Dedicated vs. Shared Databases: A ‘MySQL has gone way’ fix

While working on a data heavy web application recently we noticed some strange unstable performance with our SQL database – this is a post about how we investigated it and what we did about it. The application was written in PHP and hosted on Heroku in the EU region. We were using a ClearDB database, also hosted in the EU. TL;DR Our ‘MySQL server has gone away‘ message was fixed by moving from a shared database to a dedicated database … Continued


Super-charge your WordPress Blog: Setup a CDN

Performance is important. We get this. As blog owners if our users get frustrated then we get frustrated. In this post we’ll look at how you can move a blog’s performance and loading times to the next level. A couple of years ago we looked at how to improve a website’s loading times – this post should be more specific than that, focusing primarily on WordPress and how content is delivered to your users. Who is this article for? This … Continued


9 Things I Wish I’d Known about PHP Years Ago

I have been working with PHP for a good number of years now – (not including WordPress development, does that count? 😉 ). Here are some of the things I wish I’d known at the very beginning. Most of them are small little code snippets but there are also a few points about diving into the code too deep. Towards the end are a few helpful resources which have helped me out along the way. Coding: 1. Array Manipulation Since … Continued


Validate a UK Grid Reference in Laravel 5

This will just be a small article and quite a specific one. We’ll be looking at how to verify an input to guarantee it is a valid 8 figure grid reference. This will be checking against the UK Ordnance Survey standard, so two letters followed by four easting numbers and four northing numbers. e.g. AA11112222 It is important to remove any spaces from the string before submitting. This can be achieved through a small JS function and a .replace function. … Continued


Create your own Exception Handler in PHP

If you’re used to writing your own PHP applications, you will no doubt be used to having to deal with exceptions being thrown at awkward moments. Resulting in a ugly 500 error being shown to the user and no extra direct from them to take. Luckily we can choose our own way of handling these exceptions, showing a better message or logging the error more efficiently. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need these as everything would work perfectly, all … Continued


Direct Upload to S3 (using AWS Signature v4 & PHP)

The contents of this article has been replaced by a PHP Composer package, hope you find it useful.   View on Github This article is specifically about directly uploading files to S3 using the AWS Signature Version 4, which is mandatory for new S3 regions, like Frankfurt (EU). It will also become required on other regions at some point as Amazon migrate over, so it’s recommended to use this method where ever possible. For more info, you can read about … Continued


A Week with Laravel 5: What’s New

With a PHP project we have just started, we decided to begin development with the Laravel 5 framework – even before it’s been released. The framework is due to be released this month (Jan 2015) and instead of starting with Laravel 4 and attempting to migrate upwards, it seems natural to begin with the newest version even though it’s features might change slightly pre-release. Being comfortable developing with both PHP and Laravel 4, some of the changes with version 5 … Continued


How to: Asynchronous PHP

Over the Christmas period I had a play around with getting PHP to run code asynchronously (not as easy as it sounds). When you have code, like API calls, which take anywhere near to a second to complete it drastically adds to the loading times of your pages. One easy solution for web apps is to only call the back-end PHP using AJAX. This means the page doesn’t hang and reload, things can happen concurrently and quickly. This solution isn’t … Continued



Create your own PHP Autoloader

If you’ve worked with any large file in PHP you will probably have come across a large block of include statements at the top of it. Includes allow one file to include many other files and are used a lot in OOP. A large amount of includes at the top your code poses two major annoyances: firstly they’re taking up valuable space which could otherwise be used for more important things; secondly because of their explicit nature, they get left … Continued



Getting Started with Laravel: Part 2 – The Setup

In our first part to our Getting Started with Laravel series we looked at how to install Laravel using Composer and Git and then used the php artisan serve command to host a web server locally. In this part we’ll be moving on to look at getting Laravel setup with a database back end and creating our first query. This part might be quite a short one as there isn’t much setup needed with Laravel before diving straight into coding … Continued