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Converting To And From Decimal Time In PHP

29th November 2010 - 3 minutes read time

To convert a time value into a decimal value representing the number of minutes can be useful for certain calculations. The following function takes a time as a string of hh:mm:ss and returns a decimal value in minutes.

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Deploy PHP Project From SVN Using Phing

16th November 2010 - 5 minutes read time

Automatic building with Phing makes deploying to a server nice and easy, and if you are using SVN as your source control system then you can easily deploy directly from your repository to your web server.

To allow Phing to utilise an SVN server you must first install the VersionControl_SVN pear library. Although this is in alpha release I have used it quite a bit with no issues. The only thing is that you will need to specify the version number to pear if you want to install it, like this:

  1. pear install VersionControl_SVN-0.3.4

To get Phing to export from an SVN repository you can use the svnexport task. The following build file sets up some parameters (for use in this task), runs a target to delete the existing export and then runs a target that exports from the SVN repository we have set up.

Syncing Files Using The Windows Command Line

10th November 2010 - 4 minutes read time

To sync files using the Windows command line you will need to use the xcopy command. The default action of this program is to copy a file or directory from one place to another, but you can give it flags to tell it to sync the files. There are a few flags available (use xcopy /? to see them all) but you will probably only want to use the following:

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Extending The WordPress Page Walker

1st November 2010 - 8 minutes read time

I have looked at printing an intelligent list of WordPress pages in a previous blog post, but I wanted to revisit this topic and use the Walker classes that are part of WordPress. The Walker class is an abstract class that sorts out a lot of the basic functionality needed to extract and render a hierarchical list of items from a database. It is essentially an iterator class that understands lists of items that contain lists of items and can be used anywhere in WordPress where this structure is needed. The Walker class can be found in the file wp-includes/classes.php along with four other classes that extend Walker, these are.

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Some Essential WordPress Plugins

28th October 2010 - 7 minutes read time

I know what you are thinking, but this isn't just another WordPress plugin blog post. I am asked every few weeks what WordPress plugins I would recommend, and I always end up giving a disjointed list of some from the top of my head. So instead of doing this I thought it would be a good idea to write down the plugins I use quite a bit and would recommend other to use. I will also try to add any alternatives (if they exist) to plugins I use.

All In One SEO Pack

Although WordPress is pretty good in terms of SEO it could still use a little bit of help, this is where the All In One SEO Pack comes in. It allows the creation of description and keyword tags for each post, as well as a whole raft of other features, most of which I never need to touch.

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PHPNW10: A Review

11th October 2010 - 37 minutes read time

This weekend saw the 3rd PHPNW conference and being a PHP developer, working in Manchester, it would be inexcusable for me not to attend :). After missing my train and pouring my first coffee of the day into my conference pack it wasn't the best of starts. However, I still managed to turn up in plenty of time so I didn't miss any of the talks and got to say hello to the people I know from the PHPNW user group and some who I met at the PHPNW conference in previous years.

Day 1

Keynote: Teach a Man to Fish: Coaching Development Teams
Lorna Mitchell @lornajane

Lorna Mitchell
Photo By phpcodemonkey

Two Beginner Errors In Drupal 6 Simpletest

7th October 2010 - 4 minutes read time

Simpletest is a Drupal module that I have been using for about a week to unit test a module I have been working on. It is a brilliant and powerful module that every module developer should be using to test their code properly. I did, however, encounter a couple of weird errors that took me a while to fix. So for the benefit of everyone else I thought I would post them here, along with the solutions. These errors are probably things that developers new to Drupal Simpletest will come across, which is why I have labelled them beginner errors.

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Count Number Of Characters In A String With MySQL

30th September 2010 - 2 minutes read time

Today I needed to grab some data from a table where there was more than one occurrence of a string within another string. Basically, I needed to find all URL's from a table that were more than 3 levels deep (i.e. with 3 slashes), but realised there wasn't a function to do this in MySQL. I found an alternative method, but it got me thinking on how that might be possible.

Finding the solution wasn't too difficult really, all I needed to do was find out the length of the URL string and then subtract the length of the string with the slashes removed. This MySQL statement will give you the URL and the number of slashes in that URL in a table.

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PHP TestFest UK 2010 And Testing PHP

29th September 2010 - 11 minutes read time

The UK PHP TestFest this year was held at MadLab in Manchester on the 11th September. I was one of the 12 people who went along to learn about testing the PHP language. So I thought that I would collate some of the things that we went through during the session.

Before creating a test you need to set up your testing environment, you can do this by going to the TestFest site and running through the tutorial on setting up your system for testing PHP. When you have finished setting up your test environment you will have a folder containing three folders, these are php52, php53 and php-trunk, these are the different versions of PHP which you can test, although we will be concentrating on the php53 version in this article the same practices can be used for the other trunks.

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Print Image With Fixed Aspect Ratio In PHP

20th September 2010 - 3 minutes read time

When displaying images added by users it is quite often necessary to resize them in order that they fit into a specific area of the page. Not doing this can cause problems with the images breaking the page layout. The trouble is that if you resize the image absolutely you tend to squash and distort it.

The following function can be used to calculate the width and height of an image to the correct aspect ratio, which will preserve the contents when printed out. This function makes use of the getimagesize() function, which is available as part of the GD library in PHP.