Tag: PHP

  • πŸ“‚

    Don’t stop building

    I really enjoy building scripts for my own workflow.

    I wish I had the skills to build things in the real world, but until then I’ll keep building stuff in the digital space only.

    Although I love working with PHP and Laravel, it is Bash that has re-ignited a passion in me to just build stuff without thinking its got to work towards being some kind of β€œprofitable” side project.

    Don’t. Stop. Building.

  • πŸ“‚

    Inventory app — saving inventory items.

    This is the absolute bare bones minimum implementation for my inventory keeping: saving items to my inventory list.

    Super simple, but meant only as an example of how I’d work when working on an API.

    Here are the changes made to my Inventory Manager. Those changes include the test and logic for the initial index endpoint too. I may blog about that part in a separate post soon.

    Writing the store test

    One of Laravel’s many strengths is how well it is set up for testing and just how nice those tests can read. Especially now that I’ve started using Pest.

    Here is the test I wrote for the store endpoint I was yet to write:

    test('inventory items can be created', function () {
        $response = $this->postJson(route(name: 'inventory.store'), [
            'name' => 'My Special Item',
        $this->assertDatabaseHas(Inventory::class, [
            'name' => 'My Special Item',

    Firstly I post to an endpoint, that I am yet to create, with the most minimal payload I want: an item’s name:

    $response = $this->postJson(route(name: 'inventory.store'), [
        'name' => 'My Special Item',

    Then I can check I have the correct status code: an HTTP Created 201 status:


    Finally I check that the database table where I will be saving my inventory items has the item I have created in the test:

    $this->assertDatabaseHas(Inventory::class, [
        'name' => 'My Special Item',

    The first argument to the assertDatabaseHas method is the model class, which Laravel will use to determine the name of the table for that model. Either by convention, or by the value you override it with on the model.

    The second argument is an array that should match the table’s column name and value. Your model can have other columns and still pass. It will only validate that the keys and values you pass to it are correct; you don’t need to pass every column and value — that would become tedious.

    Writing the store logic

    There is a term I’ve heard in Test-driven development called “sliming it out”. If I remember correctly, this is when you let the test feedback errors dictate every single piece of code you add.

    You wouldn’t add any code at all until a test basically told you too.

    I wont lie – I actually love this idea, but it soon becomes tiresome. It’s great to do when you start out in TDD, in my opinion, but soon you’ll start seeing things you can add before running the test.

    For example, you know you’ll need a database table and a model class, and most likely a Model Factory for upcoming tests, so you could run the artisan command to generate those straight away:

    php artisan make:model -mf Inventory
    # or with sail
    ./vendor/bin/sail artisan make:model -mf Inventory

    I dont tend to generate my Controller classes with these, as I now use single-action controllers for personal projects.

    Store Route

    Within the routes/web.php file, I add the following:

    use App\Http\Controllers\Inventory\StoreController;
    Route::post('inventory', StoreController::class)->name('inventory.store');

    Using a single-action class here to keep logic separated. Some would see this as over-engineering, especially if keeping controller code to a minimum anyway, but I like the separation.

    Adding an explicit “name” to the endpoint, means I can just refer to it throughout the app with that name. Like in the test code above where I generate the endpoint with the “route” helper function:

    route(name: 'inventory.store')

    Store Controller

    declare(strict_types = 1);
    namespace App\Http\Controllers\Inventory;
    use App\Http\Requests\InventoryStoreRequest;
    use App\Models\Inventory;
    use Illuminate\Contracts\Routing\ResponseFactory;
    use Illuminate\Http\Response;
    class StoreController
        public function __invoke(InventoryStoreRequest $request): Response|ResponseFactory
                'name' => $request->get(key: 'name'),
            return response(content: 'Inventory item created', status: 201);

    Super straight forward at the moment. After receiving the request via the custom request class (code below), I just create an inventory item with the name on the request.

    I then return a response with a message and an HTTP Created 201 status.

    This code does assume that it was created fine so I might look at a better implementation of this down the line…

    …but not before I have a test telling me it needs to change.

    InventoryStoreRequest class

    This is a standard generated request class with the following rules method:

     * Get the validation rules that apply to the request.
     * @return array<string, mixed>
    public function rules(): array
        return [
            'name' => 'required',

    Again, nothing much to it. It makes sure that a name is required to be passed.

    Its not saying anything about what that value could be. We could pass a date time or a mentally-long string.

    I’ll fix that in a future post.

