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Freek Van der Herten:
Automatically generate a sitemap in Laravel
Sep 01, 2016 @ 10:51:31

Freek Van der Herten has a post to his site sharing a package and showing how to use it to generate a sitemap for your Laravel application automatically.

Today my company released a package called laravel-sitemap. There are already a lot of excellent sitemap packages out there. They all have in common that you have to manually add links that must appear in the sitemap. With our new package that isn’t required. It can automatically build up a sitemap by crawling a site. In this post I’d like to explain why we built it and how it works.

He starts off talking about why a sitemap might even be needed, mostly related to other automatic systems (like search engine spiders) that would use to reach even the far parts of your application. He then gets into the code, showing two examples of generating the XML document: one that's more manual and another using the "generator" to create based off of a base URL. He ends the post talking about some limitations of the package and includes a few links for further reading on the subject of sitemaps.

tagged: sitemap laravel application package example tutorial generate

Link: https://murze.be/2016/08/automatically-generate-a-sitemap-in-laravel/

Laravel News:
How to use WordPress as a backend for a Laravel Application
Aug 17, 2016 @ 12:51:08

The Laravel News site has posted an interesting tutorial where they describe the use of WordPress as a backend for a Laravel application. This setup is based on the Laravel News' own experience with it in the recent refactoring of the site.

Last week I relaunched Laravel News, and the new site is running on Laravel with WordPress as the backend. I’ve been using WordPress for the past two years, and I’ve grown to enjoy the features that it provides. The publishing experience, the media manager, the mobile app, and Jetpack for tracking stats.

I wasn’t ready to give these features up, and I didn’t have the time to build my own system, so I decided to keep WordPress and just use an API plugin to pull all the content I needed out, then store it in my Laravel application. In this tutorial, I wanted to outline how I set it all up.

While he did find other methods for linking the two, they didn't quite fit with what he wanted so he worked up his own. The content is then synced via a recurring task pulling over posts, categories and tags. He gets into the WordPress REST API first, showing the extraction of the posts from the API and pushing them into a Laravel collection. There's also an example of how to sync a post with the database (API) and how to create a new post in a similar way. Also included is the code to get the featured image, get the category for a post and sync the tag values. The tutorial finishes with the code for the sync command and pushing it into the scheduler.

tagged: wordpress backend laravel application tutorial rest api

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2016/08/wordpress-api-with-laravel/

Christoph Rumpel:
Build a PHP chatbot in 10 minutes
Aug 15, 2016 @ 09:45:23

Christoph Rumpel has written up a tutorial showing you how to build a PHP chatbot in 10 minutes by hooking a PHP 7 based script in, via webhooks, to a Facebook Messenger application.

The chatbot topic is huge right now. Finally there is something quite new again and nobody knows what's happening next. This is the perfect time to start experimenting with chatbots and to build your own one right now. Give me 10 minutes of your time and I will give you your first chatbot!

He then walks you through the full process if setting up the Facebook Messenger application, a page to host it from and using the Chatbot boilerplate code to connect the application back to the Facebook platform. This includes both the code needed and screenshots along the way of what you can expect to see during setup. The result is a bot that can respond with, at first, a static string then is modified to show simple exchange rate data.

tagged: chatbot facebook tutorial boilerplate code example application webhook

Link: http://christoph-rumpel.com/2016/08/build-a-php-chatbot-in-10-minutes/

php[architect]:
Testing Your Drupal Site with Behat
Aug 11, 2016 @ 11:32:45

On the php[architect] site there's a new tutorial posted from Oscar Merida about testing Drupal sites with Behat, a popular PHP-based "Behavior Driven Development" testing tool to help ensure your application is performing correctly from the outside.

If automated testing is not already part of your development workflow, then it’s time to get started. Testing helps reduce uncertainty by ensuring that new features you add to your application do not break older features. Having confidence that your not breaking existing functionality reduces time spent hunting bugs or getting reports from clients by catching them earlier.

Unfortunately, testing still does not get the time and attention it needs when you’re under pressure to make a deadline or release a feature your clients have been asking for. [...] After reading all the theory, I only recently took the plunge myself. In this post, I’ll show you how to use Behat to test that your Drupal site is working properly.

He starts by listing some of the requirements you'll need to get started (packages installed via Composer) including the installation of a Drupal specific plugin to make testing these sites easier. From there he shows how to configure the Behat tool and write a simple feature to test the visiting of a certain page and looking for matching results. He also includes tips about testing with user authentication, using custom contexts and Selenium integration.

tagged: behat testing bdd tool tutorial drupal application introduction

Link: https://www.phparch.com/2016/08/testing-your-drupal-site-with-behat/

Robert Basic:
Events in a Zend Expressive application
Aug 05, 2016 @ 09:40:47

Robert Basic has written up a new post sharing a method he came up with for event handling in a Zend Expressive application. He makes use of Zend's own EventManager component to integrate it with some of his work from a previous post.

Three weeks ago I wrote a post on how to utilize Tactician in a Zend Expressive application. Today I want to expand on that post a little by adding the possibility to trigger and listen to events using the Zend EventManager component.

Using events allows our application to respond to different events that occur during a request.[...] This allows for a better separation of concerns in some cases, because if we take this approach, our code that deals with [the current functionality] doesn’t care any more what happens after that

He then gets into the code, showing how to install the EventManager component and how to create/inject an event manager into a current object (a Command). He then shows how to attach en event to the handler and perform an action when the event is hit. He points out one issue with this kind of setup, however: the need for all dependencies to be created prior to the event being attached. Fortunately the Zend EventManager comes with DI container support making it simpler to access dependencies needed during the firing of the event.

tagged: zendexpressive framework application event eventmanager tutorial overview introduction

Link: https://robertbasic.com/blog/events-in-a-zend-expressive-application/

Symfony Finland:
Choosing a front end architecture for Symfony framework projects
Aug 01, 2016 @ 11:21:42

On the Symfony Finland site there's a new post with some suggestions on choosing a frontend for your Symfony-based applications according to your needs.

