How to Make Web Pages Fit and Scale Nicely on Android Web Browser

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Category : Android, CakePHP, PHP, Software development, web

I just released an Android version of my Cats Idol pet project – it lets you browse through photos of cats submitted by other people, rate the cats, and set the photos as your Android wallpaper.

One of the things I wanted to do was to provide users with the ability to upload photos straight from their phone. I decided that a web interface would be the easiest way to go at it. So, my application has a button called “Add cat” that launches the Android web browser with a URL of my server-side CakePHP-based upload HTML form.

The Problem

Then I ran in to a problem -  The HTML upload page was “zoomed out” on android, seemed like the browser did not scale the HTML properly and you needed a lot of zooming in order to work with it.

I thought this was a problem with my android code but found that it was actually a server-side issue.

After some digging, I found a solution to this issue.

The Solution

Adding these two Meta Tags in the head Tag of the HTML page solved this issue:

<meta name="HandheldFriendly" content="true" />
<meta name="viewport"
          content="width=device-width,
                 height=device-height, user-scalable=no" />


In CakePHP I added these Meta Tags to the mobile.ctp layout so it will affect all pages using the mobile layout.

Using these Meta tags fixed the way Android showed the HTML web page – The page looks zoomed-in and fits the screen very nicely:

CakePHP Ajax/JSON calls fail? Try turning debug output off

Category : AJAX, CakePHP, Software development, Tips

ajax CakePHP is a rapid development framework for PHP that provides an extensible architecture for developing, maintaining, and deploying applications. CakePHP provides several Ajax features, but if cakephp debug is not turned off, most Ajax calls and JSON encoding would fail.

The problem / symptoms

When calling a server side cakephp method through Ajax calls usualy in combination with JSON encoding, the call fails. The server returns HTTP 200 and everything seems fine, but the Ajax call just doesn’t work.

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CakeOTP 1.1 – User Registration with One Time Password for CakePHP Released

Category : CakePHP, New Release, Open source, PHP, release, Security, Software development

CakeOTP is a reference implementation of User Registration with a secure, table-less and expirable implementation of One Time Password for the popular CakePHP development framework.

New in CakeOTP release 1.1

1) Automatic login process, after the account activation- The user is automatically logged into the site and is redirected to an internal page, immediately after activating his/her account.
2) User email validation.

Download this release here.

Checkout the Online Demo, project page and getting started page.

How to: Automatic User Login in CakePHP

Category : CakePHP, Open source, Software development, Tips

Sometimes you need to enable silent (implicit) login for your users. A good example of this would be this – after a registration process, you would want to automatically login the user, rather then having him retype the user name and password.

In CakePHP there is a simple method in the Auth components that lets you login on the user’s behave.

Here is how it is done:


// assuming $password is the clear text password
$this->data["User"]["password"] = $this->Auth->password($password);
$this->data["User"]["username"] = $username;

// do the login
$login = $this->Auth->login($this->data);

// $login is true is login went well.
// now we can redirect the user to any page:
if($login){
$this->redirect(array('controller' => "anycontroller",
'action' => "any_secure_action", null));
}

This will be implemented in the next CakeOTP release.

Security issue in CakePHP code documentation

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Category : CakePHP, Open source, PHP, Security, Software development

I have been using CakePHP for a long time now and enjoy every second. It provides a productive, easy to use and well document platform for PHP application. The key advantages for me are – transparent OR mapping, a strong Model View Controller framework, and tons of extra utilities that make your life better.

I have came across a possible security issue in one of cakePHP code examples. This section of code is responsible to authorize or un-authorize clients access to a certain action (MVC flow)

action == 'delete') {
            if ($this->Auth->user('role') == 'admin') {
                return true;
            } else {
                return false;
            }
        }

        return true;
    }
?>

The major security rule this code is breaking is – never ever have ‘return true’ as a default for an authorization method.
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CakeOTP 1.0 – Secure, Expirable, Table-less One Time Password for CakePHP Released

Category : CakePHP, Open source, PHP, release, Security, Software development

CakeOTP is a secure, table-less and expirable implementation of One Time Password for the popular CakePHP development framework.

A one-time password (OTP) is a password that is only valid for a single login session or transaction. It is commonly used in the internet for registration and password reminder process in which OTPs are provides to the user in a form of a link that the user uses to access in order to create/reset his password.

The problem is that most one-time password implementation involve maintaining additional database tables and batch process that handle the persistence and expire date of the one time password. This adds complexity and reduces performance.

CakeOTP is a simple and clean implementation of one time password. It reduces complexity by removing the redundant SQL calls and DB batch maintenance while still keeping the one time password secure and expirable.

Download this release here.

Checkout the Online Demo, project page and getting started page.

Feel free to post comments and questions.

CakeOTP 0.1 beta release – One Time Password Reference Implementation for CakePHP

Category : CakePHP, Open source, PHP, release, Security, Software development


I have started to implement the algorithm for tableless, secure One time password.

Here is a link to the Demo, and here is a link to the beta release.

The only thing you need to do other then the regular cakePHP setup is to create a user table (used by the CakePHP Auth component):

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `users` (
  `id` int(11) NOT NULL auto_increment,
  `username` char(50) default NULL,
  `password` char(40) default NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY  (`id`)
) ENGINE=MyISAM  DEFAULT CHARSET=latin1 AUTO_INCREMENT=23 ;

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