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TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

Felix Geisendörfer - Recipies for successful CakePHP projects

Felix liked to Get Things Done™. And through experience and what became an interactive idea and experience sharing productivity session, he explained mechanisms and methods that he has used to achieve the best results for projects in the shortest time possible.

Communication. While this means your team should be in contact, and that those contact points should be quality communication, it doesn't mean that instant communication is a requirement. Communication mechanisms would ideally be: decentralised and work in an offline capacity (at least for partial functionality).

Return on investment is an interesting statistic to consider when responding to or creating a new item of communication. Provide a concise message. Enough to ensure the intention of the communication is clear, and ambiguity is reduced if not eliminated. Email is a great tool, especially for the following: Timezone differences, announcements, spawning debates that require discussion, emergency notifications / reports, mailing lists, shared email accounts and automated reporting / information.

Using Email over an instant messaging mechanism for spawning debates allows contributors to formulate a constructed response. This can assist the better understanding of some ones input to the discussions, as instant messaging can be difficult for items that require discussion.

Instant messaging has good and bad traits:

  1. Good Stuff
    1. Instant
    2. Group Chats / conference calls
    3. Varying methods of communication
    4. Various formats (text, voice, video)
  2. Bad Stuff
    1. Distracting (interrupts workflow)
    2. History tracking / compatibility
    3. Citations / logs
Task management helps keep projects on track. However the truth is that there is no overall solution. We do the best we can to manage all the information we need to be successful, through a variety of tools.

Problems that exist are:

  1. Getting tasks into the system (May be the laziness of users)
  2. Tracking tasks that manage to make it into the system
  3. Getting those tasks done

Tools available:

  1. Pen and Paper (plain text files)
  2. OmniFocus (Mac Only)
  3. Lighthouse / TheChaw
One of the CakeFest attendees suggested post-it notes on a wall, so that the tam involved in pursuing the tasks can have some physical interaction with them, making the experience more productive and fun.

So with this in mind, Felix quickly went over what has worked for him and his company:

  1. Check emails twice a day only.
  2. Turn off instant messaging tools in the morning
  3. Set clear distinct goals for the day, and achieve those goals

How to fail at unit testing. Felix described some common myths about unit testing, how he feels failing is possible and how to improve your approach.

Failed unit testing can come from factors such as: Attempting to reach 100% code coverage all the time, misunderstanding test driven development and expecting that all developers / users can write unit tests.

Success can be achieved by approaching projects with a top-down approach, incorporating performance tests and re-factoring code.

Continuous integration was presented in a basic format, going through the setup that Felix has found useful, making use of git post-receive hooks, and parsing of results to send notifications when necessary. In terms of increasing productivity and performance overall, Felix has begun testing Pair programming, where there is one computer for two people, and the development process is discussed ongoing, meaning that a lot of bugs an individual would miss are caught by the secondary developer on the first code pass.

Virtualization though open source and free products like VirtualBox and VMWare Server are worthwhile investigating for cheap scaling testing during development.

Version control was introduced, referencing the change of CakePHP to git from subversion, pointing out the benefits including: decentralization, can work offline, can work semi-online though the use of adhoc networks, its very fast to operate and its more intelligent with the storage of information. Following this, a detailed example of three separate working repositories was demonstrated.

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CakeFest Insider

In case we haven’t reminded you enough lately, CakeFest 2020 is less than a month away. While we have recently hosted a few virtual meetups, a fully virtual conference is uncharted territory for our team. I like to look on the bright side of things, so I will say how excited I am that bakers from all over the world will be able to join in and participate this year. Obviously, with international travel, this hasn’t always been the case for individuals. So my last CakeFest blog, I went into details of what to expect, and how the conference will (hopefully) run - smoothly. However, we’ve had a lot of emails and interest in hearing about what topics will be covered. Our lineup is excellent this year - so we wanted to share some things to look forward to:  

SPONSORS

First, we have to give a shout out to this year’s sponsors Cake Development Corporation  Passbolt Mark’s Software  RingCentral Companies that support Open Source are essential for our communities to move forward and grow!   

