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Setting up a CodeIgniter app with Xeround Cloud Database

This brief tutorial will enable web application developers to harness the power of cloud computing database, Xeround, with the best PHP MVC framework in town, CodeIgniter.

Xeround is an Israeli web startup, launched back in 2005. It specializes in cloud database software technologies, operating in the PaaS domain. Xeround is primarily known for its MySQL cloud database, which it provides with a seamless frontend application. Its unique selling point is the ability to easily scale MySQL application on multiple platforms like Amazon EC2 and Rackspace. Xeround is positioned well in the MySQL cloud database market. Xeround’s basic MySQL cloud database plan is free and pretty fast.

CodeIgniter on the other hand is an Open Source PHP MVC (Model View Controller) framework used to make high end and enterprise level web applications. The framework uses a popular MVC software design pattern, popular with most of the top web developers today. The high points of using CodeIgniter as your web application framework are massive, such as highly organized code, rapid application development and plethora of in built tools.

What will this tutorial teach you?

This tutorial aims to teach you to setup up a basic CodeIgniter application in conjunction with the Xeround cloud database, powered by Oracle’s MySQL.

What will this tutorial NOT teach you?

This tutorial will NOT teach you to use CodeIgniter, MySQL, Phpmyadmin, FTP, HTML, CSS, XAMPP or the web stack.

So in a nutshell?

It rather enables you to learn the processes involved in helping you setup your next web application using CodeIgniter with a Xeround backend.

What will you need?

  1. An Internet connection, preferably fast.
  2. A working installation of XAMPP. You can download one here.
  3. Patience.

Setting up CodeIgniter

With your XAMPP already installed and configured on your computer (Windows, Mac or Linux), you active it by following these steps.

 

  1. Launch XAMPP application by clicking on this icon  on your desktop.
  2. Now, ensure the first two features on the control panel are active. In order to enable Apache and MySQL, just click the Start buttons beside them and their status-es should turn green. That’s it.  You’re on localhost.
  3. Now, open up your favorite browser, preferably Google Chrome and type in the following text in the address bar: localhost. If that doesn’t work, type in 127.0.0.1. If everything went well previously, you should see something like this. (Obviously, if you have Linux or Windows, it will mention XAMPP for X OS).

 

 

 

Now, lets setup CodeIgniter. The first thing you should do is visiting Ellis Lab’s CodeIgniter page by click here. When on the home page, click on the download button on the right side. Now its time to unzip.

Once the compressed file is unzipped, name it anything you like. We have named it “CodeIgniterApp”. It is important to clean the folder of any junk, by deleting the license.txt and the user guide files. You wont need those.

To enable your CodeIgniter app to work on the localhost, which is a simulation of a website on a host, you need to copy it to your htdocs.

To do this, follow the directory structure to access your htdocs folder.

 

Windows                                           Mac

 

C:/xampp/htdocs                                 Applications/XAMPP/htdocs

 

 

Now, just drag and drop the “CodeIgniterApp” folder into htdocs. To ensure everything went fine, open up your browser and type in localhost/CodeIgniterApp. If successful, you should see this page and probably celebrate.

 

 

 

At this point in time, the CodeIgniter has been successfully setup. However, it doesn’t require a database to function just to load up a simple dynamic Welcome page. As the objective of our tutorial is to use CodeIgniter with Xeround, let’s take a break from the CodeIgniter side of things and create an Account on Xeround.

Setting up Xeround

As mentioned before, Xeround offers cloud database services for MySQL that are highly scalable with top notch companies providing instances such as Amazon and Rackspace.

 

Note: This part of the tutorial will create a sample Xeround account. The username and password will not be disclosed.

  1. First things first. Visit http://xeround.com/ to access the Xeround site. The home page pretty much summarizes the things we have discussed so far, such as scalability, availability and simplicity.
  2. Using the navigation bar on top, click sign up. Alternatively, you can click here. Enter your details and in the ‘Expected DB Size’ field, select Less than 0.5 GB. This is well good enough for a starter.
  3. Now, check your email for the confirmation link that was sent to you. At this point in time, you don’t have to choose the password. That comes later when you click the confirmation link.
  4. Once you have set the password after clicking the confirmation link, you will be welcomed to the Xeround’s primary dashboard. This can be accessed at https://cloud.xeround.com as well.
  5. To create your new Cloud Database in minutes, follow these steps:

 

  • Choose to create your database Instance.
  • Choose the free 10 MB Xeround FREE plan. You get:

 a)    Shared Environment

b)   High Availability Guaranteed

c)    Throughput: up to 1MB/s

d)   Connections: up to 5

  • Now you will be asked to choose your Data Centre. We recommend Amazon EC2. It’s the best in the business right now. Highly reliable!

