What if I told you?

This is a bit of a follow up to a question I posted last week. I was struggling with deployment options for my app and more specifically how I could differentiate between configurations. I’d thought I would share how I did it.

Environment Variables

Some people like to use these for everything, I didn’t want to go that far but it seemed like a good starting point so I created one.

SetEnv CAKE_ENV development

Adding this to my httpd.conf allowed me to set easily and in a single place on all my web servers what environment to use. So I could set it to development, staging or production depending on the server I was on. Make sure to restart Apache after adding this!

Hey Cake look at my Environment

So it might be a little hacky but the first thing I did was create three files: App/Config/development.php, App/Config/staging.php, App/Config/production.php of course you can put these in a sub-folder if you really want to! Next up I wanted to include the correct file depending on what I had specified as my environment. In my App/Config/core.php I placed the following:

// Get Environment from Apache
$environment = getenv( 'CAKE_ENV' );

// Load our environment settings based on our environment
if ( $environment == 'development' ) {
	include APP . 'Config' . DS . 'development.php';
} elseif ( $environment == 'staging' ) {
	include APP . 'Config' . DS . 'staging.php';
} elseif ( $environment == 'production' ) {
	include APP . 'Config' . DS . 'production.php';
} else {
	include APP . 'Config' . DS . 'development.php';

// Get our config and place it in variable
$myConfig = Configure::read( 'myEnvironment' );

So here we get the file based on our environment variable and if none is set we stick to default. Finally I setup a variable for my config stuff. More on that in a minute!

Environment Files

So I needed to store some useful info:

<?php // App/Config/development.php 
Configure::write( 'myEnvironment', array( 		
                'debug' => 2,

		'session_defaults' => 'php',
		'session_cookie' => 'WOWZERS',

		'cache_disable' => true,
		'cache_prefix' => 'solutions_',
		'cache_engine' => 'Apc',
		'cache_duration' => '+10 seconds',

		'DB_HOST' => 'my_data_base_host',
		'DB_NAME' => 'my_dev_db'

So you can see we have a simple config write and then a few things I change in my app depending on the environment they should all be self-explanatory. Obviously I can change them like so:

<?php // App/Config/production.php 
Configure::write( 'myEnvironment', array( 		
                'debug' => 0,

		'session_defaults' => 'php',
		'session_cookie' => 'WOWZERS',

		'cache_disable' => false,
		'cache_prefix' => 'solutions_',
		'cache_engine' => 'Apc',
		'cache_duration' => '+30 days',

		'DB_HOST' => 'my_database_host',
		'DB_NAME' => 'my_live_db'

Calling our Variables

Now we have a Config variable we can use anywhere in our app. Let’s take a look at an example in my core.php file:

$mySetup = Configure::Read( 'myEnvironment' );

Configure::write( 'debug', $mySetup['debug'];
Configure::write( 'Session', array(
		'defaults' => $mySetup['session_defaults'],
		'cookie' => $mySetup['session_cookie']
	) );

These are only a couple of examples. You can also do the same in your bootstrap.php as and when you need to:

$mySetup = Configure::read( 'myEnvironment' );

Cache::config( 'short', array(
		'engine' => $mySetup ['cache_engine'],
		'duration' => '+1 hours',
		'path' => CACHE . DS . 'short' . DS,
		'prefix' => $mySetup ['cache_prefix'] . 'cake_short_'


This is the really useful bit, this is how you can manage your database settings for different environments.

Note: I am using MSSQL on Windows (Don’t judge me) so my authentication is done outside of these config files. You probably shouldn’t include your database connection settings (username/password) in your repo. These would be better set as environment variables like we did right at the start.

We can use a similar method as in previous examples to get our database connection parameters. This does need to be in the __construct() method like so:

<?php class DATABASE_CONFIG {     
    public $default;     
    public function __construct() {         
        $this->default = array(
            'datasource' => 'Database/Sqlserver',
            'persistent' => 'false',
            'host' => Configure::read( 'myEnvironment.DB_HOST' ),
            'database' => Configure::read( 'myEnvironment.DB_NAME' )

Easy? Seems to do the job doesn’t it? It works for me anyway….

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Mojowill Avatar

Who the Hell am I?

I'm Will, a full time web developer, geek and musician. I develop using PHP and MySQL and spend most of my time working with WordPress or CakePHP. When I'm not buried in code I'm gaming, cooking or writing and recording music in my studio. I like sci-fi, pancakes and coffee and am totally prepared for the zombie apocalypse...

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