15 September 2008

Monday at ZendCon

Today at ZendCon I attended two tutorials, and I enjoyed them both. In both cases, there was a lot of review, but I also learned new things in both. The morning session was "PHP Developer Best Practices" with Matthew Weier O'Phinney and Mike Naberenzy. They covered a pretty broad set of topics:

  • They spent quite a bit of time on source control. They talked mostly about subversion, but they also discussed some git's advantages, particuarly for offline development (like on a laptop on a plane). Some of the other things that were interesting to me were the ability to link one SVN repository to another with the svn:internals feature, using post-commit hooks to send emails (to other developers) or to rebuild documentation (e.g., via phpdoc), and using branches for maintaining older product lines (the example that occurred to me is that the Apache developers might have a branch for the 1.3.x line).

  • They talked a lot about coding standards, and then advocated the PEAR standard. I think that's the default standard which is enforced by PHP_CodeSniffer, which is one of the coding tools they discussed (which I started using a few weeks ago).

  • They spent some time on testing, and they pointed out that when coupled with xdebug, PHPUnit can do coverage analysis. I didn't know that, and I think that's pretty cool. I've never been able to get xdebug to work for me, but that's a good reason to try again. They also made PHPUndercontrol look interesting enough to play with.

  • They talked about phpDocumentor, which is something I've been using and enjoying lately. They also touched on DocBook, which evidently is just fairly straightforward XML. I'll have to give that a try.

  • They concluded with a few remarks about deployment issues. I'd hoped they'd talk about phing or phar, and they might have, but they sort of ran out of time.

Lunch was catered box lunches, served in a large room with lots of big tables. So I had lunch with strangers, but one of them turned out to be Jay Pipes. I'd heard him speak at OSCON previously, and he had some interesting insights about Sun's MySQL acquisition (he said that Sun had so far mostly left MySQL alone). Jay was wearing a cool T-shirt with the Decepticon logo. And Paul Reinheimer was sitting behind me. I don't know his face, but I recognized his voice. Sounded like he was keeping his tablemates well entertained.

The afternoon session was "Quality Assurance in PHP Projects" with Sebastian Bergmann. I've been fiddling with PHPUnit for a little while, and the talk gave me several things I want to research a bit more when I have time:

  • the --testdox option

  • the @group phpdoc tag

  • xUnit Test Patterns, a language-agnostic book about software testing

  • the DbUnit feature

  • using sqlite for testing DB stuff

  • using the dataProvider feature for throwing a large stack of specific test data at the code

Sebastian also talked a lot about mocks and stubs and such, but that's still a bit over my head. But we got to see the --ansi feature of the shiny new v3.3.0 (which he just released this morning).

The eee pc had good moments and bad. This convention center did a pretty poor job of providing power outlets (people were sitting up front so that they could plug into surge suppressors for the sound systems, and others even pried some metal plates off the floor to get at electrical outlets), so I was on battery all morning (I scored an outlet in the afternoon). The eee pc battery held, but perhaps only because I dimmed the screen and turned off the wireless. But I'm still happy with it--it's light enough that I don't feel tired or sore at the end of the day. And although I make more mistakes than usual on the little keyboard, it's plenty good enough for note-taking.

No comments: