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TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

Migrating to CakePHP 3.0 is Easy and P...

  The prospect of migrating to a new version often sets off alarm bells in many a developer who may know or have heard of upgrade related horror stories here and there. Indeed, the concern is justified because major software releases constitute extensive and massive changes over previous versions that sometimes may lead to errors and glitches. But all major releases are not created equal. Some are better than others at managing the process. CakePHP 3.0 is a good example of the latter. In line with its overarching goal of lightening the load developers carry, it has made migration to 3.0 easy and painless. There are a number of reasons why migration to CakePHP is so different, easy, and so manageable. If you still haven't made the move to migrate to CakePHP 3, now is the time to do it! First, the minimum requirements needed to make it work are very few and very straightforward. They include: a) PHP version must be 5.4 or above b) must have mbstring and intl extensions. Note: CakePHP also features a totally new ORM that has been rebuilt from the ground up as well as numerous other enhancements that improve upon or replace previous entities. For details, please refer to the full migration guide. Second, a complete list of all new features and enhancements that the new version introduces is easily accessible and clearly presented. Third and most importantly, you are provided with an upgrade tool (a console application) for tackling the more time consuming migration tasks. What more could you ask from an upgrade? With the above in place, you have everything you need at your fingertips for a smooth and successful migration to CakePHP 3.0. Simplicity in design, development, and implementation has always been the trademark of CakePHP as many who have used the previous versions of CakePHP will attest. It is this factor more than anything else that has earned it a reputation as a framework of choice for developers in PHP.The huge number of developers that continue to use it every year and the excellent reviews it has received over the years provide ample proof to its success in this effort. CakePHP team, on the other hand, though thrilled at the success its hard work brought it, never took such triumphs for granted and never succumbed to complacency. Throughout the period between releases, the team has been actively soliciting feedback and diligently listening to the wish lists and concerns of developers while working very hard to make them a reality. The result is CakePHP 3.0 – a new version that has over the past year been silently taking the software development world by storm with its rich set of highly customizable features. If you ever liked CakePHP 2.x, we guarantee you will fall head over heels in love with CakePHP 3.0! Of course no software can ever be said to be perfect but CakePHP 3.0 is one framework version that comes close by crossing as it does new frontiers in software ingenuity and simplicity that will carry you to heights you never dreamed possible. 

10 guidelines to outsourcing web devel...

