I know I haven’t blogged since August but I have a good excuse. My team and I have been working really hard towards the public beta release of our new online wish list app Wishing Wagon. Basically, Wishing Wagon allows you to create lists of items you would like to receive for a special occasion like Christmas, birthday, wedding, etc. The advantage of Wishing Wagon over other store-based wish lists is that we aren’t store-based. You can add any item you want from any online or physical store.

Since my blog is primarily about technical topics and I’m not sure if promoting my web app can be classified as a miscellaneous rant, I’ll talk a bit about the architecture of Wishing Wagon.

The site was built using PHP and of course my favourite PHP framework, Zend Framework. For the database, instead of MySQL, this time we decided to use Couch DB. I must say that using documents instead of using relational databases feels so much more natural. Documents fit much better with models and I don’t have to worry about Many-to-Many relationships anymore. Couch DB took a bit of time to get used to, but I am now hooked and will try to use Couch whenever eventual consistency is an option.

During the development of Wishing Wagon, I’ve also come to appreciate the built-in Amazon API support in Zend Framework. Retrieving products and searching for items is a breeze. I was a little surprised at how easy it was.

The site is hosted on Rackspace Cloud and is load balanced using HAproxy. We use Rackspace Cloud files as our CDN and we use the Compass Rackspace Cloud Files Zend Framework Library to upload files to the CDN.

I’ll try to blog a bit more about our development experience in the next few weeks.

Don’t forget Christmas is only 45 days away! Why not create a Wishing Wagon and add some items? Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

If you have never heard of CouchDB here is the first Paragraph from the Apache CouchDB project documentation: A CouchDB server hosts named databases, which store documents. Each document is uniquely named in the database, and CouchDB provides a RESTful HTTP API for reading and updating (add, edit, delete) database documents.
You can also read the free CouchDB book here.

The easiest way to get started is to sign up for a free CouchDB instance here.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you a quick way of getting CouchDb working with Zend Framework.

I’m assuming you already have a Zend Framework project setup if not get the quickstart here.

Since the Zend Framework doesn’t currently support CouchDB a separate library is required.
Matthew Weier O’Phinney has written a nice library that provides most of the functionality required to work with CouchDB. You can download Phly_Couch here. Once downloaded extract it to your projects library directory.

Add this to your application.ini and modify with your info.

couchDb.host  = "username:password@youraccount.couchone.com"
couchDb.db    = "yourdb"
couchDb.port  = 80

Add this method to your Bootstrap.php

     * Adds configuration to Zend_Registry
     * Retrieval example: Zend_Registry::get('config')->couchDb->db
     * @return Zend_Config
    protected function _initConfig()
        $config = new Zend_Config($this->getOptions());
        Zend_Registry::set('config', $config);
        return $config;

Use the following code to access your CouchDB instance.

    // Establish connection
    $couch = new Phly_Couch(Zend_Registry::get('config')->couchDb);
    // Create a new document
    $testId = uniqid('TEST-',true);
    $document = new Phly_Couch_Document($testId); 
    $document->id = "NewPage"; 
    $document->title = "New Page"; 
    $document->content = "This is a new wiki page!"; 
    $document->created = date('Y-m-d H:i:s'); 
    $document->tags    = array('wiki', 'system');
    // Read Document
    $document = $couch->docOpen($testId);
    if ($document->getId() != $testId) throw new Exception("ID's do not match. ID=" . $document->getId());
    // Delete a document
    $document = $couch->docRemove($testId,
            'rev' => $document->getRevision()

I had forgotten that I had made some changes to Phly_Couch. I have uploaded the code to Google Code. You can download it here