Bringing CQRS and Event Sourcing to PHP. Open sourcing Broadway!

Published on 26 Aug '14

Last week we open sourced our toggle library, API and GUI, see our announcements here and here. Today we open source Broadway! Broadway is a project providing infrastructure and testing helpers for creating CQRS and event sourced applications. Broadway tries hard to not get in your way. The project contains several loosely coupled components that can be used together to provide a full CQRS\ES experience.

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Using ZFS to snapshot your database

Published on 25 Aug '14

What if I told you you can backup your database in under a second? Awesome right? Well it's not entirely true, but you can create a snapshot of your database in under a second and decide later on how to backup this snapshot. In this post I will show you how to get the ZFS filesystem running on Ubuntu and how to backup and restore a MariaDB database from a snapshot.

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How we manage our development process at

Published on 21 Aug '14

At we tried a lot of different project management tools and techniques. After two years of experimenting I want to share our current process, seen from my role as product owner (PO). One reason for sharing this, is to help you improve your process, but the most important reason is to start a discussion with you based on your experience, to improve our process even more. Our main rule at is to embrace change. Always be open for changes that may or may not improve your process. If a change improves the process it’s a win. If you didn’t try it you will never know!

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A new feature toggling library for PHP

Published on 18 Aug '14

Adding features to an existing application can seem straightforward, but what if the system you need the feature in is already running in production and the feature needs small bug fixes from time to time? Or what if developing a feature takes longer than a standard release cycle, so it can’t be rolled out yet?

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Asynchronous Phystrix explained

Published on 14 Aug '14

We started this blog series with the basics of a circuit breaker. Our second post showed a running demo of an API consisting of two private microservices using oDesk’s Phystrix. The demo consisted of asynchronous calls using ReactPHP.

The demo itself shows a working circuit breaker, but I didn’t explain how Phystrix actually works. This blog will go through the demo code and show the changes we had to make to get Phystrix running asynchronously, while also looking more in-depth as to how Phystrix actually works. Awesome!

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Handling AngularJS POST requests in Symfony

Published on 13 Aug '14

At we started using AngularJS last year and I have to say it was love at first sight! Two-way databinding, testability, dependency injection, server communication...awesome!

Did I say server communication? We use Symfony 2 (which is awesome too) for our back end API’s. Unfortunately AngularJS and Symfony do not speak the same language out-of-the-box.

In this post I will show you how we automatically decode JSON requests so we can use it with Symfony's Request object using our symfony-json-request-transformer library (or class actually).

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Asynchronous fault tolerant programming with PHP

Published on 11 Aug '14

In the previous post on fault tolerant programming in PHP we have shown the basics of fault tolerant programming using the circuit breaker pattern. Now we will show you a running demo of the application where the circuit breaker library Phystrix is combined with asynchronous programming. The advantage of this approach is that it allows the querying of multiple backend services asynchronously. A timeout can be set for each of the calls and the circuit breaker will deal with failing services.

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Fault tolerant programming in PHP

Published on 14 Jul '14

In your application, every time you call an "external" service you are vulnerable to the failure in that service. That either might be a third party API being down, your database being unresponsive or unexpected errors from the 3rd party library you are using. With many developers and companies being interested in composing applications out of microservices at the moment, guarding for failures because of broken dependencies gets even more important.

A public facing API with dependencies on two internal services

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Setting up XHProf/XHGui profiling with Ansible

Published on 28 Nov '13

Once in a while I think about profiling my web applications to see if I can get them to run faster. There are cool tools out there like XHProf and XHGUI to help you do exactly that. And then I remember it took me quite some time to get it all set up... But now that I've started using Ansible I decided to document the set up process and share it with you. Today I will walk you through my Ansible role for setting up everything you need for profiling your first PHP script.

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Installing a LAMP server with Ansible playbooks and roles

Published on 21 Nov '13

In my previous post I introduced you to Ansible. I showed you how to install Ansible, how to create a server inventory and how to execute some basic commands. Afterwards we installed a very basic web server with PHP and Apache and we ended up with a working Hello World script.

In this post I will show you how to organize your server configuration using playbooks and roles. As an example we will install MariaDB 10.0 beta.

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First steps with Ansible

Published on 15 Nov '13

I remember having to install a new web server next to an existing one. The only requirement my boss had was it had to be "the same" as the existing one. There were two problems:

  • no one had ever documented which packages were needed to run our software
  • the existing server hadn't been upgraded in ages.

I had to use trial and error to get the new server up and running and still I wasn't confident everything was properly installed. What I needed at that time was a way to manage my server configuration.

In this blog post I will tell you about my experience with server provisioning, why I chose Ansible and I will show you how to install a web server.

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Debugging PHP applications with HHVM

Published on 29 Oct '13

In the previous parts of this series we got you started with HHVM and showed how we could get the symfony standard edition running on HHVM. This time we will dive deeper into HHVM by using it to debug our application.

For most people the easiest way of debugging a PHP application is to place var_dump() and die() statements all over the code. Another option is installing xdebug, which has gotten a lot easier nowadays due to IDE integrations.

In this blog post we'll show you how to debug your PHP application using HHVM. We describe how you can step through your program, set and manage your breakpoints, how to inspect variables and take a peek at helpful features like conditional breakpoints.

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Getting started with HHVM

Published on 15 Oct '13

Facebook deploys one of the biggest PHP codebases in the world. They’re not only pushing the boundaries of what you can do with PHP, but also PHP itself. A few years ago they open-sourced their hiphop compiler and nowadays runs on their latest generation of the HipHop Virtual Machine (hhvm).

What Facebook says about HipHop:

HipHop is Facebook's complete toolchain for the PHP language: interpreter, JIT compiler and debugger. was motivated to create HipHop to save recources on their servers. They claim to be 40% faster than their previous version that was in fact a PHP to C++ compiler which was already faster than plain PHP 1.

HHVM Performance with addition of IR

source: Wow HHVM is fast…too bad it doesn’t run my code

In this blog series we’ll get you started with hhvm. We’ll get the symfony standard edition running and show the ins and outs of debugging your code with hhvm (which is awesome!). Today, we’ll start of by setting up hhvm in your own vagrant box.

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Hello world!

Published on 14 Oct '13

It's "official", our development team now has a blog. At we spend one day a week on research and other fun stuff that's not related to our short term roadmap. We use this time to check out new techniques, build prototypes and educate ourselves on current 'cutting edge' technology.

In order to capture the things we learn during 20% time we've been blogging on an internal blog for some time now. A short while ago we decided we wanted to share what we've learned with the world and so this blog was born!

In the future we'll blog about all things PHP, our development process and all things development which aren't really PHP. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, enjoy one of our favorite cat gifs!

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