Creating a key for a new Lumen Micro Framework install

- PHP -

Lumen is the smaller but faster brother of the popular Laravel Framework. And faster means less features out of the box.

Starting a new Lumen framework is quite easy, once you have the Lumne installer globally installed. I can recommend that.

Install Lumen installer globally

composer global require "laravel/lumen-installer=~1.0"

Once you have installed a new Lumen framework, you actually have to do a few things extra:

  • copy the example.env to .env
  • generate an app key

With Laravel you can issue the command php artisan key:generate to generate the key, but Lumen doesn’t have that feature. Remember it’s smaller to be faster.

Of course you can do it manually, but let’s create a small shell script to do a few things manually.

A helper-script for a new Lumen install

if [ "$1" != "" ]; then

#setup default directory
cd /home/user/web

lumen new $1

cd $1

cp .env.example .env

key=`php -r "echo md5(uniqid()).\"\n\";"`;

sed -i "s/APP_KEY=SomeRandomKey!!!/APP_KEY=$key/" .env


Save the script as newlumen.sh in ~/bin, set the appropriate execute permission and you can install a new Lumen framework, by running:

newlumen.sh website

It will run all the mentioned steps above automatically:

  1. create a new Lumen install
  2. copy the .env file
  3. generate an application key in the .env file

Laravel 5.1 development with the Atom editor

- Linux, PHP, Tutorial -

The brand new Atom editor is heavily inspired by Sublime, build as an open source project on webtechnology, so CSS, JavaScript and HTML, Coffeescript, LESS and NodeJS, it’s founded by Github and really hackable into the next generation.

It sports a package installer, and a nice repository full of plugins, more then 2100 at the moment.

It just released version 1.0, for Linux, Windows and OS-X. Atom is free and open source.

In short I like it. It has good support for syntax-highlighting, code-completion and snippets. A code beautifier is available as package, and so is Emmet. Atom is more an editor than a full-blown IDE, like Netbeans, but packages are really easy to build, so I guess, a lot of extending is possible.

For Laravel you need some tweaks.

Improve Laravel support in Atom

Install some extra Laravel related packages:

  • language-blade
  • atom-laravel

There are more packages like blade-snippets, but actually you don’t need them. Snippets are include in the language-blade package, although the documentation lacks to mention that. The documentation just says:

Blade templating support in Atom

Actually it adds snippets too.

Make Atom act as a IDE

A great feature of Atom is the build in Tree View. Open a projectfolder, and Atom will show you a nice tree folder view.
But to browse through your files, use another feature. Atom will index all files. CTRL P will open an findAll dialog, or a fuzzy finder and that is the fastest way to change and find files in your project. Much like Sublime or Netbeans, or CTRLP plugin for VIM.

Another IDE feature Goto Declaration doesn’t seem to work. And that is true, it doesn’t work out of the box. That did confuse me and apparently others. It needs a CTAG file. CTAG files are created by another program Exuberant Ctags. Atom’s approach is much like the Unix philosophy. Don’t invent the wheel, or

  1. Small is beautiful.
  2. Make each program do one thing well.

Exuberant Ctags does something well, so don’t imitate it. Use it.

How to install Exuberant Ctags for Atom support

sudo apt-get install exuberant-ctags

Then CD into your working directory, the root of your project:

cd ~/project

Then run CTAGS to create the TAGS file:

ctags -R --languages=php

That’s it. Goto Declaration will now work on Laravel helper functions and classes.

Great. Netbeans lacks support for Laravel, and especially editing blade files is much easier in Atom with the language-blade package.

Atom isn’t the fastest editor, it’s isn’t optimized yet that much according to the developers, and it is build upon web technologies. That means it’s hackable and extendible for nearly everyone. For that it already got a sweet spot here and no doubt the community will build every package you can think of. It´s so easy and well integrated with Github. Bright future.


How to localize a Faker database seeder in Laravel 5

- PHP, Tutorial -

Database migrations and database seeding is supported out of the box in Laravel 5.x. A great feature. In a wink you get a database full of `faked` but structured content. You can even create random image-urls (lorempixel).

Strangely even if you set your Application Locale Configuration in `config\app.php` on “nl” you still get faked English names instead of Dutch. That is not what you want.

