December 12, 2008

PEAR installer / channel and other articles

I sometimes get people coming to me and asking “How do I take my X code base and package it up PEAR style” or “So I have packaged up my awesome library, I want to have my own PEAR channel, how do I do that ?” so in the end I decided I’d just write articles on the subject :-)

If you look for the Nov and Dec issues of PHP Architect then you’ll see said articles in all it’s glory! I know people already have access to the Nov mag via PDF and I’ve gotten good feedback on it thus far, I’m happy.

I also published a little piece in the PHP Advent calendar for Chris and Sean called Coping with the Holiday Shopping Spree and in my opinion it turned out quite well, at least I’ve been getting reallllly good feedback from people. It’s a subject that people don’t touch on enough.

On top of this whole thing I will be starting a PEAR column in PHP Architect in February that will run on monhtly basis, where I will try to write something intelligent about PEAR and hopefully stay away from writing tutorials and how to’s for X and Y popular package but we’ll see how things progress, email me requests if you have a specific topic in mind ;-)

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November 6, 2008

The secret sauce to Obamas success is …

Now that Obama has finally won I think it is time to reveal the secret sauce in his campaign – PHP & PEAR – according to this article a LAMP stack was used to create the Obama site where PEAR was extensively used, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, ohh and really proud :-)

This just goes to show the Obama campaign picks the right tools for the job, and further they pick tools that no corporation controls, which quite reflects what Obama is all about – at least the little I glanced over the whole presidential election thing. The same can not be said about MaCain (read the article)

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October 3, 2008

Ohloh providing download services for your OSS project

I was just informed that Ohloh is now providing open source projects with a download service. While I haven’t tried it just looking over their FAQ seems like this could be really helpful to many smaller projects, well even bigger ones I think!

CDNs, ability to access the access logs, cli uploads as well as web interface – Really cool stuff in my opinion, not something we can use for projects like PEAR but I know countless projects that could make use of it!

Thanks to Scott Collison from Ohloh for informing me, I need to try this out as soon as possible to see if it actually works as nicely as it sounds.

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September 27, 2008

PHP Barcelona 2008 – Wrap up

Now the PHP Barcelona 2008 conference is almost over, I am sitting in the last keynote of the day – Derick is talking about XDebug.

PHP Barcelona 2008 is a user group run conference, costing only 20 Euros for people to attend and it managed to garnish around 200 – 300 people, which shows that the PHP Spain scene is quite vibrant and alive. The conference was run really well and the venue is truly amazing, given people paid 20 euros to enter, everyone went wow as to the quality given the payment ratio.

This is a conference to look out for in the future and I for sure am gonna attend next year if possible.

I gave my Deploying website with the pear installer talk:, I’ve updated it a bit and changed it, the talk it self went really well – ran 5 mins over, people seemed somewhat confused but I had really good feedback, both on pear and the talk it self … How I can improve them and in general good questions.

So hopefully they will have another conference next year, this one was too well run to not do it again. See ya there!

September 20, 2008

Speaking at PHP Barcelona next weekend

Next weekend I’ll be talking at the PHP Barcelona conference (27th Sept) about how to deploy your website with the PEAR installer.
It’s a relatively new conference and only a one day but already includes talk from big speakers like Derick Rethans, Scott MacVicar, Zoe Slattery and well my self :-D

So do come by to the conference, by the really small fee about 20 euros, fill up the conference and have a beer or 10 with us afterwards!
Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

August 11, 2008

PEAR installer updating its PHP deps

So the title says it all, kinda …

For the next alpha release of PEAR that will happen in 2 – 4 weeks we’ll have a min dep of PHP 4.4 and 5.1.6, so basically excluding 5.0.0 – 5.1.5 Now why am I going to do that ?

As any decent PHP developer know, PHP 4 is dead so to at least stay in the latest PHP 4 release I decided it wouldn’t be worth the hassle to maintain support for 4.3 anymore (It’s also the case with PHP 4.4 but I kinda dislike abandoning people altogether) and well 5.0 nobody uses except for crazy people and everyone in the 5.1 series should be up to 5.1.6 anyway since RHEL uses that and most of the LTS distros out there.

So yeah I’m doing this so I don’t have to test on so many PHP versions as well as hopefully nudge users to upgrade their PHP if they wish to use PEAR anymore … kinda … a little known secret is that the installer still works fine on 4.3 and 5.0 – 5,1.5, you just need to do pear upgrade -f pear if you want to keep on using those old ugly PHP versions but be warned, I’ll bogus any reports that has those numbers and I can’t properly reproduce any of the newer versions of PHP.

Now some people might be wondering things like: why didn’t you put PHP 5+ dep and rewrite the damn installer to proper PHP bla bla bla bla, well we’re already doing that and it’s called Pyrus and will be PHP 5.3+, the work I’m doing on the PEAR installer is because people will take some time to upgrade from PEAR installer to Pyrus once Pyrus is stable so I think it’s important we try to maintain the old installer for a bit longer and to make that easier for us the PHP version reduction was important, for us and I believe the community.