SCHEDULE

Day 1 will feature our popular workshops. These sessions are different than normal conference talks because they are basically training sessions to help grow your recipe book. You can see examples of previous years HERE. There will be basic workshops, as well as advanced during the full day session. We have condensed this year’s duration, so what is normally 2 days of workshops will be done in 2 hour sessions by each baker.  Mark Story, Jorge Gonzalez, and Jose Lorenzo are back. This year, we’ve also recruited another core member, Mark Scherer… you may be familiar with Mark from hosting many of our virtual meetups.  Topics that our core members MIGHT include are (these are being discussed): CakePHP 4.x, as well as project examples -  a repost builder, a headless micro cms, a media server to upload/download cache files from S3. The speaker’s will build through a project with you, answering questions as they progress.  Have an idea you’d like the workshops to include? Email us! Cakefest@cakephp.org.
  Now, day 2. This year, we decided to go ahead and try a few new things. Of course being 100% digital, condensing times, and some topics and speakers that may be unexpected. I personally invited some speakers that I thought could bring something fresh to the tech conference table.  One of these being OSMI (Open Source Mental Illness). I wanted to bring mental health importance to light, and this group is doing amazing things for the development world. Mental health doesn’t have to be a taboo subject. Dr. Jennifer Akullian will be talking about mental health, stress, and burnout in the tech industry. In addition to an overview of the research, distinctive considerations of the industry we work in will be discussed, as well as how to improve the management of common stressors in technology during an incomparable time in the world. We will also hear how some people got their start, like Michael Hoffman, and learn how to build solid architecture with CakePHP Plugins thanks to Ed Barnard. Ever wondered how to release your own plugin? Jose Gonzalez will shed some light. We are also delighted to have one of our involved Japanese community bakers, Junichi Okuyama, joining us as a speaker this year talking about helpful tips that he has learned for baking with CakePHP. Our keynote will be given by our diamond sponsor representative from Passbolt, Remy Bertot.  Other talks will include: well known podcast host Cal Evans talking about all of the cool things that can be done with PHP's built in DateTime math, Mariano Iglesias,  core members Mark Story, Chris Nizzardini and Mark Scherer. Popular contributors Juan Pablo Ramirez and Nicolas Masson will join us and share more details about CakePHP fixture factories.   You can see the full schedule HERE, and plan your attendance accordingly. 
 

SLACK CHATS 

We will also have slack chat rooms for attendees. This will give everyone the opportunity to interact with other watchers as well as speakers. Questions are welcomed before, during, and after the event. We will have team members monitoring the chat and trying to get all questions answered as soon as possible.   Slack channel tag: #cakefest  So basically, have a coffee and a chat with other attendees and presenters.    Have you purchased your ticket yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?    

Upgrading to CakePHP 4

As you know, CakePHP announced the version 4.x last December.I recommend that you consider upgrading your applications to the next version, to keep up to date and get all the benefits. Now, let's see how to bake!  

Step 1: Upgrade PHP

First things first, if you are not running on PHP 7.2 or higher, you will need to upgrade PHP before updating CakePHP. CakePHP 4.0 requires a minimum of PHP 7.2.  

Step 2: Upgrade Templates and Resources

There is an upgrade CLI tool for rename and moving the templates and resources:   Templates and Resources must have been moved and renamed, check the result below: * This project doesn't have Resources files   Now, let's create a new constant for Resources on /config/paths.php: Finally, update the paths on config/app.php:  

