Blog Entries

Apache HOSTNAME on Clusters

In an effort to debug issues on a cluster, I was trying to determine which machine on the cluster was causing the issue. My idea was that I could insert a header token identifying the server.

My first idea was to add the directive 'Header add X-Server-Ip "%{SERVER_ADDR}e" in my httpd.conf. However, due to the nature of our load balancer, Apache was somehow resolving this to the load balancer IP address on all machines of the cluster -- which was really, really not useful.

I finally stumbled on a good solution, however: you can set environment variables in apachectl, and then pass them into the Apache environment using the PassEnv directive from mod_env; once that's done, you can use the environment variable anywhere.

In my apachectl, I added the line "export HOSTNAME=`hostname`". Then, in my httpd.conf, I added first the line "PassEnv HOSTNAME", followed by the directive 'Header add X-Server-Name "%{HOSTNAME}e"'. Voila! I now had the hostname in the header, which gave me the information I needed for debugging.

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Zend_Form is ready for testing

I've spent the last couple months gathering requirements for the Zend_Form component, building a prototype, creating a composite proposal based on existing proposals and my research, gathering community feedback, and, finally coding the implementation. It's a testament to the value of Test Driven Development that I now have 302 unit tests passing covering the codebase... all in just over a week's time.

So, if you're interested in Zend_Form, now is the time to start testing it. You can grab it from subversion, where you'll find it in the incubator. You can find preliminary documentation on the Framework wiki.

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2007 Retrospective

2007 was a busy year, both personally and professionally. I won't go into the personal too much, because, well, it's personal, and some of the details are simply inappropriate for blogging material.

Here's the short version:

  • One trip to Belgium and The Netherlands.
  • Two trips to Israel.
  • Two trips to Atlanta, GA (not counting the return trip from Europe, when I was stranded for a day due to storms in the Northeast).
  • Three different user groups attended, with three presentations.
  • One major Zend Framework release
  • One PEAR release.
  • One podcast.
  • One webinar.
  • One book published.
  • One conference attended.

What follows is my month-by-month breakdown:

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Sqlite Version Mismatch

I ran into an issue recently in testing a site where PDO_SQLITE was claiming that it could not read my PDO database files. The only recent change I'd had was that I'd installed a new version of PHP, and hence a new version of PDO_SQLITE. Searching the web (we're not supposed to say googling or googled anymore, remember ;-)), I found that the issue was that the version of sqlite compiled into my PHP install was not compatible with the version I used to create the databases in the first place. Never mind that they're only a micro version or two different.

So, I was left with a conundrum: I needed to create files compatible with my PDO_SQLITE install, but my CLI sqlite tool was incompatible. And if I used PDO_SQLITE to create the db file, I'd lose my data, right?

Wrong. And here's what you can do should you find yourself in the same situation sometime.

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Zend_Layout and Zend_View Enhanced components now in core

I'm pleased to announce that the Zend_View Enhanced and Zend_Layout components are now in the Zend Framework core. With these two components, you can now create some truly complex views for your application with relative ease.

The two components tackle several view related tasks:

  • Layouts, or Two Step Views
  • Partials (view fragment scripts with their own variable scope)
  • Placeholders (store data and/or markup for later retrieval)
  • Actions (dispatch a controller action)

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PHP Advent Calendar

When Chris Shifflet contacted me about his idea for the PHP Advent Calendar, I was intrigued; I've occasionally seen entries for the Perl Advent Calendar, and found them uniformly interesting. So far, I've very much enjoyed the entries this year, and have been especially thrilled to see some well-known bloggers blogging on topics we don't normally see them discuss.

Hopefully my entry strikes a chord with someone; best of the holiday seasons to all of you!

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Burlington PHP Users Group, December

I've been considering for a good six months trying to organize a PHP Users Group for the Burlington, VT, area. When we first moved to Vermont, I was surprised (and excited) by the number of PHP shops (which at the time I saw as job potential, as I was looking for work), and actually walked my resume around to a half-dozen or so. The area has a ton of PHP developers, and it only makes sense to have a UG where we can exchange tips and tricks of the trade.

Then, about six weeks ago, I mentioned this to my friend Rob. He did what I should have done all along, and googled for an existing group -- and found one!

The Burlington, VT PHP Users Group has been around since November of 2005 on Google Groups, but we're having our inaugural meeting this coming Wednesday, 5 December 2007. I'll be speaking at this first meeting on Zend Framework's MVC components

If you're in the Burlington area this Wednesday, you should stop by. For more details, visit the event page, and don't forget to RSVP.

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I is a published author!

So, in addition to it being my daughter's birthday, which is exciting enough in itself, I received a package from my publisher, SitePoint, with my author copies of The PHP Anthology. Very exciting to see stuff I've written published!

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PHP Anthology, 2nd Edition is out

Well, it's now official: The PHP Anthology, 2nd Edition is finally out, and, as you'll see if you follow the link, I'm listed as an author on it. :-) It's a pleasant surprise to see it out -- I finished my chapters back in January, and had almost forgotten about it.

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Gutsy Gibbon review

Early in the week, I decided to avoid the release rush and go ahead and update my laptop to Ubuntu's Gutsy Gibbon release. Overall, it's quite good, with one caveat I'll elaborate on later.

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