Category Archives: Web Development

Anything web development stuff!

WAMP Server and PHP ZeroMQ Extension Installation

I spend a lot of hours to do this , so I dont forget how it all works and all. ZeroMQ is a PHP extension that allows PHP to do Websockets for live communication. When you do your development specially on a Windows platform , Wamp is just my go to program to install to do some easy PHP development.

Follow these step:

  1. After downloading and installing WAMP Server.
  2. Download the DLL extension https://pecl.php.net/package/zmq . Make sure you download the version for the PHP you are using. There is some stuff you need to consider before attempting this and making sure you get the right one.
    • Thread Safety or Non-thread Safety. Make sure you choose the one appropriate with your PHP installation. Check phpinfo() to see whether its TS or Non-TS.
    • Also check you have the Visual C++ Redistributable installed. Again see the version of VC++ Redistributable you need in phpinfo() VC11 is usually version 2012.
    • Finally check whether you are running x86(32bit) or 64 bit version of WAMP.
  3. Then move php_zmq.dll in your EXT folder of your PHP directory.
  4. Importantly either/both copy libzmq.dll in your root PHP folder or APACHE folder. This is the one Im having issues with.
  5. When you restart WAMP and you dont see any changes happening. Check for the PHP_LOG if there is any error. Usually there will be but if not. You are good to go. Also RESTART WINDOWS. And double check in your phpinfo() if the extension has been loaded or not.
  6. And you should be done!

IMPORTANT NOTE AND TIPS:

Sometimes or most likely WAMP will complain about PHP folder is in your PATH environment variables. We definitely want PHP on there and Composer need this path. You can ignore the error by going to WAMP icon right click on it and go to WAMP settings and check “Do not very path”.

Please be aware this might be an issue with WAMP. WAMP allows us to change version of PHP to use. So know that when you are changing PHP version. Better to remove PHP path from the environment variables and restarting before changing PHP version to prevent any issues.

Although Its weird that to use ZEROMQ we definitely need the PHP path there to save us time from typing the whole complete path PHP cli. Remember WAMP is just our development platform. You can probably get away from WAMP and use DOCKER instead but WAMP is just so easy. But that is just a topic for some other time.

Cheerios!

JS: Using import/export VS require (file)

In JavaScript there is 2 ways of importing a file from another file.

  • import /export is ES6 syntax and not every browser support yet. Using Babel to transpile javascript is actually using CommonJS which NodeJS use.
Example1:
import "myfile.js"; 
// include the file as is

Example2:
file1.js
export default function(){
 return 1
}
file2.js
import func from "file1.js"
var x = func();

Example3:
file1.js
var func1 = ()=> { return 1; };
var func2 = ()=> { return 0; };
export func1;
export func2;
file2.js
import {func1} from "file1.js";
import {func2} from "file1.js";
  • require(file) is mostly used in CommonJS and Node.JS
Example1:
file1.js
module.exports = {
   x: 0, func1: ()=> 1
}
file2.js
var obj = require("file1.js");
console.log ( obj.x); // return 0

When you are using NodeJS you are more likely to use “require” but in other situation like React. It is most likely ES6 import and export.

Here below is  nice quick cheat sheet I found on the net.

https://hackernoon.com/import-export-default-require-commandjs-javascript-nodejs-es6-vs-cheatsheet-different-tutorial-example-5a321738b50f

Webpack 4

Howdy you! Its been 2 months since my last post. And I have been taken aback from my usual routine of learning stuff everyday. (Damn you gaming!). Here I want to remind myself of the basic of Webpack configuration primarily v4.

module.exports = {
 entry: __dirname + "/app/entry.js",
 // This is where you set the entry point of your script.
 output: {
   path: __dirname + "/public",
   // where you would put your bundle.js
   filename: "bundle.js"
   // the name of your outputted file to include
 },
 devtool: "eval-source-map",
 // devtool option allows webpack to create source-map so browser can point to an specific line in the script making debugging easier for developers.
 devServer : {
   contentBase: "./public",
   // contentBase is where to watch changes for, for auto-reloading with web-dev-server
   port: "8080",
   // port to use by web-dev-server
   colors: "red",
   inline: true, 
   // set to true if you want all info about auto-reload in the console false if you want it displayed in your app as an IFRAME
   historyApiFallback: true
   // good for SPA. Set to true if you want the browser when back button is press to go to your main index.html not the actual previous history page.
 }
 // devServer is used when you have web-dev-server installed as well. There is alot more options available
  plugin: {
  }
}

Each object entry in webpack above has purpose to learn more of its configuration head to:

https://webpack.js.org/configuration/

The documentation is pretty easy to follow!

