Change the Display of the Tab Character in PHPStorm

Recently the way the Tab Character is rendered in PHPStorm was changed. The character used to be rendered in a way that allowed you to see the entire tab character. However, after a recent change the tab character now displays as a single >.

The new tab character is likely a welcome change for some. But there are others of us who really appreciated the old rendering. The new rendering does not indicate how much whitespace is taken by the tab character. For this reason I don’t find it helpful and wanted a way to change it back.

Luckily, recently, the JetBrains team threw in a small registry setting to re-enable to old rendering of tab characters. This setting is available in version 2019.3.2. Access this setting by pressing “Shift” + “Shift” while in PHPStorm. Afterwards search for and select the “Registry…” option.

A Comparison of default tab rendering in PHPStorm
A Comparison of styles – it’s nice to have options.

You’ll find the editor.old.tab.painting option about a quarter of the way down the list. Check it to re-enable the old PHPStorm tab rendering. You can breathe freely now.

The location of the editor.old.tab.painting within the registry.
The editor.old.tab.painting option is about a quarter of the way down the list

Turn off Google Chromes “Switch To Tab” Feature

When I’m browsing, I tend to use tabs a lot. I clean up my tabs when I’m done with them, and I open new ones when I want new ones.

Recently, Google Chrome, introduced a feature which attempts to fix issues of tab proliferation by offering a “Switch to Tab” feature. This feature shows up in the Omnibar when you start typing something in the Omnibar that is similar to a tab you already have open.

It’s an interesting idea, but not useful to me. I find that it negatively impacts my experience using Chrome. Things that use to work (example, right arrow copies selected tab url into current url bar) don’t work with Google Chrome’s new “Switch to Tab Feature”.

I like to think I’m knowledgeable and responsible enough to switch tabs when I want to switch tabs, and open new tabs when I want to open new tabs. That said, I’ll be disabling the “Switch To Tab” feature.

To disable the “Switch to Tab” feature in Google Chrome first find the omnibox-tab-switch-suggestions¬†flag in the Chrome flags menu. (Psst: it’s here: chrome://flags/#omnibox-tab-switch-suggestions). Then… select “Disabled” from the dropdown options.

Restart Google Chrome and you should be free of that annoying “Switch to Tab” feature ūüĎćūüôā

Include Surrounding Lines with Grep

I find it extremely useful to include surrounding lines when I’m searching through log files or whatnot for a string of text. It certainly helps provide some context as to what I’m looking at.

However, I constantly forget the flag for including surrounding lines. So I’m posting it here so that, at least when I forget, I know where to find it ūüėģ

The flag is -C. I suppose it should be easy to remember since I want “Context” and “Context” begins with “C”. ūü§Ē

Below is a quick example for just in case you want the whole command or you enjoy copying and pasting all the things – hey… no judgement here.

grep -C 5 "[5aa027aeb0ebb]" my_special_log.log

Debug Chassis.io WordPress with Visual Studio Code

I just recently got Visual Studio Code hooked up with the virtual Vagrant machine hosting my local dev version of WordPress. I’m posting the steps I took here. In the end it’s fairly simple to do.

Most of the guides out there show you how to hook up VS Code with a locally running¬†copy of WordPress. However, I’m using Chassis.io¬†for my dev version of WordPress. Chassis.io makes use of Vagrant and a virtual machine. I did not find anything that showed me how to hook VS Code with a copy of WordPress running on a virtual machine, as is the case with a Chassis.io setup.

This post assumes that you’ve already setup the Chassis XDebug extension.

Setup Chassis for Debugging with Visual Studio Code

The first thing we need to do to setup the Chassis XDebug extension to work with Visual Studio Code is to setup the IDE Key. Setting up the IDE Key consists of two steps.

  1. Set the IDE Key in the Chrome XDebug Helper extension. (You should have this extension if you followed the Chassis XDebug Extension setup guide)
  2. Set the IDE Key for the Vagrant machine.

Set the IDE Key in the XDebug Helper Extension

Bring up the XDebug Helper extension options page. You can do this by Right Clicking the extension icon and selecting Options.

XDebug Extension Options
XDebug Extension Options

Find the section for the IDE Key. Select Other as the default sessionkey and type in VSCODE.

