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5281 views · 3 years ago
Top 12 PHP Libraries to Leverage Your Web App Development



PHP, by all means, is an immensely powerful language!



We may fall short of words, but there won't come any end to its qualities. The endless functionalities and possibilities of this server-side scripting language have managed to get it a strong and supportive community of PHP programmers on a global level. At present, PHP powers more than half on websites and applications on the internet.


Do you know what makes PHP so praiseworthy?



It is the simplicity, easy programming structure, and developer-friendly web functionalities that are to be credited to turn PHP into one of the top programming languages. You can create highly interactive and dynamic websites and applications with desired results by making use of PHP.



However, coding often could be a tough and tedious task to accomplish. As a solution to this, you get built-in PHP libraries that optimize the process of coding for maximum productivity.



But what are these libraries?




That's exactly what you will find out as you move ahead in this article, a list of top 12 PHP libraries capable of leading the development process in an intended manner.



So, without waiting any further, let's move ahead to learn about PHP libraries in-depth.



PChart




PChart is a PHP library assisting with the generation of text data in the form of something more appealing to the eyes and known as visual charts.



You can use this library to represent data as bar charts, pie charts, and many more different formats. The PHP script here utilizes SQL queries to put data in the impressive charts or graphs form.



Mink




Another well-known in the list of PHP libraries is Mink. It allows you to keep an eye on if a proper interaction is happening between your web apps and the browser. Eliminating the API differences between the two types of browser emulators, Mink offers an authentic testing environment for you. It also supports PHPUnit, Behat, and Symfony2.



Monolog




Monolog is a PHP logging library that helps you with saving logs to the specified locations by sending them to set files, sockets, inboxes, databases, or other web services. The use of the PSR-3 interface permits to type-hint logs in counter to your libraries that maintain optimum interoperability.



Hoa




This modular, extensible, and structured set of PHP libraries we know as Hoa establishes a link between the research and the industry.



It recommends essential paradigms, mechanisms, and algorithms for building the reliability of a site. Many PHP developers in different parts of the world use Hoa for ideal PHP development.



Guzzle




Guzzle is an HTTP client library for PHP that enables you to send HTTP requests to combine with web services.



It offers a simple interface that makes the development of query strings, POST requests, HTTP cookies, and many other attributes possible. You can also use Guzzle to send synchronous and asynchronous requests from the similar interface.



Ratchet




If your need is to develop real-time, two-directional apps between clients and servers over WebSockets, Ratchet is the PHP library you need to do it effectively.



Creating event-driven apps with Ratchet is a rapid, simple, and easy job to do!



Geocoder




Geocoder is a library to create applications that are very well geo-aware.



With Geocoder, there is an abstraction layer that helps with geocoding manipulations.



It is further split into two parts, known as HttpAdapter and Provider.



ImageWorkshop




ImageWorkshop is an open-source PHP library letting you work over the manipulation of images with layers. You can crop, resize, add watermarks, create thumbnails, and so much more. You can also enhance the images on the sites.



PhpThumb




phpThumb is the library specialized at handling the work associated with creating thumbnails with minimal coding. Accepting every image source type and image formats, it makes you do a lot ranging from rotating or cropping to watermarking or defining the image quality.



Parody




This simple library we know as Parody is used to copy classes and objects. It also provides results for method calls, acquiring properties, instantiating objects, and more. Sequential method chaining is used by Parody to produce defining class structures.



Imagine




This object-oriented PHP library is meant for working with images along with manipulating them. The often adopted operations such as resizing, cropping, and applying filters happen instantly and relatively well with Imagine.



With Imagine, you get a color class that forms the RGB values of any given color. Draw shapes like arc, ellipse, line, etc. with the features available.



PhpFastCache




PhpFastCache is an open-source PHP library that makes caching feasible. Coming as a single-file, it can be integrated within a matter of minutes.



Caching methods supported by PhpFastCache involve apc, memcache, memcached, wincache, pdo, and mpdo.


The Bottom Line




It's not about what extra difference these libraries make; it's about what significant individual contributions these libraries make for a final desired PHP app or website.



