Tag Archives: Coldfusion

My “fix” for preserving timestamps on import with Laravel

Edit: This will not work on “updated_at” btw, for reasons that become obvious very quickly, but for my application, this is not an issue.

I’m currently re-developing a Coldfusion app in Laravel 4. Most of the current db tables have “createdat” and “updatedat” fields. I went thru the trouble of creating migrations for all of the db tables and then writing an Artisan command called “Import” that connects to a copy of the old db and imports all of the data into the new db created with the migrations that includes a few schema changes that are crosswalked over.

One of the problems with this is that the timestamp fields (“created_at” and “updated_at”) created by Laravel during migrations will be current(as in “now”) even if I try to map the old timestamps on import:

//no workie
$videogroup->created_at = $vg->createdat;

As a result, I lose important timestamp info. from my old database.

My new fix involves running the import as before:

$videogroups = DB::connection('mysql_vm_old')->select('select * from videogroups');
foreach ($videogroups as $vg) {
$videogroup = new VideoGroup;
...
$videogroup->save();

Except that I add this to the loop:

$videogroup->createdat  = $vg->createdat;

Then after the initial table import is complete, run:

$videogroups = VideoGroup::all();

//replace default timestamp value with the one from the old db
foreach ($videogroups as $vg) {
$vg->created_at = $vg->createdat;
$vg->save();
}

//get rid of the temporary 'createdat' column
Schema::table('videogroups', function($table)
{
$table->dropColumn('createdat');
});

This certainly adds more overhead to my import script for larger tables, and I’ve already had to increase mysql’s memory limit to handle the script as it’s grown, but once the site goes into production, I’ll no longer need the Import script.

As it stands now, I’m running the following on a daily basis as I make changes:

php artisan migrate:refresh --seed
php artisan import

Why I’m moving from Coldfusion to PHP

People have spent a lot of time both predicting the death of Coldfusion, as well as refuting that assertion. Of course, it’s not really “dying”. It’s still very popular in government and higher education (I don’t have any stats to back this up, but this is what I’ve observed). Everywhere else, however, it’s market share appears to be small compared to PHP, Rails, etc. I blame Macromedia/Adobe for not providing a free, open-source version and for not marketing it sufficiently. Railo has filled the open-source hole, but it’s too little, too late.

It doesn’t matter that Coldfusion is a great tool for Getting Things Done. New developers are going to be drawn to languages with thriving frameworks (yes, CF has frameworks. I like CFWheels. There just aren’t many under active development and a lot of CF developers still don’t use them), low cost entry, and unlimited hosting choices. Old developers see that fewer new opportunities include Coldfusion as the solution in spite of its strengths. So you have to be able to adapt.

I can’t go into great detail in comparing Coldfusion to [your language here] because I’m a self-described hack. If you want that, you can check out this blog post and comments. Frankly, I don’t build apps large enough that would really expose the weaknesses and strengths of CF, PHP, etc. I do know that I can do cool things with very little code in CF and the PHP learning curve is slowing me down for now. But it doesn’t matter any way. What matters is career survival and future opportunities.

Why PHP?

Everything above that I described as a negative about Coldfusion is just the opposite with PHP. Tons of active frameworks, supported by just about every web host, unlimited opportunities, low-cost entry, etc. etc.

It’s really reached a new level of maturity with 5.3+ and frameworks like Laravel promise to bring some of that Rails developer-love back to PHP. I’ll do another post later about Laravel from a hack’s point of view, but I’ve already discovered the power of command-line PHP using Laravel’s Tasks and Artisan. I can see the value of Composer while playing with the Laravel 4 alpha. I can see the value of being able to publish an app on infinitely more web hosts than is possible with CF.

So basically, Coldfusion, it’s not you, it’s me.

MAMP PRO, CF10, and OS X Mountain Lion

In my last post, I professed my love like for using MAMP over the built-in/download/make/make test/make install/scratch eyes out method of setting up a web dev environment on OS X. I felt so good about it, I decided to get “work” to purchase MAMP PRO to take it to another level. Frankly, I’m not so sure it’s worth it, but running MAMP on port 80 without having to enter my password every time is nice.
In order to upgrade, I kept my vhosts file for my current MAMP install for safekeeping and then uninstalled MAMP since it was an older version. Then I installed the new version, set up my first vhost (a PHP Laravel project) and everything worked. MAMP PRO likes to set up virtualhosts using Server Names instead of Ports, though ports are an option. It even edits your hosts file for you so the names resolve properly. Nice.
Next it was time to hook up MAMP PRO to Coldfusion 10. This was a pain in the ass, but I’ll just go thru the final steps in case anyone is in the same boat. I ended up doing a fresh install of CF10 after having no luck with just running wsconfig on the existing install.

Here’s the deal:

MAMP PRO uses it’s own dynamically created httpd.conf file based on the settings you provide in the GUI. And it also provides “templates” that are used as the base for httpd.conf, as well as the PHP and MySQL config files. To connect CF10 to MAMP PRO using the web server connector utility during the CF10 install, first point the httpd.conf file that MAMP PRO is currently using (dynamically created from it’s template).
This httpd.conf file is located at /Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/appsolute/MAMP PRO/httpd.conf
After pointing to that file, click on Advanced and point to /Applications/MAMP/bin/apache2/bin/apachectl and /Applications/MAMP/bin/apache2/bin/httpd where required.

This is all pretty much standard stuff when connecting Apache and CF10 except for the location of httpd.conf
The trick is that once the CF10 web server connector (wsconfig) is done and has made changes to httpd.conf, you need to open the file, go to the bottom and copy the line that looks like this:

Include “/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/appsolute/MAMP PRO/mod_jk.conf”

Now go into MAMP PRO and click on File | Edit Template | Apache | httpd.conf

Paste the line above to the bottom of that file. And then go find this line:

DirectoryIndex index.html index.php

and change it to

DirectoryIndex index.cfm index.html index.php

Now whenever MAMP PRO restarts and recreates the httpd.conf file, the CF10 stuff will be there since it’s now part of the base template.
The only problem I had left to deal with is that MAMP PRO started telling me that the built-in Apache was running and creating a port conflict. I kept killing the httpd process that showed up in the Activity Monitor, but it kept coming back. I finally noticed that MAMP PRO has a Tools menu with an for stopping the built-in Apache. Somehow, it was able to do what I couldn’t.

Moving from MAMP to OS X’s built-in apache, etc. Not fun.

So I just got my 5-year old Macbook Pro back from Apple* after it sat dead for several months (my kid killed it playing Minecraft). I decided I needed it for do some web work in the family room while pretending to watch the Real Lives of Whatever with the family.

I have the impression that real, tough guy developers don’t sissy their way into a local dev environment using MAMP. You gotta use the built-in version of Apache, and download, make, make test, make install, etc. etc. everything else. So that’s what I did.

The Apache part is easy because it’s already there. So is PHP (5.3.15 for Mountain Lion I think). However, it doesn’t include mcrypt, which is required for Laravel. To get that working, just follow the 20 or so steps here, which including getting the latest version of Xcode. Fun.

MySQL was fairly easy if you choose the package installer (sissy) over compiling it yourself (tough guy).

Once it’s finally working, you feel good about yourself, then realize that the mysql ports are different for the dev machines that are still using MAMP and share the same code, PHP CLI isn’t in your path, you don’t know how to switch between PHP 5.2/5.3 if you need to (easy with MAMP), etc.

So in the end, I just went back to using MAMP.

The End.

*Apple has a nice deal where they fill fix anything and everything for $310.