Five APIs All Developers Need to Know

Every day, dozens of developer tools get released online. Some new developers opt for doing all their work manually, while others choose to explore new tools. If you fall into the second category, then you need to start using APIs. The acronym stands for
Application Programming Interface. In essence, it’s a programing language that lets one service – let’s say Google Maps for instance – communicate with another – for example, AccuWeather.
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Unpacking binary data in PHP

Working with binary files in PHP is rarely a requirement. However when needed the PHP ‘pack’ and ‘unpack’ functions can help you tremendously. To set the stage we will start with a programming problem, this will keep the discussion anchored to a relevant context. The problem is this : We want to write a function that takes a image file as an argument and tells us whether the file is a GIF image; irrelevant with whatever the extension the file may have. We are not to use any GD library functions.
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How to profile and debug MySQL queries for speed

Most MySQL applications need profiling for speed enhancements at one time or other. I’ve developed several web applications in the past wherein MySQL queries were a major bottleneck in the application performance. In the past however there were no easy tools to analyse SQL queries in a running application and we programmers had to depend on some makeshift solutions to debug SQL queries. Now, however there are some nice free tools which can help you profile MySQL application queries easily.
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6 data visualization javascript libraries

A recent web visualization project forced me to explore some data visualization libraries for JavaScript. Below are a few I narrowed down during the development phase.

Leaflet

Leaflet is the leading open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps. Weighing around 38 KB of JS, it has all the mapping features most developers will ever need.

Although Leaflet is lightweight, and focuses on a core set of features, an easy way to extend its functionality is to use third-party plugins. There are hundreds of nice leaflet plugins you can choose from to extend the functionality of Leaflet. This is one of my favorite mapping libraries and which I’ll surely cover in another post.
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