CakeDC Blog

TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

CakePHP Virtual Meetup

Unless you’ve been on Mars for the past few months, you know that things have changed. We can no longer prance worry-free into a department store, or go grab drinks with friends. Everything is now masks, grocery delivery, and video chats. While this was a hard transition at first, we have surprisingly become well-adjusted.  

Virutal Meetups

Our past 2 CakePHP meetups have been in the form of virtual meetups, and it has been a huge success. Normally, meetups are restricted to a certain city, state or even continent in the world, but not anymore! We are over here like, “why haven’t we done this before?”. The idea that CakePHP lovers from all over the globe came come together, live, at the same moment and bake together… it’s amazing.    The first virtual meetup, was suggested and hosted by Mark Scherer (Dereuromark on Twitter). He came to the CakeDC team and asked about joining forces and using one platform to bring everyone together. While picking a meetup time is difficult, given the differences in zones, we tried to find a happy place in the middle of them all. The community team will let this vary from time to time for those, say in Japan, who still found it difficult to tune in. Luckily, even if the time isn’t ideal for you, we ALWAYS record and post the session for playback.    If you’ve missed these (you can still catch the playback!), and want to know more, it's a simple setup: the organizer can give access to any speakers (panelists), they present their talks/trainings and everyone gets to tune in from the comfort of their couch. No worries about background noise, as only speaker's mics are enabled. There is a Q&A feature that allows attendees to ask/post their questions in real time.  For the first meetup, the main topic was a CakePHP 4.1 preview, and we can spend all day on all of the new stuff in CakePHP 4. Also covered was: IdeHelper, Auth with Authentication plugin and fixture factories. We didn’t really know what to expect, or what would go wrong, but things went great! We had a lot of good feedback, which of course inspired everyone to do it again! We got Jorge on board (steinkelz on Twitter) and even tried out a new platform, RingCentral (shout out, thanks guys!). This meetup explored Baking a new plugin and TDD for it’, Authorization Plugin, Pro-Debug with Xdebug + stepping through in IDE, and Mark Story checked in to talk about common-table-expressions  

Missed the meetups?

PLAYBACK OPTIONS: April Meetup: LISTEN HERE  May Meetup: LISTEN HERE    My favorite part about these virtual meetups is that bakers from all over can get involved, and we get to hear from some people that without the digital world, wouldn’t be possible. The CakePHP community team is always looking for speakers for the next meetup, so if you’re reading this thinking, “i’d really like to talk about ___!”, then we want to hear from you! You can also submit for a lightning talk - the email is community@cakephp.org. We are just so thankful that we get to bring so many Cake lovers together with one common goal in mind, to bake and learn new recipes.   

There will be more!

So, how will you find out about future meetups? Easy! Follow CakePHP (or CakeDC) on social media: Twitter / Facebook. You can also sign up for the CakePHP Newsletter (and stay informed about other fresh news, too!). Training sessions can be found at training.cakephp.org.    Have an idea for the next topic? What do YOU want the speakers to talk about? Let us know. Our next session is scheduled for June 18. See details HERE.

PHP Quality Assurance Tools with CakePHP

In Software Development, we are always looking for resources to improve the products we deliver. In this article we show some awesome php qa tools to help us improve our CakePHP software quality and development process. Let's dive in. Note: The snippets provided in this article can be found at https://github.com/CakeDC/phpqa-app-example
 

Coding Standards

Choosing a coding standard for your project will help the developers team speak the same language by defining a set of rules on how to name variables, methods, class and etc. The coding standard usage can make the integration of community libs and plugins easier. Checking and fixing coding standards are easily done with the awesome tool PHP_CodeSniffer, this tool has two main scripts:
  • phpcs check for coding standard violations
  • phpcbf autofix coding standard violations, keep in mind that not all errors will be autofixed, but will help you a lot.
     
CakePHP offers a customized coding standards at https://github.com/cakephp/cakephp-codesniffer and you should be using it.
  Let’s install the tool and the coding standard: composer require --dev cakephp/cakephp-codesniffer:~4.1.0
Create the file phpcs.xml <?xml version="1.0"?> <ruleset name="App">    <config name="installed_paths" value="../../cakephp/cakephp-codesniffer"/>    <rule ref="CakePHP"/> </ruleset>
Update “scripts” block in composer.json  with: "scripts": {         "cs-check": "phpcs -p ./src ./tests",         "cs-fix": "phpcbf -p ./src ./tests",
  Now we can run composer cs-check and composer cs-fix. In a sample app I got this output saying some errors can be autofixed with composer cs-fix


Static Analysis

How many times have you deployed a project on a production server and found a silly error like calling an undefined method? I hope not often. To avoid this type of issue, a static analysis tool is useful. I recommend you to use PHPStan and PSalm, these tools will help you find errors without having to run the application.

PHStan

PHPStan will rely on phpdoc, so that’s one more reason to use a coding standard tool like PHP_CodeSniffer. Also I recommend that you use the plugin: cakephp-ide-helper, to update annotations (phpdoc) in your app classes. In some cases we need to help PHPStan understand our code better, and for this reason we created a custom extension: https://github.com/cakedc/cakephp-phpstan. Let’s install PHPStan using composer: composer require --dev phpstan/phpstan phpstan/extension-installer cakedc/cakephp-phpstan:^1.0
  We also need to create two config files Includes:     - vendor/cakedc/cakephp-phpstan/extension.neon     - phpstan-baseline.neon parameters:     level: 6     checkMissingIterableValueType: false     checkGenericClassInNonGenericObjectType: false     autoload_files:         - tests/bootstrap.php     ignoreErrors: services: parameters:     ignoreErrors:
  And add two scripts into “scripts” block from composer.json "stan": "phpstan analyse src/",         "stan-rebuild-baseline": "phpstan analyse --configuration phpstan.neon --error-format baselineNeon src/ > phpstan-baseline.neon",
Now we can run composer stan and  composer stan-rebuild-baseline the second one will populate phpstan-baseline.neon to ignore all errors returned in composer stan so only use when all the errors shown should be ignored.  

Psalm 

Psalm is another awesome static analysis tool, it provides a way to check for errors in your code, and can fix some of them, too. In my experience psalm and phpstan work perfect, so you don’t need to pick one or the other, you can use both. Let’s install psalm: composer require --dev  "psalm/phar:~3.11.2"
We also need to create two config files <?xml version="1.0"?> <psalm     allowCoercionFromStringToClassConst="true"     allowStringToStandInForClass="true"     xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"     xmlns="https://getpsalm.org/schema/config"     xsi:schemaLocation="https://getpsalm.org/schema/config vendor/vimeo/psalm/config.xsd"     errorBaseline="psalm-baseline.xml" >
   <projectFiles>         <directory name="src" />     </projectFiles>     <issueHandlers>         <LessSpecificReturnType errorLevel="info" />         <RedundantConditionGivenDocblockType errorLevel="info" />         <TypeCoercion errorLevel="info" />         <DocblockTypeContradiction errorLevel="info" />     </issueHandlers> </psalm>
  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <files psalm-version="3.11.2@d470903722cfcbc1cd04744c5491d3e6d13ec3d9"> </files>
  And add two scripts into “scripts” block from composer.json "psalm": "psalm.phar --show-info=false src/ ",         "psalm-rebuild-baseline": "psalm.phar --show-info=false  --set-baseline=psalm-baseline.xml  src/"

Now we can run composer psalm and  composer psalm-rebuild-baseline the second one will populate psalm-baseline.xml to ignore all errors returned in composer stan, so only use this when all the errors shown should be ignored. When we run composer psalm it may inform you that some errors can be autofixed and which arguments you should use to fix. Normally it will be something like vendor/bin/psalm.phar --alter --issues=MissingReturnType,MissingClosureReturnType --dry-run
Psalm will only change the file If you remove the --dry-run part.  

Testing

Testing is extremely important for any application development. There are many types of software for testing, in this article we are focusing on unit tests. Unit tests help us check if one specific piece of code is working as expected, you can think like ‘Is method ‘A’ returning the correct value when argument has value ‘Z’?’. In CakePHP we have built-in support to PHPUnit, CakePHP integration offers additional features to make it easier to run units tests like custom asserts and methods for integration tests, and fixtures logic for models. We can bake unit tests using the bake plugin. To improve your unit tests try the cakedc/cakephp-db-test with this one you can use database fixtures instead of files. Learn more at: https://www.cakedc.com/rafael_queiroz/2020/04/27/unit-testing-with-cakedc-db-test PHPUnit probably already is installed in your app but if not I recommend you to compare your project files with: https://github.com/cakephp/app. For more information check out: https://book.cakephp.org/4/en/development/testing.html   Hope you enjoyed this article and will start using these awesome tools to make your projects better than ever. Good Baking.  