    An extra test for the required name

    In order to be “belt and braces”, I have also added a test that proves that we require a name to be passed. Pest makes this laughable simple:

    test('inventory items require a name', function () {
        $this->postJson(route(name: 'inventory.store'))

    This just performs a post request to the store endpoint, but passes no data. We then just chain the assertJsonValidationErrorFor method, giving it the parameter that should have caused the failed validation. In this case “name”.

    As the validation becomes more sophisticated I will look at adding more of these tests, and even possibly running all “required” fields through the some test method with Pests data functionality. Essentially the same as how PHPUnit’s Data Providers work.

    Useful Links

    Complete changes in git for when I added the store and the index endpoints to my Inventory app.

  • πŸ“‚ ,

    Adding Laravel Jetstream to a fresh Laravel project

    I only have this post here as there was a couple of extra steps I made after regular installation, which I wanted to keep a note of.

    Here are the changes made to my Inventory Manager.

    Follow the Jetstream Installation guide

    Firstly I just follow the official installation guide.

    When it came to running the Jetstream install command in the docs, this was the specific flavour I ran:

    php artisan jetstream:install livewire --pest

    This sets it up to use Livewire, as I wanted to learn that along the way, as well as setting up the Jetstream tests as Pest ones.

    Again, I’m not too familiar with Pest (still loving phpunit) but thought it was worth learning.

    Enable API functionality

    I want to build my Inventory Manager as a separate API and front end, so I enabled the API functionality after install.

    Enabling the built-in API functionality, which is Laravel Sanctum by the way, is as easy as uncommenting a line in your ./config/jetstream.php file:

    'features' => [
        // Features::termsAndPrivacyPolicy(),
        // Features::profilePhotos(),
        // Features::teams(['invitations' => true]),

    The Features::api(), line should be commented out by default; just uncomment it and you’re good to go.

    Setup Pest testing

    The only thing that tripped me up was that I hadn’t previously setup pest, which was causing the Jetstream tests to fail.

    So I ran the following command, which is modified for my using Laravel Sail, from the Pest Documentation:

    ./vendor/bin/sail artisan pest:install

    I then also added the RefreshDatabase trait to my ./tests/TestCase.php file.

    Then all of my tests pass.

    That is Jetstream setup and ready to continue for me.

  • πŸ“‚ ,

    Starting a new Laravel 9 project

    Whenever I start a new Laravel project, whether that’s a little side-project idea or just having a play, I try to follow the same process.

    I recently read Steve’s post here on starting your first Laravel 9 Application, so thought I would write down my own setup.

    Whereas Steve’s guide walks you through the beginnings of building a new app, I’m only going to show what I do to get a new project in a ready state I’m happy with before beginning a build.

    This includes initial setup, static analysis, xdebug setup and CI pipeline setup (with Github Actions).


    Before starting, I already have docker and docker-compose installed for my system (Arch Linux BTW).

    Oh and curl is installed, which is used for pulling the project down in the initial setup.

    Other than that, everything that is needed is contained within the Docker containers.

    I then use Laravel’s quick setup from their documentation.

    Initial setup

    Using Laravel’s magic endpoint here, we can get a new Laravel project setup with docker-compose support right out of the box. This could take a little time — especially the first time your run it, as it downloads all of the docker images needed for the local setup.

    curl -s https://laravel.build/my-new-site | bash

    At the end of the installation, it will ask you your password in order to finalise the last steps.

    Once finished, you should be able to start up your new local project with the following command:

    cd my-new-site
    ./vendor/bin/sail up -d

    If you now direct your browser to http://localhost , you should see the default Laravel landing page.

    Code style fixing with Laravel Pint

    Keeping a consistant coding style across a project is one of the most important aspects of development — especially within teams.

    Pint is Laravel’s in-house development library to enable the fixing of any deviations from a given style guide, and is actually included as a dev dependancy in new Laravel projects.

    Whether you accept it’s opinionated defaults or define your own rules in a “pint.json” file in the root of your project, is up to you.

    In order to run it, you simply run the following command:

    ./vendor/bin/sail bin pint

    A fresh installation of Laravel should give you no issues whatsoever.

    I advise you to make running this command often — especially before making new commits to your version control.

    Static Analysis with Larastan

    Static analysis is a great method for testing your code for things that would perhaps end up as run time errors in your code later down the line.

    It analyses your code without executing it, and warns of any bugs and breakages it finds. It’s clever stuff.

    Install Larastan with the following command:

    ./vendor/bin/sail composer require nunomaduro/larastan:^2.0 --dev

    Create a file called “phpstan.neon” in the root of your project with the following contents:

        - ./vendor/nunomaduro/larastan/extension.neon
            - app/
        # Level 9 is the highest level
        level: 5

    Then run the analyser with the following command:

    ./vendor/bin/sail bin phpstan analyse

    You can actually set the level in your phpstan.neon file to 9 and it will pass in a fresh Laravel application.

