Looking for more information on how to do PHP the right way? Check out PHP: The Right Way

Cal Evans:
Mautic Step 1 – Configuring an Email Service Provider
Jun 26, 2017 @ 10:30:17

Cal Evans has continued his series covering Mautic, the PHP based self-hosted marketing automation platform. This is step one in the process with his previous post in the series introducing Mautic and why he's trying it out.

This is the second post in a series titled “My Journey into Mautic”. If you are starting here, you might get an incomplete picture, you may want to check out the previous articles.

There are two things that really confuse me about Mautic, properly configuring an Email Service Provider (ESP), and segmenting & tagging. We’ll tackle the latter one in a later post, but the former is an important topic. It is also one that I do not fully understand. What is presented here is what I have learned through trial and error. it my be partially or wholly incorrect. If you find something that I’ve gotten wrong, please, by all means, correct me in the comments.

He starts by defining what an ESP service is and what it's useful for. While he had done the self-hosted email server in the past, he recommends paying for a service these days, deciding for his needs on Mailgun. He covers the difference between transactional and broadcast emails followed by the setup process he followed to get Mailgun up and working with his Mautic install.

tagged: series mautic marketing automation selfhosted platform tutorial email service provider

Link: https://blog.calevans.com/2017/06/25/mautic-step-1-configuring-an-email-service-provider/

Dynamic Page Templates in WordPress, Part 3
Jun 19, 2017 @ 10:45:04

The TutsPlus.com site has posted the third part of their "Dynamic Page Templates in WordPress" tutorial series today. In this latest article author David Gwyer finishes off the series using all that they've shared from part one and part two to create two examples.

In the first two parts of this tutorial series, we covered what dynamic page templates were and why they were needed. We also looked at the code required to implement them.

In this third and final tutorial in the series, I'll be creating two examples of fully working dynamic page templates you can use in your own projects. These were specifically chosen to be easily extendable to suit your own needs, and are intended as inspiration for any other type of dynamic page templates you can think of.

He then walks you through the creation of the two page templates: a Simple Contact Form and a Blog Post Archive. The first allows you to dynamically control the form elements for a UI interface (rather than code) and the second uses dynamic data to display the list of previous blog posts. The tutorial then finishes with a look at how, since WordPress 4.7, you can use dynamic page templates with any kind of post, not just pages.

tagged: wordpress series part3 dynamic page template blog archive simple form tutorial

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/dynamic-page-templates-in-wordpress-part-3--cms-28514

Zend Framework Blog:
Validate data using zend-inputfilter
Jun 16, 2017 @ 09:22:37

Matthew Weier O'Phinney is back on the Zend Framework blog today with a spotlight on another component of the Zend Framework. This time he features zend-inputfilter, a useful component for filtering the data coming into your application from your users.

In our previous two posts, we covered zend-filter and zend-validator. With these two components, you now have the tools necessary to ensure any given user input is valid, fulfilling the first half of the "filter input, escape output" mantra.

[...] To solve [the single shot validation] problem, Zend Framework provides zend-inputfilter. An input filter aggregates one or more inputs, any one of which may also be another input filter, allowing you to validate complex, multi-set, and nested set values.

As in the other tutorials in the series, Matthew walks you through the installation of the component via Composer and briefly describes how it operates. He then includes a code example of creating a new InputFilter instance, making inputs, attaching validators to them and then ensuring everything validates in the chain with an isValid call. He then covers input specifications - configurations based on array values - to define validators on the input elements. He ends the post looking at input filters, how to manage them and defining them by specification. He also mentions a few other pieces fo functionality the component includes but he didn't cover here.

tagged: zendinputfilter component zendframework series input filter chain

Link: https://framework.zend.com/blog/2017-06-15-zend-inputfilter.html

Zend Framework Blog:
Validate input using zend-validator
Jun 14, 2017 @ 11:25:36

The Zend Framework blog has continued their series spotlighting various components of the framework with their latest installment. In this latest tutorial they cover the zend-validator component used to validate data against a set of rules for correctness.

