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Benchmarking requestAction

Now there has been a lot of discussion in the past few months about requestAction() and how it can very easily create a negative impact on your application. In fact I even wrote such an article myself. However, its high time that someone did the number crunching to really see if requestAction() is actually as slow as we all seem to think it is. So onto the testing method and the results.

Testing method

To test this theory I used a small CakePHP application and the SVN head (revision 8064) of CakePHP. I used a simple sample application with 2 controllers and 2 models. My model method directly returned the results without touching the database, so that database retrieval time and model processing would not be a factor in these tests. As I was only interested in the performance implications inherent in requestAction() itself, I wanted to remove the variance created by connecting to a database. I set debug = 0, and used basic file caching. After warming up the cake core caches, I tested 4 different controller actions.

  • Using Relations / ClassRegistry::init() - The method I originally proposed, and often touted as the 'best' solution to requestAction()
  • Using RequestAction with a string URL
  • Using RequestAction with and Array URL
  • Using a cached RequestAction - This more accurately simulates how we use requestAction at CakeDC.

Benchmarks were generated with Siege I used 10 concurrent users with 110 reps each. My local development web-server is running Apache 2.2/PHP 5.2.6 o n a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo iMac with 2GB of ram. I ran each test 3 times and took the best result of each.

Using model relations / ClassRegistry::init()

First up was my originally proposed solution of using model relations to access the correct information. I used the following command and got the following results.

siege -b http://localhost/benchmark/posts/using_relations

Transactions:		        1100 hits
Availability:		      100.00 %
Elapsed time:		       63.21 secs
Data transferred:	        1.50 MB
Response time:		        0.55 secs
Transaction rate:	       17.40 trans/sec
Throughput:		        0.02 MB/sec
Concurrency:		        9.60
Successful transactions:        1100
Failed transactions:	           0
Longest transaction:	        1.76
Shortest transaction:	        0.10


Using RequestAction with a string URL

Up next was using request action with a string url. String URL's are often the slower way to perform a requestAction as parsing the URL string is one of the more expensive operations in request dispatching. I used the following command and the best results were.

siege -b http://localhost/benchmark/posts/using_requestaction

Transactions:		        1100 hits
Availability:		      100.00 %
Elapsed time:		       64.60 secs
Data transferred:	        1.51 MB
Response time:		        0.57 secs
Transaction rate:	       17.03 trans/sec
Throughput:		        0.02 MB/sec
Concurrency:		        9.72
Successful transactions:        1100
Failed transactions:	           0
Longest transaction:	        1.76
Shortest transaction:	        0.11


RequestAction with an Array URL

Up next is requestAction() witn an array url. Using an array URL is supposed to expedite the dispatching process as it bypasses much of the parameter parsing done by Router. This theory turned out to be true, as Array URL's clocked in marginally faster than their string counterparts.

siege -b http://localhost/benchmark/posts/using_requestaction_array

Transactions:		        1100 hits
Availability:		      100.00 %
Elapsed time:		       64.08 secs
Data transferred:	        1.53 MB
Response time:		        0.57 secs
Transaction rate:	       17.17 trans/sec
Throughput:		        0.02 MB/sec
Concurrency:		        9.78
Successful transactions:        1100
Failed transactions:	           0
Longest transaction:	        1.66
Shortest transaction:	        0.11

RequestAction using Array URL's and Caching

In my mind this was going to be the most performant requestAction option, due to the cached nature. The results were as expected with this method clocking to be only slightly behind the relation call. It is important to note as well, that this test does not reflect the time savings earned from not having to make an additional query/ round of result parsing. In a real world situation, the savings of using a cached element would be magnified by the cost of the query.

siege -b http://localhost/benchmark/posts/using_cached_requestaction

Transactions:		        1100 hits
Availability:		      100.00 %
Elapsed time:		       63.60 secs
Data transferred:	        1.52 MB
Response time:		        0.56 secs
Transaction rate:	       17.30 trans/sec
Throughput:		        0.02 MB/sec
Concurrency:		        9.62
Successful transactions:        1100
Failed transactions:	           0
Longest transaction:	        1.77
Shortest transaction:	        0.09

Results Summary

In case you quickly scanned through the full results here is a summary of what happened.