Working with CakePHP Authorization

As you may know, there are 2 new plugins "recently" (not so recently) added to deal with the concepts of Authentication and Authorization in your CakePHP applications. Over the years, both Authentication and Authorization were managed in the Controller layer, via AuthComponent.  These 2 things usually grow in complexity as your project grows too, making the AuthComponent a complex class dealing with many features at the same time.
One of the original ideas behind these new plugins was to refactor AuthComponent and create specific layers to handle:

  • Authentication: who are you?
  • Authorization: are you allowed?
We are going to explore the Authorization concepts in this article using a specific example: Let's imagine we have some kind of game application where Users are going to manage Tournaments. The Users will be able to create new Tournaments, and join the Tournaments through a TournamentMemberships many to many association. Other users won't have access to the Tournaments unless they are invited to play. Players of a Tournament can invite other Users to play. So, a quick list of the use cases we are going to cover below are:
  • /tournaments/add  any user can create a new Tournament
  • /tournaments/index  browse all joined tournaments
  • /tournaments/invite  only current Members can invite others, and only if the Tournament has not started yet
We are assuming Authorization step is done in our application and we have a logged in user available in our request. At this point we'll also assume you've installed cakephp/authentication and cakephp/authorization and loaded both plugins. Authorization does not impose restrictions  on when the authorization checks will be done, let's quickly examine the workflow and related classes for Authorization:
  • AuthorizationMiddleware is attached to your Application, and will ensure the Authorization will be checked somewhere while processing the request.
     The unauthorizedHandler config will allow you to define what to do if the request was not authorized for some reason.
  • At some point in your code, you'll need to call AuthorizationComponent, either to
    • skipAuthorization when you don't require any specific condition to authorize the operation. Example: // ... somewhere in your beforeFilter...     if ($user->is_superadmin) {         $this->Authentication->skipAuthorization();     } // ...
    • authorize($resource, $action) when you need to check if a given user is allowed to do some action on a given resource. Note the resource must be an Object.


How Authorization checks are done?

  1. We start by checking the resource, it's an Object so we use a Resolver to map every resource with a given Policy. There are some common defaults, for example to map ORM classes.
  2. Once we get to a Policy class, we check the matching method, for example if the action is "invite" we would check the method canInvite(IdentityInterface $user, Tournament $tournament)
Configuration: After the Authentication middleware, in your src/Application.php class, add the Authorization Middleware            $authorizationService = new AuthorizationService(new OrmResolver());             ...             ->add(new AuthorizationMiddleware($authorizationService, [                 'unauthorizedHandler' => [                     'className' => 'Authorization.Redirect',                     'url' => '/users/login',                     'queryParam' => 'redirectUrl',                 ],             ]));   Note the $authorizationService is configured with one resolver to match the CakePHP typical ORM classes, like Entities or Queries. https://book.cakephp.org/authorization/2/en/policy-resolvers.html#using-ormresolver   Once the middleware is added, you'll need to ensure the Authorization is checked, or you'll get an  error?: "The request to / did not apply any authorization checks" . The first step would be to skip authorization for all the controllers and actions, for example in beforeFilter callback that all Users are allowed to access. About the previous Tournaments specific cases, we'll need to create a new Policy class including all the possible actions to be done, for example:
 
  • /tournaments/add
We need to create a new Policy for the Tournament Entity file src/Policy/TournamentPolicy.php to define policies related to specific tournaments class TournamentPolicy {     public function canAdd(IdentityInterface $user, Tournament $tournament)     {         // all users can create tournaments         return true;     } } file src/Controller/TournamentsController.php // ...     public function add()     {         $tournament = $this->Tournaments->newEmptyEntity();         $this->Authorization->authorize($tournament);         if ($this->request->is('post')) { // ... The call to $this->Authorization->authorize($tournament); will map the Tournament entity to the TournamentPolicy, by default the action is taken from the controller action, in this case "add" so we will need to define a canAdd() method. We allowed all Users to create Tournaments.  
  • /tournaments/index
We'll need to create a new policy for the TournamentsTable, and additionally a scope method to filter the Tournaments based on the current User membership. file src/Policy/TournamentsTablePolicy.php to define policies for the TournamentsTable class TournamentsTablePolicy {     public function canIndex(IdentityInterface $user, Query $query)     {         // all users can browse tournaments         return true;     }     public function scopeIndex(IdentityInterface $user, Query $query)     {         // scope to filter tournaments for a logged in user         return $query->matching('TournamentMemberships', function (Query $q) use ($user) {             return $q->where(['TournamentMemberships.user_id' => $user->get('id')]);         });     } } file src/Controller/TournamentsController.php     public function index()     {         $query = $this->Tournaments->find();         $this->Authorization->authorize($query);         $tournaments = $this->paginate($this->Authorization->applyScope($query));           $this->set(compact('tournaments'));     }
 
  • /tournaments/invite
file src/Policy/TournamentPolicy.php to define policies related to specific tournaments // ...     public function canInvite(IdentityInterface $user, Tournament $tournament)     {         return TableRegistry::getTableLocator()->get('TournamentMemberships')             ->exists([                 'user_id' => $user->get('id'),                 'tournament_id' => $tournament->get('id'),             ]);     } // ... file src/Controller/TournamentsController.php // ...     public function invite($tournamentId, $userId)     {         $tournament = $this->Tournaments->get($tournamentId);         $this->Authorization->authorize($tournament); // ...   In this case, we need to check if the logged in User is already a member of the TournamentMemberships group, if so, we are allowed to invite another user. As you can see, Authorization plugin will provide a flexible way to manage your application permissions.   In the previous examples we've covered typical application use cases to handle permissions per resource and action. New classes and interfaces, like policies, resolvers and mappers will allow you to configure the Authorization and ensure all the resources in your application will provide the required permissions. If you're looking for RBAC based on your controller actions, take a look at https://github.com/CakeDC/auth/blob/master/Docs/Documentation/Authorization.md For additional tools and plugins, check https://github.com/FriendsOfCake/awesome-cakephp#authentication-and-authorization  

Benefits of S.E.O

As a marketer that works with web developers daily, I know that content may not be top priority on their long list of to-do’s. However, for the success of a company, it is essential. If your team doesn’t have a designated marketing person or team, and you’re not a seasoned content creator, I have 3 letters for you to learn: S.E.O.   So what is SEO? It stands for search engine optimization. Basically this represents guidelines for gaining traffic to your website (or one you’ve been hired to create), and doing it organically. What is organic traffic? This is the results people see without being targeted, no paid ads, no cold calling - just desired results because your company offers something that they are interested in.    Today’s market is extremely competitive, so it is important to take every step in making sure that your webpage stands out and is easy to find. Think about how you find information daily… how to make fried chicken? Where to get your car fixed? Or even when a new movie is being released? You search for it, online, right? 9 times out of 10, you’re probably going to run a search for it on a site like Google, right? Then, most likely, you’re going to click on one of the first couple results that pop up on your screen, because they include keywords relevant to the search that you performed. This is an example of SEO. You search for a term that is relevant or appears on a company’s website, and Google recognizes that term/phrase and yields the webpage to you as a result. Thus, increasing traffic for the website, and a lot of times, without any cost to them.    Utilizing this idea, or service, is essential for any marketing department. Actually, according to a recent survey done by HubSpot, about 64% of marketers actively invest time in search engine optimization. So if you're not, you're falling behind.     Now that you have a basic understanding of what SEO is, we can talk about some of the benefits.   

1. Better PR

  The better your SEO is, the more people that will see your company name pop up on their search engine results. While most companies, like CakeDC, offer specific services (and input specific keywords into ads), we have very detailed SEO streaming from our website so that we do not miss a potential client. It is the goal to be in the top 3 results of a search engine like Google.   Even if someone is searching for something your company doesn’t offer, they may see you, remember you, and use you in the future. win-win. Start building your reputation! For example if you wanted to search for CakePHP web development, you may see:    

2. Increased Traffic 

  This is a no brainer. The more keywords that trigger your webpage at the top of consumer results, the more people that will click. This generates better quality leads, in my opinion. Things like cold calling, or cold emailing, while still effective, have become outdated. Inbound marketing compared to these avenues has produced better return, without becoming annoying to your potential leads. When you aim your focus on specific consumers looking for services that are related to your business, you can build better relationships.   

3. FREE

  Perhaps the best benefit of SEO? The cost… or lack of cost. SEO gets clicks, and sales (we hope!) for the wonderful price of $0 per month. How? Well, Google’s organic rankings come from their algorithm, which determines which webpage’s information relates closely to the “searcher’s” inquiry. This can result from keywords coming from your web pages that may not be imputed on any sort of ads you may be running (we will talk about paid ads in a future blog).    This doesn’t mean that getting a perfect SEO score (yes, you can test it) comes for free. It is important to have good content, detailed content, in all areas on your webpage. Make sure each page describes services you provide, or products that you sell, in great detail. Have pages for each option, and make it accessible like this:       It’s time to beat out the competition, are you ready? I first recommend seeing where you stand. There are a few tools you can use to test your SEO score. One example is: Woorank. I like this site because it gives you your score, shows the good, the bad, and the ugly. The tool also shows you what you can and should do to improve your SEO. You can try most tools for free, or get extra optimization help by paying a premium.    Once you run a report, it’s time to get to work. Fix the issues, and constantly monitor your information. I do think it’s important to mention - don’t expect results to happen overnight, it can take up to 6 months for SEO strategies to yield return. If you’re like me, and impatient, just chill. Put the work in, and get the reward.  

