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Rob Allen:
Inserting binary data into SQL Server with ZF1 & PHP 7
May 22, 2017 @ 09:34:51

In an interesting mix of "old" and "new" Rob Allen as shown in this new post to his site how to push binary data into a SQL Server database from a Zend Framework v1 application.

If you want to insert binary data into SQL Server in Zend Framework 1 then you probably used the trick of setting an array as the parameter's value with the info required by the sqlsrv driver as noted in Some notes on SQL Server blobs with sqlsrv.

[...] Working through the problem, I discovered that this is due to Zend_Db_Statement_Sqlsrv converting the $params array to references with this code. The Sqlsrv driver (v4) for PHP 7 does not like this! As Zend Framework 1 is EOL, we can't get a fix into upstream and update the new release, so we have to write our solution.

He includes the code for the "hack" that you'd normally have to do to push the binary data into the database. Zend Framework v1 is EOL (end of life) so the Zend_Db_Statement_Sqlsrv class can't be updated. Instead, he writes his own replacement, creating a new adapter specific to the application that handles the input as the SQL Server driver is expecting. He then updates the application configuration to force the new adapter to be used when the ZF1 application needs to connect to the SQL Server database.

tagged: insert binary data sqlserver zendframework php7 tutorial adapter

Link: https://akrabat.com/inserting-binary-data-into-sql-server-with-zf1-php-7/

Laravel News:
Introduction to Seeding Data in Testing
Apr 10, 2017 @ 10:42:26

On the Laravel News site they've posted an introduction to seeding data in testing to help make your Laravel application testing easier and see "more correct" results.

Since seeding was released in Laravel 5.1, testing has become easier and quicker.

You can have ten users with each having a post or 1000 users with one or more posts inserted before the testing begins. In this tutorial, you will create a test case to test the user model and a seeder to seed ten users, and each is following one user into the database.

The tutorial starts with a migration to create a "users" table including a "follow user ID" field that tracks which user another is following. Next up is the creation of the User model with the methods to create the "follow" links between users. The make:seeder command is then used with this model to generate the seeder class and make 10 users with faked information. The db:seed command is used to execute the seeder and populate the data. Finally an example test case is created, first just testing that 10 users were created then refactored to test links between the users and the follow/unfollow functionality.

tagged: laravel seed data testing migration tutorial unittest model

Link: https://laravel-news.com/seeding-data-testing

Sameer Borate:
Accessing Google Page Insights in PHP
Mar 21, 2017 @ 09:45:12

On his site today Sameer Borate shares a tutorial showing you how to access Google Insights data via your PHP application with the help of the dsentker/phpinsights package.

Google Page Insights is a required tool to have when analyzing the speed and usability of your site. As you may know these metrics influence how google ranks your page in search results. If you frequently make changes to your web site designs than it becomes mandatory to check the metrics after each change to make sure that the design changes has not affected the score in any negative way. If you have many pages to test than manual testing can quickly become cumbersome.

Thankfully there are libraries that you can use to automate this process. Once such is given in this post which allows you to get Google Page Insight metrics using PHP.

He then walks you through the installation of the package (via Composer) and how to use it, along with your Google API key, to fetch the information for a given URL. You can get information for different environments (desktop vs mobile) and even a screenshot of the page that's under test. He ends the post with a helpful hint for those that might get a certificate error when making the request and how to fix it.

tagged: google insights data tutorial package install usage

Link: http://www.codediesel.com/api/accessing-google-page-insights-php/

Laravel News:
Installing Laravel in a Subfolder? Hide your .env file.
Mar 06, 2017 @ 09:42:59

On the Laravel News site they've posted an article with some reminders about installing Laravel in a subfolder including "hiding" your .env file.

If you are new to Laravel you might not be familiar with its directory structure and the reasons why it’s setup the way it is. If you look at the main repository it’s setup like this, and the documentation covers what each of these folders handles.

What is important here is the “public” folder. That is the ONLY directory you want to be exposed through the web. Everything else should be outside of your web root, this way people can’t access any of your important files through the browser.

He gives an example of an instance where a site was in a subfolder and, just by changing the URL, he was able to locate (and view!) the .env file complete with sensitive information. The rest of the post gives instructions on installing it in a subfolder, moving around a few folders and updating the front controller to change the autoload and bootstrap locations.

tagged: laravel subfolder sensitive data install tutorial

Link: https://laravel-news.com/subfolder-install

QaFoo Blog:
Extracting Data Objects
Feb 10, 2017 @ 12:16:36

On the QaFoo blog they have a new post offering some advice on extracting functionality to data objects and reducing the complexity of your application's interfaces.

Extracting data objects from your code will make it easier to read and write, easier to test and more forward compatible. This post shows you the two most common cases where introducing a data object makes sense and how to do it.

The first case covers the extraction when a method ends up with too many parameters. We've all been there and remembering the correct order and values for each (not to mention optional vs required). By making use of value objects you can reduce that down to one or two parameters that act as self-contained "containers" for the same values. They illustrate with a refactor of "product" search criteria into a "ProductCriteria" object. The second example show a refactor away from using an array as an input value and providing a bit more structure with a "Checkout" value object instead.

The post ends with a helpful hint about migrating from one method to the other in legacy systems using a "shim" method to handle the new case right alongside the old one.

tagged: data object refactor simplicity parameters array

Link: https://qafoo.com/blog/096_refactoring_extract_data_objects.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Using GDELT 2 with PHP to Analyze the World!
Dec 12, 2016 @ 12:16:15

The SitePoint PHP blog has a tutorial posted by Patrick van Bergen showing you how to analyze the world using a combination of PHP and the data from the GDelt (Global Database of Events, Language and Tone) database.