The fix is easy, suppose you have this ModelFactory:

$factory->define(App\Person::class, function ($faker) {
return [
'name' => $faker->name,
'company' => $faker->company,
'pic' => $faker->imageUrl(600, 400, 'business'), // 'http://lorempixel.com/600/400/business/'

Simply add another provider and `overwrite` the old English provider

$factory->define(App\Person::class, function ($faker) {

$faker->addProvider(new Faker\Provider\nl_NL\Person($faker));
$faker->addProvider(new Faker\Provider\nl_NL\Company($faker));

return [

That way the object will be extended, the new provider will be unshifted to the beginning of the providers array

Faker\Generator {#560
#providers: array:19 [
0 => Faker\Provider\nl_NL\Company {#583
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
1 => Faker\Provider\nl_NL\Person {#582
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
2 => Faker\Provider\Uuid {#580
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
3 => Faker\Provider\UserAgent {#579
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
4 => Faker\Provider\en_US\Text {#578
#explodedText: null
#consecutiveWords: []
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
5 => Faker\Provider\en_US\PhoneNumber {#577
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
6 => Faker\Provider\en_US\Person {#576
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
7 => Faker\Provider\Payment {#575
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
8 => Faker\Provider\Miscellaneous {#574
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
9 => Faker\Provider\Lorem {#573
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
10 => Faker\Provider\Internet {#572
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
11 => Faker\Provider\Image {#571
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
12 => Faker\Provider\File {#565
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
13 => Faker\Provider\DateTime {#562
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
14 => Faker\Provider\en_US\Company {#567
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
15 => Faker\Provider\Color {#566
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
16 => Faker\Provider\Biased {#568
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
17 => Faker\Provider\Barcode {#569
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
18 => Faker\Provider\en_US\Address {#570
#generator: Faker\Generator {#560}
#unique: null
#formatters: []

To be honest, Faker creates fake Dutch Person that have hilarious and not so common names:

  1. Leon Gansneb genaamd Tengnagel tot Bonkenhave Msc
  2. Dubbeldemuts van der Sluys
  3. Thijmen Elsjan de Wipper
  4. drs Pien Gellemeyer
  5. Paspoort van Grijpskerke en Poppendamme

My god, those boys and girls most have had a hard time on school, ruthlessly ragged on those weird names.

Thank goodness it’s Laravel in a test-environment.



Connecting to your Homestead Laravel 5.1 VM with your trusty phpMyAdmin

- MySQL, PHP, Tutorial -

Suppose your developing with the php Laravel 5.1 framework for Nginx, and for that your using a vagrant VirtualBox virtual machine for Nginx.

Homestead/Vagrant is easy. You can follow this great set-up.

Laravel 5 uses database migration and has support for database factories. But still sometimes you wanna use your trusty phpMyAdmin for database management on the VM. Of course you can take the time and install phpMyAdmin on your new virtual machine, but I’m gonna give you a faster tip.

Why don’t you use your phpMyAdmin on your local server to manage the database on the VM.

For that edit the phpMyAdmin config file

vi /etc/phpmyadmin/config.inc.php

and add this after $i++

  $cfg['Servers'][$i]['host'] = ''; //provide hostname and port if other than default
    $cfg['Servers'][$i]['port'] = '33060';      //user name for your remote server
    $cfg['Servers'][$i]['user'] = 'homestead';  //user name for your remote server
    $cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] = 'secret';  //password
    $cfg['Servers'][$i]['auth_type'] = 'config';       // keep it as config

Now you can select the VM database in phpMyAdmin in the current server select field.



Converting CSV to JSON with PHP

- PHP -

JSON is a little bit more verbose then csv (comma seperated values), but widely used nowadays on the net, because it format is somewhat like a literal Javascript object. Now Javascript and PHP have native JSON support it is a very good and handy format to exchange data, much less verbose then XML and easier to create and parse on the client.

How easy?


 json_encode ($array);

In Javascript:


But csv is also still widely used:
  • myslq dump
  • spreadsheet
To concert CSV to JSON in PHP is actually quite simple:
$csv= file_get_contents($file);
$array = array_map("str_getcsv", explode("\n", $csv));
print json_encode($array);

The first two lines are simple, and do not need any explaining.

Convert CSV into an array

The third line, converts the csv file into a multidimensional array

$array = array_map("str_getcsv", explode("\n", $csv));

Explode the csv string on `line ends` into an array of lines, and convert the lines themselves with the safe native function  `str_getcsv` to an array. Although it is tempting to parse a line of csv with

explode(",", $line);

always use the native functions for csv like, str_getcsv.

Convert an array into JSON

Once you have the $array, simply convert it to JSON:

print json_encode($array,JSON_PRETTY_PRINT);

JSON_PRETTY_PRINT is optional and will print the JSON with whitespace.

Use it for debugging, don’t use it in production, it will add extra whitespace and thus size to your output.

Create JSON/Ajax server response

header('Content-Type: application/json');

print json_encode($array);

Turns your server into Ajax serving JSON.