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NetTuts.com:
Getting Started With Laravel
Jan 20, 2016 @ 09:06:16

On the NetTuts.com site there's a tutorial posted helping you get started with Laravel, one of the more recently popular PHP frameworks.

Almost all CMS systems use it, including Joomla, Drupal and WordPress, and of course many frameworks like CakePHP use it as well. I arrived at Laravel in early 2014 and I was instantly hooked. It not only uses OOP, it requires it! I have to admit, this was a challenge, but I learned so much thanks to it, and it has made the code I write for other systems a lot better too!

In this article I’ll show you how to get started with Laravel by installing everything that’s needed to run the system, showing you how to use Laravel Homestead - a great virtual machine - and finally, how to install Laravel itself.

The tutorial starts with an introduction of what the framework is and briefly mentions some of its main advantages: standardization, elegance and speed. It then gets into the steps for installing Laravel and setting up a basic application:

  • Install Composer
  • Install Git
  • Install VirtualBox and Vagrant
  • Download the Box (Homestead)
  • Install the Homestead CLI
  • Configure Homestead
  • Launching the Vagrant Box

Don't worry, each of these steps comes with all the commands and config file changes you'll need to make. With the environment up and running they finish the article off with a Composer require command to install a Laravel application and how to test that it's up and running.

tagged: laravel framework gettingstarted introduction homestead environment tutorial

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/getting-started-with-laravel--cms-25386

Jordi Boggiano:
New Composer Patterns
Dec 21, 2015 @ 11:52:36

Jordi Boggiano, lead developer on the Composer has posted about some of the new Composer patterns that have been introduced into the tool this year, including some you might not even have realized.

Here is a short update on some nice little features that have become available in the last year in Composer.

He includes five of these features in his list (but something tells me these are just some of the more user-facing improvements the project has introduced):

  • Checking dependencies for bad patterns
  • Referencing scripts to avoid duplication
  • Defining your target production environment in composer.json
  • Excluding paths from the optimized classmap
  • Requiring packages easily and safely

For each item he includes the command (and sometimes optional arguments) that make it work and what kind of results you can expect. There's definitely some handy features in here and not just for the "power users" in the crowd.

tagged: composer feature update project patterns duplication environment classmap

Link: http://seld.be/notes/new-composer-patterns

Yappa Blog:
Docker PHP development flow
Dec 16, 2015 @ 11:14:57

On the Yappa blog there's a new post about their "trip" towards a PHP and Docker based development environment and the steps they took along the way. The post even includes the full commands and configuration changes you'll need to replicate it.

During a regular work day we work on several PHP projects. Sometimes new projects, but also legacy code which still require earlier versions of PHP. We all work on Macbooks and want to switch quickly and easily between projects. The project requirements vary, the PHP version may be different, or additional services may be required (such as Redis, Elasticsearch, ..).

Unable to mimic the production environment without spending countless hours installing packages on a virtual box for each project.

They start with some of the initial steps they tried including a single local development server and remote servers but points out the issues with each. Ultimately they decided to give Docker a try and came up with their ("almost perfect") development environment. From there they get into the steps to reproduce, the more technical parts, and list the requirements you'll need and the steps in the setup process.

tagged: docker development flow environment tutorial reproduce commands configuration

Link: http://tech.yappa.be/docker-php-development

Matt Stauffer:
Environment specific variables in Laravel's testing environment
Nov 06, 2015 @ 10:43:09

Matt Stauffer has a quick post to his site showing how you can set up and use environment specific variables in Laravel, specifically for your testing environment.

In Laravel, it's easy to set environment variables that are specific to your testing environment. Just edit your phpunit.xml file and set them as entries in the block [...] but what if you find yourself needing to exclude these values from version control?

He talks about the project he's working on and its integration with Twilio. He need to write some tests for a class that connected to the Twilio service but wanted an easy way to swap out the production credentials with the Twilio test ones. Instead of checking in the test credentials, he dropped them into his .env settings file, one specific to the test environment.

tagged: environment variable laravel testing twilio credentials.

Link: https://mattstauffer.co/blog/environment-specific-variables-in-laravels-testing-environment

Matt Stauffer:
Creating custom @requires annotations for PHPUnit
Oct 28, 2015 @ 10:06:46

In this post to his site Matt Stauffer walks you through how he created a custom @requires annotation to use in his PHPUnit testing. He needed a way to tell a test to only run if it wasn't being executed on the Travis CI service.

I was working on a project this weekend that required skipping certain tests in a particular environment (Travis CI). [...] I remembered that there was a @requires annotation in PHPUnit that works natively to allow you to skip a test under a certain version of PHP or with certain extensions disabled, so I set out to write my own custom @requires block.

He links to an article that helped him get most of the functionality in place but decided to restructure it a bit to make the override of the checkRequirements method a bit clearer. He ends up using the Laravel Collection functionality instead of a basic foreach reducing it down to a closure that looks for an environment variable called TRAVIS and automatically mark the test as skipped.

tagged: requires annotation custom phpunit travisci skip environment variable closure

Link: https://mattstauffer.co/blog/creating-custom-requires-annotations-for-phpunit

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Docker and Dockerfiles Made Easy!
Oct 16, 2015 @ 15:56:58

The SitePoint PHP blog has a post that aims to help you with Docker and introduces some of the basic concepts and steps to understand the Dockerfile configuration.