    The challenge is to keep it passing at level 9.

    Line by Line debugging with Xdebug

    At the time of writing, xdebug does come installed with the Laravel sail dockerfiles. However, the setup does need an extra step to make it work fully (at least in my experience)


    There are two parts to xdebug to think about and set up.

    Firstly is the server configuration — this is the installation of xdebug on the php server and setting the correct configuration in the xdebug.ini file.

    The second part is setting up your IDE / PDE to accept the messages that xdebug is sending from the server in order to display the debugging information in a meaningful way.

    I will show here what is needed to get the server correctly set up. However, you will need to look into how your chosen editor works to receive xdebug messages. VS Code has a plugin that is apparently easy to setup for this.

    I use Neovim, and will be sharing a guide soon for how to get debugging with xdebug working in Neovim soon.

    Enable Xdebug in Laravel Sail

    In order to “turn on” xdebug in Laravel Sail, we just need to enable it by way of an environment variable in the .env file.

    Inside your project’s .env file, put the following:


    Unfortunately, in my own experience this hasn’t been enough to have xdebug working in my editor (Neovim). And looking around Stack Overflow et. al, I’m not the only one.

    However, what follows is how I get the xdebug server correctly configured for me to debug in Neovim. You will need to take an extra step or two for your editor of choice in order to receive those xdebug messages and have them displayed for you.

    Publish the Sail runtime files

    One thing Laravel does really well, is creating sensible defaults with the ease of overriding those defaults — and Sail is no different.

    Firstly, publish the Laravel sail files to your project root with the following command:

    ./vendor/bin/sail artisan sail:publish

    Create an xdebug ini file

    After publishing the sail stuff above, you will have a folder in the root of your project called “docker”. Within that folder you will have different folders for each of the supported PHP versions.

    I like to use the latest version, so I would create my xdebug ini file in the ./docker/8.2/ directory, at the time of writing.

    I name my file ext-xdebug.ini, and add the following contents to it. You may need extra lines added depending on your IDE’s setup requirements too.


    Add a Dockerfile step to use the new xdebug ini file

    Within the Dockerfile located at ./docker/8.2/Dockerfile, find the lines near the bottom of the file that are copying files from the project into the container, and add another copy line below them as follows:

    COPY start-container /usr/local/bin/start-container
    COPY supervisord.conf /etc/supervisor/conf.d/supervisord.conf
    COPY php.ini /etc/php/8.2/cli/conf.d/99-sail.ini
    COPY ext-xdebug.ini /etc/php/8.2/cli/conf.d/ext-xdebug.ini

    Optionally rename the docker image

    It is recommended that you rename the image name within your project’s ./docker-compose.yml file, towards the top:

            context: ./docker/8.2
            dockerfile: Dockerfile
                WWWGROUP: '${WWWGROUP}'
        image: sail-8.2/app
        image: renamed-sail-8.2/app

    This is only if you have multiple Laravel projects using sail, as the default name will clash between projects.

    Rebuild the Image.

    Now we need to rebuild the image in order to get our new xdebug configuration file into our container.

    From the root of your project, run the following command to rebuild the container without using the existing cache.

    ./vendor/bin/sail build --no-cache

    Then bring the containers up again:

    ./vendor/bin/sail up -d

    Continuous Integration with Github Actions

    I use Github for storing a backup of my projects.

    I have recently started using Github’s actions to run a workflow for testing my code when I push it to the repository.

    In that workflow it first installs the code and it’s dependancies. It then creates an artifact tar file of that working codebase and uses it for the three subsequent workflows I run after, in parallel: Pint code fixing; Larastan Static Analysis and Feature & Unit Tests.

    The full ci workflow file I use is stored as a Github Gist. Copy the contents of that file into a file located in a ./.github/workflows/ directory. You can name the file itself whatever you’d like. A convention is to name it “ci.yml”.

    The Github Action yaml explained

    When to run the action

    Firstly I only want the workflow to run when pushing to any branch and when creating pull requests into the “main” branch.

        branches: [ "*" ]
        branches: [ "main" ]

    Setting up the code to be used in multiple CI checks.

    I like to get the codebase into a testable state and reuse that state for all of my tests / checks.

