Using Laragon for Laravel projects

I am in the process of migrating one of my sites from Codeigniter (anyone remember it? It promised so much but then fell behind, especially when Laravel came out years ago) to Laravel. It’s been a while since I used Laravel but I always love developing with it.

I always use XAMPP for local development but luckily I googled for alternatives and found Laragon. What an awesome find. At first I thought it was just for Laravel, due to name Laragon but you can use it for everything.

So here is how easy it was to install latest Laravel and start local development.

  1.  Go to Laragon website and download it, full or lite. Install (also select development folder) and start the services. Now you have a running web server!I changed few preferences (I don’t want it to start with Windows but I want it to start minimized and start ALL services at once) but you can do whatever is best for you.Another great thing: It comes with my favorite Console Emulator CMDER (not my screenshot):
  2. Let’s install Laravel. Right click blue (or green) Laragon tray Icon -> Quick App -> Laravel, name the project (folder)  and Laragon will begin to install Laravel via console. If you get asked for admin permission to open console (for hosts if I remember correctly) say yes.   When it finishes you should be able to open the web at ProjectName.test . I have to say that the first time I installed Laravel the scripts in console did not finish so it didnt work. I deleted the project folder, restarted the step  2. again and then it worked – Laravel was installed!
    laragon install laravel
  3.  I noticed that phpmyadmin was not installed. It is super easy again to install it :  Right click blue (or green) Laragon Icon -> Tools -> Quick Add -> *phpmyadmin . Wait few moment and you can access it at localhost/phpmyadmin/

And that is all. I installed local web server, Laravel and phpmyadmin with few clicks.

Curl Error : SSL certificate problem: unable to get local issuer certificate Laravel Wamp

Got this error when trying to use a Laravel API package that used Curl:

Curl Error : SSL certificate problem: unable to get local issuer certificate

I am using WAMP (local development) so the solution that worked was this (Let’s assume your PHP version is 7.1.9):

1. Download/save this file: http://curl.haxx.se/ca/cacert.pem into (your wamp path might differ) the C:\wamp64\bin\php\php7.1.9 folder.

2. Now you have to edit php.ini file but in my case it was not the one that is in the above folder (I tried that one first but still got the same error) but it was the one in this (your wamp and apache folder might differ) folder:  C:\wamp64\bin\apache\apache2.4.27\bin . The easiest way to open this file is to click on the green W (Wamp) icon in the tray, then PHP and then php.ini and Windows should open this file for you.

3. Find this line
;curl.cainfo
and change it to :
curl.cainfo = "C:\wamp614\bin\php\php7.1.9\cacert.pem"
Dont forget to remove the ; at the start of the line and of course use your wamp path.

4. Restart (or exit and start) the WAMP server and the error should be gone!

 

Laravel Composer using the wrong PHP version

I installed WAMP for offline development, then Composer and then Laravel. Everything was OK until I used Composer to download some Laravel package and I got this kind of error:

This package requires php >=7.0.0 but your PHP version (5.6.25) does not satisfy that requirement

Number don’t matter but I needed newer PHP. OK, I changed PHP version on WAMP, restarted it..and Laravel composer gave me the same error!

Long story short, after an hour of googling and trying all the suggested solutions like editing composer.json and this and that, nothing worked!

The solution is simple: reinstall Composer! D’oh!

When you run setup you can select the PHP version you want Composer to use (of course you have to have this PHP version installed on your PC or server) and the Composer will use it from then on:

 

laravel composer php version

After doing this this I was able to install the package. To be honest, I was quite upset that so many people offered some complicated solutions (that didn’t even work for me) on various forums and wasted my time when the solution was so simple.

 

 

 

How to check Laravel version?

Every now and then you would like to check what version of Laravel do you have installed. How to determine that? Here are a couple of ways. I tested this for Laravel 4.

1. The easiest way is to simply run artisan command php artisan --version from your CLI and it will return your Laravel version:

check laravel version

2. You can also browse to and open file vendor\laravel\framework\src\Illuminate\Foundation\Application.php. You will see the version of your Laravel instalation near the top of the class, defined as a constant:

/**
	 * The Laravel framework version.
	 *
	 * @var string
	 */
	const VERSION = '4.0.10';

3. You can also place a little code in your routes.php file at the end and then access it like yourdomain.com/laravel-version . This of course assumes that there is nothing in your routes.php file that would not allow the access of /laravel-version route.