A PHP programmer, too, agrees with these libraries' benefits.



It's your time now to try and believe!
4392 views · 3 years ago


People that visit your website face an invisible threat each time they log on. Small businesses are especially vulnerable to digital data breaches, and that can change the way your customers feel about you. But, although you cannot stop hackers from trying, there are things you can do as a business owner to make your website a safer experience for everyone. Keep reading for tips.

Mature digitally.


You may be ahead of the times when it comes to products and services, but, chances are, your website hasn't fully kept up. It's time to learn all you can about the internet and digital security. If you are already somewhat tech savvy, a PHP Security Course from Nomad PHP can help you better understand everything from cryptography to website error messages.

Adapting to today's digital environment means transforming your website to quickly and easily identify threats via machine learning and network monitoring. And, as Upwork explains, digital maturity not only keeps your website safe, but adopting this mindset can also increase your efficiency and accuracy by reducing human errors.

Understand the threats.


It is not enough to simply keep up with your website, you also have to understand the types of threats that are out there. You're likely familiar with ransomware and phishing, but, it's also a good idea to know how a website can get hacked. Your site's content management system and vulnerabilities within your operating system are all weak points that hackers can easily identify.

Insist on security measures.


When customers log into your website, they input their credentials. Each time they do so, you can best protect their information by keeping your systems up to date. You'll also want to ensure that your site is hosted on a secure service and that you have an SSL certificate installed.

If you are not already, have your IT department or managed IT services perform regular website security checks. PhoenixNAP, an IT services provider, notes that those websites working via WordPress should also be safely outfitted with the most recent security plug-ins.

Eliminate spam.


If your website allows for comments that are not manually approved, anyone on the internet can post. This leaves it open for hackers and other unscrupulous individuals to comment with spam and malicious links that your customers may inadvertently click on. While many of these simply exist as a way for the commenter to drive traffic to another website, others are designed to draw your readers' attention, gain their trust, and access their personal information.

Prioritize passwords.


Your customers' passwords are the keys by which they open the door to your website. Unfortunately, many people do not treat them with as much care as they do the keys they use in the non-digital world.

It's true, passwords can be a pain, but you are not doing yourself or your customers any favors by allowing simple one-word passcodes to access your site. Instead, design your site to require a strong password. How-To Geek asserts that this will have a minimum of 12 characters and include a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers.

While you will likely rely on your IT experts to secure your website, the truth is that it is ultimately up to you to ensure this is done. So even if you are not a digital mastermind, knowing all you can about web security can help you be a better business owner. Your customers will be safer, and a secure website is just one way to strengthen your business's online presence and keep up with today's -- and tomorrow's -- technology.
12862 views · 4 years ago
Why Cloudways is the Perfect Managed Hosting for PHP Applications

The following is a sponsored blogpost by Cloudways


Developing an application is not the sole thing you should bank on. You must strive to find the best hosting solution to deploy that application also. The application’s speed is dependent on the hosting provider, that is why I always advise you to go for the best hosting solution to get the ultimate app performance.

Now a days, it is a big challenge to choose any web hosting, as each hosting has its own pros and cons which you must know, before considering it finally for the deployment. I don’t recommend shared hosting for PHP/Laravel based applications, because you always get lot of server hassles like downtime, hacking, 500 errors, lousy support and other problems that are part and parcel of shared hosting.

For PHP applications, you must focus on more technical aspects like caching, configs, databases, etc. because these are essential performance points for any vanilla or framework-based PHP application. Additionally, if the app focuses on user engagement (for instance, ecommerce store), the hosting solution should be robust enough to handle spikes in traffic.

Here, I would like to introduce Cloudways PHP server hosting to you which provides easy, developer and designer friendly managed hosting platform. With Cloudways, you don't need to focus on PHP hosting, but must focus on building your application. You can easily launch cloud servers on five providers including DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS and GCE.


Cloudways ThunderStack


Being a developer, you must be familiar with the concept of stack - an arrangement of technologies that form the underlying hosting solution.