It’s become second nature for developers to use Virtual Machines to configure and manage their working environments. Most professionals who use VMs use Vagrant for dealing with their development environments. In this article, we’ll be moving from Vagrant to Docker, and use a small Laravel application to test that everything is working as expected.

They walk you through the installation of necessary tools, creation of a simple Docker machine and the concepts behind images and containers. They show you how to create a simple Ubuntu-based machine and configuring it to serve up the default Ubuntu+Apache page. They also cover container volumes, a method for keeping a local folder in sync with one in your instance. They help you set this up with a Laravel installation. Next up they help you configure the database container running MySQL and connect it to the Laravel instance. The tutorial also shows how to set up links between the containers, gets into some of the details of the Dockerfile structure and using "docker compose" to easily create environments based off a YAML configuration.

tagged: docker dockerfiles tutorial environment container image laravel

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/docker-and-dockerfiles-made-easy/

Matt Stauffer:
Environment-Specific Configuration for CraftCMS Using PHPDotEnv
Sep 25, 2015 @ 10:13:21

In this post to his site Matt Stauffer shows a more real-word example of how the phpdotenv library can make configuration of your application simpler. He shows how it can be applied to a Craft CMS installation to manage domain-specific configuration details.

Craft is a fantastic CMS, but every CMS shows some pain points when you have a large team working on the same site at the same time. One of these points for me is Craft's native multi-environment configuration options, which allow you to define configuration options based on the domain name.

[...] This is great, but it's limited: You're hard-coding the configuration details into your code, which sometimes means putting sensitive information into your version control. Every developer's local installs either all have to have different domains, or if they use the same domain they need to all have the same configuration settings. And something just feels dirty about the codebase having such knowledge of every place it's going to be deployed.

He introduces the phpdotenv library and how you define its simple .env file with a basic INI structure. He then shows how to add the phpdotenv library to your installation:

  • adding it to the list of Composer installed libraries
  • update your front controller to load the configuration
  • define the .env file with your settings
  • ignore it via .gitignore

With these steps in place you can then update the Craft configuration with calls to getenv in all the right places to pull items from the phpdotenv configuration.

tagged: phpdotenv env configuration craftcms example environment tutorial

Link: https://mattstauffer.co/blog/environment-specific-configuration-for-craftcms-using-phpdotenv

Matthew Weier O'Phinney:
Fixing Version Issues When Running Composer from a Branch
Sep 11, 2015 @ 10:55:04

Matthew Weier O'Phinney has posted an article to his site showing you how to fix version issues in branches when using Composer packages and libraries in your applications.

For the Zend Framework component repositories, we occasionally need to backport changes to the 2.4 LTS releases. This requires checking out a branch based off the last LTS tag, applying patches (often with edits to translate PHP 5.5 syntax to PHP 5.3), and running tests against PHP 5.3 and 5.4.

Of course, to run the tests, you need the correct set of dependencies installed. If you have any component dependencies, that means running a composer update to ensure that you get the 2.4 versions of those components. And that's where my story begins.

He talks about some of the issues he's come across when testing components and Composer, not understanding that the environment has changed, does not load the correct versions of the necessary libraries. He first tried to fix the dependencies himself, adjusting the version numbers required but with no luck. Finally he stumbled across something on the Composer site that helped: the ability to define a "root version" environment variable that made it adhere to the versions he needed.

tagged: composer dependency branch issue incompatible environment variable

Link: https://mwop.net/blog/2015-09-09-composer-root.html

Fortrabbit.com:
Is your database password stored safely?
Sep 08, 2015 @ 11:48:18

The Fortrabbit blog has a post that want to help you store your database password securely and away from prying attacker eyes. While they use the example of a a database password, credentials for just about any other service could be protected the same way.

How do you protect your access data? Your sensitive secrets, basically anything your PHP application uses to authenticate or authorize with other services such as databases, caches, cloud storages, image resize services, transactional mail providers. All of them. Where do you put this — easily accessible while in development and secure for production?

They start by pointing out a few places where they should not be stored: in your code, in a version control system or in an environment variable (plain text). Instead, they suggest using a combination of a secret key that's configured in the application and encrypted versions of the values in environment variables. Some code is included showing how to set this up in a Laravel-based application, but the principle can be applied independent of the framework too with some other simple tools. They end the post with some links to other articles including a "considered harmful" piece reinforcing their methods.

tagged: credential protection password database tutorial encryption environment variable

Link: http://blog.fortrabbit.com/how-to-keep-a-secret

Coding.bmail.net Blog:
Advanced logging system in PHP for careful developers
Aug 05, 2015 @ 12:19:51

On the Coding.bmail.net blog they've posted a guide to what they've called an advanced logging system in PHP for careful developers - essentially a logging system that's as "error proof" as possible and that works with as little user exposure as possible.

Being aware of all the activity and problems under the hood is essential when running big websites with lots of users, many features and, as it is usual in such cases, weak spots that must not be left untracked.

In order to be the first in knowing when errors or other events of interest happen we need a well designed logs manager. My code will provide such a feature, for PHP based websites.

They briefly outline how the complete setup will work, failing back to email if the database connection isn' available and logging based on environment. It also includes error levels and, on development only, a method for showing the errors being logged. While a good bit of this functionality could be handled by something like Monolog they do include some additional features like the email fallback, output of the errors in development mode and custom error/exception handlers.

tagged: logging advanced system custom database email environment tutorial

Link: http://coding.bmain.net/tutorials/php/advanced_logging_system_in_php_for_careful_developers