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PHP Quality Assurance Tools with CakePHP

In Software Development, we are always looking for resources to improve the products we deliver. In this article we show some awesome php qa tools to help us improve our CakePHP software quality and development process. Let's dive in.

Note: The snippets provided in this article can be found at https://github.com/CakeDC/phpqa-app-example
 

Coding Standards

Choosing a coding standard for your project will help the developers team speak the same language by defining a set of rules on how to name variables, methods, class and etc. The coding standard usage can make the integration of community libs and plugins easier.

Checking and fixing coding standards are easily done with the awesome tool PHP_CodeSniffer, this tool has two main scripts:

  • phpcs check for coding standard violations

  • phpcbf autofix coding standard violations, keep in mind that not all errors will be autofixed, but will help you a lot.
     

CakePHP offers a customized coding standards at https://github.com/cakephp/cakephp-codesniffer and you should be using it.
 

Let’s install the tool and the coding standard:

composer require --dev cakephp/cakephp-codesniffer:~4.1.0


Create the file phpcs.xml

<?xml version="1.0"?>

<ruleset name="App">

   <config name="installed_paths" value="../../cakephp/cakephp-codesniffer"/>

   <rule ref="CakePHP"/>

</ruleset>


Update “scripts” block in composer.json  with:

"scripts": {

        "cs-check": "phpcs -p ./src ./tests",

        "cs-fix": "phpcbf -p ./src ./tests",
 

Now we can run composer cs-check and composer cs-fix. In a sample app I got this output saying some errors can be autofixed with composer cs-fix


Static Analysis

How many times have you deployed a project on a production server and found a silly error like calling an undefined method? I hope not often. To avoid this type of issue, a static analysis tool is useful. I recommend you to use PHPStan and PSalm, these tools will help you find errors without having to run the application.

PHStan

PHPStan will rely on phpdoc, so that’s one more reason to use a coding standard tool like PHP_CodeSniffer. Also I recommend that you use the plugin: cakephp-ide-helper, to update annotations (phpdoc) in your app classes.

In some cases we need to help PHPStan understand our code better, and for this reason we created a custom extension: https://github.com/cakedc/cakephp-phpstan.

Let’s install PHPStan using composer:

composer require --dev phpstan/phpstan phpstan/extension-installer cakedc/cakephp-phpstan:^1.0
 

We also need to create two config files

Includes:

    - vendor/cakedc/cakephp-phpstan/extension.neon

    - phpstan-baseline.neon

parameters:

    level: 6

    checkMissingIterableValueType: false

    checkGenericClassInNonGenericObjectType: false

    autoload_files:

        - tests/bootstrap.php

    ignoreErrors:

services:

parameters:

    ignoreErrors:
 

And add two scripts into “scripts” block from composer.json

"stan": "phpstan analyse src/",

        "stan-rebuild-baseline": "phpstan analyse --configuration phpstan.neon --error-format baselineNeon src/ > phpstan-baseline.neon",


Now we can run composer stan and  composer stan-rebuild-baseline the second one will populate phpstan-baseline.neon to ignore all errors returned in composer stan so only use when all the errors shown should be ignored.

 

Psalm 

Psalm is another awesome static analysis tool, it provides a way to check for errors in your code, and can fix some of them, too. In my experience psalm and phpstan work perfect, so you don’t need to pick one or the other, you can use both.

Let’s install psalm:

composer require --dev  "psalm/phar:~3.11.2"


We also need to create two config files

<?xml version="1.0"?>

<psalm

    allowCoercionFromStringToClassConst="true"

    allowStringToStandInForClass="true"

    xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"

    xmlns="https://getpsalm.org/schema/config"

    xsi:schemaLocation="https://getpsalm.org/schema/config vendor/vimeo/psalm/config.xsd"

    errorBaseline="psalm-baseline.xml"

>
   <projectFiles>

        <directory name="src" />

    </projectFiles>

    <issueHandlers>

        <LessSpecificReturnType errorLevel="info" />

        <RedundantConditionGivenDocblockType errorLevel="info" />

        <TypeCoercion errorLevel="info" />

        <DocblockTypeContradiction errorLevel="info" />

    </issueHandlers>

</psalm>
 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<files psalm-version="3.11.2@d470903722cfcbc1cd04744c5491d3e6d13ec3d9">

</files>
 

And add two scripts into “scripts” block from composer.json

"psalm": "psalm.phar --show-info=false src/ ",

        "psalm-rebuild-baseline": "psalm.phar --show-info=false  --set-baseline=psalm-baseline.xml  src/"

Now we can run composer psalm and  composer psalm-rebuild-baseline the second one will populate psalm-baseline.xml to ignore all errors returned in composer stan, so only use this when all the errors shown should be ignored.