XDebug Extension IDE Key Setting
XDebug Extension IDE Key Setting

Save it. Next we need to set the IDE Key for the Vagrant machine.

Set the IDE Key for the Vagrant Machine

This step is pretty simple. First you need to navigate to the root Chassis directory. Mine is located at C:\projects\chassis.

  1. Create a config.local.yaml file if one doesn’t already exist.
  2. Add ide: VSCODE to the config.local.yaml file.
  3. Run vagrant provision which should update the settings on your local vagrant machine.

To confirm that the IDE Key is indeed VSCODE¬†see the “xdebug” section on the PHPInfo page for the machine.
Example: http://vagrant.local/phpinfo.php

xdebug section on the PHP Info page
xdebug section on the PHP Info page

Setup Visual Studio Code for Debugging with Chassis

If you are using Visual Studio Code to develop PHP than you should install the PHP Extension Pack. Bring up the VS Code Extensions menu and search for “PHP Extension Pack”. This extension will include the PHP Intellisense plugin and the PHP Debugger plugin. You will need the PHP Debugger plugin for debugging.

Next we need to setup a debugging configuration.

VS Code Debugging Window
Click the Gear to setup a Debugging configuration.

  1. Bring up the VS Code debugging window.
  2. Click the “Gear” icon.
  3. Select “PHP” as your environment from the popup textbox.

Now you will see a “launch.json” file in your VS Code window. This contains some default settings for debugging PHP. The file will not work for our purposes as it is. We need to add a couple properties to the JSON to hook VS Code up with our WordPress site.

  1. serverSourceRoot РThis is the directory for your code on the server (Chassis.io).
  2. localSourceRoot РThis is the directory for your code on your development machine.

The serverSourceRoot needs to be the path to your source code on the server. In my case the value is /vagrant/content/plugins/my-awesome-plugin.

The localSourceRoot is used to match the server source up with your local source. In my case I set this to ${workspaceRoot} which is a special variable referring to the path of the opened folder in VS Code.

In the end my launch.json file looked like this:

{
    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
        {
            "name": "Listen for XDebug",
            "type": "php",
            "request": "launch",
            "port": 9000,
            "serverSourceRoot": "/vagrant/content/plugins/my-awesome-plugin",
            "localSourceRoot": "${workspaceRoot}"
        },
        {
            "name": "Launch currently open script",
            "type": "php",
            "request": "launch",
            "program": "${file}",
            "cwd": "${fileDirname}",
            "port": 9000
        }
    ]
}

All Done

Alright! That should be it. Save your launch.json file, set a breakpoint in your code, and start the debugger. When you visit the relevant WordPress page on your Chassis box you will notice your breakpoint is hit.

VS Code Caught Breakpoint
We caught a breakpoint!

Connect to a Chassis.io Vagrant Hosted WordPress Database

Chassis.io is an excellent tool to get you quickly setup for WordPress development. Barring any timeout issues, the setup is typically as simple as following their QuickStart guide.

Chassis.io uses Vagrant and VirtualBox to setup a Virtual Machine that hosts your WordPress site.¬†This post covers how you can connect to your WordPress database that exists on that Virtual Machine. I’ll be using Windows and HeidiSQL for the purpose of this post. The connection information I use in this post comes from this GitHub issue.

Connecting with HeidiSQL

HeidiSQL is my favorite query browser for MySQL and MariaDB databases. I like the layout and the interface is nice and clean.

When you first open HeidiSQL you will see the interface for creating a new Database connection.HeidiSQL Session Manager
Choose whichever name you want to help you remember what this connection is for. I’ve named mine “Chassis” because it’s my connection to the database Chassis.io setup. You’ll also want to set the following settings:

  • Network type: MySQL (SSH tunnel)
  • Hostname / IP: localhost
  • User: wordpress
  • Password: vagrantpassword
  • Port: 3306

That’s it for the basic settings. Now for the SSH Tunnel settings.

HeidiSQL – Plink.exe and Private Key

HeidiSQL uses a utility called “plink.exe” for it’s SSH capabilities. plink.exe is made by the same author who wrote PuTTY (which I’m sure you’ve heard of). If you haven’t got plink.exe downloaded you can find the latest exe on this page. You’ll want to grab both plink.exe¬†and puttygen.exe. I stuck both utilities inside a “PuTTY” folder in my Program Files (x86)¬†directory. You can stick them wherever you want to.

Ok, before we setup the SSH Tunnel settings we are going to want to setup the Private key file that plink.exe will use to communicate with your Virtual Machine. PuTTY utilities use specific private key files called .ppk files. We are going to want to convert the Vagrant provided private key file to a .ppk file for use by plink.exe. Luckily, the puttygen.exe utility you downloaded makes this conversion simple.

Launch¬†puttygen.exe. This will launch the “PuTTY Key Generator”. Load in the Vagrant provided private key file by using File > Load Private Key. Navigate to the location of your Vagrant private key file. Mine was located in C:\projects\chassis\.vagrant\machines\default\virtualbox. Your location may be different depending on where your Chassis project is. Find the “private_key” file and open that. The PuTTY Key Generator will take care of loading the key in for you. You should see a “Successfully imported foreign key …” message. Now click “Save private key”, choose a name for it, and save it. I just saved it exactly where the other private_key was.

PuTTY Key Generator
Location of the “Save private key” button

Woot! Now we can fill out the HeidiSQL SSH tunnel settings. Remember where you saved that .ppk¬†file because you’ll need it for this next step.

HeidiSQL – SSH Tunnel Settings

Click on the tab for “SSH tunnel” to access the HeidiSQL Session Manager SSH Tunnel settings.

HeidiSQL SSH Tunnel Settings
HeidiSQL SSH Tunnel Settings

Alright, let’s plug in the values!

  • plink.exe location: Insert the path to your plink.exe¬†utility.
  • SSH host + port: localhost¬†and 2222
  • Username: vagrant
  • Password: just leave this blank
  • plink.exe timeout: default is fine
  • Private key file: Path to the .ppk¬†file we created above
  • Local port: 3307¬†is fine

Now we come to the moment of truth. Push the “Save” button on the HeidiSQL session manager to save your changes. Now push the “Open” button and HeidiSQL should connect to your Vagrant hosted WordPress database. Woot!

Chassis.io Timeout Issue

TL:DR -> Try enabling Virtualization in your BIOS.

I’m trying out http://chassis.io as a way to easily setup a WordPress development environment on Windows. It’s actually quite easy and everything works almost exactly like the Chassis Get Started guide describes.

However, I ran into a timeout issue when attempting to boot up the Virtual Machine using vagrant up. On first run the process installed necessary dependencies and wired most things up. However, it hung for a considerable amount of time when booting up the virtual machine. Eventually it told me that it had timed out. It didn’t start the virtual machine.

VT-x/AMD-V hardware acceleration is not available on your system

Hrmm… I wonder why it’s timing out. Chassis.io uses Vagrant and VirtualBox. So I spun up VirtualBox to see if I could manually start the VM myself. As it turns out, I could not. VirtualBox threw up the following error:

VirtualBox - Error
VT-x/AMD-V hardware acceleration is not available on your system. Your 64-bit guest will fail to detect a 64-bit CPU and will not be able to boot.

Well, that’s nice… (Hint: it’s not nice).

First Try: Disabling Hyper-V

I did some searching. I found a number of posts that indicated the solution was to disable Hyper-V. It sounds like this works for a lot of people. Scott Hanselman actually wrote up a post about how to¬†“Switch easily between VirtualBox and Hyper-V with a BCDEdit boot Entry in Windows 8.1“. I tried this approach. It did not work for me (you can remove a bcdEdit entry using bcdedit /delete {ENTRYGUID} btw).

Second Try: Enabling Virtualization via BIOS

During my search I stumbled upon this SuperUser answer. The answer indicated that, depending on your system, Virtualization could be enabled via the BIOS.

In my case, enabling Virtualization via BIOS involved booting to the UEFI Firmware Settings. I’ve outlined the steps below.

