PHP News You May Have Missed

By Bruno Skvorc
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The last month or two have been chock full of small news and releases not warranting a full story in their own right but still interesting, I’ve decided to make a small compilation and direct your attention to the interesting developments around us. Just because we don’t cover something immediately, doesn’t mean we don’t notice or care :)

Ubuntu 14.04. LTS

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Not so much PHP related, but still fairly important for our channel and future development purposes, the release of Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS kind of flew by most people. This release will be supported by Canonical until 2019, which is a big deal as we can now all switch to this newest version as soon as it’s vetted by hardcore users. Stay tuned for upcoming Vagrant boxes predefined for 14.04. soon – we’ll be custom building and publishing some soon.

You can download the server version here and there’s a default Vagrant box available here.

GAE 1.9.1 – 1.9.3

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Google App Engine has reached minor version 1.9.3., adding some more features and upgrades since the last time we talked about it:

  • bug fixes regarding Zend Framework, null characters in URLFetch, failed file uploads to Cloud Storage, long POST data, unlimited upload sizes and the fnmatch() function
  • ability to embed images in emails via the Content-Id header was added
  • the zip module is included by default now

The SDK has been updated and you can take it for a spin immediately. To see how you can do that, check out my previous article on GAE.


HHVM reached version 3 (finally, a sane versioning scheme – a rarity in the PHP world) and publicly introduced Hack, the “PHP as it should be” we’ve talked about before.

Their website features a wide variety of examples, good docs, and an interactive tutorial you can use to get familiar with it. It’s not that different from PHP, so it’ll be an easy entry for most PHP devs. HHVM has also achieved full compatibility with 23 popular libraries/frameworks.

Phalcon 2 beta 1

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Phalcon 2 has reached beta 1. You can now use Zephir and Phalcon 2 to create production apps, but there’s still some documentation and APIs missing – a more in depth article on this topic is coming soon. Feel free to read their release post in the meanwhile.


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A not-so-well-known but incredibly robust CMS called ImpressPages has reached the milestone version of 4.0. We’ll be putting up some guides and reviews of this CMS soon, so stay tuned!


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OroCRM, a heavy duty rich CRM application for which some guides are coming soon has been made publicly available and downloadable via GitHub. It’s fully open source, aiming to both make CRM more approachable and to grab some market share from the current champions like SugarCRM.

ZF2CA certification

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Zend, the PHP company, has announced the immediate availability of Zend Framework 2 Certified Architect certification. It was developed by an expert advisory board led by Matthew Weier O’Phinney, ZF’s Project Lead and a rather competent team. Reservations for taking the exams are coming soon.

Hop on over to their training website to get your skills honed in time for the exam.

PhpStorm 8 approaching

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The latest EAP version of PhpStorm supports PSR-0 and PSR-4 namespace roots, making your development process ever smoother and more automatic. Read more about the changes in the release notes or just try the EAP version out.

WordPress 3.9

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As usual, the latest WordPress update features some mostly cosmetic improvements, but improvements nonetheless. At this point, I’m personally very interested in what version 4.0 will bring us. Perhaps 21st century code like OOP, package management and taking full advantage of PHP5.5? What would you like to see happen?

Zend Framework 3 Progress

Zend Framework 3 isn’t fully on its (public) way yet, but it’s being developed step by step. One such indicator are the ZF3 tagged issues on GitHub which indicate a refactoring of a wide range of components, but one that particularly pleases me is ZF finally getting rid of yet another anti-pattern they introduced – the ServiceLocator which rendered all parts so dependent on a single component which in turn had other dependencies, you could no longer use a part of ZF without pulling in most of the rest. To follow the progress, just keep tracking the ZF3 tagged issues.

Composer Package Marketplace

As mentioned in our latest newsletter, is a soon-to-be-live marketplace for Composer packages. It’s unknown whether the packages will be closed or open source and how they’ll be protected from piracy, plagiarism and bad coding habits, but it’s an interesting notion. While commercializing something that was originally envisioned as open source would be deemed villainous and greedy by some, I believe we all have the right to sell anything we want to anyone we want. There is, however, the concern of quality – how can we trust the reviewers, how can we trust packages we ourselves don’t have input on? Are we staring down the barrel of another WP-plugin/theme marketplace, filled to the brim with awful, irreparable code, or does this have proper potential? We’ll know more in a couple days. For now, all we know is that Cartalyst seems to be behind the site.

PHPUnit drops PEAR support

PHPUnit, the essential testing library for PHP, has decided to drop support for installation via PEAR. In a move that pleases many, surprises some, and disappoints none, Sebastian Bergmann, the author of the library, gives us his thoughts on the choice he made.

PEAR has failed as a package manager, but due to lack of competition we failed to see better until the advent of Composer. It’s up to us to change the public perception, abandon what doesn’t work, and slowly, package by package, move to a higher quality system of PHP code distribution.


