All posts by Andreas Heigl

About Andreas Heigl

father, husband, developer, architectural daughtsman, brother, master of forestry sciences, scout, rescue diver

Enums. With PHP < 8.1

Recently I had to build something where an Enum would have been perfect.


The Challenge

It needed to run on PHP 8.0. Of course.

So what to do? I decided to build an Enum like thingy that I can easily upgrade into a real Enum once we are on PHP8.1 with that project.

Why not use a library for that? There are plenty of libraries on packagist that already provide you with the basics!

For one thing: I only needed one Enum. Not a multitude. And Adding a further dependency to make creating one enum easier that will (hopefully) converted into a “eral” enum in about half a year? That sounds bit like taking the sledgehammer to crack a nut.

And on the other hand it turned out that creating an enum from scratch isn’t rocket science.

Continue reading Enums. With PHP < 8.1

On deprecating dynamic properties

Yesterday the RFC regarding Deprecating Dynamic Properties went into voting phase and it currently looks like the overwhelming majority supports the RFC.

But nevertheless the discussions yesterday started in the wider PHP community whether that is a good idea or not.

To summarize the RFC in very short terms: Currently PHP allows to assign values to a class property that was not previously declared. The RFC proposes to remove this implicit feature in PHP9. It will still be available as an explicit feature when the creator of the class adds an Annotation [AllowDynamicProperties] on the class level.

To prepare for that, in the next minor version of PHP – PHP 8.2 – whenever one assigns a value to an undeclared property there will be a deprecation notice raised.

So the proposal is – in essence – about moving from implicitness to explicitness. Which is in my opinion a very good move.

So what is the discussion that I was talking about previously all about? After all that sounds like a good move, doesn’t it?

Continue reading On deprecating dynamic properties

Transliter… what?

Every now and then I am challenged with modifying Unicode-strings. Whether by converting from any non-ASCII script to ASCII or handling differently normalized strings, all of these actions are called “Transliteration”

I first encountered that when I built an application that create PDF-Files on a Linux-Server that would then be overwritten from an application running on a mac that had the folder mounted via CIFS. Everything was working great. Until one of the people thought it would be a great idea to enter a filename with a german Umlaut. So the application created the file “example_ä.pdf” on the server. After some time we realized that there was a second file in that folder with the name “example_ä.pdf”.



Continue reading Transliter… what?

Farewell Enigmail

Thunderbird has End-to-End encryption right built into it’s very core. But at a price that was annoying to me. So I decided to keep the old 68 Version together with the enigmail plugin.

Until my system recently did an update and replaced the old thunderbird with the shiny new version 78. Which comes with its very own implementation of Pretty Good Privacy – better known as PGP.

Short recap: The Enigmail plugin used a system-installed GnuPG installation (Open Source PGP-Implementation). Thunderbird on the other hand uses a library called RNP.

This has 2 drawbacks. One is, that it is a bit harder to setup my current workflow which uses a private key located on a Yubikey that I have to unlock. The setup was not as easy as it was described in some of the descriptions on the internet. But that was mainly due to my own fault. A configuration setting that did work with Enigmail but didn’t with the new Version of Thunderbird.

The main issue is that RNP currently does not support hardware tokens. But luckily there is a flag that can delegate tasks that require private keys to a third party app. So I could setup the default GnuPG to handle the signing and the decryption process. One additional advantage is that I do not need to expose private keys to Thunderbird where they need to be secured by a single master password. But that is a different story.

RNP is not GnuPG

The – for me – more annoying part is, that RNP does not use the systemwide GnuPG keychain but its own one. So for me that means that I have to maintain two keychains with public keys.

I found that a bit awkward. So I looked for a way to automatically keep the two keychains in sync. And after a bit of digging I figured, that Thunderbird keeps a GnuPG compatible public keychain right in Thunderbirds profile folder. So all I have to do is write a cron-job that exports all the public keys from one keychain and moves them over to the respective other one. Already existing keys will not be imported, missing ones will be imported though.

So this is what I now have installed as cron-job:

gpg --no-default-keyring \
    --keyring=$THUNDERBIRD_PROFILE/pubring.gpg \
    --export \
    --armor | gpg --import --no
gpg --export --armor | gpg \
    --no-default-keyring \
    --keyring=$THUNDERBIRD_PROFILE/pubring.gpg \
    --import \

Optimization will follow soon by replacing the hard-coded path to the profile folder with a command that reads that from thunderbirds profile.ini file. But that is a different story.

The only drawback I have seen so far is that Thunderbird needs to be restarted after the script has actually imported one or more keys into the thunderbilrd keychain. Otherwise the new keys are not recognized.

But that is much less of a hassle and drawback than not being able to sign my outgoing email or decrypt my incoming mails.

Named Parameters

Currently an awesome RFC to introduce Named Parameters to PHP is in the voting phase. As I voted against this RFC and some people asked me about my reasoning I thought I share it here.

After this tweet I had some interesting conversations on and off twitter that made me think about my take on named parameters back and forth.

And as much as I like the idea of named parameters I still see one major issue in the currently proposed implementation: Changing Parameter names.

Continue reading Named Parameters