Route::get('laravel-version', function()
{
$laravel = app();
return "Your Laravel version is ".$laravel::VERSION;
});

Please keep in mind that it is best not to keep this code on your production server. It’s not that it is harmful but there is simply no need for this because the first two methods that I showed you are simpler. If you still want to keep it then maybe you can comment it out.

There are other ways, especially with code but why complicate things when these 3 are the easiest? 🙂

If you know some simpler ways then please let me know in the comments.

Laravel 4 with Twitter Bootstrap

One of the first thing many, including me, want to do after installing Laravel 4 is to add Twitter Bootstrap. If you go searching for this on Google you will get all kids of results that may confuse beginner. “Use Bower”, “Install it as a external package then use Basset” and several more. I think some are a little too complicated for a beginner and it doesn’t need to be. I know adding a line to composer.json is easy but this will usually (depending on whcih package you chose) download gazillion of files to your vendor folder.

Here is what to do for a simple website – you don’t need to treat it as a external package that needs to be added via composer, bower or be used with help of Basset etc. Sure, it’s easier to update it via composer but it is not that difficult to update it manually too – if you indeed need an update.

So here are few easy ways:

Use Bootstrap CDN links

Simply include 3 links, which will fetch your twitter bootstrap files from MaxCDN site. This is the easiest and fastest way. Let’s assume that you have a master blade template called default.blade.php. Place this code inside your HTML head section (anywhere):

<head>

<!-- Latest compiled and minified CSS -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="//netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.0.3/css/bootstrap.min.css">

<!-- Optional theme -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="//netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.0.3/css/bootstrap-theme.min.css">

<!-- Latest compiled and minified JavaScript -->
<script src="//netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.0.3/js/bootstrap.min.js"></script>

</head>

That’s it, you should now be able to use Twitter Bootstrap goodness.

Download Bootstrap and put it in your public folder

I like to host my own files and not depend on third party so I usually do this. Here we don’t treat Twitter Bootstrap as a Laravel package.We will bypass Composer so we manually put Twitter Bootstrap files into our public assets folder.

Go to getbootstrap.com, download Twitter Bootstrap ZIP file and extract the content of ZIP file (pull entire dist folder) to your /public/ folder. I usually rename dist folder to tb.

You will then end up with css,fonts and js folders inside /public/tb/ folder.

Now we follow the same procedure like before except that we will link to local files we just downloaded. I will use Laravel’s HTML helper to create links. {{ and }} is a Laravel Blade syntax.

<head>

{{ HTML::style('tb/css/bootstrap.css') }}
{{ HTML::style('tb/css/bootstrap-theme.min.css') }}
{{ HTML::script('tb/js/bootstrap.min.js') }}

</head>

As you can guess the first two lines will create CSS style links and the third one will create script link. If you view the source of generated page you will see that Laravel’s HTML helper created something like this (of course http://yoursite.dev will be replaced by your site) :

<head>

<link media="all" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="http://yoursite.dev/tb/css/bootstrap.css">
<link media="all" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="http://yoursite.dev/tb/css/bootstrap-theme.min.css">
<script src="http://yoursite.dev/tb/js/bootstrap.min.js"></script>

</head>

There are other ways (Bower, Composer, Basset…), which I might show in another post (or maybe I’ll update this post later) but these two are the easiest, especially for those just starting with Laravel 4.

Enjoy your Twitter Bootstrap powered Laravel 4 website 🙂

Use Composer to install packages not on Packagist

Packagist and Composer are a great combination for installing the packages that we need for our projects (in my case for Laravel 4 project). For example you want to use Sentry 2 so you simply add "cartalyst/sentry": "2.0.*" as required package in your composer.json file. But what if we need a package that is not on Packagist? There are several ways but I will show you two solutions (and maybe add others later).

Installing package that has no composer.json file

In my case I wanted to add Jquery.Gantt package to my Laravel 4 project. This package is not listed on Packagist and doesn’t have its own composer.json file so you can’t just add "Jquery.Gantt": "1.0.*" under "require": in your composer.json file.

