This blog now runs on PHP 7!

Hi all,

I’m proud to announce to all the after several tinkering, this blog now runs on PHP 7 ! PHP 7 is the latest iteration of the popular general-purpose scripting language that is suited to web development.

PHP7 is touted to perform up to TWO TIMES faster than PHP5.

Here are the performance benchmark run by Kinsta has shown that PHP7 has significantly improved performance when compared to PHP 5.6.


  • WordPress 4.3.1 HHVM RepoAuthoritative benchmark result: 375.48 trans/sec
  • WordPress 4.3.1 HHVM benchmark result: 357.69 trans/sec
  • WordPress 4.3.1 PHP 7.0 benchmark result: 306.24 trans/sec
  • WordPress 4.3.1 PHP 5.6.16 benchmark result: 106.45 trans/sec

* Retrieved from Kinsta: The Definitive PHP 7.0 & HHVM Benchmark

Next I’ll update you with the guide on howto run and execute PHP7 and PHP5 side-by-side to cater for multiple websites.

Stay tuned, and expect more posts and updates from this venerable blog anyday now :p

Easyrec – Integrate Recommender Engine in your website – open source

Easyrec is an open source recommender engine which can be trained and customized to provide personalized recommendations using REStful Web Service.

easyrec-engine
Easyrec exposes its functionality through REST API which provides several interaction types:

Actions

  1. view
  2. buy
  3. sendaction

Recommedations

  1. other users also viewed
  2. other users also bought
  3. items rated good by other users
  4. recommendations for user
  5. related items
  6. action history for user

Community Rankings

  1. most viewed items
  2. most bought items
  3. most rated items
  4. best rated items
  5. worst rated items

The list of recommendations is returned in XML and JSON notation to be further processed by your web application.

Easyrec API can be accessed from its main website http://easyrec.org/ or could be installed alongside with the web application on your own server. Easyrec require at least Java 1.5 and MySQL server for its functionality.

Download easyrect from: http://easyrec.org/recommendation-engine

How to Optimize and speed up PHP with OPCache

PHP 5.5 and 5.6 comes with OPCache. OPCache speeds up PHP execution by storing precompile bytecode of PHP in shared memory. Taking advantage of fast memory operations compared to hard disk operation, OPCache eliminates the process of having to read PHP scripts from the disk each time whenever a script must be executed.

In short, OPCache saves the time needed to serve PHP-powered websites!

How to enable OPCache?
This tutorial is written from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS standpoint – using php5-fpm, but it should also work for other Linux distro.

  1. First edit ‘/etc/php5/fpm/php.ini‘ file.
  2. Find “opcache” section in the PHP ini.
  3. Uncomment and change opcache.enable to opcache.enable=1
  4. Do the same for >opcache.memory_consumption, changed its value from 64 to 128 (or 256)
  5. Change opcache.interned_strings_buffer from 4 to 16
  6. Changed the opcache.max_accelerated_files to 8192

Activate OPCache with php5enmod command.

sudo php5enmod opcache

Save file and restart php5-fpm.

sudo service php5-fpm restart

PHP OPCache should be running on your server now. Here’s a reference of /etc/php/fpm/php.ini file in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

[opcache]
; Determines if Zend OPCache is enabled
opcache.enable=1

; Determines if Zend OPCache is enabled for the CLI version of PHP
opcache.enable_cli=0

; The OPcache shared memory storage size.
opcache.memory_consumption=128

; The amount of memory for interned strings in Mbytes.
opcache.interned_strings_buffer=16

; The maximum number of keys (scripts) in the OPcache hash table.
; Only numbers between 200 and 100000 are allowed.
opcache.max_accelerated_files=8192

BONUS: How to verify whether PHP OPCache is running ??
You can verify whether OPCache is running by using opcache-status by Rasmus Lerdorf. Just drop the script in one of your web directory and browse. If you’re not a Git fan, I’ve also have taken the liberty of mirroring the download: opcache-status.zip

opcache-status screenshot
opcache-status-ss

How to convert between sqlite2 and sqlite3 database

Here’s a short guide on how to convert between sqlite2 to sqlite3 database file:

sqlite2 /path/to/mysqlite2.db .dump > backupfile
sqlite3 /path/to/mynewsqlite3.db < backupfile

Using the same method, you can convert sqlite3 db to sqlite2 db too!

p/s: Why you need to convert? because embedded device (read: iPhone and Android) only supports sqlite3 database, while PHP 5 by default supports sqlite2 database.

Thus, this method provide a convenient way to convert between the two different version of sqlite db format.

Recommended Reading

Securing Ajax and Web Services

It is undeniable that Web services and AJAX-ified interfaces are the trend now. Application that utilizes internet to retrieve data (such as mobile application or other thin client) uses web services alongside with its data format. AJAX-ified interface and website gives a modern and edgy look can make websites more attractive and can create great impression to the users.

However the issue of the web application security would still remain the same, if not more challenging, since there are so many ways to exploit the vulnerability of websites that utilizes Web Services and AJAX transfers on the background.

Therefore, it is imperative to use the right technique in order to evaluate the security of these services before deploying them out in the open.

For that matter, now I’m currently reading Ajax Security (Hoffman,B. & Sullivan, B.) and Securing Ajax applications (Wells, C.) which in my opinion is a pretty good start for somebody like me to understand common methods for securing web services and websites which uses AJAX heavily.

Hopefully the situation would improved as there are a lot of campaigns around to raise the state of awareness of web application security.

lowendbox.com: A place to look for cheap-ish VPS and Dedicated Server – Less than USD7 / month!

lowendbox.com is a website that lists bare minimum VPS or Dedicated Server offerings with the lowest price.

For VPS, the category is divided by the virtualization technology and the operating system, as well as the geographical location of the data centers.

low end box VPS

Additionally lowendbox.com provides discussion forum for optimizing web server and databases for the bare minimum servers!

My wishlist: PHP Development in the Cloud

I’m not a PHP developer by profession, nor I’m very good at it, there are times where I was required to write PHP web application for my daytime job. While it is still a simple application, nevertheless I grew fond of the simplicity of PHP application development and deployment (though some aspects of the language still confuses me, and sometimes the maintenance is a PITA).

I haven’t developed any PHP application for the masses yet, but if I do, I imagine it would benefit from the use of Cloud, therefore my latest wishlist is this book: PHP Development in the Cloud

php development in the cloud

The book is written by Ivo Jansch and Vito Chin, and it covers Cloud Computing Characteristics and Models, Cloud Computing Architecture and Scalability and how to prevent bottlenecks, Working with Popular Cloud Infrastructures and Platform (covers Amazon, Google and Rackspace) and Working with Popular Cloud Software and Services (OpenID, OAuth, CRM, Maps and Storage).

The book is available from in paperback format from online bookstore (Amazon, Barnes & Nobile, etc) or in digital form from PHP Architect website