Unit Testing with CakeDC DB Test

The only way to go fast, is to go well, my Uncle Bob always said. Research has shown that development with TDD evolves 10% faster than work without TDD. [See here] CakePHP comes with comprehensive testing support built-in with integration for PHPUnit. It also offers some additional features to make testing easier. This article will cover how to write Unit Tests with CakePHP and using the CakeDC DbTest plugin.
First, let's bake a new project: composer create-project --prefer-dist cakephp/app:4.* Now, we need to think  about a model so we can create it and test it. I guess everybody has written a Products model before, our model would looks like this:

  • Name (string)
  • Slug (string, unique)
  • Description (text)
  • Price (decimal)
If you are not familiar with Slug, Slug is the part of a URL that identifies a page in a human-readable way, usually for pages with friendly urls. It will be the target of our tests. bin/cake bake migration CreateProducts name:string slug:string:unique price:decimal[5,2] description:text created modified Pay attention, for slug, It was created with a unique index. Meanwhile our goal will be to have urls like: /slug-of-product and this way, the slug needs to be unique.
Let's run the migrations for database: bin/cake migrations migrate At this point, our database is ready with the `products` table and we can start coding and writing the tests. * Note: some points were abstracted, such as installation, project configuration, and shell commands, because that's not the goal of the article. You can find all information on these in the cookbook.
Let's bake the models, controller, and templates for Product: bin/cake bake all Products
Now that we have all the Classes we can start writing the unit tests. Let's start with ProductsController, writing one test for add Product: tests/TestCase/Controller/ProductsControllerTest.php public function testAdd(): void     {         $this->enableCsrfToken();         $this->enableRetainFlashMessages();         $this->post('products/add', [             'name' => 'iPhone 11',             'slug' => 'iphone-11',             'price' => 699,             'description' => 'Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, aliquet feugiat.',         ]);         $this->assertResponseSuccess();         $this->assertFlashMessage(__('The product has been saved.'));         $this->assertRedirect('products');     } Let's write another test that tries to add a duplicated product. First, we need to update the fixture, then write the test: tests/Fixture/ProductsFixture.php     public function init(): void     {         $this->records = [             [                 'id' => 1,                 'name' => 'iPhone SE',                 'slug' => 'iphone-se',                 'price' => 399,                 'description' => 'Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, aliquet feugiat.',                 'created' => '2020-04-23 13:12:58',                 'modified' => '2020-04-23 13:12:58',             ],         ];         parent::init();     } tests/TestCase/Controller/ProductsControllerTest.php public function testAddDuplicated(): void     {         $this->enableCsrfToken();         $this->enableRetainFlashMessages();         $this->post('products/add', [             'name' => 'iPhone SE',             'slug' => 'iphone-se',             'price' => 399,             'description' => 'Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, aliquet feugiat.',         ]);         $this->assertResponseSuccess();         $this->assertFlashMessage(__('The product could not be saved. Please, try again.'));         $this->assertNoRedirect();     }   With these tests, we know the work is complete when the acceptance criteria (the slug of product must be unique) of the tests is passed.
That's all? No, this article it's not only about tests, this article is about the CakeDC DbTest plugin and how it can be advantageous.

CakeDC DB Test

Maintaining fixtures on real applications can be hard, a big headache. Imagine writing +1k products on ProductFixture, and adding a relationship like Product belongs to Category, then having to write new fixtures and keep them in sync. Real applications usually have features like authentication with ACL, where each User has one Role, and each Role can access many features. Administrator has full rights, Manager has many rights, and so on.
Keeping all of this information in our fixtures is painful. Most of the frameworks have plugins to help with that issue. Thanks to the CakeDC team, we can easily let the DbTest to do the "dirty" work for us: Let's install and load the plugin: composer require cakedc/cakephp-db-test:dev-2.next bin/cake plugin load CakeDC/DbTest
Then configure the plugin on project:
  1. Copy/replace the phpunit.xml: https://github.com/CakeDC/cakephp-db-test/blob/2.next/phpunit.xml.dbtest
  2. Configure test_template datasource on config/app.php:
'Datasources' => [     // ...     'test_template' => [         'className' => Connection::class,         'driver' => Mysql::class,         'persistent' => false,         'timezone' => 'UTC',         //'encoding' => 'utf8mb4',         'flags' => [],         'cacheMetadata' => true,         'quoteIdentifiers' => false,         'log' => false,         //'init' => ['SET GLOBAL innodb_stats_on_metadata = 0'],     ],     // ...
Now, we can delete our fixture and generate the dump of our database for using on tests: // migrate the database for template bin/cake migrations migrate -c test_template // import fixtures bin/cake fixture_import dump // generate dump /bin/cake db_test -i   Finally, we can see some advantages of CakeDC DbTest:
  • Speed.
  • Maintain fixtures with your regular database tool.
  • Run migrations to your dbtest db too.
  • Copy data from your live db to reproduce bugs.
     
That's all, bakers. Now we have test_db.sql, and you can see how our fixtures will come from this data. You can check the code source of this article on this repository: https://github.com/rafaelqueiroz/cakephp-db-test-sample    

CakeFest Is Going Digital!

What a strange unprecedented time we are living in, right? Thanks, COVID-19. CakeFest, just like many other conferences and events, has been up in the air. Our team spent weeks discussing the possibility of moving forward as planned, having backup plans, or ways out of contracts should the emergency continue. After negotiations with pending sponsors, venues, vendors, etc., we toyed with the idea of going virtual and following suit of many others. After discussions with the core team, it was decided that this was the way to go.    This virus infused world is uncharted territory for billions of people, but one thing remains the same among us all…. the safety and health of our clients, families, and teams is the number one concern and priority. I’m sure everyone has encountered those who don’t understand these types of decisions, but allow me to put some numbers into perspective: Currently, there are 1,696,588 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and 105,952 deaths have been reported  (as of April 12, 2020 via World Health Organization). According to hopkinsmedicine.org: “The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”    So what I am reading is that someone who has it, may not even know they are carrying the virus, and can spread the germ by just being in the same area as a peer. This is even more frightening due to the fact that there’s no research to this new virus, therefore no cure or vaccine to combat its effects on those infected.    With the statistics and facts about this virus, we made the difficult decision to go digital for CakeFest 2020. We understand that our intended dates in October are still far away, but without knowing how regulations and orders will change from government officials, it is hard to plan such an important event. Hopefully after learning more about how we came to this decision, you will understand and support us. We were extremely excited to bring the Cake to Los Angeles, but not at the cost of anyone’s health. We also hope to still deliver the knowledge, information, and possibly some ElePHPants to our virtual attendees this year (while also keeping you safe). The good news is, we can host in LA next year! And look at it this way, you can watch and learn in your pajamas!    So what will CakeFest look like this year? We are still in the planning phases, and allowing for sponsors. After a lot of research we hope to find the best platform for our needs, and the best speakers to share the knowledge. Speaking of which, if you have tips or suggestions for hosting a virtual conference, we’d love to hear from you! You can email us.  Tickets will be sold (for less cost, there's a silver lining) for full access to all videos - before and after the event. We will conduct the conference as normal, but the difference is, we won’t be face to face   To keep up with the planning process or any changes, make sure you follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. You can always stay up to date at CakeFest.org, too.   

Improving your mental health while wor...

We’ve previously covered tips, tricks and resources to improve your working at home productivity - today we chat about how to improve your mental health!  There are currently more and more people switching over to remote working - perhaps your company has changed policies, or maybe you’ve been forced to work at home due to a stay-at-home order - whatever the case, mental health while working at home is vitally important. Some of us are made to work at home - working from an office, may not be your jam, and the peace and serenity that a home office offers completes the mood.  However, there are some of us that enjoy the daily routine, the commute to the office and the morning catch up around the coffee machine!  So have you been stuck lately feeling a little more down than usual? Here are some tips to increase your mental health during this time.

Keep your morning routine

Even though you are working from home, and technically can get away with wearing your pajamas all day - you definitely shouldn’t! A morning routine helps set the mood for the day. Perhaps this includes getting ready, dressed or going for a morning run. 

Exercise and eat well

We aren’t talking about a full gym session - merely taking some time to move around. A walk around the block or a bit of stretching will help get those endorphins going. A good diet also goes a long way to helping you feel better - unfortunately too much sugar and too many carbs can have a negative impact on your mental health.

Focus on the now

Practice mindfulness - the ability to focus in on the here and now helps us to drop the negative or difficult emotions that weigh us down. 

Open up to someone

You are valued by others - knowing that is important. Finding a safe space to chat about things goes a long way to lifting the mood. Not sure where that safe space is? Check out https://osmihelp.org/ for some great resources and information.

Take a break

Working from home can sometimes feel endless - some of us struggle to log off at “home time” because, well, you are at home. But this important step is essential to your mental health. Take moments throughout the day to step away - just a couple of minutes to grab some water and take a break. If you haven’t already, please sign up and donate to OSMI - Open Sourcing Mental Illness. We’ve previously chatted with Ed Finkler, OSMI’s founder. CakeDC fully supports OSMI and we love opening up the conversation around mental health - Do you?

