I read a post recently by Sean Coates about deploy on push. The concept is nothing new: you set up a hook that listens for commits on specific branches or tags, and it then deploys your site from that revision.
Except I'd not done it myself. This is how I got there.
When I started teaching myself scripting languages, I started with Perl. One Perl motto is "TMTOWTDI" — "There's More Than One Way To Do It," and pronounced "tim-toady." The idea is that there's likely multiple ways to accomplish the very same thing, and the culture of the language encourages finding novel ways to do things.
I've seen this principle used everywhere and in just about every programming situation possible, applied to logical operations, naming conventions, formatting, and even project structure. Everyone has an opinion on these topics, and given free rein to implement as they see fit, it's rare that two developers will come up with the same conventions.
TMTOWTDI is an incredibly freeing and egalitarian principle.
Over the years, however, my love for TMTOWTDI has diminished some. Freeing as it is, is also a driving force behind having coding standards and conventions — because when everyone does it their own way, projects become quickly hard to maintain. Each person finds themselves reformatting code to their own standards, simply so they can read it and follow its flow.
Additionally, TMTOWTDI can actually be a foe of simple, elegant solutions.
Why do I claim this?
I'm really not sure I understand these "seven things" or "tagged" memes, but I'm going to give it a shot, after Keith Casey did a drive-by tagging of me on New Year's Eve.
So, without further ado, seven things you may not know about me…
I've been using IRC regularly for the past six to nine months, in large part
due to the growing ZF community on the Freenode
#zftalk channel (unfortunately, I simply don't have time to be in that
particular channel any more, but you can generally find me in
but also to keep in contact with other peers, friends, and colleagues.
One difficulty, however, is keeping productivity high while staying on IRC. To me, the ultimate client would provide me notifications when somebody mentions my name or a watch word — allowing me to read the channel at my leisure, yet still respond to people in a timely fashion.
Chris Hartjes today was on a quest for a "find in project" feature for Vim. "Find in Project" was a feature of Textmate that he'd grown accustomed to and was having trouble finding an equivalent for.
The funny thing is that Textmate is a newcomer, and, of course, vim has had such a feature for years. The thing to remember with vim, of course, is its unix roots; typically if you know the unix command for doing something, you can find what you need in vim. In this case, the key is the vimgrep plugin, which ships in the standard vim distribution.
I may work at Zend, but I've never been a fan of IDEs. They simply don't suit my programming style. I can usually keep track of file locations in my head pretty easily, and what I really need is a blank slate on which I can write, and one that doesn't consume resource that can better be used running web servers and other programs. Syntax highlighting, good indentation — these are important, but you can get these from good, minimal text editors very easily. Vim is my editor of choice.
I will admit, though, that one area where I have had IDE-envy is the area of code completion. I often find myself doing quick lookups to php.net or perldoc to determine the order of arguments to a function or method call, or checking for the expected return value. Most of the time, this doesn't take much time, however, so I just live with it.
Today, however, cruising through the blogosphere, I came across an article showcasing some new features of Vim 7.0, and discovered Vim 7's code completion.
Basically, while in insert mode, you can type
<C-x> <C-o> to have vim attempt to autocomplete the current keyword. If more than one possibility exists, it shows a dropdown, and you can use your arrow keys to highlight the keyword that you wish to use.
But it gets better! Not only does it do this kind of autocompletion, but it also opens a small 'scratch preview' pane showing the function/method signature — i.e., the expected arguments and return value!
I thought I had little need for IDEs before… now I have even less! Bram and the rest of the Vim team, my hat's off to you for more fine work!
I generally try to stay out of politics on this blog, but this time something has to be said, as it affects anyone who uses the internet, at least in the US.
Basically, a number of telcos and cable providers are talking about charging internet content providers — the places you browse to on the internet, places like Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, etc. — fees to ensure bandwidth to their sites. Their argument is that these content providers are getting a 'free ride' on their lines, and generating a lot of traffic themselves, and should thus be paying for the cost of bandwidth.
This is patently ridiculous. Content providers already have to pay for their bandwidth — they, too, have ISPs or agreements with telcos in place, either explicitly or via their hosting providers. Sure, some of them, particularly search engines, send out robots in order to index or find content, but, again, they're paying for the bandwidth those robots generate. Additionally, people using the internet are typically paying for bandwidth as well, through their relationship with their ISP. What this amounts to is the telcos getting paid not just by each person to whom they provide internet access, but every end point on the internet, at least those within the US.
What this is really about is telcos wanting more money, and wanting to push their own content. As an example, let's say your ISP is AOL. AOL is part of Time Warner, and thus has ties to those media sources. Now, those media sources may put pressure on AOL to reduce bandwidth to sites operated by ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Disney, PBS, etc. This might mean that your kid can no longer visit the Sesame Street website reliably, because AOL has reduced the amount of bandwidth allowed to that service — but any media site in the TWC would get optimal access, so they could get to Cartoon Network. Not to slam Cartoon Network (I love it), but would you rather have your kid visiting cartoonnetwork.com or pbskids.org? Basically, content providers would not need to compete based on the value of their content, but on who they can get to subscribe to their service.