To provide a blazing fast speed and a glitch-free performance, Cloudways has built a PHP stack, known as ThunderStack. This stack consists of technologies that offer maximum uptime and page load speed to all PHP applications. Check out the following visual representation of ThunderStack and the constituent technologies:


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As you can see, ThunderStack comprises of a mix of static and dynamic caches with two web servers, Nginx and Apache. This combination ensures the ultimate experience for the users and visitors of your application.


Frameworks and CMS


The strength and popularity of PHP lies in the variety of frameworks and CMS it offers to the developers. Realizing this diversity, Cloudways offers a hassle-free installation of major PHP frameworks including Symfony, Laravel, CakePHP, Zend, and Codeigniter. Similarly, popular CMS such as WordPress, Bolt, Craft, October, Couch, and Coaster CMS - you can install these with the 1-click option. The best part is that if you have a framework or CMS that is not on the list, you can easily install it through Composer.


1-Click PHP Server & Application Installation


Setting up a stack on an unmanaged VPS could take an entire day!

When you opt for Cloudways managed cloud hosting, the entire process of setting up the server, installation of core PHP files and then the setup of the required framework is over in a matter of minutes.

Just sign up at Cloudways, choose your desired cloud provider, and select the PHP stack application.


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As you can see, your LAMP stack is ready for business in minutes.

Many PHP applications fail because essential services are either turned off or not set up properly. Cloudways offers a centralized location where you can view and set the status of all essential services such as:



* Apache
* Elasticsearch
* Memcached
* MySQL
* PHP-FPM
* Nginx
* New Relic
* Redis
* Varnish


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Similarly, you can manage SMTP add-ons without any fuss.


Staging Environment


With Cloudways, you can test your web applications for possible bugs and errors before taking it live.

Using the staging feature, developers can first deploy their web sites on test domains where they can analyze the applications performance and potential problems. This helps site administrators to fix those issues timely and view the application performance in real-time.

A default sub domain comes pre-installed with the newly launched application, making it easy for the administrators to test the applications on those testing subdomains. Overall, it's a great feature which helps developers know about the possible errors that may arise during the live deployment.

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Pre-Installed Composer & Git


PHP development requires working with external libraries and packages. Suppose you are working with Laravel and you need to install an external package. Since Composer has become the standard way of installing packages, it comes preinstalled on the Cloudways platform. Just launch the application and start using Composer in your project.

Similarly, if you are familiar with Git and maintain your project on GitHub or BitBucket, you don’t need to worry about Git installation. Git also comes pre-configured on Cloudways. You can start running commands right after application launch.


Cloudways MySQL Manager


When you work with databases in PHP, you need a database manager. On the Cloudways platform, you will get a custom-built MySQL manager, in which you can perform all the tasks of a typical DB manager.

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However, if you wish to install and use another database manager like PHPMyAdmin, you can install it by following this simple guide on installing PHPMyadmin.


Server & Application Level SSH


If you use Linux, you typically use SSH for accessing the server(s) and individual applications. A third-party developer requires application and server level access as per the requirements of the client. Cloudways offers SSH access to fit the requirements of the client and users.

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PHP-FPM, Varnish & Cron Settings


Cloudways provides custom UI panel to set and maintain PHP-FPM and Varnish settings. Although the default configuration is already in place, you can easily change all the settings to suit your own, particular development related requirements. In Varnish settings, you can define URL that you want to exclude from caching. You can also set permissions in this panel.

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Cron job is a very commonly used component of PHP application development process. On Cloudways platform, you can easily set up Cron jobs in just a few clicks. Just declare the PHP script URL and the time when the script will run.

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Cloudways API & Personal Assistant Bot


Cloudways provides an internal API that offers all important aspects of the server and application management. Through Cloudways API, you can easily develop, integrate, automate, and manage your servers and web apps on Cloudways Platform using the RESTful API. Check out some of the use cases developed using Cloudways API. You just need your API key and email for authentication of the HTTP calls on API Playground and custom applications.