Introduction to CakeDC Api plugin

 

The CakeDC API plugin was created with the goal to prepare abstract solutions that solve generic tasks -in case of creating a rest API. It provides such features like automatic rest API generation based on db schema, support nested routes. It also allows the use of different formats like json or xml, and easily adds their own custom format. It helps to solve generic tasks appearing in development of any API, like pagination, data validation, adding common data to response, or building metadata, about data objects.

Dependencies

The CakeDC API plugin hardly depends on the CakeDC Users Plugin. For authentication it is highly recommended to use CakePHP Authentication plugin configured as middleware.

Installation

You can install this plugin into your CakePHP application using composer. The recommended way to install composer packages is: composer require cakedc/cakephp-api  

 Load the Plugin

Ensure  The CakeDC API Plugin is loaded in your src/Aplication.php in bootstrap method. php     $this->addPlugin(\CakeDC\Users\Plugin::class);     $this->addPlugin(\CakeDC\Api\Plugin::class, ['bootstrap' => true, 'routes' => true]);

Configuration

Minimal configuration to allow non authorized requests require you to copy file: ./vendor/cakedc/cakephp-api/config/api_permissions.php.default to ./config/api_permissions.php

Examples

Lets bake table blogs with two fields id and name. After that, the next requests would be possible to perform to api. Requests would be performed using curl. Request: curl http://localhost:8765/api/blogs Response: {     "status": "success",     "data": [         {             "id": 1,             "name": "blog001"         }     ],     "pagination": {         "page": 1,         "limit": 20,         "pages": 1,         "count": 1     },     "links": [         {             "name": "self",             "href": "http:\/\/localhost:8765\/api\/blogs",             "rel": "\/api\/blogs",             "method": "GET"         },         {             "name": "blogs:add",             "href": "http:\/\/localhost:8765\/api\/blogs",             "rel": "\/api\/blogs",             "method": "POST"         }     ] } Request: curl -d "name=blog001" -H "Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded" -X POST http://localhost:8765/api/blogs Response: {     "status": "success",     "data": {         "name": "blog001",         "id": 1     },     "links": [] } Request: curl -d "name=blog002" -H "Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded" -X PUT http://localhost:8765/api/blogs/1 Response: {     "status": "success",     "data": {         "id": 1,         "name": "blog002"     },     "links": [] } Request: curl -X DELETE http://localhost:8765/api/blogs/1 Response: {     "status": "success",     "data": true,     "links": [] } For more complex features about plugin initialization and configuration based on routes middlewares, we plan to create an additional article.

Services and Actions

In the REST recommendations documents names defined as a noun. Here, services come into play. It describes business entities. From other side actions define the verbs that describe the operations that should be performed on the actions. Common and difference between controller classes and services. The common part is the service is the managing the choosing action to execute. The primary difference is that service could be nested, if this is defined by request url. Common and difference between controller actions and service actions. The common part is the action defined logic of the request. The primary is that each service’s action is defined as a separate class. This means that generic actions could be defined as common class and reused in many services. From the other side, an action class is able to extend if the system has slightly different actions. This way it is possible to build actions hierarchy. Both service and actions define an event during this execution flow.  Main service events: * Service.beforeDispatch * Service.beforeProcess * Service.afterDispatch Main action events: * Action.beforeProcess * Action.onAuth * Action.beforeValidate * Action.beforeValidateStopped * Action.validationFailed * Action.beforeExecute * Action.beforeExecuteStopped * Action.afterProcess Crud actions define events that depend on the type of action, and more details could be checked in documentation. * Action.Crud.onPatchEntity * Action.Crud.onFindEntities * Action.Crud.afterFindEntities  * Action.Crud.onFindEntity

Nested services

Consider we have request with method POST /blogs/1/posts with data like {"title": "...", "body": "..."} As it is possible to see there is nothing in the given data about the blog_id to which the newly created post should belong to. In the case of controllers we should define custom logic to parse a route, and to consume the blog_id from url. For nested service all checks and records updates are automatically executed. This will happen for any crud operations, when detected by the route parent service. So for example: GET /blogs/1/posts, will return only posts for the blog with id 1. Logical checks are also performed, so for request: DELETE /blogs/1/posts/2, a user gets an error if the post with id 2 belongs to the blog with id 2.

Action inheritance

As each action can be defined as a separate class, it is possible to use class inheritance to define common logic. For example:  Add and Edit actions.

Extending services and actions with shared functionality

The alternative way for defining common logic actions is using action extensions. Action extension is a more powerful feature and could be used for global tasks like search or pagination. It is also possible to create service level extensions. Those extensions work on the top level of the execution process, and could be used for things like adding cors feature, or to append some counter into response.

Add service actions from service::initialize

This is a recommended way to register non crud actions. The mapAction uses the Router class syntax for parsing routes. So on any special use cases well described in cakephp core.     public function initialize()     {         parent::initialize();         $this->mapAction('view_edit', ViewEditAction::class, [             'method' => ['GET'],             'path' => 'view_edit/:id'         ]);     }

Configure actions using action class map.

Each action class uses $_actionsClassMap for defining a map between crud (and non crud) actions on the name of the action class. Non crud actions should be additionally mapped, which is described in the previous step. use App\Service\Protocols\IndexAction; class ProtocolsService extends AppFallbackService {     /**      * Actions classes map.      *      * @var array      */     protected $_actionsClassMap = [         'index' => IndexAction::class,     ];

Configure service and action in config file

Service options are defined in the config/api.php in Api.Service section. Let's consider configuration options for ArticlesService. Configuration are hierarchical in the next sense: 
  • define default options for any service within the application in the Api.Service.default.options section.
  • define options for any service within the application in Api.Service.articles.options section.
All defined options are overridden from up to down in described order. This allows common service settings, and the ability to overwrite them in bottom level.
  •  Api.Service.classMap - defines name map, that allows defining services action classes with custom location logic.
    Any action, that could be loaded as default action defined in fallback class, or specific action class could be configured using configuration file.
    Let's consider how one can configure options for IndexAction of ArticlesService.
    Configuration are hierarchical in the next sense: 
  • one can define default options for any action for all services in the application in the Api.Service.default.Action.default section.
  • one can define default options for index action for all services in the application in the Api.Service.default.Action.index section.
  • one can define options for any action in the specific (articles) service in the Api.Service.articles.Action.default section.
  • one can define options for index action in the specific (articles) service in the  Api.Service.articles.Action.index section.

Crud and non crud methods. Mapping non-crud actions.

Crud services mapped automatically in two levels routing by FallbackService.

Index and view. Formatting output

The CakeDC Api Plugin is flexible and provides multiple ways to prepare result data for the response objects. There is a list of main options.

Use Entity serialization

The most trivial way to convert data is using entity serialization. When converting an entity to a JSON, the virtual and hidden field lists are applied.  Entities are recursively converted to JSON as well.  This means that if you eager, and loading entities and their associations, CakePHP will correctly handle converting the associated data into the correct format. Additional fields could be defined using Entity::$_virtual and hidden using Entity::$$_hidden.

Build object manually from Action::execute

In this case users manually perform mapping of requests received from model layer to output array. public function process() {     $entity = $this->getTable()->get($this->getId());     return [         'id' => $entity->id,         'name' => $entity->name,     ]; }

Use Query::formatResults in model layer

The request could be formatted in model layer using: Query::formatResults. So in this case, the process action just calls for a needed finder from the model layer and returns the result. public function findApiFormat(Query $query, array $options) {     return $query         ->select(['id', 'body', 'created', 'modified', 'author_id'])         ->formatResults(function ($results) use ($options) {             return $results->map(function ($row) use ($options) {                 $row['author'] = $this->Authors->getFormatted($row['author_id']);                 unset($row['author_id']);                   return $row;             });         });

Use Action extensions to format output

In index action defined callback Action.Crud.afterFindEntities, which called after data fetched,  could be used to extend or overload results coming from the database. Callbacks are catch-in-action extensions and could be applied to multiple endpoints. For view action defined Action.Crud.afterFindEntity, which called after single record fetched.

Use Action extensions to append additional data to output

Sometimes there is some additional information needed to be presented in some group of endpoints. In this case it is possible to implement an action extension to append additional data. For example, pagination provides information about number of pages, records count, and current page number. Another example for additional data is some execution statistics about the query. Here you see main parts of appending such data from extension. class PaginateExtension extends Extension implements EventListenerInterface {     public function implementedEvents(): array     {         return [             'Action.Crud.afterFindEntities' => 'afterFind',         ];     } ...     public function afterFind(EventInterface $event): void     {         ...         $pagination = [             'page' => $this->_page($action),             'limit' => $limit,             'pages' => ceil($count / $limit),             'count' => $count,         ];         $result->appendPayload('pagination', $pagination);     }     The renderer class describes how to handle payload data. For example in JSend renderer, all payload records appended to the root of the resulting json object.

Rendering output. Renderers.

Renderers perform final mapping of response records to output format.  Such formats like xml, json, or file are provided by  The CakeDC API plugin. JSend is the json extension with some additional agreements about returning results.    

Remote Work, Actually Works!

