Phinx – the Migration Library You Never Knew You Needed

You’re building an application, and you need to share the database’s structure with your team. After all, you want everyone to be up and running as soon as possible. What do you do? SQL dumps of table structures? You could… but that’s so very primitive – and can be time consuming to import, too! More often than not, database migrations are the answer.

In this tutorial, we’ll go through a framework-agnostic package for building and executing database migrations called Phinx.

Phinx logo

Bootstrapping

First, let’s install Phinx into the project with Composer:

composer require robmorgan/phinx

The Phinx binary will be installed into the vendor/bin folder, as per Composer’s default values. It can then be executed by running:

php vendor/bin/phinx

Phinx needs a phinx.yml file from which to read the database configuration before it can do anything meaningful. To generate it, we run:

php vendor/bin/phinx init

Configurations

The generate file will look something like this:

paths:
    migrations: %%PHINX_CONFIG_DIR%%/db/migrations
    seeds: %%PHINX_CONFIG_DIR%%/db/seeds

environments:
    default_migration_table: phinxlog
    default_database: development
    production:
        adapter: mysql
        host: localhost
        name: production_db
        user: root
        pass: ''
        port: 3306
        charset: utf8

    development:
        adapter: mysql
        host: localhost
        name: development_db
        user: root
        pass: ''
        port: 3306
        charset: utf8

    testing:
        adapter: mysql
        host: localhost
        name: testing_db
        user: root
        pass: ''
        port: 3306
        charset: utf8

Phinx supports an arbitrary number of “databases”, though these should be considered version of one database rather than several different ones. Sometimes, the need may arise to use a completely different database, however.

Such is the case, for example, with nofw, which in a previous version still uses Gatekeeper – a secure but clumsily developed user authorization package. Gatekeeper demands its own phinx.yml file (with a custom migration path) and does not provide an option to change which one is used, while at the same time requiring its own user database. That throws a wrench into the whole “let’s use Phinx in a project already using Gatekeeper” idea.

For cases like these, Phinx offers the -c option which tells the launcher which phinx.yml file to use. Note that Phinx supports json and php file formats, too, but we’ll focus on the default yml one here and create a separate file for our example database.

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Source: Sitepoint