Setup CodeIgniter Docker container for development

Docker

Docker is the world’s leading software container platform. Developers use Docker to eliminate “works on my machine” problems when collaborating on code with co-workers. Operators use Docker to run and manage apps side-by-side in isolated containers to get better compute density. Enterprises use Docker to build agile software delivery pipelines to ship new features faster, more securely and with confidence for both Linux and Windows Server apps. If you want to learn more about Docker head to their What is Docker section here.

CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a powerful PHP framework with a very small footprint, built for developers who need a simple and elegant toolkit to create full-featured web applications. If you want to learn more then head to their official website which has great documentation as well at https://codeigniter.com/

CodeIgniter on Docker

If you’re excited about using Docker for your development and you are working on a CodeIgniter (CI) based PHP project then you are lucky. It is very easy to setup CI based project with Docker. Just follow the instructions below to setup a fresh CI project with Docker.

docker-compose up -d

It will spin up two containers—one for the app itself with Nginx and another for MariaDB for your DB. App container will create a directory in your project folder and install CodeIgniter in it.

Now browse http://localhost:8000 in your browser and you’ll see the CodeIgniter page. It’s that easy.

Click here to read more about Docker.

How to use wildcard domain with OpenShift hosting?

If you have a domain name and want to use OpenShift for hosting then using a wildcard domain name is a bit tricky with some domain registrars like GoDaddy. The reason is IP address of the app on OpenShift doesn’t remain the same and to use the wildcard domain a DNS A record is setup with the IP address of the hosting server. So, how do we make sure the following is true:

  • user enters mysitename.com > user sees www.mysitename.com
  • user enters mysitename.com/about.html > user sees www.mysitename.com/about.html

That is, the www prefix is always displayed anywhere on the site.

But due to the non-static IP of the OpenShift app, it is not possible to adjust the A record. But you can set up a CNAME with the following:

www > appname-username.rhcloud.com

where the format for the OpenShift app is

http://appname-username.rhcloud.com.

This means the site is accessible at www.mysitename.com but not at mysitename.com. To make it work you need to do the following.

On domain registrar like GoDaddy
– Create a new Record with
Record Type CNAME
HOST: www
POINT TO: appname-username.rhcloud.com

  • Setup Forwarding
    Forward to: www.mysitename.com
    Redirect: 301 (Permanent)
    Type: Forward only

On Openshift
1. Select Application tab > select application appname-username.rhcloud.com > click change
2. Enter the Domain name www.mysitename.com

That’s it! Wait for 10-15 min and see the magic.

Visual Studio 2017 is coming in March

Microsoft has announced that Visual Studio 2017 will be available for download on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Microsoft is also celebrating a launch event. You can join at 8:00 AM PST on March 7th and 8th for a two-day online event celebrating the launch of Visual Studio 2017 and the 20-year anniversary of Visual Studio.

Let’s see what comes with a newer version of Visual Studio 2017.

How To: Offline access to Vue.js documentation

If you are working with Vue.js Javascript framework to build your next generation web apps then you might be frequently visiting the Vue.js guide section (https://vuejs.org/v2/guide/) to see how certain things work in Vue.js. Most of the time you go to the Vue.js site since that is the only available option for office docs.

But, often it happens we don’t have access to internet and we have time to read something then we usually go to our saved articles, guides, books, or any other content to read. In that case if we have Vue.js guide available offline we could have luxury to read that without connecting to internet. Well, that is possible.

How to download the guide?

To download the guide for offline access all you have to do is clone the official Git repo from GitHub and perform the following steps.

  1. Clone Vue.js Git repo from GitHub https://github.com/vuejs/vuejs.org
  2. Open terminal or command prompt
  3. Go to the directory/folder where you have cloned the repo
  4. If you have npm installed that is most likely if you are a developer then run the following commands:
    1. $ npm install -g hexo-cli
      $ npm install
      $ hexo server
  5. Browse http://localhost:4000/v2/guide/ in your favorite browser.

That’s it! You have Vue.js guide available offline.

The next time you want to access your offline guide all you have to do is open terminal, go to repo directory and run hexo server command.

Why Hexo?

Vue.js guide is built using Hexo blog framework. You can read more about Hexo framework on their website https://hexo.io/

What we did is just clone the repo and ran the hexo server from the hexo-cli we installed using npm. This is not convenient as reading a PDF but still we have an option to read the guide offline.

If this helped you or if you found a better way then don’t forget to leave a comment below.

List of FREE services & tools Startups should be using

I have curated a list of free tools, services, and apps that startups could and in fact should use to grow at the initial stage. Free doesn’t mean they lack quality, instead, these free tools are from top-notch companies like RedHat, Google, Asana, and GitHub and in all areas from infrastructure to version controlling to marketing and sales to project management.

Have a look at this list here and don’t forget to give your feedback.

I compiled this list a long time ago and recently updated it but it still might have some outdated links that I didn’t get a chance to update yet. Feel free to let me know and I’ll update it.

Enjoy!

Subscribe to get updates from our blog.