As a fully remote company, the Cake Development Corporation team is used to working from home. We communicate with our team daily, keep on top of tasks, hold each other accountable and support one another. Heck, a lot of us even do it with kids in the household, too! I consider us extremely lucky to be able to work while juggling an at home life at the same time.  It has worked for CakeDC over the past decade, and in my opinion, can work for most companies.   As of last month, an estimated 4.7 million people were working remotely, which grew 44% over the last 5 years. This is just in the United States. Remote work is becoming the norm.  Obviously for the next few weeks, this number will be drastically increased, but perhaps this will educate companies on the advantages of a WFH culture. Advantages to employers, besides the operations cost (other than payroll, of course), which can decrease by close to 90%, includes increased productivity. Decreased overhead results in higher salaries, which results in more quality candidates and employees.  I understand the concern of the ability to micro-manage (UGH) being unavailable, but according to statistics, 85% of businesses that work remotely confirmed that productivity increased in their companies. When there is more flexibility, there will be higher employee morale.  With the current situation arising from COVID-19, a lot of businesses are forced to transition employees to WFH in order to stay afloat. This not only keeps employees and clients safe, but family members too.  I have put together some stats and resources that may help CEO’s and employees transition a little bit easier.  

Communication:

It is absolutely essential to keep open communication among a team when everyone is working remotely. Our team uses RocketChat* ( I will include some links in the resource section at the end of this blog), and it has proved to be effective. A chat allows for quicker response time, as well as allowing individuals to set their status (like busy, away, at lunch, sick, etc.). This is a good way to get quick answers, as users can be alerted when they have been messaged or tagged in a company chat. Most of our team work in different timezones, so this is a good way to “stay in the know” about everything happening day to day. We separate chats according to their department. For example: marketing, development, general, etc. We also have the option to private message with co-workers when needed.  Other ideas, if not daily chat interaction, include scheduled meetings. For most of our team meetings, we use Zoom. This tool allows for audio only, as well as video chats.  

Accountability & Time Management:

It is important that tasks are managed and followed through. We use programs like Redmine* to track hours and work, in addition to weekly, or monthly conference calls for each department.  If you or your team are new to remote work, it may be in your best interest to assign a project manager, someone who will assign work, track hours, and ensure that work needed is being completed in a timely manner. Without each person being held accountable, the ship will sink, fast. For personal accountability, there are many free apps and tools available. One example is Trello*. This is a scheduling board so that tasks are not forgotten and you can plan your work week and stay organized. Once tasks placed on your “schedule board” are completed, you can make note of it and stay focused on each one according to their priority. You can also keep track of documents and reports. The boards look like this:    

Resources:

Documents & Recording - We <3 Google Docs - we are able to share and edit internally, we couldn’t function without it.  Docusign is a good tool for contracts / documents needing signatures Invision Freehand - this is a tool where you can create presentations, and allows comments and feedback between designers. Good for freelance designers!    Organization/Tasks -  Trello - for individual time management scheduling.  Redmine - for project assigning, time recording, HR management,    Communication -  RocketChat - allows for multiple internal chats all rolled into one link (allows for individual logins) Zoom - good for meetings. Allows audio and video chats for teams or reps and clients.  Slack - also a great option for expanded chats. Each person has a “screen name” and can be personally messaged, or public groups can be created (we use this as well). Slack also allows video calls with their paid subscription.  Google Hangouts WhatsApp - if your team is diverse, like ours, WhatsApp is a must. We are able to text each other, regardless of location - no fees, no service problems (if you have wifi of course).  World Time Buddy - this is a tool that I am not familiar with, but being the designated “scheduler of meetings”, I think I would find it useful. If your team works within different timezones, this allows you to add the location of your teammates, compare times, and find ideal times for meetings.    Community - In the development world, community support sites are absolutely one of the most important tools. This allows for individuals - inside or outside of your company - to communicate and help each other out. Most developers are aware and utilize these, but if not, may I suggest: Discourse - chat support  GitHub - our favorite team collaboration tool. GitHub allows for hosting, editing and managing products. We use it for building software and allow for community interaction. It also integrates with a lot of other tools, which is a plus!  

Take Away:

These resources are just a drop in the bucket compared to what is available to remote workers. I think this is a reflection of how WFH is becoming more accepted and more normal in the corporate world. I’d love to hear some of your favorites: amanda.goff@cakedc.com.  Let’s take away some positivity to the current quarantined times, and encourage more companies to follow suit. In today’s world, flexibility goes a long way and this type of transition can be mutually beneficial for employers and employees. I mean look at us, we are PRETTY normal… right?  Speaking of being in quarantine - stay healthy, stay inside, and wash your hands!  

Two Factor Authentication & CakeDC Use...

Why 2FA?

Nowadays we have noticed that many of the websites or applications that we access offer the option to activate an extra layer of security called Two Factor Authentication, better known as 2FA. Most of our lives happen on our mobile devices and laptops, so it’s not a secret that cyber-thieves would like to gain access to our personal and financial data. This is why adding an extra layer for protecting logins is worth it.  2FA  is an extra layer of security to make sure that someone that is trying to gain access to an account is who they say they are. The first layer is generally a combination of a username and password, and the second layer could ask for a code that is sent to your phone, a fingerprint scan or the name of your best friend. Currently 2FA has become a security standard in the digital world.

How does it work?

First the user will enter his username and password, then instead of getting in immediately into the system, he will be required to provide  additional information. Which could be one of the following options or factors:
  • Something you know : This could be a password, a personal identification number (PIN), answers to a secret question or a specific keystroke pattern.
  • Something you have: This is something the user owns, a physical device, like a mobile phone, an id card, an usb stick, a token, etc.
  • Something you are: This could be face or voice recognition, retina scan,  fingerprint, DNA, handwriting.

CakeDC Users Plugin and 2FA

There are various ways to implement Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP), Short Message Service (SMS), Electronic Mail (Email),  Universal Second Factor (U2F). CakeDC Users Plugin provides the ability to enable in your site TOTP or U2F. 
 

TOTP Google Authenticator

Enabling 2FA Google Authenticator in CakeDC Users Plugin is quite easy, it just takes a few minutes. In case you have not installed CakeDC Users Plugin in your application, follow the installation steps described here. Once you have installed the plugin and your basic login is working, you just need to do the following:
  1. Run the next command: composer require robthree/twofactorauth
  2. In Application::pluginBootstrap() add the following: Configure::write('OneTimePasswordAuthenticator.login', true);
  Once you have 2FA enabled in your site, when you try to login will happen next 
  1. Type your username and password.   
  2. You proceed to the next step where you are asked for the authentication code
    • First time you will be shown a QR code that you need to scan from your authenticator application.   
    • Next time you will only get the input to type your authentication code  
  3. You open the authenticator application to get a secondary code called a one-time password (OTP)—usually six characters in length. There are many options in the market for the authenticator application, some of the most used are: Google Authenticator, Duo Mobile, FreeOTP etc.
  4. You type the 6-digit code into the website, and you’re in!
 

FIDO U2F

If you want something more solid and reliable, then you could use U2F (Universal 2nd Factor) standard created by the FIDO Alliance. With this kind of authentication you use a physical security key, and insert that into your PC, touch the key’s button, and you’re “automatically” logged in.  U2F standard was implemented in CakeDC Users Plugin by using  the YubiKey, the most famous and common example of U2F. To enable 2FA via Yubico follow the next steps:
  1. Run the next command: composer require yubico/u2flib-server:^1.0
  2. In Application::pluginBootstrap() add the following: Configure::write(‘U2f.enabled’, true);
     
Yubico is a hardware based 2FA, it’s a small device with one end that slots into a standard Type-A USB port. You just need to Insert your YubiKey and touch it! You won’t need to manually enter the code. Take into account that you will need to use https to be able to use 2FA features in your applicatins.

So, what to choose for two-factor authentication? There is no universal answer, it will depend on the level of security you are expecting, but start protecting your account by enabling 2FA! In this article you could noticed how easy is to enable 2FA in any CakePHP application by using CakeDC Users Plugin.
  References: https://github.com/CakeDC/users https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-factor_authentication https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-time_password https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIDO_Alliance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_2nd_Factor  

Things about CakePHP that you probably...

CakePHP is often more than just a framework to many in the community, but there are some great features and treasures that many may not know about - so join us with your piece of cake and let’s check these out!

Cake Bake

Cake Bake is an incredibly helpful tool for any developer starting up a new application, or adding new functionality to an existing one.

Using your existing database schema (that follows the CakePHP conventions), running the cake bake command will quickly generate a fully working application skeleton with all your database fields and associations. It will even generate sane validation rules and pretty view files for you.  This allows you to concentrate on the features of your application that actually matter, rather than the generic admin CRUD interfaces. Have some kind of structure or class in your application that you regularly need to create? Maybe a specifically formatted view, or adaptor class? Cake Bake allows you to easily extend it and create your own bakeable templates. Find out more about Cake Bake in the CakePHP Cookbook (i.e. the framework docs)

CakePHP standalone packages

CakePHP’s core is built using standalone packages - this means that you aren’t bound to the framework.