When we run composer psalm it may inform you that some errors can be autofixed and which arguments you should use to fix. Normally it will be something like

vendor/bin/psalm.phar --alter --issues=MissingReturnType,MissingClosureReturnType --dry-run


Psalm will only change the file If you remove the --dry-run part.

 

Testing

Testing is extremely important for any application development. There are many types of software for testing, in this article we are focusing on unit tests. Unit tests help us check if one specific piece of code is working as expected, you can think like ‘Is method ‘A’ returning the correct value when argument has value ‘Z’?’.

In CakePHP we have built-in support to PHPUnit, CakePHP integration offers additional features to make it easier to run units tests like custom asserts and methods for integration tests, and fixtures logic for models. We can bake unit tests using the bake plugin.

To improve your unit tests try the cakedc/cakephp-db-test with this one you can use database fixtures instead of files. Learn more at: https://www.cakedc.com/rafael_queiroz/2020/04/27/unit-testing-with-cakedc-db-test

PHPUnit probably already is installed in your app but if not I recommend you to compare your project files with: https://github.com/cakephp/app.

For more information check out: https://book.cakephp.org/4/en/development/testing.html

 

Hope you enjoyed this article and will start using these awesome tools to make your projects better than ever. Good Baking.

 

Latest articles

CakePHP 4 - First Look

Last december, the CakePHP team announced the immediate availability of 4.0.0. This release begins a new chapter for CakePHP, as 4.0 is now API stable. With this release, Cake 3.x moves into maintenance mode, while 2.x moves into security release mode. The promise of the version is: cleaner, faster and still tasty as usual. I had the opportunity to bake a new application from scratch and I will give my feedback about my process.  

Skeleton Design

The new version refreshes the skeleton design of the application. Now we have 2 new folders on root:
  • Templates

The templates folder has presentational files placed here: elements, error pages, layouts, and view template files. Pay attention for subfolders: 
  • Core templates are lowercase: cell, element, email, layout
  • App templates still uppercase: Error, Pages
  • Resources

The resources folder has subfolders for various types of resource files.  The locales* sub folder stores string files for internationalization.   If you are familiar with i18n, you will see the difference:
  • src/Locale/pt_BR/default.po (3.x)
  • resources/locales/pt_BR/default.po (4.x)
  Another important change was the .ctp files. They are moved for .php. CakePHP template files have a default extension of .php now. We have a new config/app_local.php file, which contains the configuration data that varies between environments and should be managed by configuration management, or your deployment tooling.  

PHP Strict Type Mode

In PHP the declare (strict_types = 1); directive enables strict mode. In strict mode, only a variable of exact type of the “type declaration” will be accepted, or a TypeError will be thrown. The only exception to this rule is that an integer may be given to a function expecting a float. This is a feature from PHP 7 - which we strongly recommended. All codebase from the skeleton and files generated by bake will include the function.  

Entities

The preferred way of getting new entities is using the newEmptyEntity() method: $product = $this->Products->newEmptyEntity();  

Authentication

After 10 years baking, that's a really big change for me. I’m not usually use plugins for authentication, I really like the Auth Component. I think many bakers would agree, as I remember on the first international meetup, the co-host shared the same opinion.   The Auth Component is deprecated, so it's better move on and save the good memories. The new way for implementing Authentication is more verbose. It requires a few steps, I don’t will detail that,  because you can easily check on book:
  • Install Authentication Plugin
  • Load the Plugin
  • Apply the Middleware
  • Load the Component
  My first look is like I said,  too verbose, for me anyway. We need to write a lot of code. Also it is not included on the skeleton of CakePHP applications, you need include by your own. https://book.cakephp.org/authentication/2/en/index.html  

