Hi guys. Zend Server 8.5 was announced just over a month ago, and we’ve already seen some new plugins developed by the community added to the Zend Gallery. In this article I’d like to introduce you to one of them – the concrete5 Z-Ray plugin developed by Andrew Embler (@aembler).
First, and as a short reminder to those new to the concept of Zend Server plugins – plugins are basically pieces of code that extend Zend Server’s functionality in a variety of ways. Z-Ray plugins result in adding specific information in Z-Ray on the app/framework/platform you’re developing.
There are already more than 20 Z-Ray plugins for some of the popular PHP apps and frameworks such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Joomla, Zend Framework, Symfony, Laravel and more, and now – also for concrete5.
So, what info does this plugin give concrete5 developers?
Starting from left to right:
- Blocks panel – gives you a list of the current blocks on the page, including whether they were used from the cache, the area they came from, whether they were rendered or not, how long they took to execute, the actual content of the block, and more.
- General panel – provides useful general information about your concrete5 configuration, including which concrete5 version you’re using, which database version you’re using, and global caching configurations.
- Page Requests – displays all the page objects called by the page request, including their ID, path, name and how many times they were requested.
- Config Requests – shows you all the configuration variables requested by the page, including how many times they were requested and the return value.
- Your Access Entities – gives you information on the permissions of the current user. When remotely debugging your customer’s requests using Z-Ray Live! this could be very useful.
Installing the Plugin
The concrete5 plugin can be installed via the Zend Gallery, from within the Zend Server UI. Once you’ve accessed the UI, go to Plugins | Gallery, locate the plugin and click the Install button. Complete the short deployment wizard, and you’ll be up and running with the new plugin in no time.
To start using Z-Ray and the plugin to introspect your code, simply open your concrete5 app in a browser!
The plugin code can be found here: http://github.com/concrete5/zend-server-plugins/
Develop your Own Plugin
If you’ve got an idea for a plugin, there are some useful resources available that will help you get started:
- Official plugin documentation: https://github.com/zend-server-plugins/Documentation
- A brief tutorial on how to develop a Z-Ray plugin, showing how the WordPress plugin was developed – Develop Your First Zend Server Plugin – Part 1
- Andrew guides you through the steps he took to develop his concrete5 plugin – http://andrewembler.com/2015/07/creating-z-ray-plugin-zend-server-85/
Once you’re finished with your plugin, be sure to submit it to the Gallery, and take part in the Plugin Contest, more details here: https://www.zend.com/en/products/server/plugins/plugin-contest