Yii v2 snippet guide III

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  1. My articles
  2. Switching languages and Language in URL
  3. Search and replace
  4. Running Yii project in Vagrant. (Simplified version)

My articles

Articles are separated into more files as there is the max lenght for each file on wiki.

Switching languages and Language in URL

I already wrote how translations work. Here I will show how language can be switched and saved into the URL. So let's add the language switcher into the main menu:

echo Nav::widget([
 'options' => ['class' => 'navbar-nav navbar-right'],
 'items' => [
  ['label' => 'Language', 'items' => [
    ['label' => 'German' , 'url' => \yii\helpers\Url::current(['sys_lang' => 'de']) ],
    ['label' => 'English', 'url' => \yii\helpers\Url::current(['sys_lang' => 'en']) ],

Now we need to process the new GET parameter "sys_lang" and save it to Session in order to keep the new language. Best is to create a BaseController which will be extended by all controllers. Its content looks like this:

namespace app\controllers;
use yii\web\Controller;
class _BaseController extends Controller {
  public function beforeAction($action) {
    if (isset($_GET['sys_lang'])) {
      switch ($_GET['sys_lang']) {
        case 'de':
          $_SESSION['sys_lang'] = 'de-DE';
        case 'en':
          $_SESSION['sys_lang'] = 'en-US';
    if (!isset($_SESSION['sys_lang'])) {
      $_SESSION['sys_lang'] = \Yii::$app->sourceLanguage;
    \Yii::$app->language = $_SESSION['sys_lang'];
    return true;

If you want to have the sys_lang in the URL, right behind the domain name, following URL rules can be created in config/web.php:

'components' => [
 // ...
 'urlManager' => [
  'enablePrettyUrl' => true,
  'showScriptName' => false,
  'rules' => [
   // https://www.yiiframework.com/doc/api/2.0/yii-web-urlmanager#$rules-detail
   // https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2574181/yii-urlmanager-language-in-url
   // https://www.yiiframework.com/wiki/294/seo-conform-multilingual-urls-language-selector-widget-i18n
   '<sys_lang:[a-z]{2}>' => 'site',
   '<sys_lang:[a-z]{2}>/<controller:\w+>' => '<controller>',
   '<sys_lang:[a-z]{2}>/<controller:\w+>/<action:\w+>' => '<controller>/<action>',

Now the language-switching links will produce URL like this: http://myweb.com/en/site/index . Without the rules the link would look like this: http://myweb.com/site/index?sys_lang=en . So the rule works in both directions. When URL is parsed and controllers are called, but also when a new URL is created using the URL helper.

Search and replace

Simple usage in format Yii::t('text','text') can be searched using following regex for example in Notepad++. If you want to modify it massively, you can use the "replace" command, also in Notepad++.


search: Yii::t\('([^']*)'[^']*'([^']*)'[^\)]*\)
replace with: Yii::t\('$1','$2'\)

URLs (in Notepad++)

return $this->redirect('/controller/action')->send(); // NO
return $this->redirect(['controller/action'])->send(); // YES

search: ->redirect\(['][/]([^']*)[']\)
replace: ->redirect\(['$1']\)


return $this->redirect('controller/action')->send(); // NO
return $this->redirect(['controller/action'])->send(); // YES

search: ->redirect\((['][^']*['])\)
replace: ->redirect\([$1]\)

Running Yii project in Vagrant. (Simplified version)

  • Do you want your colleague-developers to use identical environment like you have?
  • Or do you want to easily setup whole server after you reinstalled your computer?

This is when Vagrant is helpful.

Vagrant creates a virtual machine with a web server (using almost any OS/PHP/SQL you specify), while the docroot is on your local disk so you can easily modify the PHP files in your IDE and in your OS. Vagrant works just like composer or NPM. It is a library of available OS images and you just pick one. Whole configuration is defined in one text-file, named Vagrantfile, and all you need is just a few commands to run it. And debugging is no problem.

List of all available OS images is here:

Both Yii demo-applications already contain the Vagrantfile, but its setup is unclear to me - it is too PRO. So I want to publish my simplified version which uses OS image named scotch/box. (It has some advantages, the disadvantage is older PHP in the free version)

The Vagrantfile is stored in the root-folder of your demo-project. My Vagrantfile contains following commands.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
    config.vm.box = "scotch/box"
    config.vm.network "private_network", ip: ""
    config.vm.hostname = "scotchbox"
    config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/var/www/public", :mount_options => ["dmode=777", "fmode=777"]
    config.vm.provision "shell", path: "./vagrant/vagrant.sh", privileged: false

# Virtual machine will be available on IP A.B.C.D (in our case, see above)
# Virtual can access your host machine on IP A.B.C.1 (this rule is given by Vagrant)

It requires file vagrant/vagrant.sh, because I wanted to enhance the server a bit. It contains following:

# Composer:
# (In case of composer errors, it can help to delete the vendor-folder and composer.lock file)
cd /var/www/public/
composer install

# You can automatically import your SQL (root/root, dbname scotchbox)
#mysql -u root -proot scotchbox < /var/www/public/vagrant/db.sql

# You can run migrations:
#php /var/www/public/protected/yiic.php migrate --interactive=0

# You can create folder and set 777 rights:
#mkdir /var/www/public/assets
#sudo chmod -R 777 /var/www/public/assets

# You can copy a file:
#cp /var/www/public/from.php /var/www/public/to.php

# Installing Xdebug:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install php-xdebug

# Configuring Xdebug in php.ini:
# If things do not work, disable your firewall and restart IDE. It might help.
echo "" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
echo "[XDebug]" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
echo "xdebug.remote_enable=1" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
echo "xdebug.remote_port=9000" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
echo "xdebug.remote_autostart=1" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
echo "xdebug.remote_log=/var/www/public/xdebug.log" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
echo "xdebug.remote_connect_back=1" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
echo "xdebug.idekey=netbeans-xdebug" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini

# Note:
# Use this if remote_connect_back does not work. 
# IP must correspond to the Vagrantfile, only the last number must be 1
#echo "xdebug.remote_handler=dbgp" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
#echo "xdebug.remote_host=" | sudo tee -a /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini 

sudo service apache2 restart

... so create both files in your project ...

Before you use Vagrantfile, you must install Vagrant and VirtualBox.

Note 1: Sadly, these days VirtualBox does not work on the ARM-based Macs with the M1 chip

Note 2: You can use many other virtual systems besides VirtualBox ( see the list of OS images above), but "my" scotch/box is designed only for VirtualBox I think.

Now just open your command line, navigate to your project and you can start:

  • "vagrant -v" should show you the version if things work.
  • "vagrant init" creates a new project (You won't need it now)
  • "vagrant up" runs the Vagrantfile and creates/starts the virtual

Once virtual is running, you can call also these:

  • "vagrant ssh" opens Linux shell
  • "vagrant halt" stops the virtual
  • "vagrant reload" restarts the virtual and does NOT run config.vm.provision
  • "vagrant reload --provision" restarts the virtual and runs config.vm.provision

In the Linux shell you can call any command you want.

  • To find what Linux version is installed: "cat /etc/os-release" or "lsb_release -a" or "hostnamectl"
  • To get PHP version call: "php -version"
  • If you are not allowed to run "mysql -v", you can run "mysql -u {username} -p" .. if you know the login
  • Current IP: hostname -I

In "scotch/box" I do not use PhpMyAdmin , but Adminer. It is one simple PHP script and it will run without any installations. Just copy the adminer.php script to your docroot and access it via browser. Use the same login as in configurafion of Yii. Server will be localhost.