Method Requests per second (mean) Total time taken (seconds)
Using relations/ClassRegistry::init() 17.40 63.21
Using requestAction and string urls 17.03 64.60
Using requestAction and array urls 17.17 64.08
Using cached requestaction 17.30 63.60

In closing requestAction() can be slower than a direct method call. There are some benefits to using requestAction though.

  • You have the opportunity to reduce the number of repeated lines of code by putting the requestAction inside the element. In doing so, you create an encapsulated element, that can be included anywhere without having to worry about having the correct method calls in your controller.
  • You can more easily cache the element. By using requestAction in conjunction with element caching you have an easy to use, simple to implement caching. Getting the same results with model method calls in your controller requires additional caching logic in your models.
  • The potential for increased performance. As we saw in the benchmarks above, a cached element performed almost as fast as the direct method call. This margin will grow when a database query is added into the mix.

Now am I retracting my previous stance on requestAction? No, I still feel that there are many situations where requestAction is the incorrect solution and signals poor application design. However, when the need arises it is good to know that requestAction can be as fast or faster than other approaches when implemented properly.

 

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CakeFest 2021 Recap

Here we are again coming off of the CakeFest sugar high! I don’t even know where to begin.    Unfortunately, or fortunately - I haven’t decided, we had to do another virtual event. The safety of speakers, staff and attendees is very important to us, so a physical event was not the best option in our opinion with traveling.    However, after this event, I started thinking about the people who were able to attend from the comfort of their own homes or offices. These people may not have been able to travel or attend otherwise, and that gives me our silver lining. Not to mention that we had more ticket sales this year than any of our previous events (at least that I can remember).    The theme, for me anyway, ha ha, was traveling the world, ironically. We started in the Canary Islands, traveled to Germany, to Canada, to England and Austria. We had new faces from the US, the Czech Republic and even Japan - and more! This is, as I’ve mentioned, one of the best things about the CakePHP community, we have community members all over the world. This was our chance to come together.    So let’s get to the event. Here’s what you may have missed: 

Workshops:

Workshop 1 Jorge González (Twitter: @steinkelz) Topics covered included: 0:00 - Docker development environment for CakePHP 15:56 - Middlewares  30:05 - Security 1:31:36 - Performance optimization 2:04:49 - Events   Workshop 2 Michael Hoffmann (Twitter: @cleptric) Topics covered included: 0:00:00 -Setup login action in CakePHP 0:29:10 - Vite with hot reloading Vue.js tailwind css   Workshop 3 Mark Story (Twitter: @mark_story) Topics covered included: 0:04:25 - Leveraging new style fixtures 0:48:26 - Using the DI container 1:30:13 - Browser automation testing with Panther. 2:17:13 - Helpers you may need.
 

Talks:

* Juan Pablo Ramirez (Twitter: @jpramidev) gave the keynote talk on behalf of Passbolt. * Sho Ito (Twitter: @itosho) taught us all about Components * Yuki Kanazawa (Twitter: @yakitori009) and this talk about Automatically Distributing Reference Queries to    Read Replica in CakePHP4 * Mark Scherer (Twitter: @dereuromark) schooled attendees on IDE in CakePHP development * Jiri Havlicek (Twitter: @Jerryhavl) played a big role in fighting COVID-19 by helping create a  contact tracing app (developed with CakePHP) in Czech Republic * Chris Miller (Twitter: @ccmiller2019) explained standards and why we use them * Kevin Phifer (Twitter: @lordsimal)  joined in to explain how to re-use code - utility classes and PHP namespaces * Paul Henriks created a plugin with attendees LIVE * Ed Barnard (Twitter: @ewbarnard) brought the dragons! He talked about finding the Joy in Software Development * Chris Hartjes (Twitter: @grmpyprogrammer) delivered a Grumpy Programmer's Guide to being a senior developer  * Joe Ferguson (Twitter: @joepferguson) shared his knowledge on Modern Infrastructure as code with Ansible * Timo Stark (Twitter: @linux_lenny) shared details about NGINX Unit - and how to modernize your CakePHP deployments

Trivia and giveaways 

Cake ceremony dedicated to Mark Story

We took this time to thank and acknowledge Mark Story for all of his hard work and dedication that he puts into CakePHP. He then headed the cake cutting ceremony (virtually of course) as speakers and attendees enjoyed their own treats!   See the full archive here: https://cakefest.org/archive/virtual-2021  

So what’s to come? 

