There is just too much going on so I thought I should put these thoughts down so that I do not lose my mind from the excitement and anticipation that comes from things moving very fast and innovation being spured at a pace which is mind boggling.
In my opinion the stabilization of PHP 5.3 which introduced namespaces (similar to Java Packages) was the first shot across the bow, and I expect 5.4 with traits to bring even more reusability. However our hosting providers are slow to upgrade most are still running PHP 5.2, without general availability for 5.3 just starting to appear
There are two main frameworks in the bull pen Symfony 2 (http://symfony.com/) and Zend Framework 2 (http://zendframework.com/) currently in beta. However they are as different as can be. While Symfony 2 has been refactored from a full blown framework to a bunch of core reusable components, its moving towards ZF2, in that its not trying to be all MVC, forms etc, but is rather a set of building blocks to provide web application framework. So good is it that Fabien Potencier the lead developer has a series on how to build your own framework on top of Symfony at http://bit.ly/zVLi7X
ZF2 on the other hand is a bunch of reusable components which you can mix and match with other frameworks which also provides an MVC, ORM etc.
If you have been in the Java world, Symfony is more like Spring Source () while Zend Framework is Apache Jakarta (http://jakarta.apache.org/)
Interesting tweet that sums it all up:
Every time a developer complains about php, the #Symfony2 community creates another great, namespaced, decoupled and reusable component
Zend Studio 9 was let loose at ZendCon, Oracle released Netbeans 7 (which supports ZF1, and Symfony), Eclipse PDT is chugging along, PHP Storm from Jetbrains creating a storm with others Vim, Notepad++, Sublime Text basically all you need to do is pick your poison.
Github (http://www.github.com) is the new Facebook and LinkedIn for developers, where all the action is happening for all the major PHP communities, you had better be there. Forking and making changes is as easy as a button press. I am yet to push my first commit to a project but I am getting there.
The best know web database is getting losta love from Oracle, and also the community led by Percona, SkySQL, Monty DB, and many others. Where it seemed lost with lost of FUD during the $1bn Sun takeover by Oracle, it seems to just be gaining steam (at least from my viewpoint as a consumer, developer and user). Now at 5.5, with 5.6 starting to appear over the horizon …
While there is a barrage of NoSQL solutions, Hadoop leading the charge, MySQL provides a NoSQL interface via HandlerSocket (https://github.com/ahiguti/HandlerSocket-Plugin-for-MySQL) and MySQL Cluster (http://www.mysql.com/products/cluster/)
This is where all the fun happens, who is using the language and what are the trends. Here is a snapshot:
- Content Management Systems – WordPress is getting lots of love, while Joomla now at 2.5 supports databases other than MySQL. Drupal is adopting Symfony 2 as its core framework while Magento runs off a modified ZF1 kernel, while XOOPS (http://xoops.org) is being rewritten to use ZF1 or two
- Template Engines – an area where battles are found won, and lost. Smarty now at 3.0 (www.smarty.net), has to battle Twig (http://twig.sensiolabs.org) which is surging due to its usage in Symfony 2
- Web services – JSON, XML, AjaX, Rest Interfaces are no longer buzz words they are the norm with native support being baked into PHP
- Object Relational Mappers (ORMS) are one of the core developer architectural choices, in PHP we have ZF Table (Table Gateway), Doctrine 1 (Active Record), Doctrine 2 (Data Mapper), Propel (not used) in addition to plain old PDO all of which provide rich choices. Interesting is that Doctrine 2 provides an mapping for MongoDB which shows its versatility similar to Hibernate for Java
- Continuous Integration – with Hudson and Jenkins, and now Travis which is also hooked into Github provides a great way to continuously monitor the quality of your development
- Quality Control – PHP Unit has always been there but now we have mess detectors, and other metrics (do not make sense of them yet), but whatever you want to measure there is probably a tool for it.
- UI Toolkits – JQuery took the world by storm with JQuery UI providing a set of theme-able components, but we have HTML5 boiler plate and Twitter Bootstrap which are simplifying the cross browser issues we developers face.
- Performance – always a PHP problem but it has improved through 5.3 to 5.4, and other techniques like OP Caches are becoming more maintream, Memcache is pre-built into Apache …
Exciting times to be a PHP web developer oopsss we are not web developers we are Software Mechanics (http://www.brandonsavage.net/the-mechanics-of-code/)