PHP Coolness

While I’m waiting for my Virtual PCs to finish installing, I’ve been doing more research and reading on some advanced PHP topics. Many of these topics were at least touched on during the PHP|Cruise conference last week, so I’ve at least heard of them before. I’m hoping to implement some of these features/packages/techniques in my next big web application:

  • ADODB database abstraction library – apparently the best abstraction layer available for connecting to Oracle databases (and fast too)
  • SQLite – A very fast and powerful file-based database system that uses regular SQL commands. From what was said at the conference, SQLite is good for applications where there are lots of SELECT’s and few INSERT’s, as one INSERT will lock the entire database for the duration of the command (if you don’t know what that means, it’s a “bad thing”)
  • SimpleXMLTHE way to work with XML in PHP. A quick demo was presented at one of the sessions last week, and from what I saw, SimpleXML puts previous PHP/XML libraries to shame. This is powerful and easy to use. The only downside: Only available with PHP 5.
  • Smarty – I gained a much better understanding of Smarty’s use and power after attending John Coggeshall‘s excellent Smarty session last Thursday. I believe this will by my templating engine of choice for our web site
  • SimpleTest – A very complete unit testing suite for PHP code. This is supposed to make test driven development a breeze!
  • JPGraph – An object oriented graphing library that creates great looking graphs to visually display data. I’m thinking of using this to make reports pretty and easy to use and understand.

Overall, the conference has got me excited about programming in PHP again. There are so many cool PHP projects going on right now – it’s a good time to be involved!

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