Event handling with custom components in Vue.js

If you’ve been working with Vue.js lately and developing custom components to build your apps you might come across how to communicate from child component to parent. There are couple of scenarios here.

Immediate parent child components

If you want immediate parent-child components to communicate then a child event can fire an event and the parent can listen to it. To do this you can do something like this.

index.html

Vue.component('v-parent', {
 template: `
 `,
 
 methods: {
   handleEvent() {
     alert('parent caught the event');
   }
 }
});

Vue.component('v-child', {
 template: `
Fire Event
 `
});

new Vue({
 el: '#app'
});

app.js

Non-Parent-child components

If two different components want to communicate or if the component listening to the other component’s event is not a direct parent (like a grandparent or even above in the hierarchy) then Vue provides the bus concept. I have created a fiddle on JSFiddle that you can see running here.

Deploy your first ASP.Net MVC App to AppHarbor

If you’ve been developing ASP.Net MVC apps lately you might be thinking of some online or cloud-based app hosting platform available as PaaS for Microsoft technologies especially for hosting ASP.Net MVC apps just like OpenShift, Heroku and other platforms are available for technologies like Ruby, Python, PHP, Node.js and even supporting CMS like WordPress. The good news for ASP.Net developers is that there is a PaaS platform available that you might already know. The platform is AppHarbor. AppHarbor runs over Amazon AWS and has some nice features that I won’t go into the details of. If you are interested in knowing how AppHarbor works you can see their page here.

Regardless of whether AppHarbor provides a decent service, new developers might still face some difficulty in deploying their applications to AppHarbor. Especially, if you are developing apps based on new Visual Studio 2015 templates like MVC. There are different ways to deploy but I would follow the below approach which in my opinion is good and provide auto deployment or in other words Continuous Integration (CI).

What do you need?

We will be using the following tools and accounts.

  • Visual Studio 2015 (any edition, I used the Professional version)
  • ASP.Net MVC app created from VS2015 MVC template
  • GitHub repo for the app/project
  • Local git repo for the app with remote repo set as your GitHub app repo
  • AppHarbor app

What’s not covered?

Our focus today is the deployment of our ASP.Net MVC app to AppHarbor. Therefore, we won’t be going into the details of how the application is created or its architecture, what’s new in Visual Studio 2015, what is MVC, what is Git and GitHub, and how to connect your GitHub repo to AppHarbor etc. We will assume that you already have all the prerequisites and we will just focus on what problems can we come across during deployment and how to fix them.

Deployment Steps

  1. Initialize a Git repo and connect it with your GitHub repo.
  2. Create the AppHarbor app from your GitHub repo. Whenever we commit/push our changes to our GitHub repo AppHarbor will automatically fetch the latest push and build it. Upon successful build it will deploy the app on its server otherwise it will keep the last successful build. This makes things very easy.
  3. Create an ASP.Net MVC application using the Visual Studio 2015 MVC template.
  4. Add the packages folder to .gitignore
  5. Enable NuGet Package Restore. In VS2015 click Tools>Options and then select NuGet Package Manager and make sure both checkboxes are checked in this section.
  6. In VS2015 right click on the project and click properties, then go to the Build Events tab. In the Post-build event command line text area paste the following command.
    1. if not exist “$(WebProjectOutputDir)\bin\Roslyn” md “$(WebProjectOutputDir)\bin\Roslyn”
      start /MIN xcopy /s /y /R “$(OutDir)roslyn\*.*” “$(WebProjectOutputDir)\bin\Roslyn”
  7. Now commit and push your changes to GitHub.
  8. That’s it! AppHarbor will automatically fetch the latest version changes and build it and you can check your AppHarbor application on its URL.

What’s Next?

There are a few things that you need to take care of specially related to security. This MVC app uses SQL Server Compact which isn’t a good option for production-level apps. Secondly, your connection string or password to the database must not be committed to a public GitHub repo.

This post will just give you a smooth start without any difficulties which I faced among other people that you can see in the resources section below.

If you think this was helpful or if I have missed anything please do let me know in the comments below.

Happy coding!

Resources

  1. https://blog.appharbor.com/2012/02/06/use-nuget-package-restore-to-avoid-pushing-packages-to-appharbor
  2. https://support.appharbor.com/discussions/problems/79727-error-msb3202-when-building
  3. https://support.appharbor.com/discussions/problems/78633-cant-build-aspnet-mvc-project-generated-from-vstudio-2015-enterprise#comment_37577678

One reason why you should refactor your code often

Once upon a time, a consultant made a visit to a development project. The consultant looked at some of the code that had been written; there was a class hierarchy at the center of the system. As he wandered through the hierarchy, the consultant saw that it was rather messy. The higher level classes made certain assumptions about how the classes would work, assumptions that were embodied in inherited code. That code didn’t suit all the subclasses, however, and was overridden quite heavily. If the superclass had been modified a little, then much less overriding would have been necessary. In other places, some of the intentions of the superclass had not been properly understood, and the behaviour present in the superclass was duplicated. In yet other places several subclasses did the same thing with code that could clearly be moved up the hierarchy.

