This particular article assumes you are running Ubuntu Linux.
To get a working build environment you need to run the following command;
To actually build PHP with ext/intl support you need to configure PHP to enable it, f.e.
PHP creates a script called config.nice after every successful ./configure --some --arguments so you don't have to remember all the options you passed to ./configure every time you want to rebuild PHP, running ./config.nice will do that for you
Once you have the build dependencies installed you'll need to checkout PHP from Git, configure and build it;
While `make all test` is running we recommend you go out for a run,
it can take a while. When you come back, submit
the test results, but then try to track down one of the failed tests and
figure out why it failed. The tests are very simple. In the failed test
summary at the end a failed test shows up as:
CLI php -m [sapi/cli/tests/018.phpt]
That's a short description of the test and the filename of the test itself. For a failed tests, we create some files in the test dir. Go to sapi/cli/tests and you will find these files:
To run more tests, run ./configure and enable as many extensions as possible.
Here is the shell script I use on an Ubuntu box:
#! /bin/sh './configure' \ '--with-apxs2=/usr/bin/apxs2' \ '--with-curlwrappers' \ '--with-gd' \ '--with-jpeg-dir=/usr' \ '--with-png-dir=/usr' \ '--with-vpx-dir=/usr' \ '--with-freetype-dir=/usr' \ '--with-t1lib=/usr' \ '--enable-gd-native-ttf' \ '--enable-exif' \ '--with-config-file-path=/etc/php5/apache2' \ '--with-config-file-scan-dir=/etc/php5/apache2/conf.d' \ '--with-mysql=/usr' \ '--with-zlib' \ '--with-zlib-dir=/usr' \ '--with-gettext' \ '--with-kerberos' \ '--with-imap-ssl' \ '--with-mcrypt=/usr/local' \ '--with-iconv' \ '--with-ldap=/usr' \ '--enable-sockets' \ '--with-openssl' \ '--with-pspell' \ '--with-pdo-mysql=/usr' \ '--with-pdo-sqlite' \ '--enable-soap' \ '--enable-xmlreader' \ '--with-xsl' \ '--enable-ftp' \ '--enable-cgi' \ '--with-curl=/usr' \ '--with-tidy' \ '--with-xmlrpc' \ '--enable-mbstring' \ '--enable-sysvsem' \ '--enable-sysvshm' \ '--enable-shmop' \ '--with-readline' \ '--with-mysqli=/usr/bin/mysql_config' \ '--prefix=/usr/local' \ "$@"
There are also README.TESTING and README.TESTING2 text files in the root directory if you want to learn more about the testing mechanism.
The PHP project is so much more than just the scripting language on which it is focused. It is a vibrant community of developers scratching related itches, hoping their work will benefit others. PHP.net hosts a set of projects focused around the "flagship product," the PHP language, surrounding it with sub-projects for documentation, website maintenance, adding extra functionality with extensions, and so on.
The PHP community is without a doubt, in my opinion, one of the greatest communities in the world. It has a lot to offer besides good friends and a fun working environment. It is a community where things can happen very fast, with many people involved, contributing back "upstream" to PHP in various capacities, from user-contributed notes to the manual to new killer language features. There is always room for new contributors though, and PHP.net really needs your help so it can continue the success of past years. In this article we will explore how the PHP.net project works and how you can contribute to it.
There are a lot of ways in which you can contribute to and influence the project; participating on mailing lists, filing bug reports, and adding helpful notes to the manual are all examples of valuable contributions. You don't have to develop a new JIT compiler, or even know the first thing of developing a language for that matter, to be able to contribute back. Whatever you fancy, I am sure you can find a challenging task on PHP.net to solve. Or are you maybe just looking for some brain-dead task on which to spend time - but still want to make a difference? We have several of those too!
Before we go deeper into ways you can contribute and how to do so, let's take a step back and look at who actually leads the development and how things are done within PHP.net.
One of things I love most about working with Open Source Software like PHP is the freedom. If I have an itch, I scratch it! If I want to work on new features or document all the kinks and quirks of PHP, I can. We have the freedom to work on exactly the things we care about and want to do. There is no one person in charge or policing of the project, it is a community effort. All decisions are made in the open after the contributors participating in the discussion reach "general consensus" on the topic or - if all else fails - after a vote on the subject. As within any community, there; are members that have earned karma and respect through contributions to the project, and their meaning and views usually carry more weight than a total stranger from whom no one has heard before. Karma, like trust, needs to be earned.
To gain karma you basically need to prove to the community that you aren't just a nut-job and show that you can be trusted to think not only about today, but tomorrow as well. Being active on the developers' mailing lists, digging into bug reports, posting patches and unit tests, and generally trying to help out and contribute to the project are great ways to gain a lot of karma points very quickly.
