Posts about the server side scripting language PHP

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.

PHP Version Number

25th June 2010 - 3 minutes read time

Different functions and options are always being added to PHP. Although new versions generally don't create much backward compatibility issues it is usually prudent to write production code that you know will work on servers running a slightly older version of the language.

To check the currently used PHP version you can use the function phpversion() or the constant PHP_VERSION. Both the function and the constant return a string that contains the version number. There are a couple of ways in which this information can be used, the first is to take the string and convert into an array using the explode() function. With this array you can then check the minor version number and run code like the following:

Find A Month From A Given Integer With PHP

7th June 2010 - 1 minute read time

If you need to know the month from a given integer (from 1 to 12) then you can use the following snippet. This will return the string "Feb".

Parsing XML with PHP

6th May 2010 - 11 minutes read time

XML data extraction can be a common task, but to work directly with this data you need to understand how PHP parses XML. There are various different functions involved in parsing XML in PHP, all of which work together to extract data from a XML document. I will go through each of these functions and tie them together at the end.


This function is used to create the parser object that will be used by the rest of the process. This object is used to store data and configuration options and is passed to each of the functions involved.