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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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When and why should you upgrade to CakePHP 5?

CakePHP 5.0.0 was released on September 10th. The current version as of today is 5.0.3 (released Nov 28th and compatible with PHP 8.3 https://github.com/cakephp/cakephp/releases/tag/5.0.3). You might be asking yourself some questions related to the upgrade… here's what we've been recommending to our clients to do since version 5 was released. Leaving aside the obvious reasons for an upgrade, today we're going to categorize the decision from 2 different points of view: Your current CakePHP version, and your role in the project.

When should you upgrade? 

  We are going to use current CakePHP version as the main criteria: * If you are in CakePHP <= 2   * We strongly recommend an upgrade as soon as possible. If you are unable to upgrade, try to keep your PHP version and all the underlying dependencies as fresh as you can and isolate the application as much as possible. If your application is internal, consider using a VPN blocking all outside traffic. If your site is open to the public, consider using an isolated environment, hardened. Adding a web application firewall and a strict set of rules could also help to mitigate potential security issues. Even if CakePHP is very secure, the older versions of CakePHP, like  1 and 2  have a very old code base , and other vendors/ libraries could be a serious security risk for your project at this point.   * If you are in CakePHP 3.x   * The effort to upgrade at least to CakePHP 4.x should not be a blocker. We would recommend upgrading at least to the latest CakePHP 4.5.x. You can actually "ignore" the deprecations for now, you don't need to plan for upgrading your authentication/authorization layers just yet, focus on getting your project stable and up to CakePHP 4.5.x in the first round.   * If you are in CakePHP 4.x   * Upgrading to CakePHP 5.x is not an immediate priority for you.   * I would say, 2024 is a good time to start planning for an upgrade. Feature and bugfix releases for 4.x will continue until September 2025. Security fixes will continue for 4.x until September 2026. You have plenty of time to consider an upgrade, and take advantage of newer (and faster!) PHP versions.  

Why should you upgrade? 

  We are going to use your role in the project to provide some good reasons: * If you are a developer   * More strict types, meaning better IDE support and more errors catched at development time.   * New features in CakePHP 5.x will make your code more readable, like Typed finder parameters https://book.cakephp.org/5/en/appendices/5-0-migration-guide.html#typed-finder-parameters      * Quality of life features, reducing development time like https://book.cakephp.org/5/en/appendices/5-0-migration-guide.html#plugin-installer   * Compatibility with PHP 8.3 for extra performance & support   * If you are a manager   * Ensure your development team is forced to drop old auth code and embrace the new authentication/authorization layer https://book.cakephp.org/5/en/appendices/5-0-migration-guide.html#auth   * The new authentication layer will allow you to easily integrate features like single sign on, two factor authentication or hardware keys (like Yubikeys), as there are plugins available handling all these features.   * Get an extended support window. CakePHP is one of the longest maintained frameworks out there, upgrading to CakePHP 5 will keep your core maintained past 2026.   * Upgrade to PHP 8.3 and force legacy vendors to be up to date with the new version, this will also push your team to get familiar with the new PHP core features.   * If you are an investor, not directly related with the project day-to-day operations   * Secure your inversion for a longer period.   * Reduce your exposure to security issues.   * Send a strong message to your partners, keeping your product updated with the latest technology trends.   * Send a strong message to your team, investing in the upgrade of your application will let them know the project is aiming for a long term future.   In conclusion, upgrading to CakePHP 5 is a good move for 2024 whether you're a developer, manager, or investor. The version 5 is stable and ready to go. Staying current becomes not just a best practice but a strategic advantage.   If you are in doubt, feel free to contact us. We'll review your case (for free) and provide an actionable recommendation based on your current situation in the next business day.  

A quick CakePHP Local environment with DDEV

In the realm of web development, a seamless local environment is the bedrock for efficient and stress-free coding. Enter DDEV, a powerful tool that simplifies the setup process and empowers developers to dive into their projects with ease. In this blog post, we'll embark on a journey to demystify the process of setting up a local development environment using DDEV. Whether you're a seasoned developer or just starting in the world of web development, optimizing your local environment can significantly enhance your workflow.

Pre Conditions :

Install Docker https://docs.docker.com/get-docker/ and install DDEV https://ddev.readthedocs.io/en/stable/

Step 1: Create a new CakePHP project skeleton 

composer create-project cakephp/app myproject A new folder "myproject" will be created with a CakePHP project skeleton inside. Go to this new directory and proceed with the following instructions.

