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Help, my host does not support CRON jobs

If you are working on a shoestring and using a shared host for your latest Laravel 5 project, you may want to setup some scheduled jobs. Laravel 5 has a great scheduler built in, but it needs a kick every minute for it to determine if it is time to run the job.

Through a third party service such as cron-job.org it is possible to provide this kick to the Laravel 5 Scheduler.

1. Create an account at cron-job.org

Accounts are free and permit you to schedule a task as frequently as once per minute

2. Create a route in your application to kick the laravel scheduler

    //trigger the scheduler
    Route::get('/hshhdyw7820037lammxh29' , function(){
        Artisan::call('schedule:run');
        return 'OK';
    });

Here I have used a random string for the path so that it is not accidentally ‘found’. If it would be an issue if your task is triggered twice, you might want to protect it further such as checking for the request coming cron-job.org’s IP address.

3. Add this route to the cron-job.org schedule

cron-tab

 

Other thoughts

By triggering the scheduler this way rather than just running the job directly means that you can then use the power of the Artisan scheduler.  Check out Eric Barnes intro to using the scheduler.

One thing not covered by Eric or the documentation is the ability to run a task every few minutes (5 minutes is catered for).

This example runs the ReplayServiceProvider every two minutes.

    $schedule->call('App\Providers\ReplayServiceProvider@feedData')->cron('*/2 * * * *');

Laravel 5 checkbox processing

One of the annoyances of HTML form processing is that checkboxes are not returned if they are unchecked.

This causes an issue if you just want to use Laravel’s automatic validation of forms and then want to be able to pass the validated form response to the model. Whilst it is possible to manage checkboxes in the controller it always strikes me as messy. My solution is below. There will always be detractors that claim the validator is not the place for this, my argument is that I am validating that what comes from the validator is either true or false and not true or missing.

Since the rules area of the request object is actually a method, it is possible to interact with the content of the request.

So, in my EditUserRequest class, where I have a checkbox named ‘is_admin’;

	public function rules()
	{
		// default the value of the is_admin checkbox
		$this->merge(['is_admin' => $this->input('is_admin', 0)]);

		return [
			'name' => 'required|min:5',
			'email' => 'required|email',
		];
	}

I merge back into the request, the value of the input, or a default (the second option to Request->input) of 0. This sets the checkbox element to 0 if it is not present.

Then in the controller, I can use the simple;

		$user->update($request->all());

Laravel 5 csrf tokens in ajax calls

In Laravel 5, all requests must pass through the Middleware which will not allow any POST requests without the correct CSRF token.

CSRF (Cross Site Request Forgery) prevents the site receiving requests from clients that it has not established a connection with. IE a random post request from a third party.

When using ajax to post form or changes in state, the csrf token must be supplied along with the request.

For instance, if the view being rendered contains the javascript, simply use blade tags to insert the token directly into the script:

                $.ajax({
                      type: "POST",
                      url: "/poke",
                      data: {   lat: lastlat,
                                lng: lastlng, 
                                bearing: 90,
                                '_token': '{!! csrf_token() !!}'
                            }
                    })

If the javascript is in a separate file (not processed by Blade) then the token can be set on a meta element and then queried by jQuery at runtime.

<meta name="csrf-token" content="{!! csrf_token() !!}">

Putting the above in the master page layout ensures that the csrf token is available in every page

Referring then to the meta element in each javascript ajax request;

                $.ajax({
                      type: "POST",
                      url: "/poke",
                      data: {   lat: lastlat,
                                lng: lastlng, 
                                bearing: 90,
                                '_token': $('meta[name="csrf-token"]').attr('content')
                            }
                    })

Thanks to Kelt Dockin for inspiration