First!  Videos are starting to be released. With the help of community member Aroop Roelofs, we will be releasing these videos faster than expected. Ticket holders have been receiving access, and they will be released publicly in the coming days.  In regards to future events, it’s up in the air. We will have some internal discussions about safety measures and restrictions, then we will weigh the option between another virtual or physical event. We will, of course, reach out to the community for their input.  I will close by just saying THANK YOU. Thank you for making my job worth it. When an event runs smoothly and gets so much great feedback, that is a direct reflection from the community support. We hope you all will continue to join us in years to come!    Thanks for baking!  

Dependency Injection with CakePHP

Let’s talk about Dependency Injection!

SOLID principles

As you know SOLID is an acronym for the  five object-oriented design principles. In this topic, we will focus on Interface segregation principle and Dependency inversion principle. Interface segregation principle states that a client must not be forced to implement an interface that they do not use, or clients shouldn’t be forced to depend on methods they do not use. In other words, having  many client-specific interfaces is better than one general-purpose interface. From the other side, Dependency inversion principle states that objects must depend on abstractions, not on concretions. It states that the high-level module must not depend on the low-level module, but they should depend on abstractions. To follow Dependency inversion principle, we need to construct low-level modules and pass them to constructors, and that might create a lot of manual work for developers. The dependency injection container is created specifically for solving the problem with manual construction of an object, before creating a specific object. If we follow interface segregation principle when developing application modules, it would be easy to configure a container and switch module dependency. This is where the interface shows its incredible power.  

Few words about CakePHP Events System

CakePHP Events System was created to allow injecting some logic using listeners. However, in some cases, it is used to get results from code that will be created by the module user. When an event is dispatched by the listener, it can return the result. Callback injection through the event system has some drawbacks. First of all, parameters passed to the event need to pass as a hash array. So unfortunately, there is no way to check that all params are really passed or to be sure that all passed params have correct types. Is there a way to solve this problem? Yes, and containers could help with that. Instead of passing events, we can get the required object from the container and call it method. But you could say: wait, we don't know what object could be used in client code within the developed plugin. That's fine, and this  is where interface segregation principle can help. In our plugin, we define an interface for each such case, and instead of dispatching an event, we can easily get an object from the container by interface.       $updater = $container->get(AfterLoginInterface::class);     if ($updater !== null) {         $user = $updater->afterLogin($user);     }   In the Application::services method, users link the interface with the specific class.       public function services(ContainerInterface $container): void     {         $container->add(AfterLoginInterface::class, MyAfterLogin::class);     }   In some of default behavior needed we can map service class for container to default implementation using Plugin::services method.       public function services(ContainerInterface $container): void     {         if (!$container->has(AfterLoginInterface::class)) {             $container->add(AfterLoginInterface::class, NullAfterLogin::class);         }     }  

Container propagation

Dependency injection is an experimental feature. Initial implementation limited by Controllers constructors and methods, and Commands constructors. If we want to access the container in other parts of the application, we may want to propagate it from app level. The most logical way would be to implement middleware and store the container inside the request attribute.   <?php declare(strict_types=1);   namespace App\Middleware;   use Cake\Core\ContainerInterface; use Psr\Http\Message\ResponseInterface; use Psr\Http\Message\ServerRequestInterface; use Psr\Http\Server\MiddlewareInterface; use Psr\Http\Server\RequestHandlerInterface; use RuntimeException;   /**  * Container Injector Middleware  */ class ContainerInjectorMiddleware implements MiddlewareInterface {     /**      * @var \Cake\Core\ContainerInterface      */     protected $container;       /**      * Constructor      *      * @param \Cake\Core\ContainerInterface $container The container to build controllers with.      */     public function __construct(ContainerInterface $container)     {         $this->container = $container;     }       /**      * Serve assets if the path matches one.      *      * @param \Psr\Http\Message\ServerRequestInterface $request The request.      * @param \Psr\Http\Server\RequestHandlerInterface $handler The request handler.      * @return \Psr\Http\Message\ResponseInterface A response.      */     public function process(ServerRequestInterface $request, RequestHandlerInterface $handler): ResponseInterface     {         return $handler->handle($request->withAttribute('container', $this->container));     }   That’s it! I hope that this will help you when you are baking with dependency injections. If you run into any problems, there are many support channels that allow the CakePHP community to help  You can check them out under the community tab at CakePHP.org.

