Using ngrok to access multiple homestead sites remotely

ngrok can be used to provide access to a local homestead or vagrant site remotely i.e. to a client.

You need to use header rewriting to work with the homestead configuration, the syntax for using a single site looks like:

ngrok http -host-header=rewrite

If you have multiple sites then you will need to use ngrok with a config file, stored in ~/.ngrox.config.yml. The docs are vague on how to do the rewriting in the config file so here it is for reference:

        proto: http
        host_header: rewrite
        proto: http
        host_header: rewrite

Note that host header rewriting doesn’t work nicely with cookies which seriously limits this.


CodeIgniter 3.1 Blog example

I was asked to do a coding test to create a basic blog. I decided to to use CodeIgniter 3.1 (yes – it’s not dead as was widely reported a few years ago) because I’ve been working with it recently. CodeIgniter may not be as fashionable as Laravel but it is considerable smaller and will run fast on a small/cheap server, it is also quick and easy to learn how to use it.

My source code is available on BitBucket if anyone is interested to take a look: There are 2 controllers for users and posts, 3 models for categories, posts and users, 5 admin view files and 3 front-end view files. Overall it took me about 4.5 hours.

Lessons learnt:

Some other PHP Frameworks like CakePHP or Laravel can include registration and authentication by running a few commands. This would have saved me a lot of time because I had to write my own login system and it took a while.

I also ran into some issues with redirects because I was running using the PHP built-in webserver trying to make the application self contained – after some investigation it turns out I needed $config['base_url'] = 'http://localhost:8000/'; in application/config/config.php for the redirects to work properly.

More time was wasted writing the usual CRUD methods and creating Bootstrap forms (even if this is only a cut/paste job). CakePHP scaffolding / Code Generation with Bake would have saved more time (although out of the box it doesn’t use Bootstrap).

Blog home screen

On a more positive side, I did like the validators where using 'is_unique[posts.slug]' will automatically check that table/field for you and return an error if it’s already been used.

Next time I’ve got to do this I’ll use Laravel as it seems more popular than CakePHP and I’ll benefit from the nice extras this has to offer over CodeIgniter. However I could just reuse my authentication code and save time.

CodeIgniter set_select default value

The CodeIgniter documentation is vague on how to set the default value in a select tag when you are using the form helper. There’s a third parameter to the set_select method that’s a boolean.

I recommend using something like the following code snippet:

<select class="form-control" name="email">
 <option value="">None</option>
 <?php foreach ($emails as $option):
 ($option == $userEmail) ? $selected = TRUE:$selected = FALSE;
 <option <?=set_select('email', $option, $selected)?>><?=$option?></option>
 <?php endforeach;?>

So you have to check the value of the $option variable with each iteration of the loop and if it matches another variable (which you should set in your controller) it sets the TRUE that the set_select method requires.

Running Laravel on shared hosting subdomain

Running Laravel 5 on a shared host subdomain (I use Vidahost) is a little daunting because Laravel requires the web root to point to the /public folder and generally with a subdomain the website root is the root folder that is created for you.

My solution was to create a directory in the subdomain root folder and copy all the code into there. I then copied the contents of the /public folder into the subdomain root folder and edited index.php.

The two require lines need modifying to remove the ‘..’ characters and replace with the actual path.

//require __DIR__.'/../bootstrap/autoload.php';
require __DIR__.'/mysubdirectory/bootstrap/autoload.php';

It’s not pretty but it worked OK.

The little application I wrote is to help with non-verbal reasoning tests, to memorise the numeric equivalents of the alphabet: Alphabet to Numbers.

Folder structure for running Laravel from site root folder
Folder structure for running Laravel from site root folder

Magento SQL query for customer with billing and shipping address

Here is an SQL query I construct to extract customers with billing and shipping address from a Magento 1.9 store.
This joins on table sales_flat_order_address to ensure that only customers that have ordered are included.

You may need to adjust the entity attribute id’s – if you look in those tables it is pretty obvious what each value represents.

    ce.entity_id AS customer_id,,
    cev2.value AS firstname,
    cev3.value AS lastname,
    caet.value AS billing_first_line,
    caev1.value AS billing_town,
    caev2.value AS billing_postcode,
    sfoa.entity_id AS sfoa_entity_id,
    sfoa.street AS shipping_first_line, AS shipping_city,
    sfoa.postcode AS shipping_postcode
    customer_entity ce
    -- first name
    customer_entity_varchar cev2 ON (ce.entity_id = cev2.entity_id
        AND cev2.attribute_id = 5)
    -- last name
    customer_entity_varchar cev3 ON (ce.entity_id = cev3.entity_id
        AND cev3.attribute_id = 7)
    -- address first line
    customer_address_entity cae ON (ce.entity_id = cae.parent_id)
    customer_address_entity_text caet ON (cae.entity_id = caet.entity_id)
    -- town
    customer_address_entity_varchar caev1 ON (cae.entity_id = caev1.entity_id
    AND caev1.attribute_id = 26)
    -- postcode
    customer_address_entity_varchar caev2 ON (cae.entity_id = caev2.entity_id
    AND caev2.attribute_id = 30)
    -- sales
    sales_flat_order sfo ON (ce.entity_id = sfo.customer_id)
    -- shipping address
    sales_flat_order_address sfoa ON (sfo.entity_id = sfoa.parent_id)
    WHERE sfo.status = 'complete'