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Tag: PHP


sMite stands for ‘simple Mite’, which to most people still means nothing at all. Mite is a time tracking web service, and depending on how companies make use of it things can become more complicated than they should be.
smite is how I tried to tackle this complexity in less than 8 hours!

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My Joomla Component development workflow

Joomla20Symbol20Color20FLATMy first and currently only Joomla component development was for the SWA UK website. The component manages memberships, events, tickets, results and more and is a rewrite of a previous component for Joomla 1.

But in this post lets ignore what the component does and instead concentrate the development workflow that is used. After lots of research at the beginning of development I decided to ignore other  methods of developing a component and this is what I ended up coming up with.

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Wikidata references from Microdata

Recently some articles appeared on the English Wikipedia Signpost about Wikidata (1, 2, 3). Reading these articles, especially the second and third, pushed me to try to make a dent in the ‘problem’ of references on Wikidata. It turns out that this is actually not that hard!

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Guzzle 6 retry middleware

Recently I switched from using Guzzle 5 to Guzzle 6 in my mediawiki-api-base PHP library. Everything went very smoothly except for there being no compatible version of the retry-subscriber that I had previously used. The subscriber has been replaced by retry middleware of which I was provided an extracted example. In this post I cover my implementation for the mediawiki-api-base library.

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mediawiki-api-base 2.0.0

Roughly a year and a half ago I started writing a collection of PHP libraries to make interaction with the Mediawiki API and extension APIs super easy. The base library has just made it to 2.0.0!

The new release really only uses the new version of the Guzzle HTTP library which makes use of PSR-7 and adds async get and post methods using the Guzzle promise library.

This library is the first of the addwiki collection that has actually reached 1.0.0 let alone 2.0.0! All of the other libraries, including wikibase-api and mediawiki-api are still a work in progress with lots to be added. The next likely to be released will be the wikibase-api library once I try to also add async functionality there!

A snippet of the async functionality added in mediawiki-api-base can be seen below:


Reducing packet count to Statsd using Mediawiki

Recently I have been spending lots of time looking at the Wikimedia graphite set-up due to working on Grafana dashboards. In exchange for what some people had been doing for me I decided to take a quick look down the list of open Graphite tickets and found T116031. Sometimes it is great when such a small fix can have such a big impact!

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MediaWiki CRAP – The worst of it

I don’t mean Mediawiki is crap! The Change Risk Anti-Patterns (CRAP) Index is calculated based on the cyclomatic complexity and code coverage of a unit of code. Complex code and untested code will have a higher CRAP index compared with simple well tested code. Over the last 2 years I have been tracking the CRAP index of some of Mediawikis more complex classes as reported by the automatic coverage reports, and this is a simple summary of what has been happening.

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Misled by PHPUnit at() method

So it turns out the at() method doesn’t quite do what I had initially thought….

I have recently been working on some tests for the new Newsletter extension for Mediawiki, specifically to test the NewslettterTablePager class. This thing extends the TablePager class in Mediawiki which is designed to make displaying information from a database table on a special page on a mediawiki site easy, and also easily enable things such as sorting.

The code interacts with the database and gets a ResultWrapper object, and the Pager uses the numRows(), seek() and fetchObject() methods, all of which I thought would be incredibly simple to mock.

Attempt 1

My first attempt where I first notice I have been thinking about the at() method all wrong can be seen below:

This methods returns a mock Database that the Pager will use. As you can see the only parameter is an array of objects to be returned by fetchObject() and I am using the at() method provided by phpunit to return each object at the index that it is stored in the array. This is when I discovered that at() in phpunit does not work in the way I first thought…

at() refers to the index of calls made to the mocked object as a whole. This means that in the code sample above, all of the calles to numRows() and seek() are increasing the current call counter index for the object and thus my mocked fetchObject() method is never returning the correct value or returning null.

Attempt 2

In my second attempt I made a guess that phpunit might allow multiple method mocks to stack and thus the return values of those methods be returned in the order that they were created. Thus I changed my loop to simply use any():

But of course this also does not work and this result in the same $resultObject being returned for all calls.

Final version

I ended up having to to do something a little bit nasty (in my opinion) and use returnCallback() and use a private member of the testcase within the callback as a call counter / per method index:


It would be great if phpunit would have some form of per method index expectation!

Some of the code examples here are slightly cut down, the full change can be seen at in the NewsletterTablePagerTest file.

If only I had Googled the issue sooner!

The importance of a strict comparison

A cloudNow if you have ever come across issues caused by non strict comparisons before then this is going to seem like a piece of cake, but remember, everyone makes mistakes.

Strict equality compares two values for equality where the values must also be the same type. Non strict or loose equality compares values while not caring about their type. Strict equality is almost always the correct comparison to use, and if it is not used when it should be many unexpected things can happen.

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Right now

A Stickman

So a quick summary of everything I am working on right now:

  • MassAction is a Mediawiki extension allowing users to perform mass actions on targets on a Mediawiki site through a static page using Mediawikis inbuilt job queue that I have been working on for the past half a year or so. I look forward to releasing it to the open source world soon!
  • addwiki is a collection of Mediawiki related PHP libraries (including one for wikibase). Previous to this I developed various PHP scripts and bots for Wikipedia using other libraries and always found that they were quite badly coded and prone to doing unexpected things. Addwiki is the start of my attempt to fix that for PHP.
  • Orain (github) is a community-driven, not-for-profit wiki network that I help to keep running.
  • I am also still an active contributor to all kinds of Wikimedia projects including the wonderful Wikidata.
  • I should at some point be trying to create a very rudimentary backup script / system for Sharepoint Lists…
  • I am also currently working on a redesign of the Joomla 1 components used to power written for Joomla 3 which should be ready in the next 6 months.

I am also still involved with:

  • Huggle (github), an antivandalism tool for use on Wikipedia and similar projects.

I could also point toward a few other things:

I also have a backlog of posts that I might try to write…

But for now lets end this post here.

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