I’m kind of surprised it’s taken this long. cms34 has been around for almost three years now, and this is the first time I’ve had a client need a cron job that relied on CakePHP functionality. (The system has a couple of backup and general-purpose cleanup tools that can be configured as cron jobs, but they’re just simple shell scripts.)
This is pretty arcane, even for me, but since I spent several hours troubleshooting this problem this week — and the solution was nowhere to be found on Google — I figured it was worth sharing.
My CMS, cms34, as I’ve mentioned a few times before, is built on CakePHP. Some features of cms34 include automatically generated email messages. CakePHP has a nice email component that facilitates a lot of this work. It can be configured to use an SMTP server, but by default it sends mail directly from the web server using whatever you have installed on the server, either the ubiquitous sendmail or the more powerful (and capitalized) Postfix. Don’t unleash a deluge of flame comments on me, but I’m using sendmail. So be it.
We’re not talking mouthwash here. We’re talking code.
CakePHP’s TreeBehavior is cool, but tree traversal is a pretty arcane concept, even for developers, and MPTT is not something that is easy to digest mentally, or to develop around. Unfortunately, it’s also not incredibly efficient on large data sets. Even not-so-large data sets, on the order of a few hundred items, make certain actions — reordering, in particular — really processor intensive.
For the past couple of years I’ve been working on a rapidly evolving CMS project called, not-so-creatively, cms34. It’s built on the open source CakePHP framework.
I love CakePHP. I’ve dabbled with a couple of other frameworks (notably, Zend Framework), and while CakePHP certainly isn’t perfect, I’ve found it by far the easiest to jump into and quickly get a powerful and reliable web application running.
OK, it’s not really deadly at all… other than that it will kill your CakePHP session and log you out.
My CakePHP-based CMS uses YUI Uploader, a Flash-based file uploader utility. It’s much better than the default HTML file uploader, because it supports a fully CSS-customizable progress bar and multiple file uploads.
It’s pretty slick, even though I did tear some hair out earlier in the year trying to get it integrated into the CMS. All went well for several months, until one particular client, using Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 8, discovered a showstopper of a problem: whenever you uploaded a file, all would seem well until you went to save your changes and you’d get kicked back to the login screen, without the changes being saved. Bad news!
I’ll keep this brief, because I need to get back to writing code, but I wanted to share the solution I found to a CakePHP problem that has been nagging me for a while and for which I had never found a simple resolution.
I’m using the
$paginator->sort() method to create links in the column headers for tables of paginated search results in my CMS. The method works great, except for one small problem: I could never get it to reverse the order. Intuitively, with links like these, you should be able to click them once to sort in ascending order, and then click again to reverse into descending order. But the reverse was never working for me.
Some research showed that you can pass in all sorts of options to the method, but I wanted to avoid having to make a change like that to about a dozen views; plus, it just didn’t seem right — the method is supposed to do the reverse by default.
I’m in the midst of my second big CakePHP-based project for a client, still loving CakePHP and the MVC concept overall, but I am definitely having some headaches with CakePHP this time around.
First off, I ran into some issues early on in the project that were attributable to CakePHP’s caching mechanism. Not sure why though, because caching was off by default (in fact, I was only even vaguely aware of its existence) on the first project I did; this one is building on that one; and I didn’t change any settings for caching in the
core.php configuration file.