I’m mostly making this post so people know about this beforehand and can react accordingly on their own servers when the time comes.

Also does anyone have a beef with me excluding those PHP versions ? :-) If so comment here or email me at helgi _at_ php _dot_ net and explain to me why that is.

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June 23, 2008

Dutch PHP Conference 2008 – Day 2 and 3 / Conference and the after math

So I’m sitting here in Skien recalling the last 2 days in Amsterdam so I can write something really intelligent about it but I’m being somewhat foggy on some of the details :) Actually half of this blog was written after Skien since my laptop crashed mid way through this blog *sigh* – So I was even more foggy for a while.

Zeev’s keynote was kinda like what Andi went on about back in Chicago – Saw the same slides in some case, history of PHP, where we are going and fun things like that, I know some people liked it but I must admit I was not impressed per se, maybe because I have seen Andi do most of this before ? Who knows.

Anyway on stage came Marco Tabini, a person I’ve never seen talk before and he had a interesting keynote title, Software and the taste of mayo, and I must say I was really happy with seeing how it turned out. Marco managed to pull off being his usual funny self and still get his point across, he talked about how software and services get over engineered, bloated and simply poorly written, for comparision he used mayo – real mayo is made out of three ingredients where as for example hunts mayo is made out of 50 or so ingredients which can more often than not be reflected to software and how they are handled. A good talk.

Next up was Derick with his eZc talk where he went on to explain what the whole concept is, introduced what I like to call their better components and show example but 45 mins didn’t make it justice, Ivo make the talks longer next year! And add another conf day :) This talk convinced me to look deeper into ez components and use more components than I already am.

PHP Security by Johann, I was expecting something different than what he talked about – It ended up being more like, not sure what to call it, a very dry university professor lecture, a lot of stats about why people are exploiting web apps, now and 5 years ago – names of some ways to run a security audit and basics about how you should do them. It didn’t catch my attention and I was really bored in there but people around me seemed very happy with it and thus I must deem it a success even tho I felt I was in 101 class.

The last talk I attended was Ivo Jansch session about Enterprise PHP Development. In there he used a nice metaphor about blocks to build a house in accordance to development , I must say I enjoyed the talk since he was talking about this I tend to ponder on a lot in projects I’m involved in but I was quite surprised that people in the talk seemed to find some of the topics Ivo touched on to be new to them. Good thing Ivo just published a book about it at PHP Arch.

I was going to end this blog post with something along the lines of “make the topic more advanced for next year around” but evidentally that should not happen since in many of the talks I looked into people seemed generally puzzled but I did hear the random “I felt I was back in pre-school”, so my advice to the conf holders, do a mix of both, add a extra conf day and everyone will be happy.

Terry Chay had his usual closting keynote, I was not all that satisfied how less explicit it has gotten recently, we need to get him drunk before these keynotes – Or he has to make a new one since he might be getting bored of this one but I still enjoy it :)

That night we went out for drinks and fun and stayed out for a looooong time, basic after conf stuff really but it meant we were a bit woobly the day after when we went sightseeing in Amsterdam, where we went on the canal bus and saw a lot of Amsterdam – Really beautiful and after that we went for a good stroll in this amazingggggg weather, wow I almost extended my stay just because of it – thankfully the weather was good in London too when I came back :)

Anyway this is a rather short wrap up but should give a good idea that I really liked this conference, good to see we still have a decent conference in Europe (unconfs not included in this statement :P they always rock) and I’m going again next year, hands down and so should you!

June 15, 2008

Dutch PHP Conference 2008 – Day 1 / Tutorial Day

So I finally decided that I’d attend Sebastians session, so the myth from last blog post is busted :-)
This is the first time I’m seeing Sebastian talk even tho I’ve been to couple of conferences with him so this is a new and hopefully fun experience.

I wrote parts of this blog post during the talk so some of it talks about the session parts as they are in the future, I’m way too lazy to fix it but I do expect everyone that reads my blog is smart enough to just go with the flow on this one ;-)

Another reason why this session is interesting to me is because I’ve been dabbling in phpt all my life, everytime I’ve come across PHPUnit in a software where I have some say in it, I convert it to phpt BUT those are usually PHPUnit v1 which is well … not pretty – I used to use it in some PEAR packages, felt a bit over the top.
Having only touched on v3 a weeeee bit so I’m hoping Sebastian will bring some new light on this and make my mind a bit more open for v3 and v4. Quite funny tho when I was writing the above sentence that Sebastian was talking about that unit tests should be easy to write, I’ve always found the barrier to be higher for PHPUnit than for phpt, maybe it’s just me ? I have always believed that one file per test, it feels like PHPUnit encourages putting many tests in one file which kinda feels … messy, maybe it’s done because people don’t want to be extending some class all the time and fun fun things like that.

