Category Archives: Tutorials

Introspecting your Code with Z-Ray for Azure

Quick experimentation, easy collaboration, automated infrastructure and scalability, together with advanced diagnostic and analytical tools  – all provide PHP developers with good reasons to develop in the cloud. Z-Ray for Azure is one such reason. If you’re new to Z-Ray, it’s a powerful debugging tool that gives developers deep insight into all the various PHP elements constructing a page, starting from the request level,… Read more »

Installing Zend Server with Ansible

This piece is a short tutorial on how to install Zend Server 8.5 using Ansible. Zend Server is a complete and certified PHP stack with a wide variety of advanced features for developing, deploying and monitoring PHP apps. The latest version, Zend Server 8.5, was released a few months ago with a bunch of new features, including the Zend Gallery – an… Read more »

Developing Joomla on AWS with Z-Ray

Development in the cloud is all the rage these days and the PHP world is no exception to this rule as more and more developers are opting to move their development work to the cloud and other virtual environments (did I hear someone say Docker?) The workflow detailed below showcases only one of the many options currently available for PHP developers, but… Read more »

A new type of PHP, part 2: Scalar types


In our last installment, we talked about the benefits of more robust variable typing in PHP 7, and specifically the new support for typed return values.  That is already a big boon to the maintainability of our code, but PHP 7 goes a step further. So far, we’ve only talked about typing against classes and interfaces.  We’ve been able to… Read more »

A new type of PHP, part 1: Return types


Every significant release of PHP adds a number of new features, with one or two that really define the release.  For PHP 5.3, it was namespaces and anonymous functions.  For PHP 5.4, it was traits.  For PHP 5.5, generators.  For PHP 5.6, variadics. While PHP 7 has a large array of new improvements to make developers lives easier and involve… Read more »

Introducing Z-Ray on Azure

Z-Ray on Azure Screen 7

This article introduces a new and cool way to develop PHP in the cloud, with Z-Ray on Microsoft Azure. You’ve probably already heard of Z-Ray, but just in case you haven’t – here’s a short recap. Z-Ray is an advanced debugging and productivity tool for PHP developers that provides info on what’s going on under the hood of your apps, in… Read more »

Debugging PHP Web Apps in a Docker Container

Debugging is an essential task of software development in any programming language. Unfortunately, the out-of-the-box experience with debugging in PHP is not always great. The “stock” PHP binaries available at do not come configured with either of the two popular debug servers Xdebug and Zend Debugger. Developers are required to do additional configuration to make debugging possible with their… Read more »

Develop Your First Zend Server Plugin – Part 1

Zend Server 8.5 introduces a brand-new concept called “Plugins”. This concept is centered around the Zend Gallery – a marketplace for plugins that extend Zend Server functionality, and that were developed by, and for, the Zend Server user community. What are plugins? Put simply, plugins are pieces of code that can extend Zend Server in either, or both, of the… Read more »

Mocking Hard Dependencies in Legacy Code

I’m working on an application that’s been around for a while. It uses a lot of static methods, and often, it instantiates objects from inside methods. This makes it a pain to test, and introducing tests is part of my job. Sometimes I’m able to refactor the code so that dependencies may be injected, but many times I can’t confidently… Read more »