The consultant recommended to the project management that the code be looked at and cleaned up, but the project management didn’t seem enthusiastic. The code seemed to work and there were considerable schedule pressures. The managers said they would get around to it at some later point.

The consultant had also shown the programmers who had worked on the hierarchy what was
going on. The programmers were keen and saw the problem. They knew that it wasn’t really their fault; sometimes a new pair of eyes is needed to spot the problem. So the programmers spent a day or two cleaning up the hierarchy. When they were finished, the programmers removed half the code in the hierarchy without reducing its functionality. They were pleased with the result and found that it became quicker and easier both to add new classes to the hierarchy and to use the classes in the rest of the system.

The project management was not pleased. Schedules were tight and there was a lot of work to
do. These two programmers had spent two days doing work that had done nothing to add the
many features the system had to deliver in a few months’ time. The old code had worked just fine. So the design was a bit more “pure” and a bit more “clean.” The project had to ship code that worked, not code that would please an academic. The consultant suggested that this cleaning up be done on other central parts of the system. Such an activity might halt the project for a week or two. All this activity was devoted to making the code look better, not to make it do anything that it didn’t already do.

How do you feel about this story? Do you think the consultant was right to suggest further clean-up? Or do you follow that old engineering adage, “if it works, don’t fix it”?

Six months later the project failed, in large part because the code was too complex to debug or to tune to acceptable performance. The consultant was brought in to restart the project, an exercise that involved rewriting almost the whole system from scratch. He did several things differently, but one of the most important was to insist on continuous cleaning up of the code using refactoring.

This is an excerpt from the book preface “Refactoring – by Martin Fowler”.

Resolving error in installing any gem by Ruby

After installing the Ruby installer you might need to install some gems. For example, if you are developing with RedHat OpenShift you want to install ‘rhc’ gem to access remote files on OpenShift. To install ‘rhc’ you would run the following command.

>gem install rhc

But you might get the following error, especially on a Windows machine.

>gem install rhc
ERROR:  Could not find a valid gem 'rhc' (>= 0), here is why:
          Unable to download data from https://rubygems.org/ - SSL_connect retur
ned=1 errno=0 state=SSLv3 read server certificate B: certificate verify failed (
https://rubygems.global.ssl.fastly.net/quick/Marshal.4.8/rhc-1.15.6.gemspec.rz)
ERROR:  Possible alternatives: rhc

Solution

The problem is due to running over a secure (https) connection to rubygems.org. Look at the help for “gem sources –h”, remove the https version and add http://rubygems.org

Run the following commands to do this.

>gem sources --remove https://rubygems.org/
>gem sources --add http://rubygems.org/

And now you can easily install any gem.

Click here to read more about programming and other technologies.

Create your first real-time AngularJS application

In my previous article I talked about creating real-time PHP application. That was on the server side and I demonstrated a very very basic client to connect with it. Let’s take that to next step and create a Javascript client with AngularJS.

Code

angular-client.html


<html>
 <head>
 css/bootstrap.min.css" rel="stylesheet">
 
 
 
 <script src="angular-client.js"></script>
<style>
 body { margin-top: 10px; }
 input.message { height: 30px; }
 </style>
 </head>
 AppCtrl">
 <form class="form-inline">
 <button ng-click="connect()" class="btn">Connect</button>
 <input type="text" ng-model="text" placeholder="input message to send" class="message"></input>
 <button ng-click="send()" class="btn">send</button>
 </form>
 
 <table class="table table-striped">
 <tr ng-repeat="message in messages">
 <td>{{message}}</td>
 </tr
 </table>
 </body>
</html>

angular-client.js


var app = angular.module('app', []);
app.factory('ChatService', function() {
 var service = {};
 
 service.connect = function() {
 if(service.ws) { return; }
 
 var ws = new WebSocket("ws://localhost:8080");
 
 ws.onopen = function() {
 service.callback("Succeeded to open a connection");
 };
 
 ws.onerror = function() {
 service.callback("Failed to open a connection");
 }
 
 ws.onmessage = function(message) {
 service.callback(message.data);
 };
 
 service.ws = ws;
 }
 
 service.send = function(message) {
 service.ws.send(message);
 }
 
 service.subscribe = function(callback) {
 service.callback = callback;
 }
 
 return service;
});
 
 
app.controller('AppCtrl', ['$scope', 'ChatService', function($scope, ChatService) {
 $scope.messages = [];
 
 ChatService.subscribe(function(message) {
 $scope.messages.push(message);
 $scope.$apply();
 });
 
 $scope.connect = function() {
 ChatService.connect();
 }
 
 $scope.send = function() {
 ChatService.send($scope.text);
 $scope.text = "";
 }
}]);


Details

It is pretty straightforward. We created an Angular Service and consumed that in our Angular controller. The only purpose of Angular service is handling communication. It will hand over the message to the subscriber in our case Angular controller and controller can do anything with that message. Here since we demonstrated the chat application so controller displays that message received.

That’s it! so simple.

Note: Both HTML and Javascript files are also available on Gist.

Code was referenced from here.