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It’s been a busy month in Zend Framework land which I’ll blog about shortly so, after a few weeks of delay, here’s the July 2011 Summary of the zf-contributor’s mailing list.

ZF2 Feedback

Late June kicked off with this topic from Robert Basic with a set of notes on his experiences in getting started with ZF2 by migrating a ZF1 application. Adam Lundrigan noted, correctly, that a lot of “bleeding edge” code is not included in the main repository at this time and is distributed across contributor Github forks. He also raised the suggestion for a ZF2 Status Page. Derek Miranda voiced his agreement with Adam. Robert also agreed noting the difficulty in assessing the state of components.

Summary: ZF2 is scattered across multiple forks – be prepared to rely on notes such as Robert’s if jumping in at the deep end.

Creating a 1.11.9 Hotfix Release

A short note from Matthew Weier O’Phinney announced that a 1.11.9 hotfix release would be made to fix a number of backwards compatibility breaks introduced in 1.11.8. Issue tickets involved were ZF-11548, ZF-11550, ZF-10991 and ZF-10725.

Summary: It’s a maintenance release. It fixes stuff.

Zend\Http and MVC Developments

Ralph Schindler presented a document outlining a requirement list and the overall architecture of classes and interfaces for Zend\Http, noting work would commence on a prototype once any outstanding items suggested were cleared. Rob Zienart commented that the document indicated interfaces for Zend\Http Client and Server components and mentioned they needed proposals. Matthew responded that Zend\Http’s Server would deal with classes extending Zend\Service\Abstract such as SOAP and AMF but would not comprise a HTTP Server given it was covered by PHP 5.4. Anthony Shireman asked whether there were any Zend\Http Server plans or whether it was a “time will tell” situation. Matthew confirmed that that was the case given PHP 5.4 would include a HTTP Server and ZF2 could piggy back that implementation in offering a development server environment.

Summary: HTTP work continues. We’ll need it to communicate with all those big tubes connecting PCs.

[Proposal] ActiveRecord Proposal

Artur Bodera raised the proposal and offered to implement an ActiveRecord solution noting its benefits compared to Zend\Db. The proposal was published at http://framework.zend.com/wiki/display/ZFDEV2/ActiveRecord+-+Arthur+Bodera with a working branch at https://github.com/Thinkscape/zf2/branches/ActiveRecord.

Nicolas Bérard-Nault asked why it was necessary to reinvent the wheel instead of integrating with other existing and mature implementations. Artur responded that other solutions did not integrate with Zend Framework noting his proposal is built on Zend\Db from ZF2 and he wondered what was the point of Zend\Db\Table otherwise in the face of Doctrine or Propel. Peter Kokx responded to note that Zend\Db\Table implements the Table Data and Row Data Gateway patterns as distinct from ActiveRecord and that users shouldn’t interpret MVC as referring solely to ActiveRecord. Artur conceded that this was a good point but pressed his point that ActiveRecord was one tool which did on impose on any others available to Zend Framework using Zend\Db. Tomáš Fejfar voiced his support for adding ActiveRecord noting its value in simple use cases to get things done fast.

Ralph Schindler leaped to the rescue by noting that ActiveRecord is indeed planned for ZF2 and noting the significant work done to date on Zend\Db in his own feature branch. Artur Bodera welcomed the progress stating he would migrate his ActiveRecord solution over to the improved Zend\Db once complete.

Summary: We’re getting an ActiveRecord implementation for ZF2.

ZF2 Docbook Sources Converted to DocBook 5

Another short note from Matthew Weier O’Phinney informed the community that ZF2’s docbook formatted manual files had been migrated to Docbook 5. The community silently admired the completion of this task (nobody responded but I assume they silently admired all the same!). Matthew noted the README for manual generation would be updated and that Docbook 5 made certain tasks a lot easier.

Summary: ZF2 Manual will be written in Docbook 5, those using a visual XML editor may celebrate.

ZF2 Zend\Mail: To strip/validate or not to strip/validate (email adresses)

Status of the Test Suite (ZF2)

Keith Pope asked after the status of the Test Suite mentioning that phpunit.xml was mostly commented out, Zend\Di was not using the @group annotation for the test runner, and TestConfiguration.php was nearing 800 lines. He suggested that the configuration be spread into a conf.d setup (i.e. each configuration segment split into a separate file and all combined at runtime). Matthew responded noting the ease with which ZF2 tests could be run by passing the necessary directory to phpunit from the main /tests directory, and noted configuration may be pushed into phpunit.xml instead of the current PHP file. While expressing an interest in a conf.d setup, Matthew noted this would depend on support in PHPUnit.

Summary: Ignore runtests.sh and just use the stock phpunit commands for ZF2.

Serious Question about Mcrypt

Artur Ejsmont observed that the mcrypt filter calls srand() with a limited range of potential seeds thus suggesting it would impact on the security of the filter. Enrico Zimuel replied that the srand() is only used in limited circumstances (where a better source of randomness is not available) and that it’s not a serious problem since the encryption security is not wholly based on the initialisation vector (IV) that uses srand() on some platforms. Nevertheless, he did note that some improvements could be made.

Artur responded with a general query on the efficacy of using srand() and rand() to avoid collisions. Pádraic Brady responded that rand() was particularly bad noting you could create collision in a matter of minutes. Pádraic also noted that mt_rand() was far more effective but also not entirely random (as a graph of its output would prove) suggesting that it was advisable to use better random sources such as /dev/random and /dev/urandom where feasible. Enrico also noted the availability of openssl_random_pseudo_bytes().

Summary: Getting random bytes is a tricky business.

ZF2 Zend\Code Bugfix

Nick Belhomme mentioned he had been looking at Zend\Code which is used heavily by Zend\Di. He noted his first impressions that it should work well by being token based but also referred to his opinion that it was quite error prone and the unit tests were not satisfactory.

To explain his case, he used an example of a method signature accepting four type hinted object parameters noting this could fail to be analysed correctly due to the whitespace in the parameter list (after each comma) not being handled correct by the ParameterScanner. Nick noted he’d committed a fix using a short trim function to his own git fork.

Regarding the unit tests, Nick explained why the current unit tests were insufficient in testing parameters and suggested rectifying the test doubles to account for whitespace.

Summary: Zend\Code needs to build up a fuller test suite accounting for different coding styles.

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