Philip Norton

Phil Norton

Steganography With Images In PHP

15th January 2021 - 18 minutes read time

Steganography is the practice of placing a secret message inside another message and only by looking at the original message in a different way can the hidden message be seen. This might be as mundane as writing a page of text and hiding a message in the text using the first letter of every sentence. Only by collecting the first letter of each sentence together can the hidden message be seen and read.

Modern steganography is defined as hiding a message (or file) inside a file. For example, you might look at an image and see an image, but if a message has been hidden you would also be able to extract it if you know where to look.

Drupal 9: Auto Injecting Paragraph Forms On Node Edit Pages

10th January 2021 - 9 minutes read time

I tried to do something the other day that I thought would be quite simple, but turned out to be really hard to get my head around. I had a Drupal 9 site with Paragraphs installed and I wanted a user to click a button on the node edit form and inject a particular Paragraph into a Paragraph field.

I found 2 solutions to this problem that solve it in slight different ways.

Piggy Back On Existing Events

After my initial struggles over trying to get this to work I decided to use a piggy back method. This essentially listens for the user interaction and then triggers the Paragraph add event that inserts the Paragraph into the field. The user interaction I was listening for was a user selecting different elements in a select list.

To get this working I added some JavaScript to the page, attached to the select list field called "field_type".

Drupal 9: Using Taxonomy Terms To Create A Related Content Views Block

3rd January 2021 - 6 minutes read time

For the last few years I have been tagging articles as I write them on this site. This tagging has largely been to tie posts together in an aggregated list of other posts tagged with that term. I recently wondered if I could use those tags to show related content below each article. I have struggled with this feature on client websites in the past and it either boils down to a manually curated list or some sort of complex content analysis and Solr search.

As it happens this is fairly easy to accomplish using Views, although took some working out to get the effect I wanted. I'm writing down these instructions to help me remember how I did it in the past and to allow you set up the same thing (if you wish).

Color Sorting In PHP: Part 6

2nd January 2021 - 17 minutes read time

I finished my last post on sorting colors using PHP looking at incorporating all three dimensions into the display of the colors. This lead to some interesting displays of colors in discs using different shapes or lengths as an indication of the color in question. It was still lacking actually rendering out the third dimension in any meaingful way though.

As I am essentially looking at three dimensional data I thought about displaying the data as a cube in a 3D engine. I could then map the three dimensions of colors (red, green, blue) into the three dimensions of the 3D engine (x, y, z). This means creating a 3D scene with random color data and rendering that scene out. Funnily enough, there aren't a lot of people writing 3D rendering engines in PHP so I looked into writing a very basic version that would just show point data.

Extracting Data From An MP3 With PHP

28th December 2020 - 27 minutes read time

I was looking at a media player on my phone the other day and was watching the waveform of the music shown on screen. This was a simple indication of the progress through the track and appeared to show quiet and loud sections of the track I was listening to. This got me thinking about how to extract this information as the media player I was watching must do this in real time in order to actually play the data, not just render this representation of the music.

After a bit of research into the MP3 file format I found that the file format is complex, but straight forward enough to process, so I decided to try and extract the data using PHP. I have seen a few techniques to extract the data from MP3 using PHP, but these largely involve applications like ffmpeg to convert the audio format into something like a WAV file, which is then processed.