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Cloudways employs a smart assistant named CloudwaysBot to notify all users about server and application level issues. CloudwaysBot sends the notifications on pre-approved channels including email, Slack and popular task management tools such as Asana and Trello.


Run Your APIs on PHP Stack


Do you have your own API which you want to run on the PHP stack? No problem, because you can do that, too with Cloudways! You can also use REST API like Slim, Silex, Lumen, and others. You can use APIs to speed up performance and require fast servers with lots of resources. So, if you think that your API response time is getting slower due to the large number of requests, you can easily scale your server(s) with a click to address the situation.


Team Collaboration


When you work on a large number of applications with multiple developers, you need to assign them on any specific application. Cloudways provides an awesome feature of team collaboration through which you can assign developers to specific application and give access to them. You can use this tool to assign one developer to multiple applications. Through team feature, you can connect the team together and work on single platform. Access can be of different type; i.e. billing, support and console. You can either give the full access or a limited one by selecting the features in Team tab.

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Final Words


Managed cloud hosting ensures that you are not bothered by any hosting or server related issues. For practical purposes, this means that developers can concentrate on writing awesome code without worrying about underlying infrastructure and hosting related issues. Do sign up and check out Cloudways for the best and the most cost-effective cloud hosting solution for your next PHP project!
25834 views · 4 years ago
Introduction to Gitlab CI for PHP developers
As a developer, you've probably at least heard something about CI - Continuous integration. And if you haven't - you better fix it ASAP, because that's something awesome to have on your skill list and can get extremely helpful in your everyday work. This post will focus on CI for PHP devs, and specifically, on CI implementation from Gitlab. I will suppose you know the basics of Git, PHP, PHPUnit, Docker and unix shell. Intended audience - intermediate PHP devs.
Adding something to your workflow must serve a purpose. In this case the goal is to automate routine tasks and achieve better quality control. Even a basic PHP project IMO needs the following:
* linter) checks (cannot merge changes that are invalid on the syntax level)
* Code style checks
* Unit and integration tests
All of those can be just run eventually, of course. But I prefer an automated CI approach even in my personal projects because it leads to a higher level of discipline, you simply can't avoid following a set of rules that you've developed. Also, it reduces a risk of releasing a bug or regression, thus improving quality.
Gitlab is as generous as giving you their CI for free, even for your private repos. At this point it is starting to look as advertising, therefore a quick comparison table for Gitlab, Github, Bitbucket. AFAIK, Github does not have a built-in solution, instead it is easily integrated with third parties, of which Travis CI seems to be the most popular - I will therefore mention Travis here.

Public repositories (OSS projects). All 3 providers have a free offer for the open-source community!


| Provider | Limits |
|---|---|
| Gitlab | 2,000 CI pipeline minutes per group per month, shared runners |
| Travis | Apparently unlimited |
| Bitbucket| 50 min/month, max 5 users, File storage <= 1Gb/month |

Private repositories


| Provider | Price | Limits |
|---|---|---|
| Gitlab | Free | 2,000 CI pipeline minutes per group per month, shared runners |
| Travis | $69/month | Unlimited builds, 1 job at a time |
| Bitbucket| Free | 50 min/month, max 5 users, File storage <= 1Gb/month |

Getting started

I made a small project based on Laravel framework and called it "ci-showcase". I work in Linux environment, and the commands I use in the examples, are for linux shell. They should be pretty much the same on Mac and nearly the same on Windows though.
composer create-project laravel/laravel ci-showcase

Next, I went to gitlab website and created a new public project: https://gitlab.com/crocodile2u/ci-showcase. Cloned the repo and copied all files and folders from the newly created project - the the new git repo. In the root folder, I placed a .gitignore file:
.idea
vendor
.env

Then the .env file:
APP_ENV=development

Then I generated the application encryption key: php artisan key:generate, and then I wanted to verify that the primary setup works as expected: ./vendor/bin/phpunit, which produced the output OK (2 tests, 2 assertions). Nice, time to commit this: git commit &amp;&amp; git push

At this point, we don't yet have any CI, let's do something about it!