    This enables me to not only keep each CI step separated from the others, but also means I can run them in parallel.

        name: Setting up CI environment
        runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        - uses: shivammathur/setup-php@15c43e89cdef867065b0213be354c2841860869e
            php-version: '8.1'
        - uses: actions/checkout@v3
        - name: Copy .env
          run: php -r "file_exists('.env') || copy('.env.example', '.env');"
        - name: Install Dependencies
          run: composer install -q --no-ansi --no-interaction --no-scripts --no-progress --prefer-dist
        - name: Generate key
          run: php artisan key:generate
        - name: Directory Permissions
          run: chmod -R 777 storage bootstrap/cache
        - name: Tar it up 
          run: tar -cvf setup.tar ./
        - name: Upload setup artifact
          uses: actions/upload-artifact@v3
            name: setup-artifact
            path: setup.tar

    This step creates an artifact tar file from the project that has been setup and had its dependancies installed.

    That tar file will then be called upon in the three following CI steps, extracted and used for each test / check.

    Running the CI steps in parallel

    Each of the CI steps I have defined — “pint”, “larastan” and “test-suite” — all require the “setup” step to have completed before running.

        name: Pint Check
        runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        needs: setup
        - name: Download Setup Artifact
          uses: actions/download-artifact@v3
            name: setup-artifact
        - name: Extraction
          run: tar -xvf setup.tar
        - name: Running Pint
          run: ./vendor/bin/pint

    This is because they all use the artifact that is created in that setup step. The artifact being the codebase with all dependancies in a testable state, ready to be extracted in each of the CI steps.

        name: Pint Check
        runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        needs: setup
        - name: Download Setup Artifact
          uses: actions/download-artifact@v3
            name: setup-artifact
        - name: Extraction
          run: tar -xvf setup.tar
        - name: Running Pint
          run: ./vendor/bin/pint

    Those three steps will be run in parallel as a default; there’s nothing we need to do there.

    Using the example gist file as is, should result in a full passing suite.

    Further Steps

    That is the end of my starting a new Laravel project from fresh, but there are other steps that will inevitably come later on — not least the Continuous Delivery (deployment) of the application when the time arrises.

    You could leverage the excellent Laravel Forge for your deployments — and I would actually recommend this approach.

    However, I do have a weird interest in Kubernetes at the moment and so will be putting together a tutorial for deploying your Laravel Application to Kubernetes in Digital Ocean. Keep an eye out for that guide — I will advertise that post on my Twitter page when it goes live.

  • πŸ“‚ ,

    Given, When, Then — how I approach Test-driven development in Laravel

    Laravel is an incredible PHP framework and the best starting point for pretty much any web-based application (if writing it in PHP, that is).

    Along with it’s many amazing features, comes a beautiful framework from which to test what you are building.

    For the longest time I cowered at the idea of writing automated tests for what I built. It was a way of working that was brought in by a previous workplace of mine and my brain fought against it for ages.

    Since that time a few years ago I slowly came to like the idea of testing. Then over the past year or so I have grown to love it.

    I have met some people that are incredibly talented developers, but for me made the prospect of automated testing both confusing and intimidating.

    That was until I came across Adam Wathan’s excellent Test Driven Laravel course. He made testing immediately approachable and broke it down into three distinct phases (per test): “Given”, “When” and “Then”. Also known as “Arrange”, “Act” and “Assert”. I forget which phrase he used, but either way the idea is like this.

    “Given” this environment

    The first step is to set up the “world” in which the test should happen.

    One example would be if you were building an API that would return PlayStation game data to you. In order to return games, there must be games there to return.

    In Laravel we have factories that we can create for quickly creating test entries for our models. Here is an example of a Game model that uses its factory to create a game for us:

    $game = Game::factory()->create([
        'title' => 'The Last of Us part 2',
        'developer' => 'Naughty Dog',

    “When” this thing I want to test happens

    Here you would do the thing that you are testing.

    Maybe that is sending some data to an API endpoint in your application. Or perhaps you are testing a single utility class can do a specific action, so you call the method on that class.

    Here, let’s continue the idea of return games from an api call. We’ll use the $game variable from the previous example and access its ID to build our GET endpoint:

    $response = $this->json('get', '/api/games/' . $game->id,);

    Here the $response variable gets the response from the json get call, allowing you to later make assertions against it.

    “Then” I should see this particular outcome

    In this last step you would make assertions against what has happened. This could be checking if a record exists in a database with specific values, or asserting that an email got sent.

    Basically anything you need to make sure happened, or didn’t happen, for you to be sure you are getting your desired functionality.

    Let’s finish our game example by asserting that we got json back with the expected data. We do this by calling the appropriate method off of the $response variable from the previous example.

