Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged quora, php

Filters: quora × php ×


Is greater comfort with Windows a good enough reason to switch from PHP to ASP.NET?

Learning Linux really isn’t that hard, and it will dramatically increase your potential horizons as a programmer. Install Ubuntu on a virtual machine on your laptop and start running through some tutorials.

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How log in my e-mail and send sms via php?

If you want to send SMS via PHP I suggest taking a look at www.twilio.com—they are pretty inexpensive and ridiculously easy to get started with.

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What is the best framework to use, Yii or Ruby on Rails?

This is a big decision, and it’s worth taking the time to pick what’s the best fit for you. I recommend going through the tutorials for each one, building the basic application they describe and seeing which made the most sense to you. As a Django developer, I suggest trying that framework too :)

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How can I get access to the PHP script of websites like Dropbox?

If a website doesn’t deliberately publish its server-side code (some sites like reddit do this, but it’s pretty rare) then you won’t be able to see it. You can search for an open source clone but these will often be pretty low quality—the smartest open source developers tend to work on libraries that solve common problems rather than putting their efforts in to building complete clones of existing sites.

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Does creating a zip file with php use more RAM then CPU? Or vise versa? Also, is it faster to use a system call, or the php zip library? Exec (zip filename.zip) vs. $zip =new ZipArchive().

You can find out the answer yourself using a very simple benchmark—just call time() before and after each option and loop them a few thousand times to calculate an average.

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Which should I learn: Python or PHP?

Python will teach you more about programming than PHP—and you’ll be able to learn PHP easily if you learn Python first.

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System Administration: What service/product do you recommend for central logging of events and errors from multiple servers? Why?

We rolled our own solution to this using MongoDB, due to its super-fast writes and ability to store, index and search JSON. We were also attracted by its capped collections, which make it easy to e.g. only log the last 100,000 items.

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How can you build a search engine for a website built in PHP/MySQL?

There are a bunch of options.

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What are XML feed best practices?

It sounds like you’re pretty much screwed already, if you’re dealing with companies that still think FTPing XML around is a sensible thing to do.

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Is there a framework that allows me to collect input from individual users, and then charge for the aggregate and analysis of that data?

No—your needs are extremely specific. You’re going to have to build this yourself.

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What are some good examples of a first PHP app to build for someone who is learning?

Build a blog. Blog engines are, in my opinion, the ideal starter project for learning any server-side web technology.

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Can someone improve their knowledge of programming in Ruby or PHP by using a framework like Rails or Zend, or does the framework just do a lot of the work for you without giving you an opportunity to learn from it?

Read the source, luke.

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How are real time web applications achievable with PHP?

You don’t need to build your comet server using the same technology as the rest of your site.

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What are the tradeoffs (e.g. development speed, performance, scalability) between using various php frameworks, ruby/rails, or python/django?  Is there any reason to choose one overwhelmingly over another?

At this point, I’d argue that the decision between them comes down to programming language rather than framework—the frameworks have mostly converged on a very similar set of features.

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In what circumstances should one use “magic quotes” in PHP?

Absolutely never. Magic quotes was a badly designed feature, and PHP has been trying to escape its legacy for years. If you are constructing SQL strings using string concatenation you’re asking for trouble—use prepared statements or a library that interpolates and correctly escapes variables for you.

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