Introducing Tombstones for PHP

Earlier this year I took over that project at my new company. A project, that existed for many years and has been continuously growing. My first impression, it was missing some love recently. The repository was cluttered by many files, that could assumed to be dead code. Unfortunately, you never know. Although I felt the urgent need of removing stuff, I was able to keep myself from blindly deleting files and breaking everything ;). The mission was clear: Cleaning up the project, without breaking things.

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Customizing FOSUserBundle

Recently I was working on a project with FOSUserBundle. It was best choice instead of implementing the whole user system from scratch. Unfortunately, after a while it became clear, that the bundle doesn’t fulfil all of my requirements and therefore I had to make some modifications. I’ve found the solutions not to be totally obvious, so I decided to write it together in this blog post. Another post on FOSUserBundle is my tutorial how to change the password constraints in FOSUserBundle.

Note: This post is about the 1.3 version of FOSUserBundle. Version 2.0 is not stable yet, but it has much better extensibility.

The first thing to do, when extending the bundle, is to create a new bundle, which extends the original FOSUserBundle. This will enable you to overwrite controllers and configuration files with your own implementation. I’ll call it Acme\UserBundle in the following examples.

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Filter Tabs in Sonata Admin

When working regularly with Sonata bundles, you’ve might come accross their MediaBundle, which integrates a media management module. You certainly recognized that there is something different in the list view: A tabbed navigation to filter media items. This is how it looks like in the current 2.3 branch:


Screenshot of the Sonata Demo

I think this is very useful, because you can filter very quickly – literally with one click – instead of wasting three steps on the datagrid (focus widget, select/type value, click filter button). Unfortunately the tab feature is not documented, so I tried to figure out how it works. Here is a tutorial how you can add filter tabs to your own Sonata Admin modules.

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PHPUnit: Remove non-deterministic dependencies

Unit testing is great! But sometimes there are situations where it can become really tough to write proper tests for your code. One of these situations is when your code doesn’t work totally predictable, when it has some kind of randomness in it, that is intended. Then you usually have one of those functions in your code:

  • tempnam(), uniqid()
  • rand(), mt_rand(), shuffle() or any other randomized function
  • time(), date(), new \DateTime() or anything that has to do with the current time

The list isn’t complete, just wanted to mention the most common ones. Those functions are bad for testing, because tests have to be repeatable and those ones will most likely produce a different result on every call.

So how to get rid of the randomness and create predictable and therefore repeatable unit test?
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Say Hello to SchebTwoFactorBundle

I’ve recently done some posts about how to integrate two-factor authentication and Google Authenticator into Symfony2. I thought to myself “Why not make a bundle from it?” and that’s what i did: Say hello to SchebTwoFactorBundle. Now it’s dead simple to add two-factor authentication to your own website. Add the bundle via Composer and enable the authentication method you want.

Currently it supports both the email and the Google Authenticator method I’ve blogged about. It already has some features for customization, but I’m thinking about making it more flexible. Maybe some generic two-factor implementation, which allows you to plug in different kinds of two-factor modules.


Google Authenticator in Symfony2

Before you start reading:
If you just want to add two-factor authentication to your project, you should take a look at scheb/two-factor-bundle. If you’re interested in technical details, keep on reading 🙂

This is the follow up to previous post about two-factor authentication in Symfony2. As promised I also want to show you how to integrate Google Authenticator into your project. If you haven’t read my first post, I’d suggest doing it now, because it explains the principle more in detail. The following example code is widely identical to SonataUserBundle‘s integration.

To get started, you’ll have to install the Sonata Google Authenticator package. If you’re using composer (I guess so), you can simply execute:

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Two-Factor Authentication in Symfony2

Before you start reading:
If you just want to add two-factor authentication to your project, you should take a look at scheb/two-factor-bundle. If you’re interested in technical details, keep on reading 🙂

For a project of mine I wanted to have some extra security because it contains critical features, only authorized people should have access to in any case. So I did some research if it’s possible to implement two-factor authentication in Symfony2. Sadly I didn’t find any good how-tos about that topic. Then I’ve found out that SonataUserBundle has Google Authenticator as an optional feature, so I did some reverse enginering to figure out how they did it.

This is how you implement two-factor authentication into Symfony2’s security layer. The following example will send out a random code to the user’s email address. I will do another post for Google Authenticator soon.

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Password constraints in FOSUserBundle

I’ve recently tried to modify the password constraints of FOSUserBundle. To my surprise I’ve discovered that this is a little bit tricky.

Before you start I would suggest taking a look at validation.xml in the config directory of FOSUserBundle There you’ll find all the pre-defined constraints. As you can see, there is a class named FOS\UserBundle\Form\Model\ChangePassword. This is the data class, which is used in the change password form instead of the actual entity. So you have to change the password constraints on the User as well as on the ChangePassword class.

I have a bundle, which is extending FOSUserBundle, so I thought it is straight forward: Create a validation.xml which is overwriting the original one and put my own constraints in there. Unfortunatley that doesn’t work, instead my own constraints will simply be added to the default ones. So how to get rid of them? The trick is to define your own validation group.

This is how my configuration for the ChangePassword class looks like. The same goes for the User class.

By default FOSUserBundle is using the ChangePassword group to validate the change password form. With some extra lines in config.yml you can tell it to use a different one:

Now FOSUserBundle is using the MyChangePassword validation group for validation. This is also working for other forms like registration or the user profile. Take a look at the class FOS\UserBundle\DependencyInjection\Configuration and search for validation_groups to find out more about the configuration.

Default Values for Parameters

Sometimes it makes sense to have a default value for parameters. This can be done by creating a new file parameters_default.yml (can be any name you like) and adding it to config.yml just before parameters.yml.

Now you can overwrite the default values in parameters.yml on demand but you’re not longer forced to define those parameters.

Using Parameters in Routes

You can use parameters from parameters.yml in routes. There are serveral use-cases when this may be useful.

Let’s say you want to localize your routes but you want to store the list of available locales only once. Then you could define a parameter in config.yml:

Now you can use the parameter in your routing.yml:

Another use-case is routes based on a hostname. Instead of writing the hostname directly into routing.yml you could use a parameter, as seen in the official documentation.

As fas as I know parameters only work for routes defined in YAML, XML or PHP. If it also works for annotation routes, please let me know.