HTTPS Enforcer Middleware

Contrary to the Authentication, I was really surprised how easy it was to force my Application to use HTTPS. If you are familiar with CakePHP, you will use the Security Component for that: class AppController extends Controller {      public function initialize()    {        parent::initialize();        $this->loadComponent('Security', [            'blackHoleCallback' => 'forceSSL',        ]);    }      public function beforeFilter(Event $event)    {        if (!Configure::read('debug')) {            $this->Security->requireSecure();        }    }      public function forceSSL()    {        return $this->redirect(            'https://' .            env('SERVER_NAME') .            Router::url($this->request->getRequestTarget())        );    }   }
  The implementation on version 4 is less verbose and easy, kudos for the new version:    public function middleware(MiddlewareQueue $middlewareQueue)    {        $middlewareQueue            ->add(new HttpsEnforcerMiddleware([                'redirect' => true,                'statusCode' => 302,                'disableOnDebug' => true,            ]));          return $middlewareQueue;    }   What I know is a drop, what I don’t know is an ocean. The new version is here to stay, and this article it's a just one overview of basic usage of the new version. * Version 4.1.0 is released already with more improvements and features.  

Links 

[1] Book https://book.cakephp.org/4/en/contents.html [2] Migration Guide https://book.cakephp.org/4/en/appendices/migration-guides.html  

CakeDC API plugin - Authentication and Authorization

This article covers new changes for CakePHP 4 version of plugin. So it covers versions starting from 8.x (8.0) and later.  

Permissions system. RBAC

By default, the plugin uses CakeDC Users and CakeDC Auth plugins for authentication. For RBAC it uses the same style as defined in the Auth plugin RBAC system with minor changes required for the API plugin. First, let's consider the case when we want public api without any authorization. In this case the most simple way would be is to define in config/api_permissions.php next rule   return [     'CakeDC/Auth.api_permissions' => [         [             'role' => '*',             'service' => '*',             'action' => '*',             'method' => '*',             'bypassAuth' => true,         ],      ], ];   Now, consider the case we want to use users plugin authentication. Since Api is supposed to be used from another domain, we should allow all requests with OPTIONS type. To do this we should add this rule as first on in config/api_permissions.php       [         'role' => '*',         'service' => '*',         'action' => '*',         'method' => 'OPTIONS',         'bypassAuth' => true,     ],    Here, method define OPTIONS and bypassAuth means that such actions should work for any users, including not authenticated. Now we should allow Auth service methods       [         'role' => '*',         'service' => '*',         'action' => ['login', 'jwt_login', 'register', 'jwt_refresh',],         'method' => ['POST'],         'bypassAuth' => true,     ],    All other services/actions should be declared in api_permissions file to define what user roles are allowed to access them. Imagine we want to allow the admin role to access the add/edit/delete posts and make index and view public. We can do it based on method or based on action names.       [         'role' => 'admin',         'service' => 'posts',         'action' => '*',         'method' => ['POST', 'PUT', 'DELETE'],     ],      [         'role' => 'admin',         'service' => 'posts',         'action' => ['index', 'view'],         'method' => '*',         'bypassAuth' => true,     ],   

 Routers and Middlewares

Starting from the 8.x version, API Plugin uses router middlewares. This gives great abilities to configure the plugin. So now it is possible to have separate authentication and authorization configuration for website and for api. Also, It is possible to have more then one api prefix, and as result provide more then single api for website with different configuration. Let’s take a look on the default configuration for middlewares   'Middleware' => [     'authentication' => [         'class' => AuthenticationMiddleware::class,         'request' => ApiInitializer::class,         'method' => 'getAuthenticationService',     ],     'bodyParser' => [         'class' => BodyParserMiddleware::class,     ],     'apiParser' => [         'class' => ParseApiRequestMiddleware::class,     ],     'apiAuthorize' => [         'class' => AuthorizationMiddleware::class,         'request' => ApiInitializer::class,         'params' => [             'unauthorizedHandler' => 'CakeDC/Api.ApiException',         ],     ],     'apiAuthorizeRequest' => [         'class' => RequestAuthorizationMiddleware::class,     ],     'apiProcessor' => [         'class' => ProcessApiRequestMiddleware::class,     ], ],   First we see the order of middlewares that proceed api request. It passes through AuthenticationMiddleware, AuthorizationMiddleware, and RequestAuthorizationMiddleware to perform generic auth tasks. It passes through BodyParserMiddleware to unpack the json request. And finally ParseApiRequestMiddleware does initial service analysis and ProcessApiRequestMiddleware performs the request. Also we can note CakeDC\Api\ApiInitializer class used to define Authentication and Authorization configuration. It can be redefined in the application layer to provide needed Identifiers and  Authenticators.  