Adding .gitlab-ci.yml

Everyone going to implement CI with Gitlab, is strongly encouraged to bookmark this page: https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/ci/README.html. I will simply provide a short introduction course here plus a bit of boilerplate code to get you started easier.
First QA check that we're going to add is PHP syntax check. PHP has a built-in linter, which you can invoke like this: php -l my-file.php. This is what we're going to use. Because the php -l command doesn't support multiple files as arguments, I've written a small wrapper shell script and saved it to ci/linter.sh:
#!/bin/sh
files=<code>sh ci/get-changed-php-files.sh | xargs</code>last_status=0
status=0
# Loop through changed PHP files and run php -l on each
for f in "$files" ; do message=<code>php -l $f</code> last_status="$?" if [ "$last_status" -ne "0" ]; then # Anything fails -> the whole thing fails echo "PHP Linter is not happy about $f: $message" status="$last_status" fi
done
if [ "$status" -ne "0" ]; then echo "PHP syntax validation failed!"
fi
exit $status

Most of the time, you don't actually want to check each and every PHP file that you have. Instead, it's better to check only those files that have been changed. The Gitlab pipeline runs on every push to the repository, and there is a way to know which PHP files have been changed. Here's a simple script, meet ci/get-changed-php-files.sh:
#!/bin/sh
# What's happening here?
#
# 1. We get names and statuses of files that differ in current branch from their state in origin/master.
# These come in form (multiline)
# 2. The output from git diff is filtered by unix grep utility, we only need files with names ending in .php
# 3. One more filter: filter *out* (grep -v) all lines starting with R or D.
# D means "deleted", R means "renamed"
# 4. The filtered status-name list is passed on to awk command, which is instructed to take only the 2nd part
# of every line, thus just the filename
git diff --name-status origin/master | grep '\.php$' | grep -v "^[RD]" | awk '{ print }'

These scripts can easily be tested in your local environment ( at least if you have a Linux machine, that is ;-) ).
Now, as we have our first check, we'll finally create our .gitlab-ci.yml. This is where your pipeline is declared using YAML notation:
# we're using this beautiful tool for our pipeline: https://github.com/jakzal/phpqa
image: jakzal/phpqa:alpine
# For this sample pipeline, we'll only have 1 stage, in real-world you would like to also add at least "deploy"
stages: - QA
linter:
stage: QA
# this is the main part: what is actually executed
script: - sh ci/get-changed-php-files.sh | xargs sh ci/linter.sh

The first line is image: jakzal/phpqa:alpine and it's telling Gitlab that we want to run our pipeline using a PHP-QA utility by jakzal. It is a docker image containing PHP and a huge variety of QA-tools. We declare one stage - QA, and this stage by now has just a single job named linter. Every job can have it's own docker image, but we don't need that for the purpose of this tutorial. Our project reaches Step 2. Once I had pushed these changes, I immediately went to the project's CI/CD page. Aaaand.... the pipeline was already running! I clicked on the linter job and saw the following happy green output:
Running with gitlab-runner 11.9.0-rc2 (227934c0) on docker-auto-scale ed2dce3a
Using Docker executor with image jakzal/phpqa:alpine ...
Pulling docker image jakzal/phpqa:alpine ...
Using docker image sha256:12bab06185e59387a4bf9f6054e0de9e0d5394ef6400718332c272be8956218f for jakzal/phpqa:alpine ...
Running on runner-ed2dce3a-project-11318734-concurrent-0 via runner-ed2dce3a-srm-1552606379-07370f92...
Initialized empty Git repository in /builds/crocodile2u/ci-showcase/.git/
Fetching changes...
Created fresh repository.
From https://gitlab.com/crocodile2u/ci-showcase * [new branch] master -> origin/master * [new branch] step-1 -> origin/step-1 * [new branch] step-2 -> origin/step-2
Checking out 1651a4e3 as step-2...
Skipping Git submodules setup
$ sh ci/get-changed-php-files.sh | xargs sh ci/linter.sh
Job succeeded

It means that our pipeline was successfully created and run!

PHP Code Sniffer.

