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Kentucky uses IdeaFestival to push students toward Hour of Code movement
Code.org launched the Hour of Code movement to get more students interest in coding. As part of the IdeaFestival event, Kentucky wants to register one million coding events before ...
Composer & Virtual Packages

Peter Petermann has an interesting post he's added to his site describing a lesser known feature of the Composer package manager: virtual package support.

A few days ago i stumbled over a "virtual package" on packagist - and found it to be a feature that i was actually missing in composer. Turns out, composer can do it, its just not so well documented. So what is this about? Virtual packages allow you to have a more loose dependency. Rather than depending on a specific package, you depend on a virtual one, which can be fulfilled by all packages that provide the virtual one.

He includes a few examples to help illustrate the point of using virtual packages. The first describes an application that wants to use the PSR-4 logger structure but depends on "log-implementation" (a virtual package) rather than the "psr/log" package. The key is in using the "provide" keyword in the Composer configuration. His other two examples expand on this a bit, one showing the use of the "provide" keyword to define the relationship and the other of an actual application making use of this package.

Sentiment Analysis of Twitter feeds

Sameer Borate continues on his theme of Twitter-related development (part one is here) with his latest post showing how to do sentiment analysis of Twitter feeds. His "sentiment analysis" analyzes a string to determine if it's generally negative or positive based on the AFINN word dataset.

In the last post we looked into accessing Twitter API v1.1 from PHP. In this post we will see how we can add sentiment analysis for the tweets. Generally speaking, sentiment analysis aims to determine the attitude of a writer with respect to some topic. A basic task in sentiment analysis is classifying the polarity of a given text, whether the expressed opinion in a sentence is positive, negative, or neutral. In this post we will use a simple sentiment analysis library to analyze the sentiment of tweets.

His example uses the viracore/caroline library to do the actual analysis. He shows how to install it via Composer and how to make a sample checker, returning the score and the comparative ranking. With that working, he shows how to integrate it into the Twitter connection originally created in the first post, extracting tweets from his own timeline and returning their scores.

Packagist Latest Releases for 09.30.2014
Recent releases from the Packagist:
Guzzle-Ring and Future Responses

Michael Dowling has a new post to his site today talking about the work that's being done on the upcoming release of the Guzzle HTTP client. In the post he talks about a major change in how it allows for asynchronous requests and the work on Guzzle-Ring to make it happen.

Guzzle 4 has been out for a little over six months. It has proven to be leaps and bounds better than Guzzle 3, and I've been very happy with the design so far. However, after the release of Guzzle 4, I've received feedback from numerous members of the PHP community that can be boiled down to "Guzzle needs async support." While Guzzle has always had the ability to send requests concurrently using a pool of requests, there was not a way to send asynchronous requests.

After a couple months of work and borrowing concepts from Clojure, I've created Guzzle-Ring, an extremely simple adapter and middleware library for PHP (not just Guzzle) that can power both clients and servers for both synchronous and asynchronous requests.

The Guzzle-Ring reduces the need for the previous complexity of creating multiple adapters, which ended up with the adapters knowing too much about the request itself. He introduces the Guzzle-Ring system that will be included in Guzzle v5, heavily influenced by Clojure. The adapter makes the request as simple as passing in an array and makes use of "futures" to handle the request/response cycle. He also talks some about creating middleware piece that helps integrate it into your application, wrapping functionality inside of another method. He illustrates all of this with code examples and includes others such as fetching of future responses, sending requests concurrently and the Guzzle-Ring server adapters.

Semantic versioning for bundles

In a recent post to his site Mathias Noback looks at the use of semantic versioning, introducing some of its basic concepts and how it can relate to the work done in Symfony bundles.

Semantic versioning is an agreement between the user of a package and its maintainer. The maintainer should be able to fix bugs, add new features or completely change the API of the software they provide. At the same time, the user of the package should not be forced to make changes to their own project whenever a package maintainer decides to release a new version.

He breaks down what the version numbering represents (major, minor and patch versions) and how they work with Symfony's "semver" to handle issues that come with backwards compatibility concerns. He then looks at a few things to consider when versioning your bundles and how it relates to the underlying libraries it might use:

  • Bundles expose an API themselves
  • The API of a bundle leads a life on its own
  • A library may contain bugs that are totally unrelated to the bundle
  • A library may contain features that are not implemented by the bundle

Ultimately, he suggests that bundle versioning should have nothing to do with the underlying libraries/packages. It's his opinion that they should only be reversioned when there is a change in the actual bundle.

Interactive PHP Debugging with PsySH

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial posted by i>Miguel Ibarra Romero showing how to use the PsySH tool to do some interactive debugging of your PHP applications via both the command line and a web frontend.

It's 1:00 a.m., the deadline for your web application's delivery is in 8 hoursÂ… and it's not working. As you try to figure out what's going on, you fill your code with var_dump() and die() everywhere to see where the bug is. [...] Is this situation familiar to you? PsySH to the rescue. PsySH is a Read-Eval-Print Loop (or REPL). You may have used a REPL before via your browser's javascript console. If you have, you know that it possesses a lot of power and can be useful while debugging your JS code.

He walks you through the install via Composer and some of the basic commands and syntax for executing PHP code inside its shell. Command line testing is good, but debugging full applications is a bit more difficult. He shows how to integrate the tool into a sample application that calls PsySH via a "debug" call and output via a set of "window" objects. He also includes a bit close to the end about debugging with unit tests, executing them from inside the shell as well.

Image-TextMode-0.24
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Parse number from Indonesian text
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Regex pattern to match English number verbage in text
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