What we need to do is add some code to our composer.json file to tell Composer something about the new package,where to find it etc.

Just so you can imagine how this looks when it is all done, here is my entire composer.json file for one of my projects.Keep in mind that you only have to add what is highlighted in grey (lines 2-19 and line 26) to your composer.json file and not everything. The rest of the code is for my project and is included only so you can see where to put your code. Don’t forget to backup the original composer.json before doing this 🙂

  {
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "package",
            "package": {
                "name": "taitems/jQuery.Gantt",
                "version": "1.0",
                "dist": {
                    "url": "https://github.com/taitems/jQuery.Gantt/archive/master.zip",
                    "type": "zip"
                },
                "source": {
                    "url": "https://github.com/taitems/jQuery.Gantt.git",
                    "type": "git",
                    "reference": "dev-master"
                }
            }
        }
    ],
	"require": {
		"laravel/framework": "4.0.*",
		"cartalyst/sentry": "2.0.*",  
		"jasonlewis/expressive-date": "1.*",
		"opauth/opauth": "*",
		"opauth/facebook": "*",  
		"taitems/jQuery.Gantt": "1.0",  
		"way/generators": "dev-master"
	},
	"autoload": {
		"classmap": [
			"app/commands",
			"app/controllers",
			"app/models",
			"app/database/migrations",
			"app/database/seeds",
			"app/tests/TestCase.php"
		]
	},
	"scripts": {
		"post-update-cmd": "php artisan optimize"
	},
	"minimum-stability": "dev"
}

Lines 2-19: You have to change few things of course, depending on what package you are installing. Copy the Name from GitHub page (I took mine from https://github.com/taitems/jQuery.Gantt)). You can find both ZIP and .git URLs on GitHub page of that package. Version should be the package version number you want to use – if you are not sure then try * sign.

Line 26: You add this just like you would normaly add every dependency/package that is listed on Packagist.

That’s it. Just run php composer.phar update and your new package will be installed into /vendor/ folder, just like every other package/dependency.

Installing package that is not on Packagist but has composer.json file

I have not tried this yet but in case the package has composer.json file you can just use this code:

"repositories": [
    {
        "type": "vcs",
        "url": "https://github.com/taitems/jQuery.Gantt"
    }
]

It’s the same as in first example – you start from line 2, after the opening {. Do we are using VCS repository instead of the package repository. Composer will use the GitHub API to fetch the branch names and check if the version dev-soft-deleteable-products-disabled exists. If it does, it will clone the repository and check out said branch.

Again, run php composer.phar update and your new package should be installed into /vendor/ folder, just like every other package/dependency.

Note: VCS example will not work on the jQuery.Gantt package because this package has no composer.json file so you have to use the first method. VCS example is here only to demonstrate what to do when the package has composer.json file included.

Laravel 4 profiler – Log and display SQL queries

Laravel 3 had a cool profiler bundle called Anbu, written by Daylee Rees. It was written as a bundle but Taylor, creator of Laravel, liked it so it was eventually included in the Laravel core. Laravel 4, at the time of this writing, however has no such profiler included in the core. So how do we display database SQL queries for debugging?

Here are a couple of solutions:

1. Use Loic Sharma’s Profiler. It is a PHP 5.3 profiler based off of Laravel 3’s Anbu. I have not tried this yet so just follow the instructions there.

2. Try Profiler by Juy, a PHP 5.3 profiler for Laravel 4. Backend based on sorora/omni, fronted based on loic-sharma/profiler, some features inspirated from papajoker/profiler, some features written by Juy.

3. Create an event that will listen to illuminate.query. Open your routes.php file and add this at the bottom:

 Event::listen('illuminate.query', function($sql)
 {
     var_dump($sql);
 }); 

This will print every query on the screen on the place where it is called so it might not look pretty,especially in loops. Also you might not see the queries on the screen in some cases since they will be “hidden” in the HTML source code (so just view the page source to see them, they will usually be at the top of the page)

4. You can also display the last executed query by placing a code in front of the code that executes a query. For example let say we have this code in our controller:

// Grab all the users
$customers = Customer::orderBy('name','asc')->get();

Place the Event::listen code in front of that statement and you will see that query displayed on your screen.

