| PHP Web Development

If you use the debugger in PHPStorm, there will be browser icons in the top right corner of the code editor. I found these distracting and unnecessary.

To remove them:

  • Go to menu File > Settings > Tools > Web Browsers
  • Uncheck “Show browser popup in the editor”
  • Click “Ok”
  • Published:December 19th, 2015
  • Category:Firefox
  • 1 Comment

*sigh* Firefox, it’s like every update I love you a little less. You used to be this technically advanced lightweight browser that showed Microsoft. But ever since Chrome got popular, you’re just running behind whatever the guys at Google are implementing.


So now Mozilla removed the option that restored the classic search bar. That “classic” search bar was one of the main reasons why I liked Firefox and this new thing is just a failure.

When you enter a search query, you can’t see which search engine is selected:


Am I searching through Google, Youtube, Wikipedia? I have no idea, it only displays the hourglass icon. In order to know which search engine is selected, I have to click on it.


Then I have to click on the icon of the search engine, which means I need to know which icon is which site, because the name of the site is not displayed (except when I hover it, but that causes an unnecessary delay in my workflow).

Though the new search bar is not as bad as Ubuntu’s Unity or Window’s Metro, I can’t understand why software companies simply don’t keep what uses like and improve what they complain about.


The only way to have the old search bar back is to install the Classic Theme Restorer extension. Yes, you have to install an extension to get basic functionality.

You must configure the extension in order for it to work. Go to the preferences (about:addons > “Preferences” button), click “General UI (1)” and check “Old search”.


If you want to keep everything else the way was, uncheck all the checkboxes in the all tabs and set “Tabs (1)” to “Curved tabs (Firefox default)”.


Now the question is how long this extension will continue to work, because every Firefox update means that some extensions will stop working.

And now back to Chrome.

  • Published:September 18th, 2015
  • Category:Lavarel

Use the underneath snippet if you want to match an entire word in a route pattern for Laravel.

Route::pattern('my_word_pattern', '^myword$');

I spent a crazy amount of time on figuring out how to validate form arrays in Laravel. There is some official documentation, but like most official documentation of Laravel, it only covers the bare minimum of what you need to know. This is an advanced article on how to validate form arrays in Laravel.

I have a form where people can enter 3 iban and bic numbers (these are EU bankaccounts). That makes 3 pairs of textboxes:







… and other form elements …

My desired form validation rules:

  • Maximum 3 couples of iban & bic can be submitted
  • The user is not obligated to fill in any of the iban & bic numbers.
  • When an IBAN is filled in, the user also needs to fill in the BIC.
  • The IBAN and BIC can only contain alphanumerics and spaces.

Out of the box, Laravel can validate form arrays with the dot character. The next form rule will work out of the box:

'iban.0' => 'required'

in your views, you can check for the error:


The same goes for the second iban:

'iban.1' => 'required'

But I don’t need that in my setup. The fields are not mandatory.

To check for alpha+num+spaces you have to create a new ValidationRule. The most decent way is to extend the default Validator class and add your own rules. Then you have to create a service provider that returns the ExtendedProvider. Finally you have to add the serviceprovider to app.php and run composer update.

I’ll walk you through each of the files you have to create:

File: ExtendedValidator.php

<?php namespace App\Services\Validators;
use Illuminate\Validation\Validator;
class ExtendedValidator extends Validator {
    public function validateAlphaNumSpaces($attribute, $value, $parameters)
        return preg_match('/^[\pL\s0-9]+$/u', $value);

The function validateAlphaNumSpaces() will listen to the rule alpha_num_spaces. The three parameters are standard parameters for validate-functions. We only use $value and not the other parameters because this is a simple rule. $value is what the user entered in the form field.

The function checks $value with a regex and returns true if it matches.

File: ExtendedServiceProvider.php

<?php namespace App\Services\Validators;
use Illuminate\Support\ServiceProvider;
class ExtendedValidatorServiceProvider extends ServiceProvider {
    public function register(){}
    public function boot()
        $this->app->validator->resolver(function($translator, $data, $rules, $messages)
            return new ExtendedValidator($translator, $data, $rules, $messages);

Then in app.php, at the end of the providers array:

'providers' => array(

Run composer dump-autoload -o

(the -o is for faster performance)

Now we can change the validation rule to:

'iban.0' => 'required|alpha_num_spaces'

Array max size

I want to make sure that a hacker/user can submit no more than 3 iban numbers. There is no boilerplate code for that so we have to write it ourselves. I continue with the files I created in the previous steps.

In ExtendedValidator.php:

     public function validateArraySize($attribute, $value, $parameters){
        $data = array_get($this->data, $attribute);
            return true;
            $sizeIsOk = count($data) <= $parameters[0];
            return $sizeIsOk;

This function will listen to the rule array_size. You can use it like this:

'iban' => 'array|array_size:3'

This makes sure that the iban field is an array, and can only contain 3 keys.

