Archive for October, 2007

ZendCon ‘07 Slides

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

If you are bummed out because you missed ZendCon 2007 (myself included), you’re in luck! All the slides are currently making their way up to Zend’s Developer Zone. The list is far from complete, but it is constantly being updated.

Some of my favorite ones are:

Take some time out today to go over a few presentations that catch your eye. Be sure to open up a discussion with any interesting points you find or questions you have.

PHP 5.3 Is Here!

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

If you are the kind of person who likes to ride the bleeding edge of software (like myself), go get PHP 5.3 from snaps. There are a handful of features that developers have been craving for quite some time; namely:

  •  Namespaces
  •  Improved Static Members and Methods
  • A Brand New INI Parser
  • Better Support for SSL
  • An Updated Version of Perl Compatible Regular Expressions

This is, of course, not an official release but rather a developer preview for testing. The official 5.3 release isn’t scheduled for any time this year. Regardless it’s a wise move to start getting familiar with the new technologies now!

Bring Your Own DB

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Come join Central Florida PHP on Saturday, October 27th for a super spooky Halloween meeting! This month’s topic of discussion is frightening to beginners and professionals alike: Database Normalization.

Continuing with the incredibly successful format that we had last month, this will be more of an open discussion of sorts. Everyone is encouraged to bring a database project they are working on and get advice on how to better organize it.

The meeting will be held at DeVry University near the Mall at Millenia in Orlando. We will begin at 3:00pm in room 108 and will end at 5:00pm. After the meeting you are welcome to join us for dinner at Mimi’s Cafe, just across the street.

See you there!

Discuss or register for this event on:

Extending PHP

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Today, an article was posted on Zend’s Developer zone that caught my eye: Using YAML with PHP and PECL. Although the article itself is specific to an extension for parsing and emitting YAML, I found it interesting because it makes a great example of PHP’s flexibility as a platform.

PHP does not support YAML natively. If a developer wishes to implement YAML for a database migration or for any other reason, they must look to a third party library or roll their own. Several elegant solutions currently exist for YAML consumption, but they are written in PHP and must be interpreted with all other PHP code at runtime. This works almost always without a problem, but when efficiency and speed are of concern, a developer may want to consider a more low-level approach. The article demonstrates this well with the syck PECL package (ext/syck). This provides compiled binding with the Syck library. Since ext/syck is compiled, it is already optimized for the system. When the extension is loaded into PHP, the syck_* functions become directly available to the developer without having to include any third party libraries.

PHP itself is an open source language. As a result, any developer can write code to add additional functionality to the language, or to change the language at it’s core. As a convenience to all the PHP hackers around the world, the PECL project was formed. The project homepage ( lists many other packages which provide an incredible amount of additional functionality to the core of PHP.

Most of the time, PHP developers are satisfied once they get PHP configured on their web server (if it didn’t come that way already). However, with almost no effort, an entire world of lightning fast functionality can be added to your application. Furthermore, this functionality is modular — it can be turned on and off as necessary by simply editing the php.ini file.

Currently there have been no talks given at our group about extending PHP with PECL libraries. I think it would be great to have someone with some experience give a presentation on the subject. Our next meeting will be held on October 27th. Any takers?