 Jwt authentication - Refreshing tokens

New plugin feature is embedded jwt_login action which allows the user to get access_token and refresh_token included into the login response. Tokens should be passed in the Authorization header with bearer prefix. Access token is supposed to be used as default token and refresh token needed to get a new access token when it's expired. So for refreshing provided additional jwt_refresh action which should be used in this case.  

 Configuration

Configuration should be defined on application level in config/api.php. Need to note that it is important to enable this file to load by the Api plugin. It could be done in config/bootstrap_app.php using global configuration: Configure::write('Api.config', ['api']);       'Api' => [          ...                  'Jwt' => [             'enabled' => true,             'AccessToken' => [                 'lifetime' => 600,                 'secret' => 'accesssecret',             ],             'RefreshToken' => [                 'lifetime' => 2 * WEEK,                 'secret' => 'refreshsecret',             ],         ],    Hopefully, this was helpful. Our team is always working on adding new features and plugins. You can check out more available plugins HERE.

CakePHP Meetup: Unit Test Fixtures, Queue Plugin, PPM Bridge

Developers are used to living in a virtual world, so adjusting has been easier than expected. Recently, we’ve been holding virtual meetups, and we are so happy with the feedback. Digital training sessions allow bakers from all over the world to come together and enjoy. Our plan is to host one each month, and coordinate time zones so that everyone gets a chance to attend. Our latest one was based around a good time for our Japanese community.  If you missed the meetup, no problem. We always post the recording for playback, and I’ll even give you a quick rundown of the topics covered. Let’s jump in:

CakePHP Fixture Factory Plugin

by Juan Pablo Ramirez CakePHP Fixture Factory Plugin https://github.com/pakacuda/cakephp-fixture-factories  helps to improve the way fixtures are generated, when having a big database writing fixtures can get so complicated. This plugin provides Fixture Factories in replacement of the fixtures found out of the box in CakePHP.
Generating fixtures can be done in a few code lines reducing the effort of writing and maintaining tests. There are some other plugins to manage fixtures: 

CakePHP Queue Plugin

By Mark Scherer @dereuromark CakePHP Queue Plugin https://github.com/dereuromark/cakephp-queue is a simple Queue solution, it can be used for small applications and it’s a good one to get started with Job Queues, having something easy to maintain at the beginning is a good starting point.
Queues are a good option for functionalities like: image processing, email sending, PDF generation; to improve the response-time for heavy-processing tasks. For more robust solutions can be used:
  • CakePHP Queuesadilla  https://github.com/josegonzalez/cakephp-queuesadilla This plugin is a simple wrapper around the Queuesadilla queuing library, providing tighter integration with the CakePHP framework. We have used this plugin in CakeDC in several projects, we also had to build  a Mongo Engine for a specific client.

CakePHP PHP PM Bridge

By Jorge Gonzalez @steinkel CakePHP Bridge https://github.com/CakeDC/cakephp-phppm  to use with PHP-PM project.
PPM is a process manager, supercharger and load balancer for modern PHP applications. PHP PM It's based on ReactPHP, the approach of this is to kill the expensive bootstrap of PHP (declaring symbols, loading/parsing files) and the bootstrap of feature-rich frameworks.
It’s a good option If you want to significantly improve the responsiveness of an application that could have spikes. PM works as PHP FPM, it’s a replacement for it.  Below some benchmark:  50 Concurrent threads in 10 seconds
  • FPM 83 transactions per second, Failed 0,  Concurrency 6.58.
  • PPM 90.30 transactions per second, Failed 0, Concurrency 3.86.
200 Concurrent threads in 10 seconds
  • FPM 116,49 transactions per second, Failed 142,  Concurrency 116.64.
  • PPM 207.35 transactions per second, Failed 0, Concurrency 85.59.
1000 Concurrent threads in 10 seconds
  • FPM 109,88 transactions per second, Failed 1759, Concurrency 187.49.
  • PPM 214.91 transactions per second, Failed 0,  Concurrency 302.39.
PPM is able to handle a lot of concurrency connections coming in spike to the server  in a better way than PHP FPM.
For watching the Meetup visit the following link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POI0IwyqULo Stay up to date on all virtual meetups here  https://cakephp.org/pages/meetups      

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