So future self remember. Every “entry”, “output”, “devServer” in your webpack configuration points to more option specific to the entry.

All about React and boilerplate

Here I am going to delve right deeper in the React world but in a very basic term. As a full-stack developer (please dont take this as being know everything do everything this is just what I see myself do nowadays) I keep going in and out of front-end and back-end side of things, I tend to forget this nitty gritty details. Anyways.

React on its own resemble this

// without Babel JSX
var hello = React.createElement("div",{property: value},"Inner html with ${this.props.name}" }
ReactDom.Render(hello,document.getElementById("container"));
// with Babel JSX
let Hello = (props) => <div>Hello</div>;

Most of the time we want to develop with JSX and Babel is pretty much the defacto transpiler for it. So if you plan to use React in JSX on your page you make sure you include react , react-dom and babel-jsx in your script.

Boilerplate React Development

Now with boilerplate, React is very good with SPA(Single Page App) and Hybrid (React with your HTML page). We will focus on SPA of what we are going to need to start developing using NPM as our package manager.

  • React – this is the core react library
    • npm install --save react react-dom
    • [optional] - if you are looking for more react exclusive functionality for example the routing capability etc. Install these to your package.
      
      npm install --save react-router-dom 
      
      react-router-dom: is the v4 of react router. No need to use "react-router" as this is v3
  • Babel – the core transpiler for JSX
    • npm install --save-dev babel-core babel-loader
  • Babel-presets – babel use to have all features in one package <version 6. In babel 6 they have separated all these features and plugins hence. We now need to install each feature separately. babel-preset-2015 supports ES6 and React
    • npm install --save-dev babel-preset-env babel-preset-react
      
      babel-preset-env: new support for ecmascript+ down to ES5.
      babel-preset-react: to allow react syntax to be transpiled.
      
  • Webpack – now our module bundler that will tie everything together. Webpack-dev-server is for hot reloading while developing. Very handy indeed
    • npm install --save-dev webpack-cli webpack
      npm install -g webpack-dev-server 
      
      web-dev-server: must be global
  • Loaders – loaders are a way to bundle your static assets into few different things used in webpack
    • npm install --save-dev url-loader style-loader file-loader css-loader resolve-url-loader
      
      url-loader: makes your assets like images embedded inside your JS using base64 encoding. Useful for smaller files. Set the limit and let file-loader do the rest for bigger files
      file-loader: it handles assets and emits(create a separate file) to another location. Good for bigger files.
      css-loader: the css loader takes the CSS and convert it to a string. eg. var css = require('css-loader!./css/mycss.css'); it just loads the string of css as javascript/node dont know how to parse .css file.
      style-loader: usually used conjunction with css-loader and inserts it into the page by add a <style>...</style> tag to the javascript.
      resolve-url-loader: resolves url() relative path in your css, specially for scss. When you are importing another .SCSS file to your base scss, css-loader context path is the base importer. This will screw up any url in the importee path. Use this to make any imported scss file folder context as if the imported scss is the parent.
    • [optional] npm install --save-dev sass-loader  node-sass postcss-loader autoprefixer
      
      postcss-loader: by itself it doesnt do anything, but it pretty much a foundation for all its plugin. So if you want to use autoprefixer, you will need to install postcss-loader first. 
      sass-loader: sass loader adds support for sass files and then to css then to your normal css-loaders. 
      node-sass: is required for peer-dependency (plugin-that-needs-another-plugin)
    • Production Package
      • npm install --save-dev mini-css-extract-plugin
        
        mini-css-extract-plugin: works with webpack 4, allows to separate CSS to its own file. [Important Note] This plugin dont work with webpack-dev-server. Use webpack itself to build for production.
    • Plugins [optional]
      • npm install --save-dev html-webpack-plugin 
        
        html-webpack-plugin: This lets you process the main index.html and injects assets into it automatically. It is required if you like to hash your assets for busting caching browsers.