Here's another idea: your ISP is MSN. You want to use Google… but MSN has limited the bandwidth to Google because it's a competitor, and won't accept any amount of money to increase that bandwidth. They do the same with Yahoo! So, now you're limited to MSN search, because that's the only one that responds reliably — regardless of whether or not you like their search results. By doing so, they've just artificially inflated the value of their search engine — without needing to compete based on merit.
Additionally, let's say Barnes and Noble has paid MSN to ensure good bandwidth, but part of that agreement is a non-compete clause. Now you find your connections to Amazon timing out, meaning that you can't even see which book provider has the better price on the book you want; you're stuck looking and buying from B&N.
Now, let's look at something a little more close to home for those of us developing web applications. There have been a number of success stories the last few years: MySpace, Digg, and Flickr all come to mind. Would these endeavors have been as successful had they needed to pay multiple times for bandwidth, once to their ISP and once each to each telco charging for content providers? Indeed, some of these are still free services — how would they ever have been able to pay the extra amounts to the telcos in the first place?
So, basically, the only winners here are the telcos.
Considering how ludicrous this scheme is, one must be thinking, isn't the US Government going to step in and regulate against such behaviour? The answer, sadly, is no. The GOP doesn't like regulation, and so they want market forces to decide. Sadly, what this will likely do is force a number of content providers to offshore their internet operations — which is likely to have some pretty negative effects on the economy.
The decision isn't final — efforts can still be made to prevent it (the above link references a Senate committee meeting; there's been no vote on it). Call your representatives today and give them an earful. Tell them it's not just about regulation of the industry, but about fair competition in the market. Allowing the telcos to extort money from content providers will only reduce the US' economic chances in the world, and stifle innovation and choice.
On perlmonks today, a user was needing to maintain a PHP app, and wanted to know what the PHP equivalent of
perl -wc script.pl was — specifically, they wanted to know how to run a PHP script from the commandline and have it display any warnings (ala perl's strict and warnings pragmas).
Unfortunately, there's not as simple a way to do this in PHP as in perl. Basically, you need to do the following:
To display errors:
display_errors = On, or
To show notices, warnings, errors, deprecation notices:
error_reporting = E_ALL | E_STRICT, or
error_reporting(E_ALL | E_STRICT);
Alternatively, you can create a file with the lines:
<?php error_reporting(E_ALL | E_STRICT); ini_set('display_errors', true);
and then set the
auto_prepend_file to the path to that file.
NOTE: do not do any of the above on a production system! PHP's error messages often reveal a lot about your applications, including file layout and potential vectors of attack. Turn
display_errors off on production machines, set your
error_reporting somewhat lower, and
log_errors to a file so you can keep track of what's going on on your production system.
The second part of the question was how to run a PHP script on the command line. This is incredibly simple:
php myscript.php. No different than any other scripting language.
You can get some good information by using some of the switches, though.
-l turns the PHP interpreter into a linter, and can let you know if your code is well-formed (which doesn't necessarily preclude runtime or parse errors).
-f will run the script through the parser, which can give you even more information. I typically bind these actions to keys in vim so I can check my work as I go.
If you plan on running your code solely on the commandline, add a shebang to the first line of your script:
#!/path/to/php. Then make the script executable, and you're good to go. This is handy for cronjobs, or batch processing scripts.
All of this information is readily available in the PHP manual, and the commandline options are always available by passing the
--help switch to the PHP executable. So, start testing your scripts already!
It's now been confirmed: I'm a geek.
Okay, so that probably comes as no shocker to those of you who know me, but it's the little things that make me realize it myself.
I've been frequenting Perl Monks for a couple of years now, mainly to garner ideas and code to help me with my personal or work projects. I rarely post comments, and I've only once submitted a question to the site. However, I do frequent the site regularly, and the few comments I've put in — generally regarding usage of CGI::Application — have been typically well-moderated.
Well, yesterday I made a comment to a user asking about editors to use with perl. I was incensed by a remark he made about VIM not having the features he needed. Now, as I said in my comment, I've used VIM on a daily basis for over two years, and I'm still discovering new features — and I've used all of the features he was looking for.
This is where I discovered I'm a geek: my comment made it into the Daily Best for today, peaking around number 5. The fact that that made my day indicates to me that I must be a geek.
Oh — and VIM rules!
I've standardized my PHP programming to use the environment variable
SCRIPT_NAME when I want my script to refer to itself in links and form
actions. I've known that
PHP_SELF has the same information, but I was more
familiar with the name
SCRIPT_NAME from using it in perl, and liked the feel
of it more as it seems to describe the resource better (
PHP_SELF could stand
for the path to the PHP executable if I were to go by the name only).
However, I just noticed a post on the php.general newsgroup where somebody asked
what the difference was between them. Semantically, there isn't any; they should
contain the same information. However, historically and technically speaking,
SCRIPT_NAME is defined in the CGI 1.1 specification, and is thus a
standard. However, not all web servers actually implement it, and thus it
isn't necessarily portable.
PHP_SELF, on the other hand, is implemented
directly by PHP, and as long as you're programming in PHP, will always be
Guess I have some grep and sed in my future as I change a bunch of scripts…