PHP Annotated Monthly – December 2016

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The holidays are coming (holidays are coming), and the temperature has dropped. As we get to the end of a thoroughly eventful year, it’s December’s PHP Annotated Monthly with Gary Hockin, Developer Advocate for PhpStorm at JetBrains.

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PHP and Development

Latest versions of PHP:

The big news (as you may have spotted) is the release of PHP 7.1.0 almost a year after the release of 7.0. There are many nice improvements, but the killer feature (for me) is the `void` return type hints. If you’d like to know more about the features in 7.1, then try PHP 7.1 – 8 New Features you need to know (by Shameer C) or What’s New in PHP 7.1.0.

Jordi Boggiano (achievement unlocked, spell Jordi’s surname without looking it up) released his second roundup of PHP version stats from Composer/Packagist in PHP Versions Stats – 2016.2 Edition. It’s fascinating to see the adoption of the different PHP versions, and I also saw a really nice graph:

Other interesting posts from the last month include:

Frameworks and Libraries

Using Traits With PHPUnit is a fascinating look at how you can use traits instead of inheritance to clean up your tests. I also enjoyed A Reverse Debugger for PHP… wait WHAT? Which introduces dontbug – a “reverse debugger” for PHP. The concept is you can record your request/response cycle then step both forward and backwards through it using a combination of your usual debugger and its command line tool. It’s an interesting idea.

The Composer Command-Line Essentials is a very helpful guide to exactly what you can do with everyone’s favorite dependency management tool. Some of the switches are really swish, and I didn’t know they existed. There’s lots of Laravel content again this month, but the most interesting (for me) was Interrupting Applications with Laravel Middleware which explains exactly how middleware can be used and is not actually specific to Laravel apps.

Community and Events

Community Grandfather Cal Evans guest blogs Pay the Price for Open Source on the SitePoint blog. It’s a great read even if I don’t agree with everything Cal says. I also enjoyed reading Can Frameworks lead to tribalism among developers; I’ll give you a hint, the answer is “yes.”

Grumpy Programmer (without the U) Chris Hartjes blogged on exactly why he is stopping True North PHP conference after 5 years, in True North PHP Is Done. While I love to argue with Chris on any medium, particularly in person, he and Peter Meth did a great job on a really nice “boutique” conference, and they should be thanked for their efforts. Thanks, both.

Podcasts released this month:

  • Voices of the ElePHPant – Rumors of their death have been greatly exaggerated as VOTE continue to churn out episodes – Interview with Todd RossInterview with Sara Golemon and Elizabeth Smith. Actually, with only two episodes in four weeks, there might be something in it after all.
  • Dev Hell didn’t bother. Ed is too busy flying around the world telling people about the wonderful OSMI mental health charity to bother.
  • PHP Round Table decided to follow Dev Hell’s lead and not record. Up your games people!
  • Jerks Talk Games, the premier podcast involving jerks discussing computer games released Episode 5 – Into the Wasteland where they talk Fallout with Ed Finkler, which probably explains why Dev Hell didn’t record.
  • YOUR PODCAST HERE – seriously, if you’d like to see your podcast listed here, then just Tweet at me, I’d be happy to mention it.

Before we go, I’d like to mention the Advent of Code project. It’s a challenge-a-day coding site that gives you a puzzle to solve every day in December until Christmas. It’s a lot of fun, and I recorded my solutions to date on YouTube, which you can find here.

This month’s edition feels short, so I’ll leave you with the news that PhpStorm 2016.3 has released (our last release for 2016), and you can find more information including a What’s New video on the release page.

Have a great Christmas if you celebrate that kind of thing, and a wonderful new year, and we’ll see you in 2017.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone in the JetBrains family!

— Gary and the PhpStorm Team


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