The ORM, database, console, log to just name a few are available to use in your own PHP projects - even if you aren’t using CakePHP. Have you checked these out

Interactive console (REPL)

Not many developers are aware that CakePHP ships with an interactive console tool (Or REPL - Read Eval Print Loop).

You can start the console with bin/cake console. This console tool allows you to quickly and easily explore CakePHP and your application. Use it to quickly check if a finder method is working as expected, or to experiment with a specific query. Anything that you can code, you can run in the interactive console, much quicker and easier than coding a class.

Chronos

Chronos is a standalone DateTime library originally based off of Carbon.

The biggest difference between Chronos and Carbon is that Chronos extends DateTimeImmutable instead of DateTime. Chronos is immutable by default. Carbon is not. 

CakePHP Core team

The core team is built up of community members - just like yourself - who contribute their time to improving the framework.

All of their time is volunteered - so if you see them in the support channels, be sure to say hi! How did they get onto the core team you ask? They showed commitment to improving the core and the community.

There are some plugins that are just around to make your life a little easier

While most plugins were developed to add to the functionality of your CakePHP application without too much extra effort, there are some plugins that have been written to actually just make your life easier.

One such plugin is the CakePHP IDE helper, written by dereuromark. This plugin improves your IDE compatibility and uses annotations to make the IDE understand the "magic" of CakePHP - so you can click through the class methods and object chains as well as spot obvious issues and mistakes easier. For a curated list of CakePHP Plugins, grouped by topic, check https://github.com/FriendsOfCake/awesome-cakephp.   What’s your favourite part of the CakePHP framework or community? Let us know!

How not to be a good CakePHP developer...

I have been writing code for almost 20 years. It hasn't always been PHP, the first 6 or 7 years I was very involved with the Java world. While I partially agree with people thinking you can write bad code with PHP (more than other programming languages), I personally think that you can write bad code in any language because bad practices are common for all of them. For instance, you can call functions or initialize variables inside a loop, you can hit database many times, or you can repeat yourself no matter the language you use. That said, I want to list the most common questions that good developers should never ask themselves.   1.  Are you serious? Is it possible to add code to tables / entities? If you want to be a bad CakePHP developer, this is your golden rule. Almost every code we receive for review follow this one. Controllers with thousands of lines and models with just baked code.  That’s wrong because all the logic related to your tables should never be in your controllers (or helpers / views).  


  2.  I love using SQL queries in my code, is it really so bad? The short answer is YES. It’s bad, really bad. It is the greatest source of issues and unpredictable behaviors. It is hard to test but of course if you are asking this question you will probably ask the next one.     3. Tests? Baked tests are enough, aren’t they? Ehm.. no. You won’t be a bad developer if you don’t have 100% coverage. Even more, I don’t like to talk about what coverage is good because it exclusively depends on the project itself. I would say that you should feel good if your core features are fully covered.   4.  Why should I put the code in one place only if you can copy and paste it everywhere? Even most modern IDEs identify this as a bad practice now, but this is something we see in almost every code we get for review. People prefer to copy and paste the same function in multiple classes instead of creating a Component or Behavior or even a library and use it everywhere.     5.  Plugins? What is a plugin? CakePHP has a very large set of available plugins, or you can always start your own plugin and publish it so other people can use it. Plugins are one of the most important features in CakePHP since you can encapsulate a feature or a set of features to use them in multiple projects. Just be careful and don’t overplugin.   6.  How the hell would somebody hash a password? Well, even when you think it's a joke, no, it's not. Some people think hashing a password is not required. CakePHP provides several options for password hashing to secure your application.     7.  Do you document your code? I don’t think it is useful. Having the availability of documentation aids in understanding the intended use, as well as the expected functionality and result of the code's execution. It is pretty easy if you just document your code while you are doing it instead of waiting to have 20 classes to document.     8.  Should I declare variables to execute find methods / DB / Service requests or should I put them inside a for/while loop to "save" memory? Please no, doing external service requests (DB / File / Web Service) from inside a loop affects application performance very badly. You should always try to put the result in a variable and then use it inside the loop.   9.  Who needs coding standards? Coding standards help make code more readable and maintainable. For CakePHP applications, the Cake Conventions and Coding Standards should be applied.     10.  Is it better to make all calculations inside for/while loops level in code instead of calculating at the DB/query level? Data iteration at the DB level offers way better performance than iteration done at the application level.
  To summarize,  for sure there are lots of things to look at, but from my perspective these are the 10 basic questions that can define you as a good (or bad) developer. I hope you've never had these questions before but if you do, don’t worry about it, don’t tell anybody, just follow these recommendations to improve yourself!  

10 Features Of A User Friendly Website

Let’s talk about appealing web presence. There are a lot of factors to consider when determining if a site is “user friendly”, and I’m going to give you some tips to make sure yours makes a good impression.   Here are some of the top must-haves for a good web page:  

1. Layout and design

This is extremely important as it is the first thing a visitor will see. If your layout is scattered, or pages are hard to find, they will be running to the red x. In this case, less is more. I am a firm believer in simple clean layouts - I mean it works for Google, right?  Make sure your pages are seen and easy to access. Make sure your design is aesthetically pleasing, and that is easier than it sounds.  This brings me to the next point.  

2. Good, easy to read content

Not only is accessibility important, but the content that the visitor is reading is a direct reflection on your brand. Users are generally on a website for a very specific reason, and if they have landed on yours, then you need to make sure they know that they are in the right place. It is important to immediately list who you are and what you do. It’s okay to have detailed pages to navigate to, but always make sure your homepage illustrates the services that you provide. Don’t lose a good lead due to bad content, that’s just embarrassing.  Speaking of good leads, a lot of people search for services on the go which means…
 

3. Be mobile compatible 

More than ever, consumers are using mobile devices to browse the web. You can even order groceries for pickup using your phone. It is absolutely essential that your website is mobile friendly - if you want added success. If you aren’t sure how your site appears to mobile users, it’s an easy investigation. If searching for your site via mobile device isn’t enough, Google actually offers tools to do it for you. A good developer and design team can assist in making sure that your website is mobile compatible, but there are also some third party providers that you can rely on after your initial site build, if mobile wasn’t included. Basically… just make sure it happens.
 

4. Have ways to be contacted

If someone is on your site, and can’t find an answer to their questions, do you want them to leave? The answer is no, obviously. It is important to have multiple ways to reach some sort of customer service. I personally like a number, chat, and email option, but I guess that is being demanding.
 

5. Browser compatibility

A lot of times, as we are editing or designing sites, our team will compare screen grabs and the site looks totally different on each one. This is a top priority and it gets fixed ASAP. I really don’t understand why this happens, but it must be combated nonetheless. Mostly, it has to do with sizes, layout, background images, etc. It is just important to make sure that your site looks the same no matter who is looking at it and no matter which browser they choose to do so with. These issues are easy to fix, but sometimes tedious. ALWAYS check each popular browser before deploying.   

6. Speed

I’m impatient, and I don’t care to admit it. I would say most people have a short attention span. If I land on a website and I get the spinning wheel, I will give it a chance. If every page has slow loading speed, I am probably going to move on. It’s easy to tell if it’s a webpage causing the issues, so it’s always better to troubleshoot this ahead of time. Once again, there are a lot of free tools you can use to test your speeds. A good free one to try is: wpengine.com - and they will even provide issues & fixes for your slow page. 
 

7. Hosting

Good speed and function is a result of a good hosting service, too. This is something that may not even cross your mind as you are building your brand and your website, but it is so important. The hosting provider you choose can make or break your impression. Pick wisely, and do your research. There is no reason to risk security or your site breaking every time there is an update. You’ll thank me later for this one
 

8. Security

I mean this goes without explanation, right? Especially for e-commerce sites - online shopping - anything that requires customer information. Nothing will ruin a reputation faster than a compromised system. PLEASE make sure all backend security options are locked tight.
 

9. Be Transparent - and bug free

There are going to be errors. No one is perfect - no website is perfect. I always appreciate when a site provides on-screen error descriptions so that I know where I (or the page) has gone wrong. It opens up the trust door with your visitor, and makes them more likely to stick around or retry the action. This also requires the developer to stay in tune with these errors and provide fixes. We want a robust site, right?  An important thing to remember is always check the status of your webpage, and fix issues fast. Many development companies that offer these services, are avialable to help round the clock. For example, CakeDC offers project management services (see here), which allows client to rely on us for development services long term on the existing projects. 
 

10. Be ever changing

It is important for a business, entrepreneur or developer to adapt. This is especially true for long lasting websites. Say a page has been around for 15 years - things have changed - new features are available… keep up with the times. It is a competitive market that one must always stay in front of. Don’t be afraid of change. 
  Now go… go out there and make your website great again.   