Step 3: Upgrade CakePHP

The next step is optional (and the Migration Guide included this) - run the rector command to automatically fix many deprecated method calls: The rector applied on codebase some return type declarations: https://github.com/rafaelqueiroz/cakephp-upgrade-sample/commit/d7e5c2ecc5dc28045700a270721f07098a8e189c?branch=d7e5c2ecc5dc28045700a270721f07098a8e189c&diff=split Pay attention: It is important to apply rector before you upgrade your dependencies.   Upgrade CakePHP and PHPUnit: PHPUnit can be upgraded easily. Most of the time, the --update-with-dependencies doesn’t work with me for CakePHP: The root of the issue is the packages using Caret Version Range, so let’s update debug_kit, migrations and bake using editor:   Here we go:   Now, let see how the project looks: Here, we have few deprecations and warnings. Do you remember I mentioned the rector is optional? So, the question is the rector and it's not always able to handle these issues.   I will use the PHPStan to fix this - we will install with composer: Now, we can run the phpstan analyse and fix the issues:   It's up to you how much effort you will put in with PHPStan issues. I recommend fixing everything. For this post, I did fix only what was needed to run the project after the update, you can check the fixes on this commit.   After the last fixes, the project is running well:  That’s all? No. But we upgraded CakePHP? Yes. Real applications probably use many plugins, and if these plugins don't have a version for CakePHP 4, you will need to update. Depending on the size and level of complexity of the project, the upgrade could be hard, but never impossible.    If you do not feel confident or your company would like to outsource support for this, don't hesitate to contact us at Cake Development Corporation. Our team is offering a full upgrade from CakePHP 2/3 to CakePHP 4. This will be a migration of your current application code to make it compatible with CakePHP 4 features, plugins, security settings, etc. We will be doing these migration services for a special rate - something we have never done before! Learn more about our Upgrade Services You can check the codebase of the examples on this repository. The branch upgrade has all steps by commit.  With every release CakePHP gets better, and version 4.x is no exception. There are many benefits that come with upgrading, and it makes baking a lot easier.

Using Postgres as default database- hints, tricks and tips

SQL language for different databases has some differences, which could cause problems after migrations between these databases. Here, we collected some hints, problems could appear during migration from MySQL to PostgreSQL. We focus on the CakePHP model layer and query generation layer.  

Tables join in where expression

Often we want to join two tables using a condition like $query->where([‘Author.id = Article.author_id’]) which works fine till we dont need field alias quotes. In the case of migration to postgres, we might want to enable autoQuotes. In this case, we can use $query->newExpr()->equalFields(‘Author.idArticle.author_id’).   

Case sensitivity in like expressions

By default mysql does case insensitive search. Switching to postgres, you can note that some functionality works differently. Hopefully you have tests, which covers your code, and this will be detected during migration. Postgres uses custom syntax for such queries named ILIKE.The case of old style conditions where method arrays straight forward,  you’d just go with ILIKE instead of LIKE. But what if we want to use ILIKE in builder methods... Here is that example:     return $query->where(         function (QueryExpression $exp) use ($field, $value): QueryExpression {             return $exp->add(new \Cake\Database\Expression\Comparison($field, $value, 'string', 'ILIKE'));         });   

Type casing

As postgres is much more strict with types, type casing is not a rare operation and may be needed. Here is an example of how to perform it using FunctionExpression$expr = (new FunctionExpression('CAST'))->setConjunction(' AS ')->add([$id, 'varchar' => 'literal']); which generates expression like :id AS varchar there :id is the placeholder for variable $id. This trick, used with literal, allows you to cast to any postgres type.  

 Quotes of tables and fields

Sometimes it is critical to inform CakePHP that the field should be quoted. One recommendation is to avoid using plain strings in case of table joins, or using IS NULL as string. So if array syntax is used, all CakePHP conventions must be followed. However,  sometimes we should help the ORM and obviously wrap a field name with IdentifiedExpression. Let's take a look back to the previous example, but now we want to type cast not value, but a field. The only solution to quote field name correctly is using this code:     $id = new IdentifierExpression($this->aliasField($field));     $expr = (new FunctionExpression('CAST'))->setConjunction(' AS ')->add([$id, 'varchar' => 'literal']);   

Building complex arithmetic expressions

In case we want to generate expressions in query fields, and we don’t want to overcomplicate logic, we could use these next tricks. Here, I have created ListExpression, which could be used as a collection of expressions. Each of these are corrected, and generates a query with correct handling of each element. See: https://gist.github.com/skie/f6e4f1a1b61e0f902a507f7907c3bbf2 So, say we want to generate expressions like this: “Events”.”time_to” - “Events”.”time_from”... With ListExpression, it can be done quite easy:  $diff = new ListExpression([new IdentifierExpression('Events.time_to'), '-', new IdentifierExpression('Events.time_from')]);   Hopefully these tricks will be as useful for your baking as they have been for mine! 

We Bake with CakePHP