// dump the next executed query and die (dd)
Event::listen('illuminate.query', function($sql)
{
    dd($sql);
}); 

// Grab all the users
$customers = Customer::orderBy('name','asc')->get();

Keep in mind that this will only display 1 query. If your statement calls more queries they will not get displayed.

5. Put the following code in the App::before filter to get a dump of your database queries:

DB::listen(function($sql, $bindings, $time)
{
    var_dump($sql);
    var_dump($bindings);
});

6. There is another “trick” that I use sometimes (because having SQL queries displayed all the time is not practical and it messes up the code and design): I intentionally make an error in my SQL statement. For example here I mistyped type as tyspe:

$contracts = Contract::where('tyspe','=',0)->orderBy('note','asc')->get();

Since tyspe doesn’t exist Laravel returns an error,showing me the complete SQL statement:

SQLSTATE[42S22]: Column not found: 1054 Unknown column ‘tyspe’ in ‘where clause’ (SQL: select * from `contracts` where `tyspe` = ? order by `note` asc) (Bindings: array ( 0 => 0, ))

Let me know if you know of any other solutions in the comments.

Script php artisan clear-compiled handling the pre-update-cmd event returned with an error

I had a problem with Basset package (website didn’t load, it kept timing out) so I tried to remove it from the composer.json file to see if it helps. After running php composer.phar update I got this error:

Script php artisan clear-compiled handling the pre-update-cmd event returned with an error

You can even get this error:

Script php artisan optimize handling the post-update-cmd event returned with an error

To fix this error open your composer.json file and delete the scripts key (or just the part that fails – in bold). In my case it was this:

	"scripts": {
		"pre-update-cmd": [
			"php artisan clear-compiled"
		],
		"post-install-cmd": [
			"php artisan optimize"
		],
		"post-update-cmd": [
			"php artisan optimize"
		]
	},

I ran php composer.phar update again and it worked.

Some people report that after this they have problems with running php artisan optimize and few others . I didn’t have this problem but if you have it then delete the app/bootstrap/compiled.php file and then try running php composer.phar update

Simple relationship example in Laravel 4

Today I tried to create a simple relationship with Laravel 4 Eloquent but because I am still learning Laravel I spent more than an hour to figure it out. I searched the net ,forums etc but I simply didn’t find what I was looking for or it was for more complicated example. Relationships can be quite complicated ( like we all don’t know this 😉 ) so I am not going to go into details about what they are in this post – I am going to show you a specific solution for a specific problem.

Display the name of the country of specific person with Eloquent relationships

OK, so we have a table Customers and table Countries. Table Customers has fields like first_name,last_name, telephone etc but also field/foreign key country (int). Table Countries has the list of all countries in the world. The name of the specific country in table Countries is stored in the field short_name. We have admin and in the admin we have a page that lists all customers.

Defining the relationship between two tables

Customer can only have one country but country “has” many customers.(for example several customers can be from US). So in our case we have one-to-many relationship.

In the controller (that deals with customers) we have this code:

	public function getIndex()
	{
		// Grab all the customers
		$customers = Customer::orderBy('created_at', 'DESC')->paginate(10);
		// Show the page
		return View::make('admin/customers/index', compact('customers'));
	}

and in our admin/customers/index.blade.php view we loop through results set like this(excerpt):

      @foreach ($customers as $customer)
        <tr>
            <td>{{ $customer->first_name." ".$customer->last_name }}</td>
            <td>{{ $customer->country }}</td>
            <td>{{ $customer->telephone }}</td>
        </tr>
        @endforeach

Simple but it gives us this:

Relationships before, Laravel

Now we could create a function that would return a name of the country like this Customer::countryName($customer->country) but why do this when it can be done much more elegantly.

Laravel Eloquent relationships to the rescue

Open the Customer.php model and add this method/relationship:

    //relationship with country table 
   public function country() {
        return $this->belongsTo('Country');
    }

Now let’s go back to our admin/customers/index.blade.php view and check this line:

<td>{{ $customer->country }}</td>

We can now access the country name with this code : $customer->country()->first()->short_name

but it gets even better: Due to Eloquent’s Dynamic Properties we can shorten our call so replace the above line with:

 <td>{{ $customer->country->short_name }}</td>

Save, refresh your page and voila, we see this :

Relationship final laravel

As you can see, relationships in Laravel 4 can be very useful and elegant way to solve such problems. In this post I didn’t explain every funtion call because I didn’t want it to get too confusing. I will write more about relationships in some of the future posts.