Tho as Sebastian points out, phpt is more of a standard and it’s not a unit test framework but in my experience it’s pretty easy to throw in most of the basic functions that people will use in PHPUnit, that’s something we did in pearweb – mock DB, assert funcs and all that but no doubt it doesn’t even start to touch on what PHPUnit does but most of the times you are only playing with the basic features, I’m a bit bias about phpt tho.

While showing how important tests are while refactoring Sebastian showed people how to solve code smells, a term coined by Martin Fowler but he added a little bit that I didn’t know about it, while Martin was writing it he had a new born baby in the household and his wife kept telling him “if it smells, change it” and so he went on to adopt it for coding.

A nice feature I wasn’t aware of in PHPUnit is tagging X many tests as a certain group and then having the ability to execute a group of tests in one file (kinda makes the many tests in one file sound nicer) or across multiple files, or so I believe from what Sebastian said.

Couple of other really nice features were mentioned like: DB_Unit – port of jUnit database stuff to PHPUnit, uses PDO only atm Selenium, cool as always phpUnderControl

DB_Unit and phpUnderControl are two things I have not tried out yet but I will for sure, phpUnderControl just looks awesome and I like the whole idea behind CruiseControl just never gave my self the time to look at it even if Sebastian has been talking about it for …. ever :-)

A bit of a funny tidbit, apparently there was a smallish bug in the html output from PHPUnit and Sebastian told us that this part of PHPUnit is nigh impossible to test – or maybe even PHPUnit it self as whole, didn’t really hear it properly and he’ll shout at me if he ever reads this and wants to correct me :)

The later parts of the post might look a bit … rushed … they are, I’m sitting here in a hotel in London trying to grab it all from memory :-) Mid through Sebastians session I became distracted with fixing bugs and other food related things and thus missed out on parts of the session, which was a pity, good session, really good.

I’m definently going to give PHPUnit another chance after this session but I’m still going to follow the development since it might become something really useful, after all it was born from the pear run test suite (which was born from the original test runner in PHP it self, so that we have the facts right, IIRC hehe)

a note to Derick, arrange a full day workshop of xdebug next time around! I had a real hard time picking if PHPUnit or Xdebug would be the session I wanted to see, then I noticed the xdebug one was a half day one … fail …

All in all, a good day – The evening was a lot of fun, Dutch won the France people, the town LIT up – Fun times

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June 12, 2008

In Amsterdam for the Dutch PHP Conference 2008

So I have arrived to Amsterdam, finally, been on the road since 7am and it’s 7:30pm now :-)

I had my usual train problem in Amsterdam since I always forget what to pick when I’m buying a ticket to RAI, rather weird not having it as an option in the ticket buying machine, oh well … Then I forgot to print out a map so I could walk from the RAI train station to the hotel …. I ended up taking the scenic route … something some of my fellow conference people should be familiar with, it’s a the technical term for getting lost :-P But I got to see some nice looking places in Amsterdam and the weather was really good outside so I didn’t mind really … Seems they finally finished the renovations they were doing around RAI btw, everything looked … different.

When I walked paste the convention center I noticed couple of signs, really cool:

Now I’m just waiting for some other people to arrive so we can grab dinner, I love the hotel location, smack in the middle of a lot of restaurants and what not.

Tutorial day is tomorrow, still haven’t decided which one I’ll be attending so my blog post tomorrow will be a mystery :D

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June 2, 2008

The Duch PHP Conference 2008 – pre conference butterflies

In just a couple of days I’ll be in Amsterdam attending the Dutch PHP Conference and I must say I’m getting some excitement butterflies in me little belly.

I’ve been trying to find a legit reason to go to Amsterdam yet again (previously went in 2005 for the International PHP Conference – IPC) and finally decided that the Dutch PHP Conference would be the reason, not only because I liked the city but also because the schedule looks damn good, ranging from Derick R., Sebastian B., Marco T and over to guys like Ivo and the infamous Terry terror (cheesy ? yes ? no ? yeah probably is) and oodles of people I’ve never seen give a talk but sure have interesting topics, I’ve already pin pointed a one or two new talks I’m going to attend.

I really like the fact that the conference is held at the RAI convention center, maybe it’s just me but I liked the place and the location, not too far from downtown and not too far from the airport either and this is coming from someone where the capital (Reykjavík) consists of mere 120.000 people.
Nota bene, I do think the IPC made a false move by going over to Germany with both their conference events so I’d not be surprised by the fact that the Dutch conference is almost full so if you haven’t already then you should go ahead and get a ticket! It’s cheap and you’ll get bang for your buck, there’s not question about it … Now if you can’t attend this year then you should mark your calendar to watch out for next years which will hopefully be a 2 day conference event with a tutorial day (common Ivo, it will make it twice as fun! :-))

I will try to post more blogs about the conference when I get there and hopefully I can also do another community coverage like for Tek, I have a feeling the EU crowed might be a tad different than the one we saw at Tek, that coupled with some notes on the sessions.

Should make for an interesting read later on, so stay tuned! :-P

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