The chapter on Character Encoding was probably my favorite chapter to write. I hadn’t even submitted it as a chapter in my initial book proposal. Then I was at a customer site who was having some issues with UTF-8 and they asked me if I knew UTF-8. I said yes, and I was right. However, as I examined their problem I found that I knew less than I thought I did. Then I realized that while this 3.5-year PHP consultant knew Unicode, UTF-8, character encodings such as ISO-8859-1 or ISO-8859-7, I didn’t understand them as well as I thought I had. With that I threw this chapter in the book. Knowing about character encoding is what many developers have. Not as many truly understand it. In this chapter I try to de-mystify character encoding as a whole. In other words, it’s not something that messes up how your web pages look, but rather, it is a tool for you to use to make your site available. With this chapter you will learn the history of character encodings and why they’re so messed up. Additionally, you will learn how UTF-8 actually works and how it’s related to Unicode (it’s not the same thing).
PHP developers know text really, really well. We can write SQL, we can build HTML, we can work with XML. But computers don’t speak in terms of structured text markup, they speak in terms of bytes. And while there are many PHP developers who can speak at the lower level of bytes and bits and stuch, there are many more that have difficulty there. This chapter is here to help the developers who are not as familiar with communicating directly over the wire. This is a short excerpt from a very long chapter on Binary Protocols.
I am stupid busy right now. Between normal work, adoption (moreso the stupid state requirements), preparing for 3 user group meetings and 6 hours of speaking at OSI Days in India, working on the back yard, writing Flash/Flex articles and recording an album I really don’t have much time to get a whole lot done. I’ve got some really cool stuff as part of my normal work for the cloud that’s coming out, but getting that done has proven to be a challenge.
So, last year I wrote a book. This year it’s being released and is, in fact, almost out! Very exciting! It’s called “You want to do WHAT with PHP?” You will not find another book on the market like it. Mostly because other PHP authors are not as crazy as I am. Have you ever wondered if you could access a raw Linux ext2 file system in PHP? You will have the answer. Do you want to know how to scale your website that depends on long running requests? You’ll get that answer. Have you wondered why UTF-8 is so freaking annoying? You will understand it. If you wanted to read the funniest acknowledgments ever written for a technical book? You get it with this book.
Earlier today I had asked on the Zend Facebook page “what is your favorite page for getting PHP-based information?”ÃÂ There were some good answers there so I figured that I would post those answers here (since it’s all public information anyways).
Just a quickie. Do you ever want to debug an RPC call to XML-RPC or Soap or something like that using Zend Studio/PDT and the Zend Debugger? What I mean is debug the RPC call, not the request making the RPC call. Doing that is actually quite simple. I have some code here to share that I recently (as in 5 minutes ago, used).
Zend has recently teamed up with several of the top people in the PHP community to offer the PHP 5.3 Certification. It will be coming out in a few months, but before we can do that we need beta testers. That means YOU! If you want to participate all you need to do is fill out a quick qualification survey. Everyone who takes the survey can take the final certification at a discounted rate! Even if you aren’t chosen for the beta! These are the questions you will be asked (fill them out on the link, not on this page).
In my Do You Queue article there was a comment posted about open source alternatives to Zend Server’s Job Queue. Being somewhat of an open source afficionado (I can spell that thanks to my love of fine tobacco products) that is a position that I can relate to. I have heard several times “I like what Zend Server offers but I only want to use open software, or I don’t think the features are worth the money.” I understand why. “Open” is the new black, and has been for a while now. So let’s explore these two issues. 1) Proprietary software, and 2) the price of the software.
On June 23rd Zend announced the release of Zend Server Cluster Manager. Which means what, exactly.
PHP is designed using a shared-nothing architecture. What that means is that nothing is shared. What that really means is that each individual PHP request is isolated from every other PHP request. That’s great! It makes for a very stable, very easy to use architecture. But what happens when you go beyond one server?
So there I was, looking at some other websites out there (because I think my site design sucks. Thanks, me). One of the things that virtually no blogs do is promote specific content. In other words, highlight content that is most popular over a certain time frame. So I was thinking to myself, how would I do that? One option would be to have a database table that could record each click. That, however, is boring and requires changes to my DB schema (evil!). What I want to do is take my most popular pages of the last week and highlight them at the top of the web site.