Added: You can read more about database relationships here: Database table relationships: One-to-One vs. One-to-Many vs. Many-to-Many

Laravel 4 Accessors & Mutators

Eloquent provides a convenient way to transform your model attributes when getting or setting them. In Laravel 3 they were called Getter & Setter Methods. In Laravel 4 they are called Accessors & Mutators.

Accessors are custom methods in your Model that modify the value of a field before it is returned to you (e.g. before you display it on screen). Similarly, mutators are custom methods in your Model that modify the value of a field prior to being set (e.g. before being saved to database ). These methods are called automatically when you access or set the field as a property on the model (e.g. $movie->release_date).

Note: Laravel 4 adheres to the PSR-0 standard so the accessors / mutators’ method names have to be CamelCase. So, if you have an attribute called “release_date”, the appropriate mutator has to be called setReleaseDateAttribute() and the appropriate accessor has to be called getReleaseDateAttribute(). But enough of theory, let’s see an example.

Modifying date attribute with Accessors & Mutators

Let’s suppose we have a table “Movies”. The table has various fields like title,length, studio etc and of course release_date field (date). What we want to do is automatically modify/format release_date field before inserting it into database and before displaying it in our form. Now this is just for example but let’s suppose that in the database it is stored in Y-m-d format (2013-06-16) and in our form it has d/m/Y format (16/06/2013). I am using Carbon class for date conversion (you can find it in vendor/nesbot/carbon folder – it is included with Laravel 4) but you can use anything you like – even PHP date().

So open your Movies.php model (that extends Eloquent) and add this method somewhere:

//mutator for changing date d/m/Y format to Y-m-d format so it can be stored in database
 public function setReleaseDateAttribute($value)
    {
        $this->attributes['release_date'] = Carbon::createFromFormat('d/m/Y', $value)->toDateString();
    }

This might look complicated at first but don’t worry, it isn’t. As you can see we have a mutator method (setReleaseDateAttribute). If you are wondering why does this method have such name then please re-read the third paragraph of this post (about PSR-0 standard). Note that the value of the attribute is passed to mutator.

Let’s explain this line:

 $this->attributes['release_date'] = Carbon::createFromFormat('d/m/Y', $value)->toDateString();

We access the attribute “release_date” with $this->attributes['release_date'] and set/change it to whatever we want. In the right part we are using Carbon class to create ‘d/m/Y’ variable with $value and then convert it to Y-m-d format with Carbon’s toDateString() method. Again, read Carbon documentation. The right part can be anything you want :

 $this->attributes['release_date'] = '2013-06-13';

Of course that would manually set the date and ignore the actual $variable so this is just for demonstration.

Accessor works the same way, except that we use “get” instead of “set” in the method name. Also since it is just accessor we do not modify the $this->attributes['release_date'] – we just return a (new) value. So add this code below mutator code in your model:

//accessor for changing date Y-m-d format to d/m/Y format so it can be displayed in form field
 public function getReleaseDateAttribute($value). 
    {
       return Carbon::createFromFormat('Y-m-d', $value)->format('d/m/Y');
    }

As you can see we return the value with return and in the mutator we don’t – in mutator we set/modify the $this->attributes['release_date'] .(Also Carbon statement is a little different)

How does Laravel automatically know when to use accessor and when mutator?

If we access the variable somewhere in our controller or model (like $var = $movie->release_date;) then Laravel will call accessor before it is returned to us. If we set the variable (like $movie->release_date = "16/06/2013";) and then save it to database ( e.g. $movie->save() ) Laravel will call mutator before it is saved to database.

Note: If you want to use Carbon class that is included with Laravel 4 you can autoload it or simply add use Carbon\Carbon; right at the top of your model so it looks something like this:

<?php

use Carbon\Carbon;

class Movies extends Eloquent {
//your code, accessors and mutators here
}