Mark is Head of Design and Development at Innoved Learning, based in Wigan; a company which (coincidentally) shares offices with his favourite Rugby League team, and occasionally gets him free tickets to attend Warriors games. He has worked in the computer software industry since before symbolics.com was registered as a domain name, before "cyberspace" was first mentioned in fiction, when Linus Torvalds and Rasmus Lerdorf were still at high school, and Mrs. Zuckerberg had yet to give birth to a bouncing baby social network enabler; and has developed for the Web in many different languages since the days when the Tim Berners-Lee's creation comprised less than 1,000 sites. Over those years he has contributed to a number of open source projects: including a minor submission to PHP's SPL. Currently he is coordinator and lead developer for the PHPExcel library, and a coordinator and developer on the PHPOffice library suite. Most recently, he has been working on new datastructures such as Tries, Quadtrees and Matrices; hoping that he'll eventually be able to get them included in SPL. His particular interests include PHP integration with office suites, Textual analysis, Geodata and geographic information systems, and "big data" and data analysis.
Friday 2nd October PM
The last year or so has seen a lot of buzz about some major changes in the PHP world, with new runtimes like Facebook's HHVM and the new Hack language, JPHP, PH7 or HippyVM, and Zend's own response to these "challenges" with PHPng; or tools like PHPQB for improved performance and memory when working with images. But few of us have the opportunity to use any of these when our hosting gives up access to a basic LAMP stack. One alternative that we might be able to implement on our stack is to write our own PHP extensions, which can help improve performance and/or reduce the memory overheads of our scripts. But there's little documentation available to help us if we choose to take this approach, and it's easy to consider this option impractical when looking at the C code for the existing PHP extensions... it just looks so damned scarey. Yet there are tools to help simplify this task: tools like Zephir (from the developers of the Phalcon framework) that make it easier to write our own PHP extensions based on our own PHP classes while keeping the complexity of that C code at arms length. So how can we use Zephir to convert our existing PHP classes to a PHP extension? And what benefits can we expect to see if we do so?