  One issue that has recently attained center stage in the business world is the debate over whether outsourcing web development is a good business strategy or not. Proponents point among other things to local shortage of highly qualified web developers and to cost savings. Critics on the other hand remain skeptical and often point to the potential loss of control over some aspects of a company’s business processes that outsourcing requires. To add to the dilemma, some use the term interchangeably with offshoring. So let us begin by defining exactly what outsourcing is and how it differs from offshoring. Outsourcing is a general term used to describe the act of delegating an entire business function or part of a business process to a third party or contractor. Despite its techie-sounding name, the idea of outsourcing, is a very ordinary one. When you don’t have money, you borrow from those that have it and when you lack talent or experience in one area, you seek it from those that have it. That is what outsourcing is all about. Businesses outsource when they determine that they either do not have the expertise they need to accomplish a given objective or, when they just want to maximize benefits and reduce cost. Outsourcing allows businesses to lower costs, take advantage of skilled experts, and to increase productivity and efficiency. Unlike offshoring, it does not imply work done in a different country and therefore does not entail the same risks inherent in offshoring such as project delivery failures due to political unrest, poor communication, and language barriers in the contractor’s country.   In this article, we will focus on outsourcing web development as a major business venture that should be carefully planned and executed. Here are 10 guidelines to help you outsource web development successfully. 1. The first thing you need to do before even considering who to partner with for your outsourcing needs is to specify exactly what business objective you want fulfilled with the finished website. Will the website be a fully functional, highly interactive website where people can conduct commercial transactions at all times of the day or will it used to simply list detailed information about the business? Do you expect the website to evolve at some point or will this development be the final rendition? In general, most websites evolve in response to changing business demands. So it is wiser to plan ahead with changes in mind. Having a clear vision of what you want the website to do for you will help the contractor and you to tailor the project to the specific long term goals of your business. 2. After defining the general business objective, consider what functionality you want the website to provide. Will the website or some parts of it require a secure login? If so, what will be the requirements or access levels? Will the website include an online demo or a forum? How about databases and calculations? 3. Specify exactly how you will measure success. The main reason why you would develop a website in the first place is to enable people to do certain tasks at your website. So you need a way to measure this and a means to evaluate success or failure when the contractor completes the project. There are many tools you can use including one free one: Google Analytics. 4. Research similar sites. Visit websites of businesses that have already created sites similar to the one you are envisioning. The goal is not to simply copy or emulate them but to learn from them. Examine the design and functionality of these websites and write your impressions about what you like and what you don’t like about them. You can also request friends or other dis-interested parties to visit these sites and give you their opinions. Additionally, read customer comments (if available) and carefully note what problems users complain about and what they like or do not like about such websites. With this knowledge under your belt, you can then craft a better website that avoids the common pitfalls and incorporates all the features visitors find valuable. This will give you a definitive edge over your competitors. 5. Prioritize your needs. It is not always possible to include all the things you want in a website due to budget, time, and other constraints. It is therefore important to begin by categorizing your needs into “must haves” and “wish to haves.” Then make sure you consider optional features only after you have budgeted for those features that you absolutely must have. 6. Prepare a brief or summary for prospective contractors. This should include a short introduction of your company; what it does; and what its overall goals are. The brief should also include the purpose of the website; who the target audience will be; anticipated functionality (ecommerce, advertising etc…); how you will evaluate success; and who will be responsible for creating and maintaining content. You should also state whether you will be doing maintenance in-house or expect the contractor to do it for you. 7. After you have completed the above steps, it is time to look for a business partner. Make phone calls to several businesses who have the expertise you need and then draw up a list of those that meet the criteria you set in your brief (step #6 above). You can then send your brief to the few you have selected along with a request for a proposal. When you receive a proposal, look over its provisions very carefully. It is more important particularly at this stage to make sure that you get the most important features you identified in step #4. Price is important of course but don’t make the mistake of focusing only on cost. Though cost saving is a major reason for outsourcing, it should never be at the expense of quality. Moreover, a well developed site will save you more money in the long run than a mediocre site. 8. Ask prospective contractors for details about the staff that will be handling your project. If you will be outsourcing the entire web development life cycle, you want to know if subject-matter experts will be managing each phase of the project. In other words, you want to know if the task will be divided in such a way that dedicated web design specialists will be doing the design phase while software developers will handle the nuts and bolts of software development. It should be noted here that there are some web developers who are also excellent web designers and vice versa. This should not be a problem and in fact can be preferable because such an expert can match development to design more easily to create a well-balanced and harmonious website. 9. Discuss a timeline for in-person or electronic progress report. How often will the prospective contractor provide you with a progress report? Does their proposal give a phased outline of what will be accomplished when? If they can’t provide a reasonable response to this, look elsewhere. 10. Finally, ask for references and check them thoroughly. Inquire about their customer service, their task completion history, and their general professionalism.   If you follow the above steps faithfully, you will be rewarded with the proven cost-saving benefits of outsourcing. Carefully managed and executed, outsourcing is a strategic business move and a great boon to all types of businesses.

CakePHP - An Open Source Framework Wit...

