Posts about the server side scripting language PHP

Revisiting filter_var() and FILTER_VALIDATE_URL

1st April 2011 - 6 minutes read time

Quite a while ago I looked at using the filter_var() function to validate URL's using the FILTER_VALIDATE_URL flag and someone pointed out recently that this function has not only changed since the initial release, but that a number of flags can be added to change the way that this function works. Here are the flags available.

PHP Unconference Europe 2011: Part 2

3rd March 2011 - 27 minutes read time


Due to the crappy train service from my home town I had to drive into Manchester on Sunday, but made it in good time to have a coffee before we went to vote on the talks. Some people had a heavy night drinking the night before and therefore didn't make it in the morning (or at all). Some has also opted to only attend the Saturday and so there were a few faces missing, but there were still plenty of people there.

PHP Unconference Europe 2011: Part 1

27th February 2011 - 20 minutes read time

This weekend saw the PHP Unconference Europe 2011 event in Manchester. The organisers were hoping that the rain would hold off for the weekend, and being true to form Manchester was wet and cold. Being an unconference the talks and discussions are mainly casual and dependent on what everyone decided to see on the day. The event ran across Saturday and Sunday with different talks on each day.


Picture taken by Lorna Mitchell.

PHP Array Of Countries

3rd February 2011 - 12 minutes read time

Use the following array if you want to get a list of countries, along with their codes. These codes are the 2 letter ISO code, the 3 letter UN code and the 3 number UN code. I had to build this the other day in order to present a list of countries in a form so I post it here in case I need something like it again.

ReCaptcha Not Displaying In IE6

6th January 2011 - 4 minutes read time

I came across a bit of an issue with ReCaptcha and IE6 today, so I though I would write about it in case anyone else had the same issue (there wasn't a lot of stuff on Google about it) and so I can remember what I did in the future.

The form I was using was a multi stage form and the second part contained a call to the ReCaptcha function recaptcha_get_html(), which was part of the PHP library I was using (1.11 in this case). When users with IE6 came onto this page the ReCaptcha box was missing, but after refreshing the page the box appeared. ReCaptcha works by downloading and running a block of JavaScript from Google. After a little research it looked as though IE6 would not download this JavaScript when redirected to the page via a form post (other exceptions might occur) but would if accessed directly or after a refresh. The snippet below if the code that is returned from the Google on request:

Lazy Coding In PHP; A Mini Rant

4th January 2011 - 5 minutes read time

If there is one thing in the PHP world that really annoys me it's programmers writing what I call "lazy code". This is code that works but takes the least amount of time (generally meaning keystrokes) to create. This is almost always a bad thing as it is difficult to read, hard to change and almost always uncommented. The main problem is that PHP is quite a forgiving and fluid language in that you allows you to write code in a variety of different ways and formats.

The most common problem I have come across with lazy coding is when programmers write if statements. These can be written in a variety of colourful ways, the most common approach I have found is to leave out the curly brackets, like this:

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.

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

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.

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.