In our previous post, we covered zend-filter, The filters in zend-filter are generally used to pre-filter or normalize incoming data. This is all well and good, but we still don't know if the data is valid. That's where zend-validator comes in.

The post starts with showing how to get the component installed via Composer and the optional dependency of the zend-service-manager component (to handle the use of ValidatorChain functionality). Code is included showing the interface the validators all conform to and an example of the validator in use. It then covers some of the built-in validation options and how to build up a validator "chain" of multiple checks. It also shows how to break the validation if one fails, setting priority (order of execution), evaluating values in certain contexts and registering your own custom validators.

tagged: zendvalidator zendframework validation tutorial introduction component series

Link: https://framework.zend.com/blog/2017-06-13-zend-validator.html

Cal Evans:
My Journey Into Mautic
Jun 07, 2017 @ 09:09:32

Cal Evans, in a search to help make the marketing efforts for some of his products easier, has kicked off a series showing how to install and configure the PHP-based Mautic marketing automation platform.

Those that know me know that I have an obsession with marketing. I mean I’m no good at it, but the topic fascinates me. Almost all of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis are marketing related. One topic in particular that interests me is “Marketing Automation”. Marketing Automation covers a huge swath of topics and since I am not an expert at the, I won’t attempt to explain them.

[...] Because I am interested in Marketing Automation and want to start applying the techniques in the projects I run. I started looking around for vendors who could provide these services. What I found is that most SaaS vendors assume that everybody who wants to use their software has deep pockets.

Without these "deep pockets" (pricey services) at his disposal, Cal looked for other options and found the self-hosted Mautic instead. He starts with a definition of his requirements including that it should be Open Source, that it should integrate with WordPress and he can contribute back to the project. He ends the post by outlining his planned platform using Mautic, WordPress, Mailgun, Mailchimp and Ditigal Ocean.

tagged: mautic marketing platform opensource series part1 automation

Link: https://blog.calevans.com/2017/06/03/my-journey-into-mautic/

How to Install Yii on Windows or a Mac
Jun 05, 2017 @ 14:14:09

The TutsPlus.com site has posted another tutorial in their "Introduction to the Yii Framework series" showing you how to install the framework on Windows and Mac. The usual instructions walk you through installation on a unix-based system, so this helps those without access to a system like that.

In today's tutorial, we'll explain how to install Yii in a local development environment for both Windows and macOS. For the Windows guide, we'll rely on WAMP Server, a Windows web development environment for Apache, PHP and Mac, and for the Mac guide, we'll use its cousin, MAMP. Although Rod uses WAMP in today's tutorial, there is also a Windows version of MAMP.

There's a brief section at the start describing the Yii framework for those who aren't familiar with it (including what "Yii Advanced" is). Next, comes the installation instructions for Mac using MAMP including the install of the MAMP software and the configuration to change to get Yii up and running. Following this comes to Windows installation using WAMP and the configuration changes needed there. The remainder of the post shows the configuration of the Yii framework application itself and how to ensure everything is working correctly.

tagged: instllation yii framework tutorial series windows mac

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-install-yii-on-windows-or-a-mac--cms-28530

Programming With Yii: Generating Documentation
Jun 02, 2017 @ 11:14:03

The TutsPlus site has posted the latest article in their "Programming with Yii" tutorial series, this time covering the generation of documentation for the API code that's been created to power the application.

Recently, I wrote about building REST APIs for your Yii application and expanded custom APIs for our startup series application, Meeting Planner.

In today's tutorial, I'll introduce you to Yii's apidoc extension, which automatically generates browsable documentation for your code. I'm going to use it to generate API documentation for Meeting Planner.

