How to create user stories

Gathering requirements for software development is a vital communication process. There are multiple parties involved and a project relies on customers, users, domain experts, and many others, each with their own view of how the system should function. We will look at how user stories can help us to gather the information we need for a successful project.

Transforming XML with PHP and XSL

If you want to transform XML from one format to another, and especially if either the input or output XML is complicated or the transformation itself is difficult or awkward to express, then XSL may be a good choice. XSL is the eXtensible Stylesheet Language; a family of three W3C recommendations to do with the transformation and presentation of XML documents. This article will walk through some examples of how XSL and PHP can be used to achieve these types of XML tranformations.

Profiling with XHPROF

If there's something we developers are really bad at, it's guessing. We think we know which parts of our application are slow, and spend a lot of time optimising those, but in reality the bottlenecks are often somewhere else. The only sane thing to do is measuring, with the help of some profiling tools.

Using PHP CodeSniffer

PHP Code Sniffer (PHPCS) is a package for syntax checking, available from PEAR. It can check code against defined rules covering anything from whitespace through doc comments to variable naming conventions and beyond. In this article we'll look at getting started with PHPCS, using it to syntax check our files, and go further to look at how the rules are create and the standards defined.

Graphs in the database: SQL meets social network

Graphs are ubiquitous. Social or P2P networks, thesauri, route planning systems, recommendation systems, collaborative filtering, even the World Wide Web itself is ultimately a graph! Given their importance, it's surely worth spending some time in studying some algorithms and models to represent and work with them effectively. In this short article, we're going to see how we can store a graph in a DBMS.

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