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Yii upgrade service

Yii 1.1 is currently in maintenance mode following Yii 2 being released way back in May 2013.

Support and bug fixes for Yii 1 were only provided until December 31, 2016 and security fixes and PHP 7 compatibility ends December 31, 2020.

That means that right now the only reason updates to Yii 1 are being created and made available are for security issues found in the existing codebase, and from 2021 it’s mothballed completely.

If you’re maintaining a Yii 1 codebase it’s time to start thinking about how to migrate away from Yii completely, or upgrade your codebase to Yii 2.

There is an official guide aimed at supporting the upgrade process, but it is unlikely to get you from Yii 1 to Yii 2 without significant pain and head scratching.

Converting from Yii 1 to Yii 2 is completely unlike developing code for either framework, and you’d want to source a Yii upgrade professional rather than getting an inexperienced developer or team involved with a large or mission critical codebase.

Personally I’ve now upgraded four codebases from Yii 1 to Yii 2. All the upgrades have been different. All follow a similar path, and the repeatable process I’ve created, but each has its own edge cases, bespoke widgets and complexities.

The work takes many days per codebase before testing and perfection can happen, and where an existing development team are involved with ongoing development or support of the Yii 1 system, it’s best handled as a team effort. Acceptance that the process isn’t anywhere close to just flicking a switch or downloading a patch is required from day one.

At this point I’m considering two next steps.

Firstly, if your company has significant budget and is in need of support moving from Yii 1 to Yii 2, I’d be interested in hearing from you. You may want a supportive voice helping your existing developers to make the move. You may also be looking to hand over a Yii 1 codebase and get it back ready for some testing and iteration.

Secondly, I’m considering sharing some or all of the process I’ve created for manually moving a codebase over from Yii 1 to Yii 2, the gotchas, the process and how to update specific things within Yii 1, where it isn’t as simple as a like

Feel free to send me a direct message on Twitter @harrybailey or leave a comment below if you’d like to contact me.

Yii 1, PHP 7.1, yii-pdf and Mpdf

Mpdf 6.x only supports PHP versions up to 7.0. If you’re upgrading your local machine, or hosting environment to PHP 7.1 or beyond (you should be) then you’ll need to upgrade your Mpdf install to something more recent than 6. That requires a few changes.

Now just to make things complex here, the latest version of Mpdf happens to be version 7.1. From here on I’ll try and prefix any version numbers with either PHP or Mpdf.

Mpdf 7 and greater is composer install only. You could still download and copy the files into place, but I highly recommend using composer to manage your vendor packages in Yii (and Yii 2). It will save you hours and hours over time.

Mpdf 7 has updated it’s class name to be Mpdf with a capital M, and changed it’s construct method to accept a config array instead of separate parameters. Small but significant updates we’ll have to deal with.

If you’re already using composer, then you’ll have a composer.json file in the root of your codebase, and in there you should have a line which starts “mpdf/mpdf”.

That line will probably end something like “^6.0” or “^6.4”

Assuming it’s less than “7.x.x” we’re going to update with composer.

Back up your codebase. I shouldn’t have to mention it, but do it, honest.

Run composer require mpdf/mpdf “^7.0”

That line will install the latest version, Mpdf 7.1, allow anything newer to be installed if you update in the future, and change your composer.json file (and likely your composer.lock file too) to include the newer information.

So we have the latest code, but we need to update Yii to use it.

yii-pdf wraps mpdf and makes it available via Yii->app()->ePdf->mpdf()

The yii-pdf config to get it functioning with Mpdf 7+ will look something like this:

'ePdf' => [
	'class' => 'application.extensions.yii-pdf.EYiiPdf',
	'params' => [
		'mpdf' => [
			'librarySourcePath' => 'vendor.mpdf.mpdf.src.*',
			'constants' => [
				'_MPDF_TEMP_PATH' => Yii::getPathOfAlias('application.runtime'),
			],
			'class'=>'\Mpdf\Mpdf',
			'defaultParams' => [
				'mode' => '',		//  This parameter specifies the mode of the new document.
				'format' => 'A4',	// format A4, A5, ...
			],
		],
	],
],

Note the librarySourcePath and class values. You can add your existing defaultParams and anything else which was in your preferences previously.

