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Thank you Derick Rethans for 15 years of XDebug

Dear Reader,

There are a handful of tools that have actually changed how many of us code PHP. XDebug is one of those tools[1]. There is no doubt of the impact that XDebug has has on PHP developers and PHP projects.

Recently, XDebug turned 15. (If you don’t know what XDebug is, start with this SitePoint article about Xdebug) This means that the man responsible for XDebug, Derick Rethans, has been supporting XDebug for 15 years, for free. XDebug is open source. Derick maintains it, answers questions about it, spoke at conference about it, and generally done everything he can to help anyone who is having an issue with it.


Thank about that. How much code do you have that has lasted fifteen years?

So on this the (close to) anniversary of this product, many of us in the PHP community decided to do something to show Derick how much we appreciate it. Those that know him know that Derick loves a good Scotch. So we decided to buy him some. Originally, I was just going to buy him the most expensive bottle I could find and be done with it. However, my friend James Titcumb stepped in. He knew the owner of the shop that Derick buys his Scotch. He contacted the owner and we gt a quick education in Scotch. tl;dr, expensive doesn’t always mean good. He picked out a selection of bottles that he knew met Derick’s high standards.

On April 26th, 2017, James met Derick at the retailer and here is the video.

Thank you!

  • First and foremost, thank you Derick.
  • Second, thank you James Titcumb for going above and beyond on this project. Y’all really have no idea what he did to make this happen.
  • Third, I gotta say it. Thank you to the lovely and talented Kathy. It is hard to describe how difficult it is to live with someone like me who randomly sit up and shouts “I HAVE AN IDEA”. Yes, sometimes, she buries her face in her hands and weeps. Most of the time though, she supports me, she encourages me, and she helps me. This time, she worked with James to get the Scotch paid for. (Moving that amount of money across the pond is not as easy as you might think it would be.)
  • Finally, but not nearly the least important, thank you to the entire PHP community. When I setup the GoFundMe, I never expected to actually hit the $5,000. I would have been happy with hitting $1,500. As of right now we have hit $5,100! (I’m trying to figure out how to close the GoFundMe!) :)

    Part of the deal I offered companies was that if anyone donated at least $100, I would list their logo and link in this blog post. Here are the people and companies that rose to that level.

    Make sure you say thank you to these individuals and companies.[2]

All told, 151 people donated to make this happen!

So that’s it. We had some fun, we raised some money, we said thank you to someone who has given so much to all of us. Once again, thanks Derick. :)

Until next time,
I <3 |<

p.s. I will provide a full accounting of all funds raised when I get home from traveling.

[1] The other two, IMHO, are PHPUnit and Composer.
[2] If you are on this list, you probably noticed there re no logos. This is my fault, not yours. Basically, I lost them in all my recent travels. PLEASE send to me again via email and I will update your entry.

Tips on how to get accepted as a speaker at a PHP conference

Dear Reader,

I sit here this morning working on my sixth PHP conference (ZendCon 06, 07, 08, DPC 09, tekx and now ZendCon 10) I have to sit back and reflect on how lucky I am. I get paid to help select the sessions that developers from around the world will sit in and learn in. It is truly humbling when I think about it.

One of the few downsides to planning a conference though is that any given Call for Papers usually generates a nine to one ratio of proposals to speaking slots. Do the math and you will see that for every one person I get to make happy, eight more think I am a total douche, or worse. I call the email’s “Dear John’s” because “rejection letters” seems so ugly. No matter what you call them though, it is never a happy time.

Namespaces in PHP

Dear Reader,

I don’t often comment on PHP directly in my blog as I have other outlets for that. However, Elizabeth Smith brought this post to my attention yesterday in the #phpc chatroom and I really think it deserves a mention by any and all interested in this topic. (Also, this post is on my personal blog and should not in any way be considered a corporate endorsement for any person or idea discussed…you have been warned.)

If you don’t follow the PHP internals mailing list, then you may not know of the storm that has been playing out in it regarding namespaces in PHP 5.x or PHP 6. Don’t worry, if you don’t follow it, unless you are qualified to participate in the discussion, it’s really not that interesting. The important fact is that there has been for some time now, a very passionate discussion over how namespaces should be implemented in PHP, when they should be implemented and should they even be implemented in PHP.

Deric Rethans even wrote an interesting and detailed message titled “RFC Dropping Namespaces“, which shows you how far this conversation has gone.

To the point of this post, on Thursday, Greg Beaver wrote a rebuttal to Derick’s post. Not only did he address all of Derick’s concerns but he suggested how they could be addressed technically. (Not being a regular follower of internals, it is only by anecdotal evidence that I understand that it is not common for someone to rebut AND suggest a solution at the same time.)

Kudos to Greg for what seems to be a comprehensive and viable solution. (At least from my limited understanding of the problem space.) If you are at all interested in the future of PHP, I suggest you go take a look at the discussion as it may affect you. (Please though, no +1 posts and unless you are ready to show a patch to support your idea of how it should be implemented, please don’t post your idea)

Until next time,