All of the PHP.net projects (from PEAR, to PECL, to websites and documentation, to the PHP language itself) have long-time members which could be considered the "leaders" of the respective projects by the community, but that really doesn't mean anything other than "if no one knows the answer, ask him." The "leader" isn't going to tell you to do anything, other than maybe ask you to revert a bad commit, but anyone can do that. It is totally up to you to decide whether or not to work on some things. In the end, the final say on the matter is up to the contributor who is actually doing the work.
The PHP.net project has mailing lists for most aspects of the project where all important decisions are made. For example discussions and decisions about the language happen on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list (email@example.com for Windows-specific things such as packaging, porting features not available yet on Windows, et cetera). All discussions are open to whomever wants to participate. All you need to do is to sign up to the mailing list and follow the discussions - and chime in if you have something to add. Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the mailing list "rules" before you go all crazy on the lists. For the rules that are generally followed on all PHP mailing lists, please see the Mailinglist Rules.
Although most of the PHP internals contributors make their living writing PHP applications, feedback from other users is crucial to the development of the language; your voice does matter. Keep in mind, however, that flaming and/or talking down to the developers that spend most of their free time working on the project may not exactly be the best approach to get your point across. Take a look at the Mailing Lists for the most popular mailing lists and see if any of them interest you, then sign up!
Even though most of the mailing lists are very active, not everything that is contributed to PHP needs to be approved there first. For example, minor features are often simply committed directly to Git without asking or telling anyone. These are typically things for which a developer working on an external application saw a need and decided to add, in case anyone else might need it in the future. PHP has a great peer review process so it's very hard to "sneak" things in. Every commit to Git is reviewed by quite a lot of people who are interested in what is going on - or who simply enjoy reading code. If a reviewer discovers issues with the commit, he or she will send a quick reply to the commit email and discuss it on the developers list. Often the peer review results in extending the new feature and/or fixing unexpected behaviour, but it can also result in removal of the feature as a whole if the community doesn't see any need for it.
To help streamline part of the decision process and keep track of ideas, proposals, and TODO lists, PHP has a wiki located at wiki.php.net. This has proven to be a valuable resource when developing new features, creating RFCs, and getting approval for things before wasting time on a rejected feature. Discussions on controversial features pop up on the mailing lists regularly, but with the help of the wiki people can easily browse through previous discussions and see the reasons for rejection. The wiki contains a lot of great information and is definitely worth browsing for all those interested in the overall PHP.net project. It not only covers RFCs, but also has a lot of information about how various other things work; missing documentation, suggestions, "internal" parser engine information, infrastructure docs, and even some TODO lists are all examples of things included in the wiki.
There are a lot of ways you can contribute to the project, it simply depends on what you fancy.
Getting involved is a lot easier than most people think - and chances are that you are already involved in one way or another. You don't need an Git account and commit access to get started - Git accounts need to be earned. Registering on the mailing lists related to the topic in which you are interested - and actively participating in the discussions - is a good start toward getting your request for an Git account granted. Browse the wiki to see if there are outstanding TODO items you can help to clear, for example. Another great way to get involved and really help out is by reviewing the bug tracker for bugs you could potentially fix, or perhaps for which you could write a unit test. Sending several pull requests, or attaching patches to bug reports will quickly show that you are interested and serious about your desire to contribute. Eventually someone will get annoyed with the amount of time they must spend to commit your patches for you, and will probably respond with something along the lines of, "Stop bothering me. Do it yourself!" and ask you to submit the Git account form. Mission accomplished!
To register with any PHP mailing list, just send a blank email to <listname>-firstname.lastname@example.org. For example if you want to register for the PHP internals developers discussion list, send an email to email@example.com. Alternatively, filling out the form at php.net/mailinglists will register you for the list (or lists) you choose. That page also lists some of the most popular mailing lists and describes the intention of the lists. Again, remember to refer to the rules prior to joining the discussion, or you may be scorned for a faux-pas such as top-posting your reply to a thread - oh the horror!
Filing a bug report is an art. It isn't very complicated, but you do have to think about what you are reporting. Quickly looking through the existing reports to see if your issue has already been reported will take you less than five minutes, and the chances are quite good that you aren't the first one to identify the issue. However, if you are, we greatly appreciate your time and effort in reporting it. If at all possible, provide a short example of how the issue can be reproduced, and mention what you expected to happen versus what actually happened. Simple steps like these will drastically increase the chances of someone picking up the report and attempting to fix the issue. While there is no registration or login required to file a bug report, a valid email address must be provided just in case the developers need more information from you, as well as for you to receive status updates on your report. A page explaining how to file a "report that someone will want to help fix" is available on bugs.php.net/how-to-report.php. Please read through it before filing a bug report for the first time.
