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Nate Turner:
Spinning Up Symfony 2 Development Environments With Vagrant
September 11, 2014 @ 10:57:13

Nate Turner has posted a tutorial to his site sharing a step-by-step method for creating Symfony2 development environments with Vagrant. Vagrant (and Puppet) allow you to create a scriptable setup process that creates a VM with the same settings every time, making it easier to destroy and recreate as needed.

When we use Vagrant to create new virtual development environments we avoid the very real possibility that we could mess up our personal development machines. People have used virtual machines for development for years. [...] Managing installed applications across a teams VMs is a pain. Why not just include a Vagrantfile and a few Puppet manifests instead? Instead of passing around a virtual machine a few gigabytes in size, just include your Vagrant and Puppet in a project's source control. That's it. In future tutorials we will be using the environment we create here to start a new virtual machine running Symfony 2 with the above command.

He walks you through each of the steps, complete with commands and configuration changes to make everything cooperate:

  • Create a Symfony Project with Composer
  • Setting up Vagrant
  • Provisioning with Puppet / Symfony's Requirements
  • Set up a new VirtualHost
  • Set Apache to run as the Vagrant user

He's also posted the complete working script over on his GitHub account.

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development environment symfony2 vagrant puppet tutorial

Link: http://nater1067.github.io/blog/2014/08/25/spinning-up-symfony-2-development-environments-with-vagrant/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Generate Excel Files and Charts with PHPExcel
September 11, 2014 @ 09:48:55

SitePoint's PHP blog has a new post that walks you through the creation of Excel files with the help of the PHPExcel tool, a part of the overall PHPOffice package.

After my article "How To Make Microsoft Word Documents with PHP" (using Interop capability under Windows), there were quite a few comments urging a pure PHP implementation, i.e., only using a universal PHP library to manipulate Office files. In this article, we will see how to use a PHPExcel library to provide an "Export to Excel" function in a web app so that the user can export the data into an Excel 2007/2013 file for further analysis.

His example spreadsheet shows game information for an NBA team (the LA Lakers) including some charting and analytic data in the exported output. He sets up a simple Silex application and both a base and export endpoints. He also shows you how to create the PHPExcel instance, configure it with properties like creator, title and a set of keywords. With this object in place he moves into setting data for each of the rows/cells, populating it from a database table. He also includes examples of creating more than one sheet of results, inserting formulas and creating the charts mentioned earlier.

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phpexcel tutorial excel microsoft chart formular export

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/generate-excel-files-charts-phpexcel/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Personal Packagist with Toran Proxy
September 09, 2014 @ 11:43:43

In a recent tutorial to on the SitePoint PHP blog, Alexander Cogneau shows you how to create a personal Packagist (the repository for Composer packages) using the Toran proxy.

Most of you reading this already know Composer. For those who don't, you can read a previous article of mine before continuing. We can all agree that Composer has brought many good things into the PHP world. If one dares however to look for drawbacks, or better put, not included features, he could state that it is not possible to work with private repositories. That argument won't hold anymore, since there is Toran Proxy.

He calls this the "end of the Satis era", replacing the Packagist clone that mirrors the packages locally rather than pulling them right from GitHub. Using the Toran proxy, he walks you through the setup of the proxy and using the wizard to complete the configuration. There's a personal use license for Toran that allows for one developer but after that you'd need to upgrade to the yearly/per developer pricing structure.

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toran proxy packagist tutorial setup configure

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/personal-packagist-toran-proxy/

NetTuts.com:
Installing and Using PHPMyAdmin for Web Development
September 09, 2014 @ 10:37:56

The NetTuts.com site has a tutorial posted today walking you through the installation and configuration of one of the most popular and well-known PHP database tools, phpMyAdmin. In this tutorial they wlk you through installing the tool (via packages) and working with a sample database.