PHP Code Sniffer is a tool for keeping app of your PHP files in one uniform code style. It has a hell of customizations and settings, but here we will only perform simple check for compatibilty with PSR-2 standard. A good practice is to create a configuration XML file in your project. I will put it in the root folder. Code sniffer can use a few file names, of which I prefer phpcs.xml:
<?xml version="1.0"?>
/resources

I also will append another section to .gitlab-ci.yml:
code-style:	stage: QA	script:	# Variable $files will contain the list of PHP files that have changes	- files=<code>sh ci/get-changed-php-files.sh</code> # If this list is not empty, we execute the phpcs command on all of them - if [ ! -z "$files" ]; then echo $files | xargs phpcs; fi

Again, we check only those PHP files that differ from master branch, and pass their names to phpcs utility. That's it, Step 3 is finished! If you go to see the pipeline now, you will notice that linter and code-style jobs run in parallel.

Adding PHPUnit

Unit and integration tests are essential for a successful and maintaiable modern software project. In PHP world, PHPUnit is de facto standard for these purposes. The PHPQA docker image already has PHPUnit, but that's not enough. Our project is based on Laravel, which means it depends on a bunch of third-party libraries, Laravel itself being one of them. Those are installed into vendor folder with composer. You might have noticed that our .gitignore file has vendor folder as one of it entries, which means that it is not managed by the Version Control System. Some prefer their dependencies to be part of their Git repository, I prefer to have only the composer.json declarations in Git. Makes the repo much much smaller than the other way round, also makes it easy to avoid bloating your production builds with libraries only needed for development.
Composer is also included into PHPQA docker image, and we can enrich our .gitlab-ci.yml:
test:	stage: QA	cache:	key: dependencies-including-dev	paths: - vendor/	script:	- composer install	- ./vendor/bin/phpunit

PHPUnit requires some configuration, but in the very beginning we used composer create-project to create our project boilerplate.laravel/laravel package has a lot of things included in it, and phpunit.xml is also one of them. All I had to do was to add another line to it:
xml

APP_KEY enironment variable is essential for Laravel to run, so I generated a key with php artisan key:generate.
git commit & git push, and we have all three jobs on theQA stage!

Checking that our checks work

In this branch I intentionally added changes that should fail all three job in our pipeline, take a look at git diff. And we have this out from the pipeline stages:Linter:
$ ci/linter.sh
PHP Linter is not happy about app/User.php:
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected 'syntax' (T_STRING), expecting function (T_FUNCTION) or const (T_CONST) in app/User.php on line 11
Errors parsing app/User.php
PHP syntax validation failed!
ERROR: Job failed: exit code 255

**Code-style**:
$ if [ ! -z "$files" ]; then echo $files | xargs phpcs; fi
FILE: ...ilds/crocodile2u/ci-showcase/app/Http/Controllers/Controller.php
----------------------------------------------------------------------
FOUND 0 ERRORS AND 1 WARNING AFFECTING 1 LINE
---------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 | WARNING | Line exceeds 120 characters; contains 129 characters
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Time: 39ms; Memory: 6MB
ERROR: Job failed: exit code 123

**test**:
$ ./vendor/bin/phpunit
PHPUnit 7.5.6 by Sebastian Bergmann and contributors.
F. 2 / 2 (100%)
Time: 102 ms, Memory: 14.00 MB
There was 1 failure:
1) Tests\Unit\ExampleTest::testBasicTest
This test is now failing
Failed asserting that false is true.
/builds/crocodile2u/ci-showcase/tests/Unit/ExampleTest.php:17
FAILURES!
Tests: 2, Assertions: 2, Failures: 1.
ERROR: Job failed: exit code 1

Congratulations, our pipeline is running, and we now have much less chance of messing up the result of our work.

Conclusion

Now you know how to set up a basic QA pipeline for your PHP project. There's still a lot to learn. Pipeline is a powerful tool. For instance, it can make deployments to different environments for you. Or it can build docker images, store artifacts and more! Sounds cool? Then spend 5 minutes of your time and leave a comment, you can also tell me if there is a pipeline topic you would like to be covered in next posts.

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