Unsure which task to tackle first? Stuck on a problem? Need a quick brainstorming session? IRC is a very convenient way to get help quickly for smaller things, such as "where was the Git module for zyx?" or if you simply want to run an idea by people to get their opinions - or even just to hang out. There aren't any "official" IRC channels for the PHP project, but a good chunk of contributors hang out on EFNet on the #php.pecl, #php.doc and #pear channels. The mailing list archives also contain a lot of information and are definitely worth searching for ideas and inspiration. If you think your question can benefit others coming after you, consider asking it on the mailing list so the next person doesn't have to ask it again.
When you are ready to contribute to the project please don't try to tackle the biggest issues and expect to fix them right away. Start with smaller tasks and learn the ways of the project and participate in discussions on the mailing lists. Larger issues take more time and experience within the project, which is not something on which newcomers should focus. Take your time and solve the task as best as you possibly can. Read up on the Coding Standards and try to be consistent in your work. We have lost too many people who jump right on the larger tasks only to vanish few days later, having given up on the task because it took more time and effort than they initially anticipated.
If you can't find something on which to work within PHP.net, you will have a hard time finding it elsewhere. Introducing every project is beyond the scope of this article, but we'll cover some of the projects that don't have entry points that are too steep for newcomers.
The main focus of the documentation project (phpdoc) is to document the PHP language (and PECL extensions) with usage examples, FAQs, and tracking changes in behaviour. The documentation is written in XML using the Docbook format with English as the primary language. This is then translated into several different languages by dedicated translation teams. The phpdoc team also maintains sets of scripts to simplify the work: generation of skeletons for new extensions and functions based on Reflection information, extracting INI options, and various related utilities to extract information from the PHP source code are all examples of tools used to make writing documentation easier. The primary mailing list for phpdoc is firstname.lastname@example.org, where contributors coordinate their efforts and ask for feedback, suggestions, and help. The list also covers the phpdoc sub-projects, such as the PhD and PhD O.E. applications. Each translation team also has its own mailing list: doc-<country-code>@lists.php.net. For example, email@example.com for the French translation list.
A web application, called "PhD Online Editor" (PhD O.E), which aims to help documentation editors focus on the content itself, rather than Docbook and XML logistics, is under development at edit.php.net. It is getting more and more popular, especially for newcomers who aren't comfortable with Docbook. It has a very rich interface and desktop application feeling to it, and abstracts most of the XML magic from the contributor. One of the goals of PhD O.E. is to get more people involved with the documentation effort, and therefore it will allow anonymous users to "login" and use the application. Modification, validation, translation, creation of new files, and everything else you need for writing documentation is possible without an Git account. When saving changes, a patch will be created and saved to the "patch queue," while pending approval by someone with Git karma to commit the changes. PhD O.E. also bundles a variety of scripts to ensure the docs use a consistent structure, allow the contributor to view undocumented functions, and check the translation status of an entry (among other things).
The team is also developing a Docbook rendering engine, called "PHP-based Docbook Rendering" (PhD), to transform the Docbook XML into various different formats, such as HTML, CHM, PDF, Unix manual pages, and the online format you see while browsing the PHP Manual. The application was written with performance in mind and can render the entire PHP manual in less then five minutes, whereas the previous tool chain would take over an hour for the same task. PhD has received a lot of attention from various people and projects using Docbook, and is now also in use outside of PHP.net for the rendering of Docbook manuals.
Last, but not least: the team also maintains a website on doc.php.net which aggregates translation statistics, tutorials, and the documentation HOWTO.
The project offers much more than just documentation, and is probably the project to which it is easiest to start contributing. If you enjoy working with XML, PHP, JS, documentation, writing articles, or simply want to dig into the PHP internals from a different angle, this is the place to be.
No surprise there, the webmaster team maintains several websites, and is responsible for maintaining the mirroring infrastructure and related tasks. The websites contain a lot of information; everything from user group meet-ups and conference listings, to tips & tricks and documentation, and everything between. It is also the primary public source for release information, as well as the general entry point for people looking into PHP.
To get up and running is very simple: just follow the points on wiki.php.net/web/mirror and you are all set. Once you have poked around a little you can look into the other websites, like qa.php.net, master.php.net and pecl.php.net.
Recently, work on redesigning the main website from the ground-up was started. Unfortunately, this effort has stalled a bit over the past several months due to a lack of contributors interested in being actively involved. The idea is simple: design a completely new layout and refactor the current content to make it more accessible.
Joining the redesign effort is a great entry point for those interested in markup, CSS, and general website development. Check out wiki.php.net/web/redesign and contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in contributing. You will be welcomed with roses!
PHP.net has a lot of areas to which you can contribute: everything from hardcore development to managing user-contributed notes in the manual; from debugging issues in bug reports to writing articles about new features for the manual. In this article we only covered the tip of the iceberg, mentioning only a small sample of concrete projects that do a lot more than initially meets the eye, and which welcome all the help they can get. We have also touched on how to influence the direction of the project, how to participate in discussions around the project, and ways you can make a difference. I hope this article has inspired you to get involved with the project, or has at least given you some idea on how things work and what you can do if you ever do decide you want to get involved!