X-mas Present for Beta Geeks: new eZ components released

Here’s your early x-mas present: the eZ components beta2 are out! Seems like our developers had a lot of fun working on this release – that’s the impression I get from Toby‘s article and blog entry. When studying the changelog, it becomes clear that they put quite some effort into making this release useful for early adopters.

It makes me extremely happy to see the good development of the eZ components, as this is state-of-the-art PHP 5 development – right what is needed to showcase PHP’s OO-power. Now that the inline docs are available online, the clean design and implementation becomes obvious.

If you love to live cutting edge with PHP 5, check out the components and work with them. There are also Powered by eZ components logos available if you want to show off as a beta geek 🙂

Oh yes, and there’s #ezcomponents on irc.freenode.net now!

German PHP 5 Books

My favourite German publisher is dpunkt.verlag. Recently, a book on PHP 5 was published that I have helped them with and there are two others in the pipeline written by notable authors. The three books complement each other, so depending on your skill- set, you could pick one, two or all of them. Of course, each of them is of high quality:

PHP 5 für Fortgeschrittene

In a nutshell: For experienced devs, curious to learn PHP 5.

The 380 pages are a condensed, translated, and updated version of Harry’s excellent PHP Anthology. PHP 5 für Fortgeschrittene is meant for experienced PHP 4 developers who want to learn about what’s new in PHP 5 on a very practical basis. Actually, the strength of the book is that it takes care of the nitty-gritty when migrating from PHP4 to PHP 5 with lots of real-world examples.

It was actually me who did the updates, especially dealing with the new OO features in PHP 5. While writing the updates, I realized how the evolution of the book matches with the intention of the book to guide through PHP4-to-PHP5 migration issues, because all of Harry’s source code was PHP 4. Making the book PHP 5-focused, required me to work just like someone who sould migrate his PHP 4 application.

BTW: Cornelia Boenigk did a wonderful job in translating Harry’s text to German, I regard her as one of the best technical translaters of programming books from English to German.

PHP 5 für Fortgeschrittene is available since November.

dpunkt.verlag book info

Professionelle Softwareentwicklung mit PHP 5

In a nutshell: Makes a PHP 4-pro become a PHP5-guru.

This one should be out shortly. Sebastian Bergman wrote it and it is mostly an in-depth introduction to the OO-features of PHP 5. Sebastian let me review the pre-published version and I admire his precise and clean explanation of the sometimes inevitably complex topic of objectoriented programming. Everything important is mentioned, easy to comprehend, the sample code is of high usefulness. If you’re a PHP 4-pro, get this one to become a PHP 5-guru.

dpunkt.verlag book info

The book’s Website

PHP 5

In a nutshell: Gets you started with PHP 5.

I just finished to review the final draft of this one and got the impression that it is just what is needed to get PHP novices started. The authors are well-known members of the German PHP community: Hakan Kücükyilmaz, Alexander Merz, Thomas Haas. Throughout the book, they explain the important aspects of PHP 5 with patience, accuracy, and the knowledge of how a novice should be guided. Saying that, it comes with no surprise that the book is the result of several PHP training courses.

This book is out in March.

dpunkt.verlag book info

Some might argue, that these books are late as PHP 5 is already out for some time, but the strategy of dpunkt.verlag is to publish high-quality books – and they simply take time. This is what I experienced myself when writing for dpunkt.verlag: unless your text is perfect, they are not satisfied with the results and they will push you to make it perfect. A sometimes painfull, but in the long-run successfull strategy: educative for the authors, beneficial for the readers.

A Jakarta for PHP

Yes, Sebastian is right, it would be great to have something like Apache Maven. It was really impressive to see how useful it is for rapid prototyping in Java at a related OSCOM session some weeks ago.

But I would not say “let’s clone Maven and port it to PHP 5” – that would not take into account PEAR, especially it’s installer, which is like the little sister of Maven, seen from a conceptual perspective. Just like the PEAR installer’s online repository, the maven CLI allows to donwload Java packages from an ibiblio package repository. The definitive plus of Maven is that it is not library-centric, but application-focused: It also creates a default application directory structure and performs pre- and post-installation processes based on a plugin interface.

This is something which is missing in the PEAR installer, I would even go so far that something like the Jakarta project in total is mssing for PHP. Maybe it is now a good point to start something like this as an official PHP community effort, given the recent discussons on Enterprise PHP.

One more point about the Maven/PEAR issue: The ZZ/OSS Installer tries to overcome the deficiencies of the PEAR Installer when it comes to applications. Unfortunately, the interest has yet been low and the main problem I see is that PHP developers don’t want to drop the benefits of a scripting language (edit the script -> execute it in the browser -> fix bugs) in favour of a more flexible application design which has a source2built tree installation process. In fact, it seems like a trade-off: either you have a rather monolithic application that allows for quick fixes or your application is modeled with packages that need to be edited in the source and installed to the built tree (as PEAR does). Due to these problems, simply porting Maven would not help PHP application developers – it would need some more thought and education on the source/built tree issue.