  Since its debut in 2005, CakePHP’s main thrust has been to make software development easy, fast, and painless. In a span of just 11 years, CakePHP proved its worth by withstanding the test of time and earning its place as the premier framework for software development. Its success in this grand effort can be gauged by how enthusiastically it has been embraced by the software community: a whopping 8 million visitors; 29,908 commits; and 30 million page views! What are the secrets behind its enduring popularity? What features and benefits account for its continued appeal? Why would anyone want to use CakePHP? These are some of the questions we will answer below. Solid and Impregnable Security Features One main reason you want to use CakePHP is for its solid security attributes. With incidents of cyber security breaches and random computer-generated-attacks at an all-time high, who isn’t worried about website security these days? Gone are the days when security used to be optional. Today, security is a mandatory feature that all websites must ensure if they are to thrive and survive. Framework support for security varies from one framework to another but CakePHP is by far the finest in security among frameworks for PHP because of its unmatched set of security tools and safeguards it incorporates. These include among other things input validation, data sanitization, SQL injection, CSRF (cross site request forgery - prevents unauthorized commands from being transferred), and XSS (cross site scripting - prevents malicious content from being delivered). It also features hashing and advanced encryption algorithms such as SHA1, SHA256, MD5, Blowfish, and Rijndael/AES-256). CakePHP Facilitates Development If security was its only strength, CakePHP would still remain a top contender. But CakePHP also excels in the ease and simplicity with which software applications can be developed. Featuring a lean MVC architecture that neatly organizes code according to function; conventions that facilitate standardization; and scaffolding and code generation tools that streamline development, CakePHP has everything you need to develop a highly functioning and trouble-free website in a very short time. Moreover, its support for all the popular and major databases such as MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft SQL Server as well as for caching engines such as Memcached or Redis will be greeted with pleasure by all developers. Simplifies Migration and Compatibility CakePHP also makes maintaining migration path very easy for developers because tools do most of the work. Moreover, new features and updates are enumerated clearly making it easy for developers to keep abreast of the latest versions of the framework among other things. Abundant and Readily Available Documentation CakePHP's documentation is truly phenomenal! It not only provides a detailed explanation of the entire framework along with a complete API reference but also features hundreds of instructional manuals and video tutorials. Moreover, all are accessible online. Certification paths and training venues are also available for those who want to delve even deeper towards mastery. Totally Free License Best of all, CakePHP's code is open source, totally free, and available under MIT license that allows commercial use! The above list of features makes it clear that CakePHP’s popularity is earned and well deserved. No framework has ever been able to simultaneously provide so many benefits in such a short time. Please contact us if you have any questions or want to know how CakePHP can help you with your project.

CakePHP 3 Driver for Oracle Database

We are happy to announce and introduce the CakePHP 3 Driver for the Oracle Database (compatible with 11g, and 12 too). This plugin contains a fully operative Oracle 11g Driver for CakePHP 3. It's been a long awaited plugin due to the wide usage of Oracle systems in the business environment. The driver provides compatibility with various Oracle 11g and CakePHP functionality, including:

  • All the basic CRUD features to allow select/insert/update/delete rows.
  • CakePHP Pagination
  • CakePHP Bake code generation
  • CakePHP DebugKit specific tab
  • Autoincrement fields support (based on Sequence and Trigger)
  • Stored procedures and Packages (with different input and output params types including Cursors)
Code is released under MIT License here https://github.com/CakeDC/cakephp-oracle-driver Documentation available > CakePHP Oracle Database Driver We are also looking forward to introducing full migration support soon. Stay tuned for tutorials coming soon in CakeDC Blog!

The updates that CakePHP 3 brings to t...

  With a year under its belt and 34 releases, we are still in love with CakePHP 3; and some of you are already on board and loving it. With an average of nearly 3 releases a month, you can easily tell that the team is working against a rapid release cycle where they are tirelessly working at adding and improving features. - but do you know the philosophy behind it? Looking at all of the improvements and benefits that this updated framework brings, you can clearly see that the biggest turning point for the core team was the increased functionality with clear foresight and thinking brought to the table. A plan was had right from the start, to be a framework well documented, one that was simple (as the Core Team live by – less lines the better!). Another big input from the team, was the ability to integrate and make newer versions of PHP compatible with the framework, never before has the movement in the code base been so fast paced. And as the team comments, this is brought to the fore by the rotating code between open source teams – truly, we live in a space where without each other’s contributions to the code base there would be no movement and action. That is why we are in love with CakePHP 3, because the team have put forward a framework that integrates, pulls in outside assistance, accepts community help and specifically puts itself out there for the community’s input. Some quick backgrounds to the updated framework. The first commit to CakePHP 3 was done on May 24 2012, by Juan Basso. A long time coming, but as the common phrase goes, good things come with time. – that and the fact that the core team and lead developers were working in their spare time, after work, late nights, to bring this forward. We thought that we would reflect, and bring to you the top changes/improvements/benefits/total awesomeness of this framework!

