Preparing for ZCE 5.3

Recently I have been getting to grips with the ZCE since it was updated to take account of PHP 5.3. In the last few weeks I’ve both passed the certificate myself and also taught Zend’s certification training course as a classroom course at NTI Leeds. I thought I’d share my top tips for preparing for taking the ZCE – getting to the standard, last-minute preparations, and also some tips for surviving the day itself (disclaimer: everyone sitting the ZCE signs a declaration not to disclose the contents of the exam, so I can’t actually tell you the questions, sorry!)

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ZCE 5.3: Worth Doing?

I recently took (and passed!) the ZCE 5.3 certification. I’ve been a Zend Certified Engineer (5.0) for nearly 3 years, and I know a lot more about PHP today than I did then. Today I speak and write various things related to PHP, and also teach all sorts of topics including PHP certification. I thought I’d share my thoughts on the ZCE, and I’ll write a follow-up post on how to prepare for it.

Updated Syllabus

The main thing that annoyed me about teaching people for the 5.0 exam in the last couple of years is that it had a topic on the differences between PHP 4 and PHP 5. Personally, I have never worked commercially with PHP 4, and that’s true for lots of developers that I meet. So I ended up trying to teach PHP 4 which seemed silly! Happily that is gone now from the 5.3 Syllabus.

There are some new topics and I’m pleased to see the Web Features topic being added. This brings together some HTTP concepts and overall client/server architecture stuff that really helps round out the syllabus. I consider that studying for the exam is in the interests of all PHP developers, these topics are all useful and relevant.

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3 Ways to Access a Namespaced PHP Class

After what felt like years of debate over the notation to use for PHP’s namespaces, it seems like the feature itself has had relatively little use or attention since it was actually implemented in PHP 5.3. We’re all used to working without it but using it does make code neater.

Take this example (in a file called namespaced-class.php)

namespace Christmas\DaysOf;  

class PartridgeInAPearTree{ 

Now we have a few ways to access that class.

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