CakePHP CsvMigrations: prototype in 3 2 .. Done!

Every programmer is tired of coding yet another login form. Yet another CRUD view module. So today I’ll show you an example where our laziness can get you building prototype systems without a single line of extra code.

One of the tasks, that we had to face when developing Qobrix CRM, was fast prototyping of the system. The result of ultimate laziness and DRY concept resulted in cakephp-csv-migrations plugin that we try to use pretty much everywhere, while delivering the system.

Your application is not unique

Whatever you request for your Prototype is mostly based on same functionality:

  • CRUD views
  • Basic CRUD actions
  • Event/Trigger system that allows you mutating the data

If we dive deeper into these points, whatever you work with is form based – your input fields are the minimum atomic unit of interaction: strings, longtexts, datetime. Looks familiar? Exactly, database data types.

In certain cases, you store dates in strings, names in varchars, or even longtext. At this moment we come to the point of having a binding mechanism of your application logic with your storage engine. For simplicity reasons – I’d base this example on RDBMS like MariaDB, MySQL, etc.

Changing those binding might be difficult for the user. As the supplier of the system, you don’t know who’s going to deal with the system: some companies don’t have IT departments, but need to modify things rapidly. The same applies to developers level of expertise for the system. We wanted to make it as simple as possible.

Preparing the App

Note: If you already have a CakePHP application running, just composer require qobo/cakephp-csv-migrations, and you can skip this part.

Theory is boring without examples, so I’ll try to show you a basic thing on how to expand the system with extra modules. For simplicity reasons, I’ll base it on project-template-cakephp template that we frequently use. It already has some dependencies, as well as cakephp-csv-migrations plugin as part of cakephp-utils.

composer create-project qobo/project-template-cakephp baking_app
cd baking_app
./bin/build app:install DB_NAME="baking_app",CHOWN_USER=$USER,CHGRP_GROUP=$USER,PROJECT_NAME="My Baking App"
./bin/phpserv

That’s enough to check that your app is up and running. For basic creadentials and stuff, you can check .env file that was generated by the Robo build scripts.

Baking Recipes Module

Here comes the baking part. We’re going to make a simple recipes module to store our favourite recipes.

./bin/cake bake csv_module Recipes
./bin/cake bake csv_migration Recipes

First command will create dummy MVC instances for CakePHP: Model/Entity, Controller and ApiController files, based on which the second script will verify that you can bake a migration script (based on Phinx migrations).

If you’ll look into migration file created in config/Migrations/<timestamp>_Receipts<timestamp>.php, you see something like that:

<?php
use CsvMigrations\CsvMigration;

class Recipes20180126154309 extends CsvMigration
{
        public function change()
    {
        $table = $this->table('recipes');
        $table = $this->csv($table);

        if (!$this->hasTable('recipes')) {
            $table->create();
        } else {
            $table->update();
        }

        $joinedTables = $this->joins('recipes');
        if (!empty($joinedTables)) {
            foreach ($joinedTables as $joinedTable) {
                $joinedTable->create();
            }
        }
    }
}

Where are the fields? That’s the point where all the magic happens.

CsvMigrations plugin provides you with vast number of input types that can bind to basic data types of your database. They’re stored in config/Modules/Recipes/db/migration.csv file. We’ll expand it a bit:

FIELD NAME,FIELD TYPE,REQUIRED,NOT SEARCHABLE,UNIQUE
id,uuid
name,string
meal_type,list(meal_types)
recipe,text
created,datetime
modified,datetime
created_by,related(Users)
modified_by,related(Users)

I’ve added name, type and recipe fields that can be handled by varchar and longtext data types in the database. Let’s cook it:

./bin/cake migrations migrate

And we are done! You noticed list(<list_name>) type used within migration.csv. This FieldHandler type is used for defined option lists for rendering Select boxes in you form. The lists are stored in config/Modules/Common/lists/meal_types.csv:

VALUE,LABEL,INACTIVE
breakfast,Breakfast,
dinner,Dinner,
supper,Supper
Where are my views?

If you start up the application, and navigate to http://localhost:8000/recipes/add you’ll see something like that:

add recipes form

Now we need to add fields to CRUD form. CsvMigrations can help you with that. All your form fields are located in config/Modules/Recipes/views:

PANEL NAME,FIRST COLUMN FIELD NAME,SECOND COLUMN FIELD NAME
Details,name, meal_type
Recipe,recipe

The example above is for add/edit.csv files being modified. Reloading the add page:

add form complete
Complete add form
Conclusion

Now you’re ready to work with basic CRUD. All the common CRUD logic is already located in cakephp-csv-migrations plugin that will handle API requests for the index page for DataTables grid loading. If you want to change its behavior, you can always override action methods in `RecipesController`.

 

ES2015: Refresher on modern JavaScript

A quick lookup on modern JavaScript and whole Babel thing. This will be a start of a small research on splitting frontend and backend implementation for CakePHP framework and its plugin.

CakePHP: Interview with Larry E. Masters

Interesting interview with one of the core members of CakePHP community – Larry E. Masters.

Throughout the interview Larry covers CakePHP Framework history, as well as covering major milestones of CakePHP 3.x version. If you’re still into 2.x – it’s time to upgrade, as it brings some nice perks, more flexible code, and massive performance boost.

 

PHP: Testing protected methods in CakePHP3

One of the things I recently had to deal with – unit testing protected methods of the class. Few seconds of checking StackOverflow brought a nice and elegant way of checking protected methods using ReflectionClasses. Sebastian Bergmann has a complete guide on how to check non-public functionality of the classes in his archieves.

