I've just posted another "Data API What If"-style article over on http://groups.drupal.org/. I figured that was more archiveable than my personal blog, but I wager more people read Drupal Planet than a specific g.d.o group so I'm posting the link here as well in a blatant bit of self-promotion. :-)
I am also posting this over to Planet PHP, in case any other exPHPerts have words of wisdom to offer. Hi guys!
Earlier this week, the PHP team released PHP 4.4.8. Baring any major security holes between now and August 8th, it will be the last release of PHP 4. Ever.
We are also one month away from the GoPHP5 deadline, after which any new releases of almost every major PHP project will require at least PHP 5.2. If you or your web host is running an older version, you are going to run into problems.
The future is neigh. Is your server ready?
Drupal 6 introduced the concept of a theme preprocess function. In short, it allows themes, theme engines, and even modules to step into the theming process and manipulate the variables that get sent to a template. It replaces the older, clunkier _phptemplate_variables() function from Drupal 5's phptemplate templating engine, but serves much the same purpose.
While we can't backport all of that new functionality, it is possible to greatly simplify _phptemplate_variables() in Drupal 5 in a way that looks a lot like Drupal 6. Specifically, we can break up _phptemplate_variables() into separate functions that act like a theme's preprocess functions in Drupal 6.
Learning curve: Doing -> Experience -> Understanding -> Trust -> Patience
The day is nearly upon us! Drupal 7 will open up developers to PHP 5 functionality when it is released next year. Already, there is talk of how, and if, to leverage PHP 5's object handling now that we don't need to deal with the weirdness of PHP 4's object model. Of course, because it's Drupal, our army of performance czars want to know just what the cost is for object handling, and especially advanced object magic like __get(), __call(), the ArrayAccess interface, and so forth.
So let's find out. :-)
Given that I'm a Kubuntu user, I will try not to take this personally...
One of PHP 5's coolest features is the Standard PHP Library, or SPL. If you're operating in an OO way, SPL is a great way to easily leverage a huge amount of functionality.
Of course, the main problem is that the official documentation on it sucks. At best it points to an off-site series of class hierarchies. (Technically it's not off-site, but not internal to the manual.)
So it's been a week since DrupalCon, which means I'm kinda sorta caught up enough to write about it. Hooray!
As with DrupalCon Sunnyvale, I came away with one conclusion fixed in my mind: The Community is Drupal's greatest strength. Virtually everyone upholds a strong community and open source spirit, and will gladly talk to you for hours about subjects both on topic and off, with or without beer (free or otherwise).
But enough about how cool we are. On with the rundown.
A ran across this article recently making the rounds. In it, the author discusses spending 2 years in Ruby on Rails land before finally giving up and coming home to PHP, wiser for the experience. It's a good article, but one thing in it really raised the hair on my neck.