Twitter Search API Using PHP and Guzzle

In case you missed it, Twitter updated their APIs recently, so that you have to authenticate to use even their search APIs to return publicly-available results. This is an increasing trend for API providers, to provide either very limited or nonexistent access for unauthenticated users, I think so they can rate limit consumers that swamp them. To cut a long story short, that meant I needed to update my dashboards that keep an eye on twitter searches to do more than just call file_get_contents in the general direction of the right URL. Continue reading

PHP Version Adoption

PHP runs over 75% of all websites whose technologies are known (source: w3techs), which makes for a really REALLY long tail of users who once installed wordpress, phpmyadmin, or some other open source project that helped their business needs at the time. What they don't do is upgrade. PHP's current usage statistics look like this (source and raw numbers are if you want them):

PHP Version Adoption

What's alarming about this is that the left half of this graph represents unsupported versions of PHP. PHP 5.2 has been end of life since January 2011. This doesn't mean that you can't use it any more, but it does mean that in terms of security updates, you are out of luck. Some distributions will try to retro-fit some of the fixes but essentially your PHP applications seem a bit lacklustre because, well, you're using technology from 2006. Continue reading

Simplest PHP Generator Example

I really like the generators feature that's arriving in PHP 5.5, and since we're now into release candidate releases, it's actually not that far away. I've been speaking on this topic and I thought I'd share my trivially simple code example from my slides.

Writing a Generator

The generators use the yield keyword to feed values out as they are iterated over. In code, they really look a lot like a function (or method):

< ?php
function getValues() {
    // totally trivial example
    yield "Apple";
    yield "Ball";
    yield "Cat";
}

Continue reading

Setting Multiple Headers in a PHP Stream Context

Last week I tried to create a PHP stream context which set multiple headers; an Authorization header and a Content-Type header. All the examples I could find showed headers built up as a string with newlines added manually, which seemed pretty clunky and not-streams-like to me.

In fact, you've been able to pass this as an array since PHP 5.2.10, so to set multiple headers in the stream context, I just used this:

<?php
$options = ["http" => [
    "method" => "POST",
    "header" => ["Authorization: token " . $access_token,
        "Content-Type: application/json"],
    "content" => $data
    ]];
$context = stream_context_create($options);

The $access_token had been set elsewhere (in fact I usually put credentials in a separate file and exclude it from source control in an effort not to spread my access credentials further than I mean to!), and $data is already encoded as JSON. For completeness, you can make the POST request like this:

<?php
// make the request
$response = file_get_contents($url, false, $context);

Hopefully this will help someone else doing the same thing next time (or at least I know I can come back here when I can't remember!), the array approach seems more elegant and maintainable to me.

Video Course on Learnable: OOP PHP

I'm delighted to announce that my new video course on Object-Oriented PHP is now available on Learnable! It's very much an introduction, aiming to cover WHY objects are so cool as well as how to declare and use one. The course is a mix of video (filmed in my kitchen, welcome to my home everyone!), screencast, a couple of exercises for you to try, and also plenty of sample code to download. If you are just looking to get started with OOP, or know someone who is, then hopefully this will help you out.

On a related note, I'm also doing a Sitepoint "Talk with the Experts" session on 11th April (early morning UK time, as a special treat for everyone in Europe and further east, that doesn't happen often!). There are more details here: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?1012242-Talk-Object-oriented-PHP-with-the-Experts and I hope you can join me then.

First Phing Plugin

I'm a huge fan of Phing and use it regularly for build and deployment tasks. Often, I'll ask about a plugin that I wish existed, and get a very courteous "patches welcome" from the nice people in the #phing channel on freenode. This has happened a few times, so I thought I should probably look at how to make a new phing plugin, this article shows you how to make the simplest thing I could think of: a simple "hello world" plugin. Continue reading

PHP and Gearman: Unable to connect after upgrade

I upgraded PHP and related pecl modules on my development machine today, and ran into a problem with Gearman. Actually I ran into more than one! Firstly the challenge of getting the newest pecl version working with a gearman version. Then an error where my existing PHP application couldn't connect to gearman after upgrade.
Continue reading

Talking about ZCE at PHPNW March

If you're interested in becoming a Zend Certified Engineer and are local enough to make it to the next PHP North West User Group meeting on Tuesday, 5th March in Manchester (UK), then come along! I'll be giving a talk and welcoming questions and discussion around becoming ZCE, why you might bother, what is involved, some tips for the exam itself, and pointers to resources to help you (yes the slides will be online afterwards, check the "resources" section on my site on Wednesday ish).

The details are on the Upcoming page for the event, see you on Tuesday 5th!

Zend Webinar on PHP 5.4: 19th February

I am pleased to announce that I'll be presenting one of Zend's webinars in February, on Tuesday 19th. The topic is "The PHP 5.4 Features You'll Actually Use", and the session is my opportunity to round up the best of the new features that came in with PHP 5.4 and illustrate the ones you'll want in your codebase with some examples. You can find out more about the session and register for the webinar on Zend's site: http://www.zend.com/en/company/news/event/1188_webinar-the-php-5-4-features-you-will-actually-use.

See you there!