Here’s a short sample of the code using CakePHP3:

<?php

 use Search\Model\Table\SaveSearchTable;
 use Cake\TestSuite\TestCase;
 
 class SaveSearchTableTest extends TestCase
 {
    public function setUp()
    {
        $this->SavedSearches = \Cake\ORM\TableRegistry::get('SavedSearches');
    }
    
    public function testProtectedMethod()
    {
        $methodName = 'protectedMethod';
        
        $reflectionClass =  new \ReflectionClass('\Search\Model\Table\SaveSearchesTable');
        
        $method = $reflectionClass->getMethod($methodName);
        
        $methodResult = $method->invokeArgs( $this->SavedSearches, [
            'arg1',
            ['arg2']
        ]);
        
        $this->assertNotEmpty($methodResult);
    }
 }

 

CakeDC upgrades users plugin with Google Authenticator

Few days of work, and almost a month of waiting, but it was totally worth it. Yesterday noon, CakeDC community upgraded one of its major plugins, with our Qobo patch, that allows users to enable Google Authenticator functionality I wrote about previously. There’s no need anymore to use ‘dev-develop’ branches in composer.

 

Google Authenticator in CakePHP3.x

Google Authenticator gets a new wave of interest from the web community, trying to put an extra layer on top of user authentication process. There’s a plethora of plugins and components that let you authenticate with Google, but most of them aim to OAuth and Google+ integration. Two-step auth gets aside.

I took few hours on research for the simple 2FA library available on the net and found TwoFactorAuth that already support Google URI QR-codes, that can be easily embedded into any framework/application running on PHP.

CakePHP3.x Integration

With few minor modifications it nicely got integrated into CakePHP 3.x framework. If you’re using CakePHP 3.x, you can install ‘develop’ branch, of CakeDC/Users plugin, and enable two-factor authentication with few minor modifications.

 <?php
 //config/app.php or any other config file that suites your app
 Configure::write('GoogleAuthenticator.login', true);
 /*
 some other custom configs you might need
 'GoogleAuthenticator' => [
            //enable Google Authenticator
            'login' => false,
            'issuer' => null,
            // The number of digits the resulting codes will be
            'digits' => 6,
            // The number of seconds a code will be valid
            'period' => 30,
            // The algorithm used
            'algorithm' => 'sha1',
            // QR-code provider (more on this later)
            'qrcodeprovider' => null,
            // Random Number Generator provider (more on this later)
            'rngprovider' => null,
            // Key used for encrypting the user credentials, leave this false to use Security.salt
            'encryptionKey' => false
        ],
*/
?>

When you enable it the CakeDC/Users Google Authenticator feature, upon ‘/login’ you will ll be redirected to ‘/verify’, where you should insert your verification code from the mobile app (Google Authenticator for Android).

If you’re already sharing a secret key with the website/app, you won’t have to synchronize an app with it. Otherwise, you’ll have to scan it first, as it’s described in the documentation. QR-code will appear on the ‘/verify’ action of the app.

UPD: CakeDC/Users has upgraded the plugin to 4.x version, which enables Google Authenticator in the master repo.

Qobo: first month benchmark

It’s been already one month since I moved to Qobo Ltd, as a backend developer, so it’s about time to do some benchmarks on the work done.

Open-Source

The level of open source involvement of Qobo is enormous. All the projects I’ve been involved in before were always about open-source: it was either based on open-source, or using open-source solutions into some extend. Every time it ends up locking down the solutions for indoor use. It was either features the company didn’t want to share with the open-source community, or key business aspects that were crucial for competitive advantage. The story repeats over and over – the level of feedback to open source was minimal.

Contrarily, Qobo’s approach towards open-source is different. I didn’t do the exact measures, but it’s approximately 70-80% of code that goes to public repositories. Apart of advocating open-source within the company, we participate in other development communities, which helps us get things better. What’s the point of getting stuck with yet another closed-source plugin/module/library that others troubleshooted/patched and use everywhere. Examples? Well, it’s CakeDC community, CakePHP framework, WordPress, Bootstrap, and many others.

Side-effects of it:

  • You write better code (if you want to get things accepted in pull requests)
  • You stand on the shoulders of giants (community helps. Always)
  • Self-development (you’re not stuck with repetitive tasks)
Teams

Q: how many programmers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: none, that’s a hardware problem (c)

Small teams, dedicated to certain projects or split by the expertise in certain technology or business aspects. Mind blowing speed of deployment & accuracy. The most appropriate way of describing the social system and involvement in the projects would be meritocracy – “We do it, because we can”.

 

Chronos: CakePHP replacement for carbon

Chronos aims to be a drop-in replacement for nesbot/carbon. It focuses on providing immutable date/datetime objects. Immutable objects help ensure that datetime objects aren’t accidentally modified keeping data more predictable.

<?php
require 'vendor/autoload.php';

use Cake\Chronos\Chronos;

printf("Now: %s", Chronos::now());

 

CakePHP 3 adopts PSR-2

Recently read this article from James Watts:

By adopting PSR-2 we can remove or reduce the code we maintain related to enforcing coding standards – as there are common tools, used by the rest of the community, to validate and revise CS issues, without requiring exceptions.

Looks like it’s time to re-write our internal modules with PSR-2 standards in mind, if we want to share them with open-source community.

Cakephp 2.x: failing Phing using CakePHP testsuites

Digging todays deployment scripts on CI (Continuous integration) machine, I’ve noted that no matter how many Unit tests fail, phing still thought that builds were successful. Teetering on the brink of a heart attack, I’ve started checking stage machines, and production systems, to get the prove of concept. Thankfully, the number of failed tests wasn’t too big, and patches were added shortly, but the issue remained.

It appeared that ExecTask of Phing (no matter how the script is ran), will return success, unless you start comparing the values outside of it. Solution was pretty obvious, but took some time to go through the documentation of Phing/PHPUnit/CakePHP: