Thursday, 25 April 2019

Why use PhpStorm over Atom

I'm just about to do a lot more work with PHP and I will be using PhpStorm. What's so good about PhpStorm. Below are a few examples.

Working with scratch files

New->New scratch file : Creates a file without yet including it in your project.


Select the variable you want to refactor.
All occurrences of the variable will be renamed.

Search everything in your project

Tap the Shift button twice.

Version control

If you already have a repository, one of the options on the PhpStorm welcome screen is 'Check out from version control'. Here you can select your repository type. You will then be asked for the repository location and PhpStorm will load with your repository.
Let's assume your project uses git or Bitbucket.
When you add code to your project a new tab appears at the bottom-left of PhpStorm titled 'Version Control'. This allows you to track, stage, and commit changes.


When you open up a project which contains a database connection you can work with the database.
A tab appears at the top-right of PhpStorm titled 'Databases'. From here you can click on the '+' button and add a new connection, if the connection has not already been made.
Once the connection has been established, the 'Databases' window shows the database structue, but you also have a console window into which you can add queries such as SELECT * FROM country.
When the query results are displayed in the console, it's possible to edit the data returned.


First set Vagrant up in your project
Tools->Vagrant->Init in Project Root
If Vagrant is not set up on your computer a dialogue box appears asking you for configuration details of Vagrant.
If Vagrant is set up on your computer a dialogue box appears asking you for your chose Vagrant instance.
Once Vagrant has been set up you can move 'Remote Host', find a file, right-click and select 'Edit remote file'.


In your project you can test RESTful web API's for your project before you add the code.
Tools->HTTP Client->Test RESTful Web Service

Emmet built in

Type a tag name followed by TAB
e.g. html:5
e.g. html>head+body

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Using Windoze for the first time in years

I'm having to use Microsoft Windows 10 for some work. I haven't touched Windows since XP. Here are some things which I thought would be useful.

The 'Start menu' is that ugly stuff at the bottom left which appears when you click on the Windows icon. It may look bad now, but when Microsoft brought out Vista etc, things looked so much worse.

Pin an application to the start menu

Left click on the Windows icon at the bottom left of the desktop. This shows the Windows 10 primary start menu ('Start menu').
Find your application shortcut by going through the alphabetically ordered list in the 'Start menu'.
Right click on your chosen shortcut.
Choose 'Pin to start menu'.

Remove an application from the start menu

Left click on the windows icon at the bottom left of the desktop. This shows the 'Start menu'.
Find your application shortcut icon within the 'Start menu' on the right.
Right click the icon and choose 'Unpin from start'.

Pin an application to the taskbar

Left click on the windows icon at the bottom left of the desktop. This shows the 'Start menu'.
Find your application shortcut by going through the alphabetically ordered list in the 'Start menu'.
Right click on your chosen shortcut.
Choose 'More' -> 'Pin to taskbar'.


Left click on the primary 'Start menu'.
To the far left are a small number of small icons.
Choose 'Settings'.


Left click on the primary 'Start menu'.
To the far left are a small number of small icons.
Choose 'Settings'.
Choose 'Notifications & actions'.
Turn off some of those pesky apps which send you notifications when you're trying to work.

Keyboard shortcuts

Alt + Tab : Switch between open apps
Alt + F4 : Close the active item, or exit the active app
Windows logo key  + L : Lock your PC
F10 : Activate the Menu bar in the active app
Ctrl + Esc : Open Start
Ctrl + Shift + Esc : Open Task Manager
Esc : Stop or leave the current task
Windows logo key  + E : Open File Explorer
Windows logo key  + I : Open Settings

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Vanilla JavaScript Grid navigation

I have created a Vanilla JavaScript Grid navigation. This has been built using and resides at
It employs ES6, BEM and SASS.


This module offers 2 options:

  • A logo with text to the right.
  • A logo with text underneath

The module was created to make logo based header elements more SEO friendly. The logo is itself a background and the text resides in a H1 tag.

The SCSS uses the BEM approach and resides at

Forked from

Friday, 29 March 2019

Yii use and namespace


Standard Yii

This is a keyword which is used to make functionality available to the current class.
E.g. If you add line below
use yii\db\ActiveRecord;
You will be able to create a new ActiveRecord such as
$ar = new ActiveRecord();
Or to create a class which is an extension of an ActiveRecord such as
class Customer extends ActiveRecord

Your Yii custom components

E.g. If you add line below
use app\models\Customer;
You will be able to add functionality which has been created for this application. In this case a model was created called 'Customer'. From here you can such functionality to your current class as
$query = Customer::find();


The namespace allows you to create a structured naming convention to retrieve the class you are currently working on.
E.g. If you add lines below
namespace app\models;
use yii\db\ActiveRecord;
class Customer extends ActiveRecord
This will allow you at a later date to 'use' this class thus
use app\models\Customer;

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Yii database model

This is partly based on the documentation found at


If you're going to work with records using Yii, it's helpful to make use of the ActiveRecord class. In this example, we're working with a database of country data.  Thankfully, this is a simple scenario which requires the creation of a simple class. Just add this as models/Country.php
namespace app\models;
use yii\db\ActiveRecord;
class Country extends ActiveRecord


Next we need to create a controller which we can use to pass data from the Country ActiveRecord model to a view. In this case, we're also going to add some pagination functionality, which we'll also pass to the view.

  1. First we create a $query object which will be used to retrieve the data.
  2. Next we create a $pagination object which will be used to control the display of that data.
  3. Next we get all the data we want.
  4. Finally we pass the data and pagination objects to the view.

We save this class as controllers/CountryController.php

namespace app\controllers;
use yii\web\Controller;
use yii\data\Pagination;
use app\models\Country;
class CountryController extends Controller
    public function actionIndex()
        $query = Country::find();
        $pagination = new Pagination([
            'defaultPageSize' => 5,
            'totalCount' => $query->count(),

        $countries = $query->orderBy('name')

        return $this->render('index', [
            'countries' => $countries,
            'pagination' => $pagination,


The view performs 3 tasks in this process:
Loops through the data, adding it to the page.
Adding the pagination object to that the data can be paged through.
Adding the LinkPager widget object to the pagination object to automatically create all those links, saving us a bunch of coding.
We'll put the view in the directory views/country/index.php

use yii\helpers\Html;
use yii\widgets\LinkPager;
<?php foreach ($countries as $country): ?>
        <?php echo Html::encode("{$country->code} ({$country->name})"); ?>:
        <?php echo $country->population; ?>
<?php endforeach; ?>
<?php echo LinkPager::widget(['pagination' => $pagination]); ?>

Yii first models and forms

This is partly based on the documentation found at


In building a form interaction it's often best to begin with a model; a place where the data will be sent for checking, and or converting and putting into a source. A model is therefore also required far all CRUD operations.

rules and validate

The model below handles an entry form post. It doesn't do much with the data, but it does contain a method with a reserved word, rules(). This method will be called later from the controller using the term validate()

The rules method return to the validate call within the controller validation of 2 expectations:

  1. That the name and emailAddress fields are required.
  2. That the emailAddress is a valid email field.

namespace app\models;
use Yii;
use yii\base\Model;
class EntryForm extends Model
    public $name;
    public $emailAddress;
    public function rules()
        return [
              ['name', 'emailAddress'], 'required'
              'emailAddress', 'email'


The controller makes our newly created model available to us through the line
use app\models\EntryForm;
A method is created called actionEntry() is created which will be called from the form (contained in a view) using the view file name of entry.php
and a new instance of the model is created through the line
$model = new EntryForm();
The POSTed data is sent to the model using the
Yii::$app->request->post() method. A list of other request options can be found at
At the same time, the model validates the data using
$model->validate() which as mentioned previously makes use of the rules() method.
Once these tests have been passed and you've done something useful with the data, you can render the confirmation view, entry-confirm.php.
If something went wrong you can take the user back to the form view entry.php.
In both cases, though it may seem a little confusing, $model is passed as 'model' to the views. This means that 'model' becomes $model within the views.
namespace app\controllers;
use Yii;
use yii\web\Controller;
use yii\web\Request;
use app\models\EntryForm;
class SiteController extends Controller
    // actionIndex(), actionSay() etc.
    public function actionEntry()
        $model = new EntryForm();
        $request = new Request();
        if ($model->load($request->post()) && $model->validate()) {
            // valid data received in $model do something meaningful here
            return $this->render('entry-confirm', ['model' => $model]);
        } else {
            // either the page is initially displayed or there is some validation error
            return $this->render('entry', ['model' => $model]);


As mentioned in the controller section above, there are 2 views; entry.php and entry-confirm.php.


Residing at views/site/entry-confirm.php is fairly easy to understand.
use yii\helpers\Html;
<p>You have entered the following information:</p>
    <li><label>Name</label>: <?php echo Html::encode($model->name); ?></li>
    <li><label>Email</label>: <?php echo Html::encode($model->emailAddress); ?></li>


Residing at views/site/entry.php requires a little more explanation.
The ActiveForm::begin() method creates form tag. This tag has an action field into which the ActiveForm::begin() method the filename of the form. This action field is used to make a request to the actionEntry() method in the controller.
use yii\helpers\Html;
use yii\widgets\ActiveForm;
<?php $form = ActiveForm::begin(); ?>
    <?php echo $form->field($model, 'name'); ?>
    <?php echo $form->field($model, 'emailAddress'); ?>
    <div class="form-group">
        <?php echo Html::submitButton('Submit', ['class' => 'btn btn-primary']); ?>
<?php ActiveForm::end(); ?>