15 Years of CakePHP

This April we will be celebrating 15 years of CakePHP! I can’t help but feel honored to have been a part of this framework, made lasting connections, and help build up the community. As one of the founders of the CakePHP project, I want to express how excited I am about the positive progress that has taken place over the years. We started out with just a few core members, which got us pretty far. Looking back, it’s crazy to see how much our community has grown, and with all of the input, this project has become one of the longest developed PHP framework available today! Our community has always centered on going the extra mile in order to acquire the best results in every aspect. This is not to say that some ups and downs have not hit us along the way in the last 14 years. Indeed, there have been bumps in the road, and some discussions regarding the route the project should take moving forward. Heck, there have even been some individuals who have opted to depart from the team. Other team members have decided to place their feelings down and their dedication in front at all times to work past disagreements in order for CakePHP to continue to evolve in the positive ways it has. Each year, people with diverse visions are joining our core team, and the future for CakePHP is promising. The team is working harder than ever before to keep CakePHP in its reigning position, and promoting it in the open source world for it to continue to impress. Our goals are clear - and if we have anything to say about it, CakePHP is not going anywhere, anytime soon. Our team is certainly stronger and more determined to continue giving the project their all. There are so many things that make the open-source community amazing - I mean think about it: people from different backgrounds, who speak different languages, and who have different beliefs come together and work jointly to attain a common goal. It’s pretty cool. I have worked with open-source software for more than 25-years. Even so, I am still amazed daily on what can be accomplished by such a diverse group of individuals. Actually, I think the rest of the world could take some notes from the open-source community and the benefits that come from people working together. The friends that I have made in the open-source community throughout the years are way too many to name one by one, but I am grateful. This goes on to reflect my awesome experience with it, one that will always be present on my mind. I want to finally express to the CakePHP core team, the CakePHP community, and everyone I have had the pleasure and honor of working with at CakeDC, that I am extremely thankful for absolutely everything. Here is to 15 more years of CakePHP.

How To Get More Involved In Your Commu...

Ever wondered where you can find out more about a specific topic related to PHP, or find out new and exciting things happening in the PHP world? We’ve put together a list of useful links that will help you on your PHP journey!

 

Learn More 

Cakephp Training

The team at CakeDC sponsors monthly training - focusing on the following topics.
  • Standard CakePHP 4 Training Course
These interactive and live sessions offer you the opportunity to get involved, ask questions and learn more from the experts behind the framework.  

CakePHP Tutorials

The CakePHP cookbook (i.e the documentation) includes several tutorials to help you along. These are a great way to learn more about typical CakePHP applications and to come to grasps with how CakePHP is put together.  

CakeFest - The annual CakePHP Conference

CakeFest, run over 4 full days, features 2 full workshop days led by the top CakePHP developers. The last two days showcase some of the top CakePHP speakers from around the world - join CakeFest to experience a jam-packed opportunity to increase your knowledge base and grow your community network.  

Stack Overflow

While not a traditional platform with courses or guided tutorials, Stackoverflow offers something better - real life issues that others are facing, and how they have found a solve for them! You can really learn a lot by watching others.  

PHP: The Right Way.

As a PHP developer, it can sometimes be difficult to find information that is both updated and helpful to your specific problem. PHP: The Right Way is a an easy-to-read platform that you can use as a reference for popular and up-to-date coding standards, links to tutorials as well as best practices. From the best practices through to resources, community groups and more, PHP The Right Way should be on your frequently visited list.   

Read More 

Blogs

There are many CakePHP related blogs out there - here are just a handful of the ones we find awesome!  https://www.dereuromark.de/tag/cakephp/  http://mark-story.com/  http://josediazgonzalez.com/  http://www.cakedc.com/articles  

PHP Architect

PHP[architect] is a digital magazine solely focused on the world of PHP. From in-depth technical articles through to hosting training and organizing conferences, this is a great resource to grow your PHP knowledge base from.  

Listen More

Voices of the ElePHPant

Voice of the ElePHPant is a regular podcast interviewing PHP community members on a wide variety of topics. Cal Evans digs deep into what is keeping community members busy.
 

Phpugly

Another podcast focused on the PHP Community - hosted By @shocm, @realrideout, and @johncongdon.  

Discover More

Awesome CakePHP

Run by the Friends of Cake, the awesome CakePHP list is a curated list of  plugins, resources and other interesting CakePHP links.   

Awesome PHP

There are many PHP lists of curated PHP libraries and resources - here are just a few that we think you would find interesting. https://github.com/ziadoz/awesome-php https://php.libhunt.com/  

PHP league

A group of developers joined forces to create the league of extraordinary Packages - where they build solid, well tested PHP packages using modern coding standards.  

Packagist 

Packagist helps you to find packages and lets Composer know where to get the code from. Check out download stats or publish your own package.    Do you have more to add to this list? 

CakeDC/Users 9.x Easy migration from A...

In a previous article, we talked about the version 9.x of the CakeDC/Users plugin which is compatible with CakePHP 4 and compatible with the cakephp/authentication and cakephp/authorization plugins, we recommend you check it out. In this article we will demonstrate how to migrate your code from AuthComponent. Before we continue, it is important to remember some things:

  • Authentication and Authorization are performed at the middleware layer
  • Authorization is configured to work with Rbac (config/permissions.php)
  • The migration guide `8.x-9.0` is available for additional information
  • 9.x version is for CakePHP 4

Replacing AuthComponent::allow, also known as public actions

For many applications it is normal to have public actions that do not require a user login, previously this was possible with AuthComponent::allow, now the authorization check step is done in the Middleware layer and is part of RBAC by default. You will need to move this permissions to your config/permissions.php, but don’t worry because this migration is very simple. For example, to enable the `index` and `view` actions you needed to have this code in your `ArticlesController`. /** * @inheritDoc */ public function initialize() { parent::initialize(); $this->Auth->allow(['index', ‘view’]); } In this new version we don't need to call Auth->allow, but instead we just have to include a permission of type 'bypassAuth' in config/permissions.php [ 'controller' => ‘Articles’, 'action' => [‘index’,’view’], 'bypassAuth' => true, ],   Check a sample permissions file at: https://github.com/CakeDC/users-example/blob/9.next-basic-with-custom-username/config/permissions.php Don’t forget to remove this snippet from your controller: $this->Auth->allow(['index']);  

Replacing AuthComponent::user

Your application probably uses the AuthComponent::user method in at least one place, in fact it should be the method that you use the most from this component. The good news is that the migration here is the easiest, because instead of using this method, we will obtain the user data from a request attribute. If you had something like this: //Get all user data $user = $this->Auth->user(); //Get the user id $userId = $this->Auth->user('id');   Now you can get the user (identity) data this way: $user = $this->getRequest()->getAttribute('identity'); $userId = $user['id'] ?? null; //OR $userId = $this->getRequest()->getAttribute('identity')['id'] ?? null;  

Be careful with direct access from session data

Avoid the direct access of user data from session, it will only return the user data after authenticator has persisted, and this may not happen when you try to read from session.  

Additional information

In the previous version we used the `Auth` configuration to customize the Auth component, now we have specific configurations to be used in the authentication and authorization process related to the new plugins. For example `Auth.Authenticators` and `Auth.Identifiers` provides information needed to setup authentication to work with Form, Token, Cookie (Remember Me) and Social (when enabled).  

Form Authentication with email

One of the most common needs for user login is the ability to change the fields used for login via the form. The default behavior allows login by username or email, but let's assume you want to restrict login only by email, you can do it by including the following in your config/users.php file: 'Auth.Identifiers.Password.fields.username' => 'email' You can get a sample app at https://github.com/CakeDC/users-example/tree/9.next-basic-with-custom-username  

That’s all for today

In the plugin's documentation you can find more information about the available configurations and please be sure to check the migration guide if you have not https://github.com/CakeDC/users/blob/9.next/Docs/Documentation/Migration/8.x-9.0.md. The Auth component's migration shouldn't be very complicated, as our idea for the plugin was to offer you a set of default configurations to make it easier to use. If you have a config/users.php file it is recommended to compare it with the new users.php file from plugin. That’s all for today, are you using the new version? Have suggestions for new features? Tell us what you think.

Why Choosing The Right Development Tea...

 Listen, we get it… it is the age of do-it-yourself everything, but one thing that I will remain firm on is the fact that a good web presence (and web application/website) is absolutely essential for any business. The fast track to a good application starts with choosing the right development team. Whether you decide as a business owner to have an internal development team, or outsource the work, it is a very important action for success.   Having a user friendly site will do just that, get you friends. Or in this case, “traffic” to your webpage. What can a development company or team do that those “quick and easy build a site” tools can’t? A lot. But firstly, they can build custom features and integrations. If someone visits your site, it is likely they will stick around if there are things to do/see/read, thus decreasing your “bounce rate” - which is a nice way to say clicking the little red x or back button.    Another benefit to choosing the right development team is having someone on hand to work on debugging, error fixing, and training for maintainers you may have on your team. For example, with CakeDC, we offer consulting, project management and training. This means your project manager can be with you for the long term (always available to fix those ERROR codes or upgrade), or train your tech team to manage the application themselves. Development is a long term commitment.  Our team keeps clients accompanied during all stages of development, from the initial call and vision building, to implementation and delivery… and even offer after build management in case there is a future need. It is important to make sure your site/application is always running smoothly and dedicate time to enhancing it. Nothing is more frustrating to a potential client or consumer than trying to run an action and getting broken links or useless site features. A good developer will ensure security is enabled as well (number one priority). The more features you have, and the easier they are to use, means the more conversions and leads you can get and the easier they are to obtain.   Hiring a team does not always mean things will be perfect, there are so many options available: commercial teams, freelancers, internal tech departments… so it is important to do your research before making the plunge. When speaking to a lot of our potential clients, a common complaint I get is that developers are not accessible (or at least not quickly). Many times, I hear the same story… a company hires a freelance developer working on their own time, the freelancer builds the initial project, then disappears and the company is left with a site full of errors. Our team focuses a lot on communication with clients, and we make ourselves reachable at any time. We even have developers in different timezones to suit the needs of clients, and we keep them in the loop every step of the way. CakeDC has a project management system that is accessible to every client so that they are able to track work and time being used. Not to mention, we chat via email, skype, slack, phone… you name it.    Plus, our team works together, that way the work promised gets delivered.     Basically, what I am trying to say is to choose a development team, and choose wisely. The team should start with asking your needs and wants, and your vision for the project. An experienced development team can bring that project to life. The decision you make now, can save time, money, and many meltdowns in the future. Don’t say I didn’t warn you (just kidding…kinda).   