        'title' => 'The Last of Us part 2',
        'developer' => 'Naughty Dog',

    The full example test code

    $game = Game::factory()->create([
        'title' => 'The Last of Us part 2',
        'developer' => 'Naughty Dog',
    $response = $this->json('get', '/api/games/' . $game->id,);
        'title' => 'The Last of Us part 2',
        'developer' => 'Naughty Dog',

    Much more to explore

    There is so much to automated testing and I’m still relatively new to it all myself.

    You can “fake” other things in your application in order to not run live things in tests. For example when testing emails are sent you don’t really want to be actually sending emails when you run your tests. Therefore you would “fake” the functionality of sending the mail.

    I hope that this post has been an easy-to-follow intro to how I myself approach testing.

    I have found that even as my tests have gotten more complex in certain situations, I still always stick to the same structural idea:

    1. Given this is the world my code lives in.
    2. When I perform this particular action.
    3. Then I should see this specific outcome.

  • πŸ“‚

    PHP Psalm warning for RouteServiceProvider configureRateLimiting method

    When running psalm in a Laravel project, I get the following error by default:

    PossiblyNullArgument - app/Providers/RouteServiceProvider.php:45:46 - 
    Argument 1 of Illuminate\Cache\RateLimiting\Limit::by cannot be null, 
    possibly null value provided

    This is the default implementation for configureRateLimiting in the RouteServiceProvider class in Laravel:

    protected function configureRateLimiting()
        RateLimiter::for('api', function (Request $request) {
            return Limit::perMinute(60)->by($request->user()?->id ?: $request->ip());

    I change it to the following to get psalm to pass (I’ve added named parameters and the static keyword before the callback function):

    protected function configureRateLimiting()
        RateLimiter::for(name: 'api', callback: static function (Request $request) {
            $limitIdentifier = $request->user()?->id ?: $request->ip();
            if (!is_null($limitIdentifier)) {
                return Limit::perMinute(maxAttempts: 60)->by(key: $limitIdentifier);

  • πŸ“‚

    PHP’s __call magic method and named arguments

    Whilst working on a little library recently, I discovered some interesting behavior with PHP’s __call magic method. Specifically around using named arguments in methods that are caught by the __call method.

    Given the following class:

    class EmptyClass
        public function __call(string $name, array $args)
            var_dump($args); die;

    Calling a non-existing method without named parameters would result in the arguments being given to __call as an indexed array:

    $myClass = new EmptyClass;
        'Argument A',
        'Argument B',
    // This var dumps: [0 => 'Argument A', 1 => 'Argument B']

    However, passing those values with named parameters, will cause them to be given to __call as an associative array:

    $myClass = new EmptyClass;
        firstArg: 'Argument A',
        secondArg: 'Argument B',
    // This var dumps: ['firstArg' => 'Argument A', 'secondArg' => 'Argument B']

    I’m not sure if this is helpful to anyone but I thought it was quite interesting so thought I’d share. πŸ™‚

  • πŸ“‚

    What is the PHP __call magic method?

    Consider this PHP class:

    class FooClass
        public function bar(): string
            return 'Bar';

    We could call the bar method as follows:

    $fooClass = new FooClass;
    // returns the string 'Bar'

    However, in PHP, we have the ability to call methods that don’t actually exist on a class. They can instead be caught by a “magic method” named __call, which you can define on your class.

    class BazClass
        public function __call(string $name, array $args)
            // $name will be given the value of the method
            // that you are trying to call
            // $args will be given all of the values that
            // you have passed into the method you are
            // trying to call

    So if you instantiated the BazClass above and called a non-existing method on it with some arguments, you would see the following behavior:

    $bazClass = new BazClass;
    $bazClass->lolcats('are' 'awesome');

    In this example, BazClass‘s __call method would catch this method call, as there is no method on it named lolcats.

    The $name value in __call would then be set to the string “lolcats”, and the $args value would be set to the array [0 => 'are', 1 => 'awesome'].

    You may not end up using the __call method much in your day to day work, but it is used by frameworks that you possibly will be using, such as Laravel.

  • πŸ“‚ ,

    Preview Laravel’s migrations with the pretend flag

    Here is the command to preview your Laravel migrations without running them:

    cd /your/project/root
    php artisan migrate --pretend

    Laravel’s migrations give us the power to easily version control our database schema creations and updates.

    In a recent task at work, I needed to find out why a particular migration was failing.

    This is when I discovered the simple but super-useful flag --pretend, which will show you the queries that Laravel will run against your database without actually running those migrations.

  • πŸ“‚

    I just successfully submitted my first test-driven package to the PHP packagist repository. It’s just a little Laravel validation rule object for validating a hmac hash against a configurable group of key / value pairs.

    Am aiming to do a proper write up and possibly even a little video explaining it.