PHPMyAdmin (PMA) is an excellent free, open source web-based database client which can be used to interact more easily with MySQL and application databases. I'll describe how to install it, secure it and some common scenarios with which it can assist you in database administration. [...] In addition to offering a visual GUI for database operations, I also appreciate being able to run command line SQL operations via my browser without having to log in to the server via SSH. For example, some WiFi connections and mobile hotspots regularly terminate persistent SSH sessions, making database tasks problematic.

They use the apt-get package manager to get the tool installed on their Apache web server instance. They also show you how to secure it via a web server level configuration item via a htpasswd setup. Then the post gets into the usage of the tool - creating a database, adding users, backing up databases, editing data and testing queries right from within the tool.

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tutorial phpmyadmin install configure database package

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/installing-and-using-phpmyadmin-for-web-development--cms-21947

Hari KT:
Aura Input Form Inside Slim Framework
September 08, 2014 @ 10:55:13

Hari KT has a new post to his site today showing how you can integrate the Aura PHP components into a Slim framework application for input handling, like from a form. Aura PHP is a set of decoupled components for things like CLI handling, dependency injection and SQL requests (among others).

Rob Allen wrote about Integrating ZF2 forms into Slim. I did write how you can use Aura.Input and Aura.Html to create standalone form for PHP. This time I felt I should write about integrating aura input inside Slim.

He includes the Composer configuration to install the HTML and Input components as well as an up-to-date version of the Slim framework. Code showing how to create the form class (a "Contact form") is included, showing both the creation of the elements and the filtering/validation checks put on each. He shows how the Slim routes would handle the request as well as how the view processes the request and displays the form via a helper. You can get the full working code in this repository over on GitHub.

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auraphp framework slim form input html tutorial

Link: http://harikt.com/blog/2014/09/02/aura-input-form-inside-slim-framework/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Deploy Your Website Using Laravel and Git
September 08, 2014 @ 09:28:50

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial by James Dow showing you how to use git and Laravel for application deployment. This isn't just about deploying a Laravel application, though. It includes a method for automating processes once the deployment is complete.

You can't be a successful web developer without using some sort of deployment workflow for your websites. It doesn't matter how good or bad your workflow might be. If you can't get your website up to production then your client will never pay you for your hard work. [...] I wanted something that was as easy as pushing a repository with Git. More important, I wanted to be in full control when pushing content live. I was able to find a similar workflow that used Git to handle the file transferring. On top of that I found out I could also use the PHP framework Laravel to automate the more repetitive tasks.

He starts with the server side of things, showing you how to get the git repository created and structured. He then configures Laravel with a "remote" connection for the production server so it can reach out and execute the tasks. Finally he shows how to make the route (/deploy) that's executed when the route is called. In his example route he sets up a SSH request to the production server that changes to the web server root and makes a "git pull" request to get the latest code. It's an interesting use for something like Laravel, but I wonder if it's a good fit for the deployment need. This kind of thing could pretty easily be replaced with a small shell script.

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deployment laravel tutorial git ssh

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/deploy-website-using-laravel-git/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Asset Access Restriction Methods - Block Unwanted Visitors
September 05, 2014 @ 10:11:45

In a new tutorial from the SitePoint PHP blog today Jeroen Meeus looks at a way to protect parts of your application from being used and abused. He shows you how to protect various parts of you site, including images and actual pages, with the help of either your web server or bits of code.

When building an awesome web app or website, we sometimes want people to be able to embed parts of our web app/website into their own. That could be an iframe holding a 'like' button, a simple image that they want to reuse or even our entire app embedded in an iframe. But how do we control who has access, who is allowed to use up our bandwidth and query our service? We define the problem as controlling access to assets. By assets we mean: anything that can be queried from our site.

He talks about the problem of "lifting" content and how to fall back to a "deny all, allow some" mentality. He starts with examples of Apache configurations that use mod_rewrite to only allow requests that come from the current domain (trusted) and the "files" directive coupled with Deny/Allow. He also includes an nginx example, showing the same request handling. The code examples show how to use PHP and Javascript to prevent access the same way.