Users plugin 9.x for CakePHP4

CakePHP 4 is out for some time (4.0.2 at the time of writing this post) and some of you already asked "Is there a cakedc/users version for cake4?" a couple times... The answer is YES!. We had a meeting after we realized AuthComponent was going to be deprecated, the authentication/authorization layer was leaning towards
Middlewares and getting a new Plugin home ourside of the core.
We decided to embrace the new middlewares and provide native compatibility from version 9.x of the plugin. Before we explain how is it going to work, and proceed to setup a project from scratch a couple answers to potential questions: * Are you going to maintain cakedc/users 8.x for CakePHP 3.x?
  * Yes, as long as you use it, we'll keep it maintained. Version 8.x will be a LTS version. We'll consider backporting some features from 9.x but the
  main objective of 8.x is to provide stability over time to existing CakePHP 3 projects.
* I'm planning to migrate my project from CakePHP 3 to CakePHP 4, what's the migration path for cakedc/users?
  * Keep the version 8.x of the plugin for some time. Complete your upgrade and then decide if you want to migrate to cakedc/users 9.x.
  We wrote a migration guide here when you decide it's time to move forward.
* AuthComponent is going to explode in CakePHP 4.x ?
  * No, it's deprecated, but deprecated also means it's completely functional. Just keep it until you decide to upgrade it.
 
This blog post is the first of a series of articles about cakedc/users 9.x where we'll explain how to use the plugin from scratch, it's benefits and
also the way the new authentication & authorization layers work for a CakePHP 4.x application. We've kept our main objectives for this plugin: provide a quick, easy, flexible users management plugin to help you build awesome products on top of CakePHP 4. So let's create a new project * Ensure you have a working develop environment, download a development vagrant machine or pick some other's environment. composer create-project cakephp/app:^4 users9 Now we have a new CakePHP 4 project skeleton created under folder users9.
Test it using bin/cake server then go to http://localhost:8765 and check it's all green.   all green checks for cakephp 4   * Install the plugin using
composer require cakedc/users:^9 * Now configure your application to use the plugin in your src/Application.php bootstrap() method, add
$this->addPlugin(\CakeDC\Users\Plugin::class); * Create the required tables in your configured Datasource using Migrations:
bin/cake migrations migrate -p CakeDC/Users This will create an empty `users` table and `social_accounts` to hold your authenticatio data. * Now create a superadmin user
bin/cake users addSuperuser It will create a superadmin user and a random password, copy the user and password to a safe place. Now start the standalone server using bin/cake server again, and go to the home page http://localhost:8765... you'll see the login form.   login form cakephp 4 and cakedc/users
If you use the superadmin credentials previously generated, you'll be able to login and continue to the home page. Total setup process, possibly less than 5 minutes if your network allows it... How is it actually working? * Once the plugin is added to you Application class through the Plugin class, we implement the  `AuthenticationService` and `AuthorizationService` provider interfaces, and use
the `middleware()` plugin callback to inject the configured middlewares into the Application middleware queue, see the `MiddlewareQueueLoader`.
We do it to keep the loading and configuration of the middlewares in one place, and decide the middlewares needed based on your configuration, for example if you are using
social login with Facebook, we configure which middlewares you need loaded and the correct order.
Check LINK for customization options of the plugin. We'll deal with customization in other articles of this series. * CakePHP core Authentication and Authorization middlewares are also loaded, with the provided configuration. Check file vendor/cakedc/users/config/users.php for the
default configuratio used. You'll see there we're using by default Session, Form, Token, Cookie and Social. Depending on your configuration we'll check if you're authenticated in the following order:
  * Your identity already in the session
  * You've posted login form and your credentials are in the request data
  * There is a token present we can retrieve, usually for API stateless token based auth
  * There is a remember me cookie present
  * Your identity is available after social login, and we can use it to login into the app
 
If all these methods fail, you're redirected to the login page, `/login` by default (configurable, of course).   * But that's the first step, once we can identify who are you, the next step (Authorization) is to determine if you're allowed to access the page you're trying to open. The plugin default configuration has 2
Authorization methods, superuser and rbac.
  * If you're user is a superuser, you are granted
  * If there is a rule in the rbac configuration to match your role and the current page, you are granted
 
If none of the above, you are not authorized, and redirected to the home page. One of the important concepts about the new authentication layer in CakePHP is: "Authentication happens before you hit AppController".
So when you get to your Controller, CakePHP alreay knows you're an existing user and you have permission to access the page. All the abstraction and complexity
of maintaining the authentication is now extracted and managed OUTSIDE of your controllers, reducing their complexity. Give it a try in your next project! Let us know how it goes and share you experiences with us, we'll be happy to help in the community channels.  

CakeFest 2019 Recap

Here we are, a couple weeks out of CakeFest 2019. What an experience in Japan!  We didn’t really know what to expect when we decided to finally make the trip to host in Tokyo. We were given great welcoming from the PHP community, and each person we met left us with wonderful memories. Another welcoming surprise was the low price of food, and delicious ramen. Our team definitely utilized all of the free time we had.            Let’s talk about the event, and the workshops. Jorge Gonzalez, Jose Rodriquez, and Mark Story definitely delivered in the knowledge department. The participation was fantastic, although the class size was smaller than in other years. We’ve had a lot of requests for their slides, so those are included in the link below ⬇️ One thing that was different this year, is that we had different venues for the workshops and conference. This makes it difficult for the team, with transferring our equipment in such a busy city (shout out to the quick responding taxi services).  We did try the metro when we had less baggage, and got up close and personal with the locals. Speaking of venues, we cannot thank DMM.com and SmartNews enough. We are still dreaming of an office like DMM’s with live plants growing up the walls and a complete installed watering system.  These venues were overly accommodating, making this one of the best conferences we’ve had.          If you are a PHPer or specifically working with CakePHP, the speakers topics were overflowing with useful information. Like Yuki Kanazawa’s tips for a smooth upgrade to CakePHP 3, or Tadahisa Motooka’s ideas about database replication. Kazuki Higashiguchi helped talk us through painful testing of code, and Sho Ito walked us through an initial OSS with CakePHP. We had such a great lineup this year, and we cannot wait to have some speakers return. Other great talks included David Yell, Daniel Voyce, Jose Gonzalez, and Wim Godden, and superstar core members Mark Story and Jose Rodriguez.  We even had to be confronted with details about life after CakePHP (GASP!) from Andrej Griniuk.    Unfortunately, no event can be executed without some roadblocks, and we aren’t exempt. We had a couple late cancellations (understandable) from speakers, but definitely made up the time with chats and lightning talks. There was so much information exerted during the short 2 days, that we all probably needed and extra day to take notes. Luckily, we did that for you. All of the slides included during CakeFest are available at the link below as well.    So, would we come back and host in Japan again? YES! We hope to do so sooner rather than later. Are there some things we will change on our end? Yes, again.  We hoped for higher numbers for workshops, as the information given is invaluable. We hope that in the future, all conference attendees will take advantage of those sessions as well. You can stay up to date with all things CakeFest at CakeFest.org - we are actually working on adding a history feature to reference past events.      We could not have done all of this without the amazing sponsors we had this year:    Cake Development Corporation  Shizen Energy  BASE  Lancers  DMM JetBrains Connehito  Marks Software SmartNews  ESM   Follow our speakers on Twitter:   Yuki Kanazawa - @yakitori009  Mark Story - @mark_story Jose Rodriguez - @jose_zap Jorge Gonzalez - @steinkelz Tadahisa Motooka - @t_motooka Kazuki Higashiguchi -  @hgsgtk Sho Ito - @itosho David Yell - @Yelldavid Daniel Voyce - @voycey_web Jose Gonzalez - @savant Wim Godden - @wimgtr Andrej Griniuk - @andrej_gr   CLICK HERE to view the CakeFest 2019 workshop and speaker slides.   Now, we want to hear from you! If you attended, what did you think about CakeFest Japan? What did you enjoy the most/least? If you did not attend: what has held you back from joining us? Let us know - email: community@cakephp.org.

We Bake with CakePHP