To create a nice error message to the user, go to app/lang/en/validation.php


return array(
    "array_size"     => "You can only enter :array_size different values for :attribute.",

You might wonder how the system knows what :array_size is. Well, it doesn’t. We have to tell Laravel what it is.

Go to ExtendedValidator.php

Enter the following:

     * Replace all place-holders for the min rule.
     * @param  string  $message
     * @param  string  $attribute
     * @param  string  $rule
     * @param  array   $parameters
     * @return string
    protected function replaceArraySize($message, $attribute, $rule, $parameters)
        return str_replace(':array_size', $parameters[0], $message);

This will replace :array_size with the value you entered in the validation rules.

Almost there.

I also want the following condition: if a user enters an iban, he also has to enter a bic.

You can use this out of the box working rule:

'bic.0' => 'alpha_num_spaces|required_with:iban.0',

required_if with form arrays

For the real daredevils: what if the user first has to check a box before he can enter the iban?

That makes:










… and other form elements …

To be able to do this we need a multi_required_if that we have to write ourselves. I based it loosely on validationRequiredIf from Validator.php

In ExtendedValidator.php

     *<!--DVFMTSC--> "Required if" element corresponds in an array
    protected function validateMultiRequiredIf($attribute, $value, $parameters){
        $this->requireParameterCount(2, $parameters, 'multi_required_if');
        $parameterKey = substr($parameters[0], strpos($parameters[0], '.') + 1);
        $parameterName = substr($parameters[0], 0, strpos($parameters[0], '.'));
        $data = array_get($this->data, $parameterName);
            return true;
        $values = array_slice($parameters, 1);
        if (in_array($data[$parameterKey], $values))
            $isEmpty = $this->validateRequired($attribute, $value[$parameterKey]);
            return $isEmpty;
        return true;

You can use it like this:

'iban.0' => 'multi_required_if:checkbox-element.0,1',

This means that the first iban textfield (iban.0) must be filled id when the first checkbox element (checkbox-element.0) is checked.

At last, you have to make a rule for each form array element. Too bad I didn’t have the time to figure out how the validation rules can work on each element in the array. With the last example, you have to write a rule for each array element:

'iban.0' => 'multi_required_if:checkbox-element.0,1',

'iban.1' => 'multi_required_if:checkbox-element.1,1',

'iban.2' => 'multi_required_if:checkbox-element.2,1',

Sometimes it can be desirable to remove a database column that hosts a foreign key relationship (eg: in reverse migration scripts). It can be a bit of a hassle to get that done.

Here’s how to do it:

1) Log in to your database and lookup the name of the foreign key relationship. If you use phpmyadmin, go to the table, click the “Structure” tab, click the link “Relation View” and wait a few seconds for it to load. Search for the field “Constraint name”. In my example this is: “contribution_copyright_id_foreign”

2) Go to the Laravel migration script (or create one). The trick is to first drop the foreign key relationship and then drop the column.

 public function down()
        Schema::table('contribution', function(Blueprint $table){

If you want to remove a table where a foreign key is present, you also first have to drop the foreign key relationship.

A quick tip: if you want autocomplete (intellisense) when writing migrations in Laravel, you can add type hinting for the $table variable.

Just add Blueprint before $table in the function argument. Blueprint is the type of the $table variable. You’ll be able to see all the options and don’t have to check Laravel docs anymore.

class Payments extends Migration {
  public function up() {
    Schema::create('donor_account', function(Blueprint $table){
      $table->engine ='InnoDB';

This is how it looks in PHPStorm 8:


The dutch tv-documentary Digital Memory Loss (Tegenlicht, Digitaal geheugenverlies) handled some interesting topics concerning the loss of libraries and internet data.

To sum things up:

  • Because of budget cuts, the dutch government destroys some of its own libraries. The information in these books (some of which are centuries old) gets lost.
  • The counter argument is that “everything can be found on the internet”.
  • But what will be saved on the internet? Every day petabytes are uploaded in the cloud. What will we keep in the future? What if a server crashes or the cloud goes down?
  • Big parts of the internet (1995 – 2002) are already gone. A lot of sites (like fansites) are already offline. Pages are edited or removed in 2 month spans.
  • Initiatives like try to save the old internet. also tries to have a copy of every book every published.
  • Companies like Google also try to scan every book but keep them behind a paywall. Google can remove that archive any time they want without any consequences.
  • Software updates happen constantly; old software gets lost. Data that can only be read by old software gets lost as well.
  • The readers of old data-carries (large floppies, microfilms) are getting very rare. This means that the data on these carries gets lost as well.
  • Digitalizing doesn’t mean it is saved for the future. Digital archives get outdated as well. Once you start to digitize, you will have to perform constant updates to keep the archive alive.

Composer is a major part of the Laravel MVC Framework, but it also exists without Laravel. In fact you could use it in any project. This article digs into the different files that are used by composer. It’s important to understand what these files are and what these files do.