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asset protection method webserver configuration code tutorial

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/asset-access-restriction-methods-block-unwanted-visitors/

Marc Morera:
Bye Bye Symfony
September 04, 2014 @ 12:41:00

In his most recent post Marc Morera says bye bye to Symfony and "hello to PHP". Confused? His point is that using the Symfony components as a whole in the framework isn't the only option anymore. You can use them just as effectively as pieces of a larger PHP project, puling them in as needed.

The reason of this post is just to tell you, with a simple example, how to say Bye Bye, Symfony! and say Hi PHP!. This really means uncouple from Symfony Components and still use them as the default implementation, while we can securely remove, from the composer require block, our Symfony dependencies.

He starts off with a simple example showing how to use Symfony's "UrlGeneratorInterface" to create a URL output class that can be injected to use in the route handling of the application. He then moves on to a more real-life example (a metaphor) using a USB connection and the adapters/cables that could be involved to connect various devices. He then shifts back over to the world of code and describes a specification interface that can be used with the URL generation and remove the Symfony dependency from it. On top of this he builds an adapter object that brings the Symfony component back into the picture and abstracts it out a level to make for more flexibility and testability in the long run.

We win maximum implementation flexibility and minimum coupling. Would be wise to say that a PHP project should tend to this thought, but once again, it depends on many factors. [...] Using ports and adapters is really a great tool for those who want to uncouple from implementations and a great pattern if you develop open source. Open source should satisfy as people as possible, so remember, specify and then implement.
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symfony component abstract tutorial interface specification

Link: http://mmoreram.com/blog/2014/09/01/bye-bye-symfony/

NetTus.com:
Understanding PhpSpec
September 04, 2014 @ 11:09:42

The NetTuts.com site (well, TutsPlus) has posted a new tutorial that gets you more intimate with PhpSpec, a PHP-based testing tool that lets you define tests as specifications and using behavior-driven development principles. If you need an introduction to the tool, check out this other tutorial first.

If you compare PhpSpec to other testing frameworks, you will find that it is a very sophisticated and opinionated tool. One of the reasons for this, is that PhpSpec is not a testing framework like the ones you already know. Instead, it is a design tool that helps describing behavior of software. A side effect of describing the behavior of software with PhpSpec, is that you will end up with specs that will also serve as tests afterwards. In this article, we will take a look under the hood of PhpSpec and try to gain a deeper understanding of how it works and how to use it.

They provide a quick overview of some of the internals of the PhpSpec tool and a brief look at the difference between BDD (behavior-driven) and TDD (test-driven) development practices. There's also a look at how the tool differs from the popular PHP testing tool PHPUnit. Code examples are provided through out the post with simple tests, making the separation between the methods and tools easier to follow.

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tutorial phpspec testing tool bdd tdd unittest behaviordriven development

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/understanding-phpspec--cms-21915

SitePoint PHP Blog:
PHP Streaming and Output Buffering Explained
September 04, 2014 @ 10:17:44

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new performance-related post to the site today from Imran Latif. This new post looks at effective use of output buffering and streaming and explains how it works and some examples of its use.

As a PHP developer, I was wondering whether we can have something similar [to Streaming in Rails] in our favorite language? The answer is yes - we can easily have streaming in PHP applications with little effort, but in order to get this right we have to become familiar with some underlying concepts. In this article, we will see what streaming is, what output_buffering is and how to get our desired result under different webservers (Apache, Nginx) and PHP configurations (CGI, mod_php, FastCGI).

He starts off with a comparison of the two different methods, streaming and output buffering, and how they behave in the output of content. He then gets into some simple examples with PHP with various methods: a simple delay, chunking up output and finally using the actual output buffering handling PHP offers. He also includes an example of streaming content over an Ajax request with a simple test using the sleep function.

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streaming output buffering tutorial introduction beginner ajax

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/php-streaming-output-buffering-explained/


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