Blog Entries

Taming SplPriorityQueue

SplPriorityQueue is a fantastic new feature of PHP 5.3. However, in trying to utilize it in a few projects recently, I've run into some behavior that's (a) non-intuitive, and (b) in some cases at least, undesired. In this post, I'll present my solutions.

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Aspects, Filters, and Signals, Oh, My!

Last month, during PHP Advent, gwoo wrote an interesting post on Aspect-Oriented Design, or Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP) as it is more commonly known. The article got me to thinking, and revisiting what I know about AOP, Intercepting Filters, and Signal Slots -- in particular, what use cases I see for them, what the state of current PHP offerings are, and where the future may lie.

But first, some background is probably in order, as this is a jargon-heavy post.

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Making Zend Server Available Via SSL Only

In light of the recent remote PHP exploit, I decided to update a couple servers I manage to ensure they weren't vulnerable. In each case, I had been using hand-compiled PHP builds, but decided that I'm simply too busy lately to be trying to maintain updates -- so I decided to install Zend Server. I've been using Zend Server CE on my laptop since before even any initial private betas, and have been pretty happy with it -- I only compile now when I need to test specific PHP versions.

One thing I've never been happy about, however, is that by default Zend Server exposes its administration GUI via both HTTP and HTTPS. Considering that the password gives you access to a lot of sensitive configuration, I want it to be encrypted.

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Simple Interfaces and Micro MVCs

My job is great: I get to play with technology and code most days. My job is also hard: how does one balance both functionality and usability in programming interfaces?

I've been working, with Ralph Schindler, on a set of proposals around the Zend Framework 2.0 MVC layer, specifically the "C", or "Controller" portion of the triad. There are a ton of requirements we're trying to juggle, from making the code approachable to newcomers all the way to making the code as extensible as possible for the radical performance tuning developers out there.

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Vim Toolbox, 2010 Edition

I've been using Vim for close to a decade. I've often said that "Unix is my IDE" -- because Vim is built in the Unix philosophy, allowing me to pipe input into it, out of it, and every which way I want. It fits very nicely with the Unix philosophy of doing one task well, and allowing redirection. I've found it ideal for web development in general and PHP development specifically -- in fact, I've had excellent experiences in every language I've tried my hand at developing in when using Vim.

Vim is also my chosen productivity suite. When I want to write a document, I don't go into OO.o Writer or MS Word or some other word processor; I open up a window and start typing. In most cases, I can either cut and paste my work into other tools, or pipe it to transformation tools. I worry about the content first, and the presentation later... like any good MVC application. ;-)

Like any good tool, you have to invest time in it in order to reap its benefits. My learning has, to date, fallen into three time periods:

  • The initial months in which I first learned Vim, via vimtutor and Steve Oualline's Vim book.
  • A period in 2006-2007 when I felt the need to make my coding more efficient, and first started playing with exuberant-ctags and omni-completion.
  • The last quarter of 2010 (yes, that's now) when I was introduced to a number of new tools via Twitter.

So, this is my Vim Toolbox, 2010 edition.

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Introducing the ZF2 Plugin Broker

In Zend Framework 2.0, we're refactoring in a number of areas in order to increase the consistency of the framework. One area we identified early is how plugins are loaded.

The word "plugins" in Zend Framework applies to a number of items:

  • Helpers (view helpers, action helpers)
  • Application resources
  • Filters and validators (particularly when applied to Zend_Filter_Input and Zend_Form)
  • Adapters

In practically every case, we use a "short name" to name the plugin, in order to allow loading it dynamically. This allows more concise code, as well as the ability to configure the code in order to allow specifying alternate implementations.

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ZendCon 2010!

As I write this, ZendCon begins in less than a week. I have the honor and pleasure to be speaking there again, for the sixth year running.

ZendCon 2010

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Using Action Helpers To Implement Re-Usable Widgets

I had a twitter/IRC exchange yesterday with Andries Seutens and Nick Belhomme regarding applications that include widgets within their layout. During the exchange, I told Andriess not to use the action() view helper, and both Andriess and Nick then asked how to implement widgets if they shouldn't use that helper. While I ended up having an IRC exchange with Nick to give him a general idea on how to accomplish the task, I decided a longer writeup was in order.

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Autoloading Benchmarks

During the past week, I've been looking at different strategies for autoloading in Zend Framework. I've suspected for some time that our class loading strategy might be one source of performance degradation, and wanted to research some different approaches, and compare performance.

In this post, I'll outline the approaches I've tried, the benchmarking stategy I applied, and the results of benchmarking each approach.

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Applying FilterIterator to Directory Iteration

I'm currently doing research and prototyping for autoloading alternatives in Zend Framework 2.0. One approach I'm looking at involves creating explicit class/file maps; these tend to be much faster than using the include_path, but do require some additional setup.

My algorithm for generating the maps was absurdly simple:

  • Scan the filesystem for PHP files
  • If the file does not contain an interface, class, or abstract class, skip it.
  • If it does, get its declared namespace and classname

The question was what implementation approach to use.

I'm well aware of RecursiveDirectoryIterator, and planned to use that. However, I also had heard of FilterIterator, and wondered if I could tie that in somehow. In the end, I could, but the solution was non-obvious.

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