This is the only file you have to edit manually. In this file you can lists which packages you want and which versions of that package you want to install. Versions can be vague (1.x.x) or specific (1.1.2).


  • This file (no class) returns an array of all aliasses and files based on the autoload section in composer.json.
  • This file is regenerated on each dump-autoload. If you have a new class somewhere in your project it will not be loaded unless it is included in autoload_classmap (hence you have to execute composer dump-autoload)
  • In Laravel, composer.json includes all controllers, models, commands, migrations, seeds, services and facades in your root folder structure. If you want a custom folder to dump files, you have to add it to the autoload-section in composer.json. That way it will be included in the autoload_classmap.php
  • autoload_classmap.php also includes the providers in config/app.php
  • In Laravel, the autoload_classmap is included inside app/bootstrap/autoload.php (as /../vendor/autoload.php which includes the autoload_classmap)


  • This file is not, as it might suggest, an indication of an update of an install going on. It’s not.
  • composer.lock lists all exact versions of each vendor package that is installed.
  • If you run composer install and there is a lock file present, it will download the versions of composer.lock no matter what’s inside composer.json
  • If you run composer install and there is no lock file, it will generate a lock file of all the vendor versions it has installed based on composer.json
  • If you run composer update it will overwrite the composer.lock file with the newest available vendor packages based on composer.json
  • This means that if you include composer.lock in your GIT repository; clone and execute composer install on another computer, it will download the exact same versions as in composer.lock

What’s the difference between composer dump-autoload, composer update and composer install?

The above text already explains the difference between those commands, but for fast readers:

  • composer install installs the vendor packages according to composer.lock (or creates composer.lock if not present),
  • composer update always regenerates composer.lock and installs the lastest versions of available packages based on composer.json
  • composer dump-autoload won’t download a thing. It just regenerates the list of all classes that need to be included in the project (autoload_classmap.php). Ideal for when you have a new class inside your project.
    • Ideally, you execute composer dump-autoload -o , for a faster load of your webpages. The only reason it is not default, is because it takes a bit longer to generate (but is only slightly noticable)
  • Published:May 7th, 2014
  • Category:Lavarel

Mail:send() and Mail:queue() don’t work the same when it comes to passing $data to a view. At least not when you’re passing an eloquent object (or a “model” object).


$data = array();
$data['myObject'] = $eloquentObject;
Mail::send('emails.hello', $data, function($message) use ($toAddress) {

This will pass $data to the view so you can access $myObject in the view.

But when you change Mail::send to Mail::queue the $myObject isn’t accessible as expected. This happens when you’re passing an eloquent (inherited) object. To make this work with queue you have to serialize the $eloquentObject first and later unserialize it in the view.

$data = array();
$data['myObject'] = serialize($eloquentObject);
Mail::send('emails.hello', $data, function($message) use ($toAddress) {

In the view:

<?php $serializedObject = unserialize($myObject); ?>
{{ $serializedObject->property }}

If you want Laravel to show cached content from Varnish on public pages (so without a cookie), but still want to use a cookie on admin pages, and switch between them, config the following:

Put every admin page on a subdomain:

in routes.php add the following:

Route::group(array('domain' => ''), function()
//admin routes
Route::group(array('domain' => ''), function()
//public routes

Set cookieless session for public pages

in app/config/session.php

  • Set ‘driver’ to ‘array’. The option “array” will not write cookies. This is what we want for the public pages.
  • Set ‘cookie’ to a decent name.

Leave everything else default.

Override the session driver for admin pages.

The Laravel Session is initialized at the very beginning of each webserver request. There’s no point in overwriting the session driver in a controller or in a route filter (as strangely suggested on the github) because the session is already loaded and initialized before the route filter kicks in.

To overwrite the session config, you have to edit bootstrap/start.php

In bootstrap/start.php

Right after this line

require $framework.'/Illuminate/Foundation/start.php';

write a code snippet that looks like this:

if(\Request::server('HTTP_HOST') == ''){
    Config::set('session.driver', 'native');

By doing this we change the session.driver to “native” (so with a cookie) for the admin pages and not on the public pages.

There is one potential pitfall:

On your admin pages, every asset (css, js, image) must be called from the admin subdomain (except assets from other domains or the cloud).

On your public pages, not a single asset (css, js, image) should be called from the admin subdomain. (so don’t use a “” on a page)

Otherwise, if an assets happens to be a 404 and goes through the webserver, it might conflict or create unwanted cookies.

The above example is a stripped down version of my own implementation. You should care for authentication (I use the Sentry2 package for Laravel). With Sentry and the above setup, you also have to put the login page (or certainly the POST-action) on the admin subdomain. Otherwise the login won’t work (because it will try to write an authentication cookie on the public pages, but can’t because of the “array” session driver, so the user will never be able to login).

There might be other ways to accomplish the same result but this setup definatly works.

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