CakeDC Blog

TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

CakeDC Git Workflow - An Introduction

Its been almost a year now since we released, and then later open sourced, the CakeDC Git Workflow at CakeFest 2013 in San Francisco. Since then, we've had loads of feedback, and have also experienced ourselves how it's revolutionized the way we work on projects.

When we first set out to define the workflow we had some issues which we wanted to resolve. The main ones being broken staging servers due to unstable branches, an unorganized planning of QA on a build, repeated efforts when testing code which is constantly changing, and messy repositories with no clear organization.

Having these problems at hand, we wanted to accomplish a couple of goals:

  • Maintain a master branch which is reliable as a stable and versioned code base
  • Provide a staged code base that's stable and best represents the upcoming version
  • Allow new releases to be comprised of multiple milestones (or sprints)
  • Allow developers to create features from the code developed by others
  • Allow the next milestone to start while the QA process is still active on the previous
  • Allow QA to review code on an isolated branch without affecting the stage server
  • Isolate bug fixing on separate branches to avoid active development during QA
  • Provide a process which can be planned around and scheduled for QA and releases

So, we set out to define a process which would allow us to meet these goals, and help us deliver projects, without the pain of the managing that process itself.

Organize and coordinate

When working with a team of managers, developers and testers, it becomes very important to keep your sanity by organizing and coordinating efforts on projects. When these projects are large in size and scope, that can become a difficult task, especially if you don't have a clearly defined process at hand. And that doesn't just mean defining a series of steps to follow, but a process which sets the team's direction, and facilitates the desired results.

The CakeDC Git Workflow does just that, by setting out a clear path to follow, and key points in which members of the team are involved, from managers and developers, through to QA testers and client review. These break down as the following:

  • Development: After gathering requirements and planning out a milestone this is the first phase. During this time the code base is actively worked on, and can be considered unstable, in a bleeding edge state. Each ticket is developed on a feature branched from the develop branch. Peer review would take place on each feature branch before it reaches develop.
  • QA: Once the first phase of development is complete the QA process begins. This is performed on an isolated branch, so the next milestone could commence. The acceptance criteria defined from the requirements would be applied here. Any bugs found by the testers are fixed on an issue branched from the qa branch.
  • Review: Once testing has concluded and the code base is considered stable it's merged to the stage branch, and a milestone is tagged. The client or product manager would now review the results and provide feedback.
  • Release: Once the work completed in milestones constitutes a new version of the application the code from stage is merged to master, and a release is tagged.

Iterating through milestones

At the core of the workflow is the concept of milestone development. A milestone represents a deliverable, and is broken down into 3 phases: development, qa and staging. Each of these has a dedicated branch in the repository, which holds the work completed at each step of the process, and ensures that all work done on the project follows through these phases.

The milestone also helps organize the development team as well as the client (product owner), as the workflow keeps everyone in a cycle, which helps avoid feature creep and sets clear and coherent objectives and responsibilities at each point in the process.

Quality as the driving factor

At CakeDC our ultimate objective is to deliver the highest quality possible. This means that all members involved with a project need to provide the best possible to meet that common goal. We do it because we care about what we're building, and want the result to match our expectations as to what the "best" means in each case.

Our workflow keeps that philosophy in high regard, as its designed to protect the code base at all times from anything which doesn't meet the grade. Each phase acts as a barrier to avoid the master branch from being compromised.

Latest articles

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