Meetup Review

Last week we held our first meeting in a new venue, generously provided by University of Ulster (Dept or Computing & Mathematics). We’ll be using this room in the Belfast campus (a.k.a. Art College if you’re my age) for future meetings.

The first session delivered by David Frame of 31Interactive, covered Virtualisation - primarily the use of vagrant ( to allow you to easily create a lightweight, shareable, disposable and consistent development environment.

In the second talk, Andy Graham, also of 31 Interactive reviewed the micro framework. Andy showed us how easy it is, through composer, to swap out components. Specifically changing the templating engine from Smarty to Twig. And the database abstraction layer from Redbean to Eloquent.

You can check out, and download the framework code from our github repository.

Lastly, thanks again to tibus for providing the pizzas, and for the generous offer of free cloud development space for phpbelfast members. (see previous post for details)

App Building Block - Part 1

Our next meetup will be on Thu Aug 21st


University of Ulster, Belfast Campus Room 82C02-04 
This is a 2 talk meetup from 7pm-9pm

To find us, head in the main entrance to the University of Ulster (Belfast Campus) on York Street. More directions can be found at:

Once inside tell a person you’re for PHPBelfast, they’ll score your name off a list and give you access and directions to the room.  You need to go up to floor C in the lift, turn left out of the lift, 82C02 is the first door on the right, 

Register Here:

This session is the first in a series of sessions that will look at the practical aspects of building a php app. 
Each new session will expand on the previous one with new features to our demo app being created.

In this first session then, to get up and running…

Talk 1 - Get Off MAMP / XAMPP  
Covering the BASICS of setting up a local development environment using Vagrant. ( a working vagrant file will be available at the end for you to use on your own projects.

Talk 2 - PHPBelfast Framework Evolution 
In a previous talk, we created a simple framework of components ( using Slim, Smarty and Redbean. 
This time, we’ll review what we did before, and switch out a few components and tidy things up a bit. We’ll also add a vagrant config to the project for our local development.

Yes.. it’s very much like the one we did before, but it’s the basis for a series of talks. So we need to start at the beginning.

Obviously, there are a lot of options for both front and back end, for this series of talks, we’ll be using Bootstrap & jQuery on the front end and the backend will use PHP 5.4+, MySQL and the evolving PHPBelfast Framework which is underpinned by “Slim”

Any code examples used in the talks will be made available for download via our github.

As always, there will be an opportunity to network, and talk shop both between talks and afterwards, we would encourage you to hang around for that.

A note from last month’s sponsor - Tibus.

“Hi there,

Tibus recently sponsored the PHPBelfast meeting, it was great to see so many attendees from the local PHP community. We’d like to offer attendees of the meeting a free account on our cloud hosting platform, which we hope would be useful for development projects both personal and professional. The accounts on offer will have offer to the following resources completely free of charge; 

2 CPU Cores
40GB Disk
5Mbps VPS Port Speed
2 IP Addresses

This should be sufficient to spin up a couple of development VMs and allow a taste of our public cloud offering. We also offer a range of other services from domain name registration through to large scale managed hosting, so we might be able to assist you with other hosting requirements.

Kind regards,


that’s a very tempting offer and already several members have taken it up.  If you would like to take up the free cloud hosting offer…

You MUST be a phpBelfast community member, and have attended at least one meetup. Contact us here at and I’ll verify your membership and pass along your details to the Tibus guys.

Of course, anyone else who might be interested in any other professional services can contact directly.

Meetup #6 - Web App Security Testing

This month we’re very lucky to have Simon Whittaker from Vertical Structure Limited (@vsltd). Simon is a security and penetration testing expert.

Simon will be explaining:- 

  • Help you to present the smallest target possible to potential attackers 
  • Understand common attack vectors 
  • Mitigation against common attack vectors 
  • How to ask the right questions of other developers & system administrators 
  • Encourage auditing of code & improved development procedures 
  • Not being specific about languages - these principles apply to most. 
  • Help you to think like the person that is attacking your application

If you have a laptop you are welcome to bring it along and follow along with some of the demonstrations.


The Works - at The Mac Belfast

"The Works" is on the 4th floor. Take the elevator just inside the door, then follow the signs.

Public car parking in St. Annes Sq. Multi-Story. (Map)

Thu 26th June 18:30pm - 9pm (starts at 7pm sharp)


Please register with just ONE of the following

Get Invited


Thank you to our event sponsors for the evening, tibus. Without sponsors this type of event simply wouldn’t happen.

Meetup #5 - Build with components

Building a website tends to be done with a full stack framework like Zend, Symfony or Laravel, or by using a full featured CMS system such as wordpress or drupal.

But what if you just want something small, but powerful?

Andy Graham, Technical Director at 31 Interactive is going to show you how you can use available open source components to build a micro CMS powered website, with many of the features you’d get with a full stack framework website.

Andy will talk about components like Slim, Redbean and Smarty.

Get Invited To this event members - register here.