading through Vimeo’s API.

Composer and Monolog author Jordi Boggiano blogged on the New Composer Patterns that were introduced in 2015, and also on The Road to Monolog 2.0. We should all be thankful to Jordi for his efforts in making components easily interchangeable in recent years.

Derick Rethans blogged on New MongoDB Drivers for PHP and HHVM: History which is a very interesting article on the history of the PHP MongoDB driver, along with recent improvements including HHVM support. 2015 Year in Review for on the Drupal website, by Joshua Mitchell outlines the amazing year the Drupal Project had in 2015.

Eric L. Barnes blogged on Automatically upgrade your Laravel app with Shift, while Laravel aficionado and all-around nice guy Matt Stauffer blogged on API rate limiting in Laravel 5.2. It’s actually a useful introduction to rate limiting using HTTP headers even if you don’t use Laravel.

Prolific blogger Rob Allen posted a useful post on Using Composer with shared hosting, while Lorna Jane Mitchell posted on Relying on A Dev-Master Dependency in Composer which outlines why relying on dev-master versions in Composer may be a bad idea. Lorna also posted on OAuth2 with PHP’s built-in Streams Functions.

Community (and more)

The highlight of the last month for me was Ben Ramsey, who blogged on Hour of Code – a beautifully written review of Ben’s volunteer session for the Hour of Code initiative. It’s something I’d like to get involved with myself and I really enjoyed reading. Thanks Ben.

Sometimes, the simple things are the hardest, and Joshua Thijssen‘s post helping people to understand how they should approach commenting on a conference session on definitely comes under that category. Find it here: My guide to commenting on Community stalwart Khayrattee Wasseem posted an interesting interview with potty-mouthed Brit abroad, Phil Sturgeon.

The podcasts came a little less thick and not quite so fast in the last month or so, but it’s been the holiday period so we forgive you.

The conference season is about to kick back off with many great conferences coming in January, February and March, including PHP Benelux, FOSDEM, Sunshine PHP, PHP UK and Midwest PHP. I’m excited to be attending or speaking at lots of conferences this year, so please come and say “hi!” if you spot me.

Open CFP include:

Again, thanks to The CFP Report for delivering these open CFP right into my mailbox. If you’re interested in speaking I would advise you sign up.

That’s it for January, and I hope you all have an amazing 2016. If there’s anything you’d like to see in February’s PHP Annotated Monthly, get in touch and let me know.

– Gary and the PhpStorm Team


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