The list is far from exhaustive, and features only news that you probably missed due to lack of exposure but might be curious about anyway. Did we miss any crucial ones? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll update the article!

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  • amit d

    Currently working on Ubuntu 13.10 and WordPress 3.8, looking forward to use the updated ones mentioned in your list.

    • dojoVader

      Are you using Apache 2.4 or 2.2, 13.10 gave me issues with Zend Server will 14.04 install 2.4 ?

      • amit d

        I worked on Xampp Server, haven’t used Zend till now.

  • Victor Berchet

    I think you have missed the HACK language official release – unless it was already addressed in a previous article ?

    • I didn’t mention Hack due to it being quite a popular update and thus having a very low chance of having been missed – but you’re right, it’s important enough to mention. I’ll add it, thanks!

  • Tomo Moto

    ZF2CA certification? Who would want to have it? :D

    • Experts in ZF2?

    • Tomáš Fejfar

      ZFCE resulted in more job offers than any of my code :(

      • dojoVader

        Hmmmm I have always been of the side that supports Projects, you’re saying the ZCE gives more opportunities, more info pls thanks

        • Tomáš Fejfar

          That’s just it. I got like 10 inMails – “We really like your projects and we saw you’re ZFCE”. And I have to say that (even though my work on the projects IS pretty cool) they have not much chance to see it from the description there… so it must have been more chit-chat type of thing ;)

  • rrcatto

    I would like to see a WordPress Framework that allows me to build CMS features into other projects.

    • Taylor Ren

      Well, I bet it would not be a very good idea. CMS can be built on other ready platforms already. For me, I am use WP as my blog backend but having this impulse to replace it totally with another one.

      • dojoVader

        Same here, doing something in WordPress feels like torture, It would be fun to have a CMS with a framework like Yii or Zend concept, The whole hooking to action feels strange to me, what’s worse is reading other’s WP code. *cringe*

        • Aleksander Koko

          Symfony is developing a CMF. Content managment framework.. A kind of CMS. WordPress is a shame for dhe php world.. Bad arcitecture and bad performance…

          • rrcatto

            Well I’d like WordPress to do a do over and create a lean and mean OOP framework.

          • Why not just use a lean and mean OOP framework to being with and forget about WP?

          • rrcatto

            Which framework do you think is suited to adding CMS features?

            The reason for desiring a WP framework is due to WP being hugely popular. If they could redo their codebase, and make a WP framework, it would make developing for their software much easier. Clients often demand a WP solution.

          • Any modern framework is suited for having CMS features added to it. Check out Laravel (if you want to keep it simple) or Phalcon (if you’re a sucker for performance like I am). Clients often demand WP because they don’t know better – it’s up to you as the developer and industry professional to educate them. They can’t know what they want if they don’t know what’s on offer.

          • Manish

            I think the reason clients want to use WP is that it is easy for them to use. They easily find fully functional themes for very less and the site is ready as well. But the problem we as developers face is when they want to keep on improving their site by adding more and more features. Even sometimes the developer does not know how far the client wants to go with updates and functionality of the site and at some point, it all looks hard to handle. So, I agree, it would be great to see a the basic framework behind WP Redone to make it expandable, keeping things in control, something like Joomla did with version 1.5, making it MVC based.

          • Aleksander Koko

            That would be great but WP has its market share and its not ment to be a OOP framework. Its a tool and as everything it has a begining, its rising and an end. Like many other empires.

    • A… WordPress Framework? You can add CMS features into any project very easily, you wouldn’t need (or like) WP’s bloat for that.

      • rrcatto

        what third party framework or library would you recommend for adding CMS features? Or do you write them from scratch?

        • Yes, usually. If a site is supposed to be 100% CMS then I use a full blown CMS solution, but otherwise, the CMS bit is too simple to write from scratch as a part of an app

          • rrcatto

            I’ve never actually done this before, but it’s something I’d like to add. Would you like to write an article outlining what goes into adding basic CMS functionality to a php project?

  • I didn’t even know about! Really interesting! If this one works and, like you said, as great code / modules in it, it could be a place to earn some money for people that writes PHP modules/librairies/tools. I agree too that people should be able to earn money (if they want) for the work they do. If somebody makes a great tool/piece of code that everybody uses, why shouldn’t he be paid for it? If he has kids, a wife and a job, that code won’t be maintained for ever I can tell you ;)

  • dojoVader

    @brunoskvorc:disqus just looked at ImpressPages and i like it, I think its What WordPress would have being if it adopted MVC and had classes to create Forms and Have Models. You guys should write tutorials on this, been looking for a simple CMS without bloats.

  • Jeune Asuncion

    I like this digest Bruno. Keep em coming!

  • Sai Pc

    Great article! just thought I’d let you know that the link ” talked about before” under Hack is broken…:)