  1. Hold down the Shift key while you click Restart. This will cause your computer to bring up a special menu.

    Hold Down Shift and Restart
    Hold down “SHIFT” and click Restart
  2. Next you need to navigate the option screens to find “UEFI Firmware Settings”
    1. Select “Troubleshoot”
    2. Select “Advanced options”
    3. Select “UEFI Firmware Settings”
    4. Restart

    Steps to UEFI Firmware Settings
    Steps to UEFI Firmware Settings
  3. This will reboot you into your PC’s UEFI settings which looks a lot like a typical BIOS menu.
  4. Enable Virtualization
    Your system may be different. My system had a “Virtualization” setting located under the “Security” tab. Once I located the “Virtualization” setting I noticed that “Intel (R) Virtualization Technology” was indeed set to Disabled. I enabled it, saved the setting, and restarted my machine.

    Enable Virtualization via BIOS
    Enable Virtualization via BIOS

After enabling “Virtualization” I tried to start the VirtualBox VM one more time. BOOM. It worked. I ran vagrant up¬†via a ConEmu console and… success.

In Conclusion

Chassis.io is a pretty sweet project. If your system is setup correctly then Chassis.io “just works”. In my case my system needed “Virtualization” enabled via a UEFI Firmware Setting.

Have a stupendous day! ūüôā

Hide the Action Center Icon in Windows 10

It’s the little things in life that annoy me. Things like Microsoft’s Edge browser icon re-appearing on my taskbar. Or, when Windows decides to update just before a meeting.¬†I find these kinds of things to be very annoying. That’s why I was a smidgen irked when the Windows 10 Action Center icon popped up on my taskbar and showed no signs of leaving peacefully.

For those of you who do not know what the Action Center Icon in Windows 10 is then allow Leonardo to enlighten you.

Windows 10 Action Center Icon
aRGGG win10 icon, I’ll kill you!

And only now, at the end, do you see your mistake.

Remove the Action Center Icon

Now that we are all aware of the horribleness that is this awful Action Center icon we can set off on our quest to destr… err remove it.

  1. Open the Windows menu
  2. Search for Turn system icons on or off **
  3.  Find the Action Center icon.
    1. If you are not sure where the Action Center icon is, let the WoW splash screen show you.

      Turn system icons on or off list
      DESTROY…
  4. Turn if off
  5. Rejoice in the boundless fruits of your labor.

**Alternatively, if you are old school and hate things like convenience, you can navigate to this setting section via the Control Panel. So hop on in your Conestoga Wagon and navigate to Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Taskbar and Navigation > Turn system icons on or off.

List Updatable/Upgradable Packages in Ubuntu Server

A little while ago I setup a GitLab box using Ubuntu Server. When I log in to the server it shows me a short message about available updates. The message looks something like this:

Welcome to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.4.0-24-generic x86_64)

 * Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com/

7 packages can be updated.
0 updates are security updates.

I know that I can update these packages by running `sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade` however, I’d like to know what I’m updating before I do it. In the past you could accomplish this by performing a “dry-run” of the command. This essentially showed you the output of the command without actually performing any updates. That worked alright – but honestly, I just want a list of the packages – not the entire output of the command.

Listing the Upgradable Packages

I stumbled upon this answer (made just a few days ago) by AskUbuntu user “doru“. Turns out that getting a list of updatable/upgradable packages is pretty easy. You just run this:

sudo apt list --upgradable

The list --upgradable command¬†will list out all the packages that you can update, what their current versions are, and what the new version is. Boom! That’s exactly what I wanted.

Tell Git to ignore changes to a versioned file

There are times when you do not want git to track changes to a versioned file. In these cases you can update the git index so that it assumes the file is unchanged. This will only affect your local repo and it will take affect until you tell git otherwise.

Tell Git to Not Track Changes

You can tell git to not track changes by using

git update-index --assume-unchanged <file>

Tell Git to Track Changes (Again)

And when you want git to track changes again you can use

git update-index --no-assume-unchanged <file>

CIDR Slash Notation and Subnet Masks

I wrote a quick utility to help me figure out the available IP Address range when given a specific IPv4 address and slash number. You know something that looks like this: 192.168.0.0/16. The utility should tell you the range of IP addresses that covers.

I’m not saying I’m a master of CIDR Slash Notation or Subnet masks… but this seems to be providing good results ūüôā

Checkout the Calculator