Xavier Leune (Afup) “The PHP Forum 2017 will focus on feedback”

The president of the French association of PHP users, organizer of the forum, details the program of the event, and reveals his vision of the last evolutions of PHP technologies.

Organized by the French Association of PHP users (Afup), the PHP Forum will be held this year on October 26 and 27 in Paris, in the conference center of the Marriott Rive Gauche hotel. Before the event (of which JDN is a partner), the president of Afup reviews the latest trends in the PHP ecosystem. Afup also kicks off the online survey on the basis of which the next edition of its annual barometer of employment in the PHP ecosystem will be conducted, a study that is due to be published in early 2018.

JDN. The PHP Forum 2017 is a great opportunity for feedback…

Xavier Leune is the president of the French association of PHP users (Afup). JDN

Xavier Leune.
Yes. Feedback provides very concrete feedback on development projects, in terms of best practices, pitfalls to avoid… We have therefore developed this part of the program a lot this year. The PHP Forum 2017 will allow us to discover feedback from M6Web, Meetic, Radio France or L’Olympia. Alongside these presentations and the many expert conferences offered in parallel, technical workshops will also be open to visitors to rub shoulders with the code and exchange tips.

Who are the main personalities of the PHP community present this year?

Among the international personalities present, Larry Garfield, Director of Developer Experience at Platform.sh and lead contributor of Drupal 8 Web Service, will detail his best practices in software development project management. Nicolas Grekas, core team of the Symfony framework and CTO of Blackfire.io(SensioLabs group, editor’s note), will talk about Symfony quality processes. Finally, Remi Collet, senior software engineer at Red Hat, will give a presentation of PHP 7.2.

What about the major evolutions of the PHP language this year, and PHP 7.2?

The release of PHP 7.2 is scheduled for late November. This version, currently in beta(or RC2, editor’s note), will introduce many new features. Among the most important, we note the addition of the libsodium security library. It brings a new layer to manage the hash of passwords and data encryption. With PHP 7.2, some features of the language will also start to be deprecated, and thus return error messages to warn that they will be removed from future versions. The idea is to prepare the ground for the release of PHP 8 in three years. France is very involved in the launch of PHP 7.2. The two release managers for this version are Frenchman Remi Collet and Sara Golemon, an ex-Facebook developer who now works for the French cloud Platform.sh.

What about PHP frameworks?

Symfony remains very dynamic on the French market. Zend Framework has not disappeared from the landscape but this infrastructure is evolving less quickly than Symfony. As for Laravel, it remains very present in the United States.

What is Symfony’s future direction?

Symfony 4 is also scheduled for release in November. The main new feature of this version is the introduction of Symfony Flex. Following a “developer experience” approach, this tool aims to reduce the complexity of Symfony to make it accessible to smaller teams involved in less ambitious projects. This is done by adding an automation layer, with preconfigured functions. In this, the logic is similar to that of Laravel, which is simpler to understand historically.

“Zend is working on the integration of JIT compilation in PHP”.

It’s interesting to note that Symfony starts to recommend bundles created by the open source community to perform certain tasks. This is for example the case with API Platform which automates the creation of APIs in Symfony. This bundle is developed by the French agency Les-Tilleuls, which is a cooperative company.

Things are also moving on the side of Facebook’s HHVM open source project…

In a blog post that has just been published, Facebook highlights a change in strategy around HHVM. It wants to move away from PHP 7 and no longer offer an alternative runtime(to that of PHP ed.). He now intends to refocus HHVM on the Hack language. In this article, Facebook also announces its intention to open its project more widely to the community of developers, by communicating more transparently on its roadmap, by delivering user support, etc.

With its version 7, PHP has aligned with the performance of the HHVM runtime(by introducing the phpng engine). But HHVM still has the advantage on a key point: the JIT compilation(or Just in time) which is not present on the PHP side. Since last October, Zend is working on the subject to integrate this component to PHP. It is not yet known when this element could be integrated. It is a good thing that Zend has communicated on this project very early in the roadmap of PHP 8, and not at the last minute as it had done with phpng.

Information and registration on the PHP Forum website

Information note

Xavier Leune is the president of the French association of PHP users (Afup). He is also deputy technical director at CCM Benchmark (Groupe Figaro, publisher of JDN).

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