The last part is to update all places where you call the mpdf library. Previously it would have looks something like:

$mpdf = Yii::app()->ePdf->mpdf('UTF-8', '', 0, '', 15, 15, 15, 15, 8, 8);

We now convert the config to be an array of values:

$mpdf = Yii::app()->ePdf->mpdf(['UTF-8', '', 0, '', 15, 15, 15, 15, 8, 8]);

And that should be it. Update using composer, update your config, update all locations you instantiate mpdf. Then check your pdf generating code is still functioning.

Security of WHM backups to an AWS S3 bucket

When you give your Web Hosting Manager (WHM) the ability to send a copy of your backup to Amazon’s AWS S3 service, you have to hand it a Key and Secret that give it that permission.

The worst option is to hand over a Secret and Key related to your own log in.

The best is to:

  1. Create a policy which
    • Only gives access to a single bucket
    • Only allows the least access required for the task
    • Only allows connections from trusted IP addresses
  2. Create a Group to connect the policy to
  3. Create a user (for the WHM) to connect to the group

For validation of connection to S3 WHM currently requires the ability to write objects, list all objects in a bucket, delete objects. Now for some this is frustratingly more than you want to hand over. In theory WHM could make do with just the ability to write to the bucket, but at the moment we have to make all those abilities available.

Luckily, the fact we’re also limiting by IP and then Secret and Key—which WHM encrypts when you submit them—should make it highly unlikely anybody else will be able to abuse the ability to delete objects.

Here is the example policy that I have in place. Feel free to copy, personalise and use:

{
    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
        {
            "Sid": "WHMBackupAccess",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
                "s3:PutObject",
                "s3:GetObject",
                "s3:ListBucket",
                "s3:DeleteObject"
            ],
            "Resource": [
                "arn:aws:s3:::YOUR_BUCKET_NAME",
                "arn:aws:s3:::YOUR_BUCKET_NAME/*"
            ],
            "Condition": {
                "IpAddress": {
                    "aws:SourceIp": "YOUR_SERVER_IP/32"
                }
            }
        }    
    ]
}

If you’re in need of help putting this all together, let me know and I might expand this post to include how to do the setup inside WHM and the AWS console.

.htaccess redirects based on date and time

A useful trick for implementing maintenance windows and redirects without having to use a php or similar script is to check date and time in .htaccess files or use it to build a redirect url.

Date and time values in .htaccess come in the form %{TIME_XXXX} where XXXX is the type of date or time you want.

So if you want to redirect a generic url to one which contains today’s date, you might use:

RewriteRule ^posts/today$ /posts/%{TIME_YEAR}-%{TIME_MON}-%{TIME_DAY}

That would result in /posts/today being redirected to something like /posts/2015-08-27

If you wanted redirect a page after a date (and time) is passed you could use something like the following, where if the date and time is passed 9am on 27th August 2015 the redirect will happen. We use a simple number comparison of turning the date into an integer and then comparing it.

RewriteCond %{TIME_YEAR}%{TIME_MON}%{TIME_DAY}%{TIME_HOUR} >2015082709
RewriteRule ^$ /destination/url.html [R=301,L]

The following would only redirect until a specific time (10.22am on 27th August 2015)

RewriteCond %{TIME_YEAR}%{TIME_MON}%{TIME_DAY}%{TIME_HOUR}%{TIME_MIN} <201508271022
RewriteRule ^$ /destination/url.html [R=301,L]

The following would only redirect between two specific dates (20th July 2015 and 27th August 2015)

RewriteCond %{TIME_YEAR}%{TIME_MON}%{TIME_DAY} <20150828
RewriteCond %{TIME_YEAR}%{TIME_MON}%{TIME_DAY} >20150719
RewriteRule ^$ /destination/url.html [R=301,L]

The options you have for %{TIME_XXXX} values are:

TIME_YEAR // current four-digit year
TIME_MON // current month
TIME_DAY // current day of month
TIME_HOUR // current hour (24 hour clock) of day
TIME_MIN // current minute of hour
TIME_SEC // current second of minute
TIME_WDAY // current week-day
TIME // a formatted string representing the date and time down to seconds. e.g. 20150827112234

MySQL roughly random string generation for updating rows

Ever wanted to inject hashes into existing rows of a MySQL database? The code below allows you to generate a different string for each row affected by the update and choose the random string’s length from 1 to 32 character.

I’m aware it’s not the most random of generators but for url hashes etc, it works well. Be sure to then check for duplicates, which are possible!

Change 20 to a length between 1 and 32.

Update the WHERE condition to suit your needs


UPDATE table_name
SET column_name = (
SELECT substring(MD5(RAND()), -20)
)
WHERE condition_column = 1;