Easy Docker dev environments for PHP with CloudEstuary

Lately I’ve been messing around with Docker, and specifically with containerizing PHP applications to perform quick services, such as static analysis of PHP code, compatibility of existing PHP code to specific versions of PHP, and performing security checks on PHP libraries included in my projects. However, I’ve not created a development environment for my projects using Docker.

Like most professional PHP developers, I’ve been using Vagrant to create virtual environments for most of my development. It works fantastic, but one of the downfalls is that it leads to a large VM file for each virtual machine taking up disk space on my laptop. This is unfortunate for a consultant like myself, who creates a separate VM for each client.

But today I found another way. A way to easily create PHP development environments with Docker. The fine folks at CloudEstuary have created an easy to use web-based tool to create PHP development environments (yml files) for use with Docker-compose.


The entire process was super easy, assuming we already have Docker and Docker-Compose installed.

Create a Project

To start I selected the framework, of which I decided to try this with the very popular Zend Framework in an application I’ve been working on, so I clicked the Zend Framework icon. The tool chosen will cause the runtime settings in the next section to be altered to accommodate.

Next I added a custom name for my project and chose PHP 7.1 for the Runtime, but left the rest of the items set as default.

Following that, there is a list of pre-existing Addons to be enabled as desired. It seems Postgres is selected by default, but it is simple enough to Remove it and select another solution if desired.

 Then the final step, as of this writing, was to add any workers if I desired. I’m not sure of the limits of what can be put there, but I’m sure documentation will be forthcoming.

Then, finally, I was able to click the Generate Docker Compose button to receive the docker-compose.yml file. The final result was a brief explanation of what to do next, and of course, the file contents.

The docker-compose file expects to be placed in a directory where the application to be served resides in an ‘html’ directory. Don’t worry, you can change this as needed. In my case I simply change the following portions of the yml file (3’ish places):

To become:

I placed the docker-compose.yml file to the root of my Zend Framework application. (on the same level as the composer.json file)

Additionally, I have a local installation of Apache running on port 80, so the docker-compose file would not work for me out of the box. It sets the Nginx server port forwarding to expect the host port 80 to forward to the Docker container port 80. So I updated the ports from this:

To become this:

Use It

Now I was ready to fire up the Docker container. I did this via CLI by navigating to the root of the application and issuing the docker-compose command.

After a couple minutes of Docker fetching various images, the container was running. Note: the terminal continues showing what it happening inside the container. (Nginx and other apps logs are output to the terminal)

Now I was able to pull up my awesome Zend Framework PHP app in the browser using the address http://localhost:8888

Add Account

One other nice feature of the site is the ability to create an account. I am told there will be more functionality around this later, but for now it allows you to see a list of all projects you’ve created, and enables you to edit the configurations.

Simply click the link to create an account:

Then you can see projects created while you were logged in via the “My Projects” menu item.


I hope you found this post helpful. Using Docker to create PHP development environments is easy. Enjoy!

Zend Framework 2 XML Sitemap

While tweaking the SunshinePHP site to be a bit more SEO friendly I realized we had neglected to create a sitemap for search engines to find.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the Navigation component of Zend Framework 2 includes a bunch of view helpers, including a Sitemap helper.  So now I have an xml sitemap created by Zend Framework 2 that works hand in hand with the site navigation.  However, the documentation was not complete as of this writing and caused me to do a bit of trial and error debugging to get it working.  Below I will post how I got it working, in hopes it will help others. (If the ZF2 folks like this post I will go in an update the documentation later.)  As with most things in Zend Framework 2 there may be more than one way to do things, but this is how I did it. (Until someone informs me of a better way.)

Module Config

In the Application module.config.php I created a factories node in the service_manager container where I pulled in the DefaultNavigationFactory.


Then I also added a navigation container where I specified the sitemap for the site.

NOTE: To add navigation specific for each module you would simply create this container in the specific module.config.php.


Next I added a route for the future sitemap to be viewed.  Notice how I simply added a sitemapAction to the Application IndexController.  You can add it wherever you desire if you want to create a separate controller or whatever, I just left it there.



Because I just want the xml produced by the helper, I created a blank layout xml.phtml that does nothing more than output the content of the view.



The sitemap.phtml view is also pretty simple and outputs the xml sitemap created by the helper.



In my controller I specified the layout to use, nothing more was needed.



By navigation to the URL specified in the route we should now be able to view the XML output.



In this example someone would need to navigate to /sitemap to view the sitemap, but some automated tools would try to go to /sitemap.xml which would fail with this setup.  I will come back at some point in the future and enable the file extension to be ignored (after I figure out how).


The entire process is really pretty simple once the pieces are all in place, and the output was accepted by the various search engine webmaster tools…SCORE!

Using JOIN within the Zend Framework

I found documentation very sparse on the subject of using JOIN with the Zend Framework. So i set out on a quest of many hours figuring out how to get it to work. Here is what I ended up with.

I do not claim that this is the best way to do it, or that it is correct, but here is how I solved this and got JOIN working within Zend Framework.

Continue reading Using JOIN within the Zend Framework