If you were starting today in PHP?

I’m kicking around the idea of developing an introduction to PHP series along the lines of the Ruby  on Rails and Python classes being held over at Kauffman Labs.  This would likely be outside of our normal User Group schedule, so don’t think we still couldn’t touch on any of these in our group sometime.

The point of the series would be get new developers up to speed by writing something useful.  I could see it even being used to show off PHP as the perfect platform for any level of developer to get something out their quickly, but leave them with enough foundation they could build for the long haul as well.

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on technology choices in PHP for such a series.  I haven’t taught a formal intro PHP class since Smarty was the hot new thing, so I could really use your help.  There are just so many really great options to choose from.  I’d love to hear of first-hand experiences, but any ideas will be appreciated.

Read on if you are interested in helping.

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July Coffeeshop Hangout

What a great meeting everyone!  GREAT turnout, and lots of fantastic discussion.  Here are some announcements and highlights I could grab along the way.

PHP Releases
  • PHP 5.5.1 / PHP 5.4.17 / PHP 5.3.27
  • Q: PHP 5.3 Reaching End of Life?  A: Yep!
Framework Spotlight
  • Silex 1.0.1
  • Symfony 2.2.4 / 2.3.0
  • ZF 2 2.2.1 / 2.3.0 end of August
  • Laravel 4 – still.  But, making a lot of good noise it seems
Event Reminders
  • Lawrence Coders Hack Day - Aug 29th
  • Nomad PHP (virtual)
    Creating Realtime Applications with PHP and Websockets, Corey Ballou July 25th, 2013 8:00 pm (CDT)
    Practical Refactoring and Beautiful Models coming soon!
  • Day Camp 4 Developers #6
    Non Programming for Programmers
    Docs, Agile Development, SCM, Estimation
    July 26, 2013, 9:00 am – 1:30 pm CST
New KC Co-Working Place
Open August-ish
Read more about it in Silicon Prairie News
Run by volunteers/tennants run
1624 Westport Road
 KC PUG Changes
  • Steering committee - a new email subgroup to keep us on track
  • Looking for new places – I’ve contacted JoCo libraries, others?  coworking spaces? Companies using PHP?
  • Adding an Evening Meeting, co-working meeting?
  • Looking for Sponsors –  If we can get a compatible place, would be nice to have pizza, soda, etc.  Probably need some guidelines
  • Employer Spotlight – Highlighting the use of PHP in KC
  • Members Directory – A place to put anything about you!
Participating in a Nomad PHP session

Eric discussed participating in the IRC back channel of last month’s nomad PHP.  Brought up PuPHPet - The amazingly easy to use, Vagret file builder for custom PHP vm’s.  Great to see such industry leaders hanging out to contribute.

Anyone using Hiphop?

Hiphop VM was discussed on the latest Ruby Roads podcast (Sorry, John, if you know the link, feel free to add to the comments section)

Of course, most of us can get away with just an opcode cache like APC or the OPcache into PHP 5.5 and ported to 5.4 and 5.3 via PECL.

System monitoring

John asked about small-scale systems monitoring that didn’t involve something massive like New Relic, etc.  Thoughts that came back were: Nagios + Check_MK, Cacti, What’s Up Gold, Big Brother, MRTG, Monit, Webmin with  WebminStats

What’s it like to be in a Hackathon?

Eric reported on his attendance in the Hack the Midwest hackathon. Had a great time, and encourages anyone and everyone to take part in the next one.

Eric’s report also wins the Best one-liner award: “Coding started and the count of oontz”

His advice to new hackathon attendees: Go in with a team, an idea ahead of time and have your dev environment ready to go.  Then spend about 12 hours to make your app and make it awesome, then polish and create your presentation.  You can’t bring in artwork or code, but you can bring in architecture and planning–so have that thoughts out, and bring that for sure.

PHP teams were rare, but there.  Nods and mentions were also given to other area hackathons such as Hack the Gigabit City and CforA’s Hack Kansas City

Google blown away by PHP App Engine excitement

Google being shocked at how many people started using the Google App engine for PHP.  Read more about it.

We had so many other great conversations!!  Thanks everyone.  If you have things you want to make sure people know, be sure to add it to the comments below!