Most projects created with the Symfony framework nowadays also include quite a bit of logic done on the client side. There is a large number of options on the market and this can lead to trouble choosing between the options. The JavaScript scene is full of camps and cutting through the buzz is quite a bit of work. [...] Symfony remains neutral to what is running in the front end of the project. As with most things in web development, there is no single "right" answer to which front end frameworks to use.

They talk briefly about the history of the framework and what kinds of considerations should be made for both the front and backend technology. They also remind you that there's not a "one size fits all" frontend technology out there. They describe a few different kinds of situations (backend heavy, frontend heavy, etc) and make a few suggestions as to which way you might want to go and libraries to investigate.

The next time you're faced with starting work on a front end of a web site or web application built with Symfony, you can reflect on the experience you've got from the back end. There are usually many right answers and no absolute truths.
tagged: frontend architecture symfony application suggestion opinion project

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/choosing-a-front-end-architecture-for-symfony-framework-projects

Laravel News:
Laravel 5.3 changes the “app” folder
Jul 22, 2016 @ 09:25:24

On the Laravel News site there's a new article posted about a big change coming to the "app" folder in Laravel-based applications (hint: it's moving towards more simple, not more complex).

As we are getting closer to the launch of Laravel 5.3 new features, seem to come out almost daily. The latest is a change to the “App” folder and in a move to simplify it, the Events, Jobs, Listeners, and Policies folders are now gone.

You can still get them back if you "artisan make" something that fits in one of these four folders but, as they're not really "required" by default they were removed to do some de-cluttering. If you want to find out more about what else is coming/changing in Laravel 5.3, check out this other article also on the Laravel News site.

tagged: laravel changes application app folder events jobs listeners policies

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2016/07/laravel-5-3-changes-app-folder

Nicolas Widart:
Writing modular applications with laravel-modules
Jul 13, 2016 @ 11:57:39

In a new post to his site Nicolas Widart introduces you to the idea of building Laravel applications a bit differently than you may normally: in a more modular structure. This structure makes use of this package to make it happen.

Let me start by saying Laravel is an amazing framework. However when it comes to writing more complex and bigger applications, I find the default structure laravel comes with cumbersome and not ideal.

The way the default laravel installation comes with is basically all the application logic inside an app/ folder. This works, but I would not suggest going this route. [...] This is what being modular is trying to resolve. You split of the business logic into different parts, which belongs together. If you're into Domain Driven Design, you can consider a module an aggregate.

Each module has its own resources (routes, models, views, etc) combined into a single "drop-in" structure. He provides an example of this structure and compares it to the more traditional Laravel "all-app" structure. The package he links to makes this modular structure simpler and points out that this system is what the AsgardCMS already uses behind the scenes.

tagged: modular application laravel tutorial example package asgardcms

Link: https://nicolaswidart.com/blog/writing-modular-applications-with-laravel-modules

Paragon Initiative:
Securing a PHP Application in 2016: The Pocket Guide
Jul 11, 2016 @ 12:45:11

The Paragon Initiative has posted a new tutorial giving you a pocket guide version to securing your PHP application in 2016.

Please set aside most of what you've heard over the years; chances are, most of it just muddies the water. Security is not a product. Security is not a checklist. Security is not an absolute.

Security is a process. Security is an emergent property of a mature mindset in the face of risk.

Perfect security is not possible, but attackers do have budgets. If you raise the cost of attacking a system (your application or the networking infrastructure it depends on) so high that the entities that would be interested in defeating your security are incredibly unlikely to succeed, you'll be incredibly unlikely to be compromised.

The post talks about the "essence of security" and how most prevention methods don't even add much processing overhead or overall development time. He makes four recommendations of things to do in current and future development to help secure your applications:

  • Use PHP 7 in All New Development
  • Use HTTPS Everywhere
  • Use Security Headers
  • Use Trustworthy Reference Material

The post ends with a few other things to think about when building secure applications including raising the "cost" of attacking your system and keeping in mind that your platform may not be the attacker's "end game".

tagged: paragoninitiative secure application pocket guide top4 php7 https headers references

Link: https://paragonie.com/blog/2016/07/securing-php-application-in-2016-pocket-guide

Freek Van der Herten:
A package to log activity in a Laravel app
Jun 30, 2016 @ 09:46:17

In a new post to his site Freek Van der Herten shares information about a logging package they've developed for Laravel-based applications to make activity logging simpler throughout the app: laravel-activitylog.

n your apps there’s probably a lot going on. Users log in and out, they create, update and delete content, mails get sent and so on. For an administrator of an app these events provide useful insights. In almost every project we make at Spatie we log these events and show them in the admin-section of our site. [...] We made a new package called laravel-activitylog that makes logging activities in a Laravel app a cinch. In this blogpost I’d like to walk you through it.

He then goes through the basics of using the library, complete with code examples:

  • simple activity logging with messaging
  • providing the "acted on" object information
  • logging the information about who the actor was

There's also a section with details on automatic model logging, making it easier to see the changes on you data without having to log each one individually. He also shows you how to use multiple logs, providing a method to narrow down log records by type.

tagged: laravel application logging package example introduction model

Link: https://murze.be/2016/06/package-log-activity-laravel-app/