Are you interested in political world events? Do you want to play with one of the world’s largest databases? If you answered either of those questions with a yes, keep reading – this will interest you! This article follows up on the promise to use GDELT with PHP.

I will show you a simple example of how to use GDELT through BigQuery with PHP, and how to visualize the results on a web page. Along the way, I will tell you some more about GDELT.

He starts by briefly introducing the GDelt service, what kind of data it contains and how to make some sample queries with their BigQuery dashboard. He then moves more into the code, talking about some of the basic concepts of the data and setting up an account you can use for your queries. The example code uses the Google Cloud library to access the API and execute the query. Included are examples of querying metadata, the different datasets available and some visualization examples.

tagged: gdelt analyze world data bigquery tutorial googlecloud api

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/using-gdelt-2-with-php-to-analyze-the-world/

Laravel News:
Laravel Blade Components and Slots are coming to 5.4
Nov 16, 2016 @ 10:46:54

On the Laravel News site there's a post about an upcoming feature in the Laravel framework's Blade templating functionality: components and slots.

A new feature coming to Laravel 5.4 is the ability for you to add Components and Slots to Blade templates. This feature was inspired by Vue.js and allows you to simplify building HTML elements into reusable areas.

In most applications you have a master layout and then sub views that extend it. [...] Using the new Laravel Blade Components you can create [a template] with a special variable [for easy replacement].

The post then shows how to "reimagine" views using this slots and components functionality in a simple template/view example, replacing data based on names rather than it having to be passed to the view as data.

tagged: laravel blade template component slot data replacement framework

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2016/11/blade-components-slots/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Quick Tip: Convenience Hacks for Passing Data to Views
Aug 16, 2016 @ 11:09:38

On the SitePoint PHP Blog Reza Lavaryan has shared a "quick tip" about making it easier to pass data out to the views in your MVC application. It relates more specifically to when you have a lot of values to pass out rather than just a few bits of data.

In MVC based architectures, working with template engines is an inevitable part of the development routine. It usually goes like this: we prepare and pass the data to the view. In the view, we print them based on our layout design.

[...] There are times, however, when the number of variables might be much higher than this: ten or more. In that case, we’ll have a tall list of variables (as an associative array), being passed to the respective template. It gets messy and unreadable quickly. If only there was a way to just list what we need by name, and have PHP take care of the rest for us. Well… there is!

The example shows how to use the compact function built into PHP to grab values from the current scope and return them as an array. Unfortunately it does loose the array keys with this method, so they propose an alternative with the get_defined_vars function and some simple key handling to return a more correct version of the array.

tagged: quicktip hack data view compact getdefinedvars tutorial

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/quick-tip-convenience-hacks-for-passing-data-to-views/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
A Pokemon Crash Course on CouchDB
Aug 12, 2016 @ 10:02:56

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new tutorial posted giving you a "Pokemon Crash Course" on CouchDB, the popular NoSQL database. The "Pokemon" part comes in related to the data the tutorial uses to show you common operations and the use of a PHP interface to perform them.

In this tutorial, we’ll walk through working with CouchDB, a NoSQL database from Apache. This tutorial will focus more on the practical side, so we won’t cover what CouchDB is good for, how to install it, why use it, etc. We’ll focus on how to perform database operations through CouchDB’s HTTP API and how to work with it in PHP, laying the foundation for future, more complex posts.

The article is then broken up into different sections by operation, starting with the use of the CouchDB database via a console then via PHP:

  • Creating a Database
  • Talking to the HTTP API
  • Creating New Documents
  • Bulk Insert
  • Retrieving Documents
  • Updating Documents
  • Working with PHP

Each section includes code snippets and (where relevant) screenshots of the results to help you ensure you're on the right track.

tagged: tutorial couchdb pokemon data introduction crud library example

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/a-pokemon-crash-course-on-couchdb/

Jordi Boggiano:
Common files in PHP packages
Apr 21, 2016 @ 09:29:15

Jordi Boggiano has a new post to his site today sharing some interesting PHP package statistics he gathered as a part of the metadata in the Composer/Packagist ecosystem.

This one started in a peculiar way. Paul M. Jones announced a new version of his Producer tool, I had a look at it and saw that it recommended having a changelog called CHANGES.md by default. [...] My first thought was to report an issue asking to change the default, but then I thought it's Paul, he will not just take my word for it, he will want hard facts. So here I am two days later. I queried GitHub's API for the file listing (only the root directory) of all PHP packages listed on packagist.org. What this let me do is look at what files are commonly present (and not), which is quite interesting to get a picture of the whole ecosystem.

He queried about 79,000 packages and found some interesting patterns in the results. These included findings like:

  • 8% have a DependencyInjection/ directory, which I believe indicates Symfony bundles
  • 3.6% have a examples/ and 3.5% a docs/ directory
  • 49% have some file or directory indicating the presence of tests (phpunit.xml & co)
  • 14% have committed their composer.lock
  • 8% show a presence of some code quality/style CI (scrutinizer, codeclimate, styleci)

There's some other interesting statistics in the post around license files, changelogs and CLI binaries too. He's also posted the full data set for anyone interested in running some of their own statistics on the results.

tagged: package statistics packagist composer data results summary

Link: https://seld.be/notes/common-files-in-php-packages