June Coffeeshop Hangout

Some things we discussed today:

Graphing Options

Event Reminders
  • Lawrence Coders Hack Day - July 11, 2013
  • Nomad PHP (virtual) – Laravel 4, Phil Sturgeon
    June 27, 2013 8:00 pm (CDT)
    We also talked about Laravel as a good candidate for starting a new system
Radial Search Options

Thank you for the great discussions everyone!

If you have things you want to make sure people know, be sure to add it to the comments below!

JCCC Looking for Web Application Developer, PHP

Johnson County Community CollegeThose of you who have been with us since the beginning probably remember when our group started over a decade ago at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.

Well, turns out our friends over at JCCC are looking for a Web Application Developer with PHP experience.  Go to jobs.jccc.edu for details and application information.

If you have experience and are looking for a great place to work in KC, I’d personally recommend you check them out.

May Coffee Hangout

Some things we discussed today:

Upcoming Events

Great networking opportunities of in KC

Major Updates in the PHP world:

We had lots of great conversations that didn’t necessarily have a “link” to go along with it.  If you didn’t go, you should have been there!  If you did thanks for the great discussions!!

If you have things you want to make sure people know, be sure to add it to the comments below!

Programming PHP, 3rd Edition (O’Reilly)

Programming PHP continues to be an excellent book for any beginning or intermediate PHP developer.  Seasoned developers will certainly find plenty as well–I’m happy to say I found plenty of great  ”oh, cool!” moments reading through it.  As this title is now in it’s third edition, it is incredibly polished and beautifully structured.  In short, a perfect book for any PHP developer’s library.

Right from the start, the authors assure PHP was created for web development, and continues to be a powerful tool for constructing your latest ideas. The tone is generally pragmatic, and doesn’t go wandering off into some advanced topic before you are ready.  The first couple of chapters are about getting you hooked…showing new developers how easy it is to get started with the language. From there, they go into writing your own functions and diving into string manipulation.

PHP is rarely developed in a vacuum away from all of the other libraries, frameworks, micro-frameworks and whatnot that make it such an effective platform.  However, to avoid over complicating the topics, Programming PHP generally stays true to discussing “vanilla php” until you get into the later chapters.

The section of the Strings chapter on using regular expressions is easily worth the price of the book on it’s own, but they smartly introduce you to the more traditional string processing techniques first.

The chapters on Objects and Arrays are equally powerful, drawing on the previous chapters and going into just enough conceptual and concrete detail to be highly effective.

At this point, you are going to have a very rich understanding of the language, but haven’t seen much of how to actually build a web application in a while.  So, they take a chapter to do just–explaining exactly how you will can use html, forms and sessions to get data to and from your users.  Finally, they give a taste of the many types of database engines php supports directly including PDO, mysqli and even MongoDB!  So just half way though the book, and you have everything you need to truly be effective at building web applications.

From there, look forward to some fun with generating graphics and PDFs   Heck, there is even a 13 line script that converts images into color ascii art!

All PHP developers should read and understand the chapters on Security and Application Techniques–if just to keep these concepts in their minds while coding.  Developers who have been using PHP since the early days may find the sections on Web Services and Dates and Times particularly useful.

The book includes a giant appendix — essentially a concise manual for the language.  While many of us probably use the online docs, I remember this section being particularly useful when I was learning PHP from the first edition of this book over a decade ago.

Web development is a very large and constantly evolving field.  This book doesn’t try to make points diving into HTML 5, CSS 3 or writing complicated map-reduce functions in MongoDB–nor should it.  I would have liked to see a chapter on PHPUnit or any of the PHP QA tools–even if it replaced the chapter on fpdf.  Also, the Application Techniques showed how to build a simple template engine to introduce the concept–I would have liked to seen a simple MVC pattern demonstrated as well.

Regardless, the authors have done an amazing job of refreshing this iconic reference for the PHP language. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about PHP.

Creating Dynamic Web Pages
Publisher: O’Reilly Media
Released: February 2013
Pages: 540

We want your feedback!

KC PUG is looking for feedback from it’s members. If you are reading this message, THAT’s YOU!

Please take a few moments and fill out this great survey John put together for us. It’s only one page– 10 simple questions–that will help us get a better understanding of what our PHP Development community is looking for.

Our Quick, 3 minute survey!
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KYW6Z5V

Thank you for your time!