  • All of the core feature development was done as pull requests. This was done intentionally, to encourage people to get involved and the main core team is distributed across the world. The community is vital to the framework, and without them, we wouldn’t be here!
  • To give you an idea of what this has meant. It ended up with over 6000 commits before launch! – from over 20 contributors.
  • CakePHP 3 documentation had over 1500 commits – from 51 contributors! – the document writing was so important to the team, every time there was a feature or a break in backwards compatibility, it was documented.
  • More big news for CakePHP 3 is that it targets PHP 5.5 and newer. It is designed with composer support (Although you don’t need to use composer). It has also required a couple of additional extensions (the mb_string and the intl extension) – this was for 2 reasons, we were handling multi-byte internally, if you didn’t have the mb_string extension, we would fall back to pure PHP code; and for internationalization - there are really powerful tools built into the language that CakePHP 2 wasn’t capitalizing on and the team wanted to leverage those tools – to give the CakePHP community better tools.
  • Now the entire CakePHP code is Unicode aware, and additionally through the intl extension, everything is localized. All of the core classes localize depending on your locale (so if you switch your locale to Germany..) – everything will work, your numbering, date formatting, language formatting (provided you have the translation file) etc.
Over above these changes (and associated benefits), a few other things came out of the cracks.. Such as, through the use of composer, you have to have separate repos for separate things - so the team created a new app skeleton, basically this is the app directory of the old framework but in a separate repo. – What this allows you to do is mold or easily customize and fork it when you want to pull in changes. You don’t have to worry about merge conflicts with the app directory or similar types of issues. It also gives us the ability to release them independently in the future, so for instance, the app can be upgraded and add or remove dependencies while having no need to modify the framework. Many of us have had that experience and confusion of configuring classes; you don’t know if it’s a property or method, or even what the method name is. Well getting more into the detailed features, we all know that there were a lot of different method names for configuring things, some classes used properties, others used methods of various names. For CakePHP 3 however, it was decided that this is a little silly, so all of the static/instance/runtime classes use one method called config (YAY!). More can be found at http://book.cakephp.org/3.0/en/development/configuration.html The ORM has also been replaced, we have moved on with the model layer, and CakePHP has advanced quite a bit over the past years. Now you have Tables and Entity objects (no more arrays!), and a powerful Query class to build your queries using a fluent interface. You'll be amazed how easy is to create deep filters, custom finders (and stacking!), subqueries. Validation was also refactored, improving flexibility and customization. The router was also noted as being a performance bottleneck for a lot of applications in the past, and it was also, somewhat, verbose when you were connecting a lot of routes. So with CakePHP 3, the old way of connecting routes is still there, but a new scope system has been added. This allows you to declare routes in a much clearer way – so if you have a common prefix, you can put this in the scope, and don’t have to re-declare this in each route. Less typing necessary, but more importantly it allows you to partition your routes so that you can create a much faster parse tree. A lot of work has also been done on fixing reverse routing, previously it was based on a linear search but now, the key parts of the route are taken (the action or controller name) and generate a list of what that route may be and then search a much smaller subset of routes. Another change is the helper layer. Previously HTML formatted through arrays, and that had both good and bad points. The team got rid of the sprintf and replaced it with a very simple templating system, that has no conditions. This lets you define templates file, and you consistently use those templates throughout. This also yields a bit of a performance gain and it doesn’t use number replacements, it uses named replacements. The way the event subsystems were handled is another change that CakePHP 3 brings to the table, allowing a much more consistent approach to handling events. The new changes have also led to another performance enhancement! The framework has also gotten some outside help - in the past CakePHP has been criticized for being insular and not making use of the existing ecosystem. This has since changed and one of the reasons was the team wanted to make the install really easy. Because composer is now being use, you can include dependencies and when you create your application or install your applications dependencies, CakePHP 3’s can be installed at the same time. CakePHP 3 has used: Chronos (A fork of Carbon) has been used for date time improvements, (but now its part of CakePHP itself and maintained by the core) Aura/Intl – improved i18n and L10n features A great wrap up to these things is the fact that the team has hugely increased functionality and features, while keeping performance constant (in most cases, actually increasing it!!). There are so many reasons that you should start and continue using CakePHP 3 but more importantly, there are so many reasons for being a part of this insanely great, collaborative community.

We Bake with CakePHP