The tutorial starts off with helping you get the extension installed (via Composer) and links to a few examples of the end result. The tutorial then goes through how to add your own comments to your current files that will be output in the final result directly. This includes open text descriptions and other DocBlock information. It then shows how to generate the documentation, how to navigate the resulting HTML pages and some examples of what it will look like for the current code.

tagged: programming yii2 generate documentation tutorial series package

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/programming-with-yii-generating-documentation--cms-27899

Master Zend Framework:
How to Go From Development to Deployment with Docker
Jun 01, 2017 @ 13:13:58

The Master Zend Framework series has posted the third part in their series covering deployment and development setups with Docker. In this latest article Matthew Setter builds on the knowledge from the first and second parts of the series and shows how to deploy your environment to production.

In my search to learn how to use Docker as a complete solution to develop with, I've found a range of tutorials which discuss or walk through some part of the process.

Sadly, no one tutorial contains all the steps necessary to step you through containerizing an (existing) application through to deploying said application in a production environment. Given that, my aim in writing this tutorial is to show you how to do this.

The challenge in doing so, unfortunately, is that there's a lot to learn and absorb. [...] So this is going to be a lengthy post. But I've aimed to provide the most direct path to your first production deployment, as well as to structure it so that it's easy to work through or navigate to the specific part you need.

He starts off with a few prerequisites you'll need to complete the process - a DigitalOcean account, a Docker Hub account, Docker installed and working and a project to deploy. The rest of the post is broken down into a few sections to make it a bit more consumable:

  • Create & Build the Container
  • Store the Image in an Accessible Registry
  • Build a Deployment Configuration
  • Make the Deployment

For each step in the process all of the code, configurations an commands you'll need are included. In some places screenshots are also included to help you ensure you're on the right path.

tagged: development deployment docker tutorial series production

Link: http://www.masterzendframework.com/docker-from-development-to-deployment/

Building Your Startup: Approaching Major Feature Enhancements
May 30, 2017 @ 11:57:50

The TutsPlus.com site has continued their series covering the use of PHP and the Yii2 framework to build an application from the ground up (a "startup"). In this latest post the author covers some major feature enhancements, how to handle them and the code to add in the one he chose - an "Activity Planning" feature.

These days I'm most often working to add small incremental improvements to Meeting Planner. The basics work pretty well, and I'm trying to gradually improve the application based on my vision and people's feedback. Sometimes, my vision is for a bigger change, and that can be harder now that the codebase has grown so much.

In today's tutorial, I'm going to talk about ways to think about making bigger changes to an existing codebase. Specifically, I'll walk you through the impacts of adding the ability for meeting participants to collaboratively brainstorm and decide on activities, i.e. what we should do when we meet up.

His intent is to expand the scheduling support for the product to add the idea of "activities" to the invitations. These are suggestions of things to do during the time specified (if there's not only one option). He starts off by scoping out the changes that will be required including both the customer and code facing impacts. The tutorial then goes through some of the highlights of the code added to include this new feature. Finally he loops back around and reflects on the changes made during this latest addition and how his expectations measured up against the reality of the work done.

tagged: startup build tutorial series yii2 major feature enhancement

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/building-your-startup-approaching-major-feature-enhancements--cms-27850

Building Your Startup:
Securing an API
May 22, 2017 @ 13:16:19

The TutsPlus.com site has continued their "Building Your Startup" tutorial series with a new post about APIs and security. In this series, they've been using the Yii2 framework to create a calendaring "startup" site. Now they're to the point of adding a "RESTful" API to the system and want to be sure it's secure.

Recently, I introduced you to Yii's simple REST API generation and Meeting Planner's new "RESTful" service API. At that time, I mentioned that these APIs were only loosely secured. Sure, there was a shared secret between the client and the server, but there were a couple of problems.

First, the secret key and user tokens were repeatedly transmitted in query parameters of SSL calls. And there was no other authenticity check for the data, allowing a middle-person attack. In today's episode, I'll guide you through how I secured the API against these weaknesses for a more robust API.

They start off looking at the API security that was previously put in place using an "app ID" and "app secret" values to identify the user. To improve on this, the system is updated to use the "app secret" value to sign the outgoing data via a HMAC hash that is sent along with the request.

tagged: api security tutorial yii2 build startup series hmac rest

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/building-your-startup-securing-an-api--cms-27867