Step 2: Initial ddev setup

Run ddev config
This will do the initial ddev setup, press enter for all questions.  Run ddev auth ssh
This will add ssh key authentication to the ddev-ssh-auth container

Step 3: Adjust the settings

Inside "myproject" a new .ddev folder will be created, open config.yaml  and adjust there: php version, database and the database url environment.  For PHP:
php_version: "8.1"

For the database: database: type: mysql version: "8.0" For the environment variable: web_environment: - DATABASE_URL=mysql://db:db@db/db

Step 4: Start ddev

ddev start  This will spin up the project.

Step 5: Open your application

ddev launch This will open your project in a browser.   Once you have the application up and running, some useful commands you could run are:
  • ddev composer to execure composer
  • ddev mysql to get into the database
  • ddev ssh takes you into the web container.
In this link https://ddev.readthedocs.io/en/latest/users/usage/cli/ you can see more useful commands.   Hope you enjoy playing with DDEV!

 

   

 

 

CakeFest 2023 Recap

CakeFest 2023 once again brought together developers from around the world for a weekend of baking (code), insightful talks, and community building. This year's event, featuring speakers from eight different countries and attendees joining both in person and via live streaming, was a refreshing convergence of passion and technology.

International Flavor:

One of the highlights of CakeFest 2023 was its international reach. Speakers from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Brazil, and Spain graced the virtual and physical stages, sharing experiences in the world of CakePHP and software development. This lineup added a diverse perspective to the event's discussions.  

A Weekend of Learning and Networking:

CakeFest attendees enjoyed a weekend filled with learning opportunities, covering things from beginner workshops to cutting-edge software development trends, to the future of CakePHP. Workshops, panels, and presentations provided valuable insights and knowledge of the framework. We hope that everyone had the chance to expand their skills, connect with other developers, and forge new professional relationships. When CakeFest wasn't in session, the core/CakePHP team and attendees spent a lot of time getting to know each other… Groups went to lunch and dinner every day of the event. This is probably my favorite part of the physical conferences.    

Baking and Code:

Day 1 consisted of 2 full workshops from Jorge González and lead core developer Mark Story. The third workshop presented by Kevin Pfeifer was included in day 2’s hybrid model. Followed by talks from: John Killcommons (keynote) of Zulucare/Zulucloud, Rafael Queiroz (Github actions for beginners and applied to CakePHP basic projects), Celso Fontes (PGE Digital, a successful CakePHP project in Rio de Janeiro's Attorney), and Andres Campanario (Integration of inertiajs on CakePHP to bake CRUD SPA).    Day 3’s speakers included: Remy Bertot (keynote) of Passbolt, Mark Scherer  (How to use your IDE effectively for CakePHP), Alejandro Ibarra (Unveiling the Ultimate Showdown: A Comparative Analysis of Local Development Tools), Stefan Koopmanschap (Domain-Driven Design: The Basics), Umer Salman (Agile Deployment of CakePHP Web Applications in a Hybrid Kubernetes Cluster), and Wim Godden (Websockets as the glue to interactivity).    It was a weekend worth remembering for sure. The unique blend of networking and code at CakeFest allowed attendees to see just how far CakePHP has come, and will go, plus some pretty cool things built with the framework.     

The Cake Ceremony:

No CakeFest would be complete without the much-anticipated cake ceremony. We hope that those attending virtually were able to enjoy some with us. In LA, we carried on the tradition of allowing Mark Story to be the “cutter of the cake”. Now that I think about it, he never asks to cut the cake, but it’s a honor nonetheless. 

   

Conclusion:

CakeFest 2023 was a celebration of passion, knowledge, and creativity. With its global reach, experienced speaker lineup, and faithful community, we believe that the event left attendees inspired and eager to continue their works using Cake. We also learned about all of the cool places that CakePHP is being utilized, from the attorney general's office in Brazil, all the way to nasa using some CakePHP in space (more or less). We also heard from some of our CakePHP core developers - specifically their thoughts on CakePHP 5 and what’s to come. You can see a lot of photos on Facebook and Twitter and the edited presentation videos will be posted to YouTube soon. We are working on getting slides uploaded into the CakeFest site as we speak (or type).    Someone said to me that there's a little bit of magic in every slice of cake and every line of code… I think that pretty well sums up our great weekend at CakeFest.

We Bake with CakePHP