One CakePHP Project Per Day

The whole team here at CakeDC are big supporters and contributors of the CakePHP community. For this month, I decided to do “one CakePHP project per day” to share with the community.  Here are some of my projects so far:

Project 01 - Notes App

A one page note application using CakePHP 4 and Bootstrap 5. This project is  a good starting point to learn the framework. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-project-a-day-challenge-01-notes  

Project 02 - Contact List

An application to manage contacts - you are able to list, add, edit and delete contacts, upload contact avatar images or use avatar images from gravatar.com . It was built using CakePHP 4, plugin friendsofcake/search, plugin josegonzalez/cakephp-upload, Gravatar, and Bootstrap 5.  Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-project-a-day-challenge-02-contact-list  

Project 03 - Recipe Box

An application to manage recipes, using CakePHP 4,  CouchDB and Bootstrap 5. This one is a good starting point to learn to use CouchDB with CakePHP, including how to list, add and edit recipes (documents). Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-03-recipe-box  

Project 04 - Service Plan with Exchange rate

An application to list services and apply exchange rate using the api https://exchangeratesapi.io/documentation/ and CakePHP 4. In this one you see the custom namespace WebService to handle logic related to api as client. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-04-service-plans-ex-rate  

Project 05 - Polls

A fun poll app, using the awesome Bulma CSS Framework and CakePHP 4. A good example of model association and the CounterCache Behavior. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-05-polls-emmy  

Project 06 - Movie Theater Schedule

An application to see which movies are in the theaters and which hours by screen each day of the week. A good example of complex queries, model associations and seed data. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-06-movie-theater-schedule  

Project 07 - Podcast Finder

An application to help easily find podcasts and download episodes. In the source code you’ll find how to use the itunes api,  a structure to handle Model actions (that I think is a good option to make your models cleaner), and a way to parse podcasts feed (XML); example usage of dependency injection. The application was built with CakePHP 4 and Bulma CSS Framework. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-07-podcast-finder  

Project 08 - Url Shortener

An application to create short urls - a good example of how to create custom routes and use custom primary key types for a model. The application was built with CakePHP 4. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-08-url-shortener  

Project 09 - Quiz

Users can list quizzes, create quizzes and answer at any time. A good example of how to use MongoDB with CakePHP 4 with a base structure for Collection classes.  Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-09-quiz  

Project 10 - File Transfer

An application to easily send files to anyone, create an account, upload the file and inform the person email to send to. Built with CakePHP 4, plugin CakeDC/Users,  plugin Josegonzalez/Upload,  plugin friendsofcake/bootstrap-ui, SMTP and Bootstrap. A good example to see the usage of these plugins. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-10-file-transfer  

Project 11 - Tasks

A one page application for  users to manage their tasks. The user can create and remove decks, create and complete tasks, and list tasks grouped by decks. Built with CakePHP 4, plugin CakeDC/Users and Bootstrap 5 Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-11-tasks  

Project 12 - Blog

A blog website with blog posts and tags management, WYSIWYG editor, blog search, tags filtering. Built with CakePHP 4, CakeDC/Users plugin, friendsofcake/bootstrap-ui, Muffin/Slug, friendsofcake/search and Bootstrap 4 . A good example of usage of custom routes, route prefix, finders and multiple plugins. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-12-blog  

Project 13 - Olympic Medal Count

Perfect time for this project, right?! An application to display olympic medal count by country and sports. The source code uses CouterCache behavior and aggregated query. Built with CakePHP 4 and Bootstrap 5. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-13-olympic-medal-count
 

Project 14 - Smart Home Dashboard

An awesome dashboard to manage smart devices using MQTT Messaging, CakePHP 4, CakeDC/Users plugin, php-mqtt/client (testing with Mosquitto Broker) and Bootstrap 5. The application is able to publish messages to change device status and subscribe for status changes. Link: https://github.com/rochamarcelo/one-cakephp-project-a-day-challenge-14-smart-home-dashboard-mqtt    I hope that this initiative will somehow inspire others to put their Cake skills to work, and share their projects with the community. If you’d like to see my future projects and posts, you can follow me on Twitter, and I will share them all there! https://twitter.com/mrcodex

We Bake with CakePHP