 

 

 

  • The last step for creating your DB Instance asks you to fill in some crucial details. These may be the most important details of all. They are essential to get your web application up and running on a MySQL backend.

Here is a sample of what we’ve filled in for this tutorial account:

 

  • Once every detail has been carefully filled in and stored in your memory, remember to do one last thing. Yes, you guessed it right. Click the big blue button that says Create.
  • Once you have clicked Create, a dialog box will show up saying “DB Instance creation is in progress”. Just close. The DB Instance has been created by now.
  • The DB Management Dashboard now looks something like this, as shown in the image below. Explaining all the features of the dashboard is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

 

 

 

  • Now, click the link under external DNS Hostname and login to your Phpmyadmin. Once there, create yourself a database. We named ours ‘neil’. At this moment, just take note of your: Database name, user, pass and external DNS Hostname 

Connecting Xeround with CodeIgniter

 

Now that we have our Xeround database setup, it is time to connect the database with CodeIgniter.

 

  1. Open the CodeIgniterApp folder that you placed earlier in the htdocs directory. Access the database.phpfile by following the directory structure: CodeIgniterApp/application/config/database.php 
  2. Once you are in the file database.php, scroll down to line 51. Can you see the fields for hostname, username, password and database?

 

Currently, they are set to localhost but since we want Xeround, we would need to add the details in the blank spaces using the notes we took earlier. By the way, Xeround works on localhost and web!

 

So based on the tutorial account details, it looks like this once its filled:

 

$db['default']['hostname'] = instance26267.db.xeround.com:16438;

$db['default']['username'] = ‘user’;

$db['default']['password'] = ‘pass’;

$db['default']['database'] = ‘neil’;

 

Note: Although you do not have access to the tutorial Xeround account we created, you can still use these database instance details. However, we recommend you create your own. This is only for demonstration purposes.       

 

Tip: In order to avoid lagging, it is better to disable persistent connections within your CodeIgniter application by editing line 57 of database.php. You simply have to set $db['default']['pconnect'] = FALSE; to false. This ensures that there are no lags, since there is a limit of 5 connections in the Xeround FREE plan.

 

 

Congratulations. You have successfully completed the essential portion of the tutorial. You have connected your Xeround Cloud Database with your CodeIgniter application. What’s next? Well, its time for some testing.

 

Testing your application

Lets create a sample table structure.

  • Go to application/controllers/ and create a controller: tables.php.
  • Add the following code and save it. The code is already supplied in the zip folder attached with this tutorial (namely CodeIgniterApp.zip).

 

 

 

 

 

So what this does is basically creates a Controller called Tables, loads the DBForge class of CodeIgniter (used to create tables) and creates a table called Test_Table. If returns messages on the success or failure.

 

  • Run the tables’ controller by type in the following address in your favorite browser’s address bar:          http://localhost/CodeIgniterApp/index.php/tables
  • You should now see a message on your browser that says that the table “Test Table” has been created successfully. You can even confirm this by going back to your Phpmyadmin dashboard.

Now lets try adding some real world data into our table. To do that, we will create a small application that stores users’ first and last name. Since the scope of the tutorial is not to teach CodeIgniter or programming whatsoever, the files have been supplied to enable you to learn. The end result of the small application is shown below.

 

Oh by the way, don’t forget to turn on the following autoload.php options by going into CodeIgniterApp/application/config/autoload.php:

 

 You can get the sample code used in this article here

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More Stories By Hovhannes Avoyan

Hovhannes Avoyan is the CEO of Monitis, Inc., a provider of on-demand systems management and monitoring software to 50,000 users spanning small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to Monitis, he served as General Manager and Director of Development at prominent web portal Lycos Europe, where he grew the Lycos Armenia group from 30 people to over 200, making it the company's largest development center. Prior to Lycos, Avoyan was VP of Technology at Brience, Inc. (based in San Francisco and acquired by Syniverse), which delivered mobile internet content solutions to companies like Cisco, Ingram Micro, Washington Mutual, Wyndham Hotels , T-Mobile , and CNN. Prior to that, he served as the founder and CEO of CEDIT ltd., which was acquired by Brience. A 24 year veteran of the software industry, he also runs Sourcio cjsc, an IT consulting company and startup incubator specializing in web 2.0 products and open-source technologies.

Hovhannes is a senior lecturer at the American Univeristy of Armenia and has been a visiting lecturer at San Francisco State University. He is a graduate of Bertelsmann University.

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