BLOG: NodeJS – Server Side Rendering

Its a technique in the web development world most of your front end rendering(javascript) is rendered by the server, hence the title.

Basically what its saying is most front-end javascript processing happens in the browser. But with server side rendering, your javascript is pre-compiled and delivered with values pre-populated by the server stack. In this case NodeJS.

Im not sure how it works on Apache server yet. Or any other platform stack that does not use javascript. Here is a video about React – Server side scripting works using express/webpack combination.

.HTACCESS

We all know how .htaccess change the way you access a particular URL in your web server. Mainly use for apache web servers. When starting one always start with

RewriteEngine On 

Options +Indexes = Allows folder to be indexed.
ErrorDocument 404 /notfound.html = Allow to set error page.
401 – Authorization Required
400 – Bad request
403 – Forbidden
500 – Internal Server Error
404 – Wrong page

RewriteBase / = change the context as root folder
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} !^[A-Z]{3,9}\ [a-zA-Z0-9\.\+_/\-\?\=\&]+\ HTTP/ [NC]  = Like an if statement if true continue below
RewriteRule .* – [F,NS,L] = L means stop, F causes forbidden access 403 page, NC not case sensitive, NS no sub request if page is included, R redirection. Rewrite rule only gets the page.

QSA allow to be included to query string

When the replacement URI contains a query string, the default behavior of RewriteRule is to discard the existing query string, and replace it with the newly generated one. Using the [QSA] flag causes the query strings to be combined.

Consider the following rule:

RewriteRule "/pages/(.+)" "/page.php?page=$1" [QSA]

With the [QSA] flag, a request for /pages/123?one=two will be mapped to /page.php?page=123&one=two. Without the [QSA] flag, that same request will be mapped to /page.php?page=123 – that is, the existing query string will be discarded.

Front-end Development Arsenal

Its been a while since I have posted. I have been learning a lot since this past few months. And technologies is always evolving. I actually forgot to post the tools I used when creating front-end especially for responsiveness.

Here are my select go to “frameworks” for front-end development

  • Semantic UI / Semantic UI React (dependent on JQuery) hands down the best UI library I have ever used! Move aside Bootstrap! Its got everything you ever need from validation, grids, elements etc. Look no further, and what makes it even more attractive. Customizable and Ease of use!
  • SASS/SCSS! What can be more easier when doing CSS Styling? Great structuring, mixin, operation & variables! Its more than a stylesheet now , its a language! SASS will compile your scss/sass file to css. This requires you have RUBY installed as this is a GEM package . Install Ruby first on your machine. Then do “gem install sass” and start compiling your scss file like this “sass ./style.scss ./style.css” then you can do “sass –watch style.scss style.css” to automatically compile it You can also compile bunch of sass files inside a directory “sass –watch folder1:folder2” . You can download GUI compilers of course but for a bare minimum, this is all you need specially when you are learning.
  • Bourbon.IO and Bourbon.Neat. When you have SASS , you might want built-in mixins(or functions in your scss). Bourbon itself provides you with mixins and variables that will help you define values. It also helps you with prefix vendor specific properties(although this has been deprecated). Bourbon is like Compass another SASS frameworks with built-in mixins/function. Bourbon.Neat this guy here is my responsive design grid tool for SASS. Semantic UI has grid tool but since you are developing in SASS its much cleaner to take advantage of this feature. As its gives you “automatic-control” of your html from your css when doing responsive design.
  • React.js. What else can I say , React just takes the cake for me compare to Angular, Vue.js etc. When you’re doing dynamic things in your front-end. React just work by itself! What I like about it is customizability (dont know if thats a word). You can have different part of your page as react elements that response to state changes hence the name I supposed. You can build a whole Web-App based on it or just part of it. Its great! (You will need to add JSX transpiler to your page like BABEL(react and react-dom) and once ready for production, pre-compile it and away you go)

That is the main framework/tool I used for a simple page creation. Although if you havent learned these yet. I urge you to!

Honourable mention below:

  • NPM – is the package manager for Node.js. You might need to use this if you are developing an SPA(Single Page Application) in React. Whether you wanna use Node.JS for your app, its definitely a requirement. Node.js is a whole different beast altogether.
  • React/Redux/Immutable.JS in extension with React , you might also want to learn Flux like architechture. Redux again helps you create SPA in React. It helps for managing states, actions and immutability. Immutable.JS is a helper library to help you mutate object/states. I suggest to learn this 3 if you are doing SPA.
  • Webpack is a bundle manager that lets you do pretty much anything! It can integrate with NPM to do development builds and production builds. It bundles all your dependency files and puts them in one file! It also converts your CSS/SASS and even distribute your images to a selected directory. It can be a bit confusing to learn but definitely worth understanding how it works.
  • Normalize.css , this is just a bunch of css rules that will.. well normalise all your elements to a more predictable manner! I can even say its a must have to include before anything on your page.

Well thats about it. My secret weapon for Front-End development!

Time for some Lodash action

Please note: Lodash functions may already been implemented on ES6(Ecmascript) so look it up first before commiting. Othwerwise lodash is still a very good utility function for general javascript programming.

I been developing in React for a couple of weeks now and Its starting to make sense to me now. Especially the widely use Redux architecture. As always I ponder if I am doing the right thing or not. One of the questions that pops in my head is.. “There must be a better way of doing this without mocking about?”

I know of lodash but why am I not using it? Well I just need a well written out reference to start. Because to be honest with the VAST libraries available to us, its hard to keep up. Even for an IT person like me and you.

Here as always link to lodash  quick tutorial, the author really made effort for noobs like me to better understand it.

https://colintoh.com/blog/lodash-10-javascript-utility-functions-stop-rewriting

Eloquent helper functions, filters and mutators

I have been looking through the internet how I can make my coding more efficient specially when using Eloquent ORM. Eloquent returns a collection that can be filtered using various helper functions.

I would say how I can make my programming skills be more “functional” instead of the traditional for each loop. Check the link out for using helper functions once collection has been returned.

http://laraveldaily.com/10-less-known-but-awesome-laravel-collections-methods/ 

I will also add Accessors/Mutators basically when you set or access a field value , it will automatically returns a different format. For basic example, $users->firstname original value is “Sarah” if you used an accessor function defined in your model, you can automatically make the value apply any function such as strtolower(value) to make it return lowercase.

I find this link helpful: http://laravel-guide.readthedocs.io/en/latest/eloquent-mutators/#defining-a-mutator 

Javascript: Promise, Await/Async and Closure

 

So been seeing these two pops up in the Javascript world, and finally gave it time to study what they are.

Closure , basically a term in Javascript where a value in a function is retained.

This is when you pass a value to a function and the function itself is returned. The value that you pass to the main function gets stored inside the sub-function.

And when its finally time to call the returned (function), every variables stored is kept. See the link below for more information, and skip to 10:00 to actually see whats happening.

Promise a new concept, and only available from EcmaScript 2015 or ES6. It is an object that receives a function with 2 parameters, a resolve and  reject function parameters. Then use the “.then(function(return_from_resove){})” when the promise call the “resolve(pass))” inside it, the “then” will be triggered according to what was called. It is like a true or false ,and to promise to return true or to return false. You use “catch(function(){})” chaining when “reject()” is invoke. Here is a quick snippet of the promise:

let promise = new Promise(function(resolve,reject){
       if(true) resolve("anything");
       else if(false) reject("anything");
}).then(function(from_resolve_value{
   // Do anything here
}).catch(function(from_reject_value)){
    // Do anything here
})

Below are excellent video explaining how it works.

Await/Async is a ECMASCRIPT 2017 (ES8) feature that would let you set a function to be asynchronous.

You need to set your function with async and can only use await inside this type of function example below:

async my_function(){
     var result = await getting_json();
     // Im dont waiting let see the result
     console.log ("Im done");
}
my_function(); // Asynchronous function
console.log("Im not waiting for my_function to finish"); // This will trigger straight away 

// You can also return promise in a async function
func_promise(){
    var prom = new Promise((resolve,reject) => resolve() // or call reject if error);
    return prom;
}
func_promise().then(alert("Success") ).catch(alert("Failed!"));

// You dont need to use promise with async/await they are both asynchronous

A good article about async/await:

https://hackernoon.com/6-reasons-why-javascripts-async-await-blows-promises-away-tutorial-c7ec10518dd9

[Update: May/2018 – NodeJS  version 8] Supports ASYNC/AWAIT function.