Announcements php WebApps

Another Hackday Update: PHP unserialize doesn’t quite do it

Wow, I had to use someone’s custom unserialize code because PHP’s unserialize doesn’t quite work multi-byte strings. 🙁 Time wasted: 3 hours.

Here’s the function:

function mb_unserialize($serial_str) {
$out = preg_replace(‘!s:(\d+):”(.*?)”;!se’, ‘”s:”.strlen(“$2″).”:\”$2\”;”‘, $serial_str);
return unserialize($out);
Announcements php WebApps

Update on the WordPress Dev2Live Hackday

I know the bare minimum of what has to change in a WordPress install. Code that gets me the tables, and shows me the serializeable data in WordPress’ option settings is done.


File Upload Configuration with PHP and IIS

In php.ini it’s important that these two variables are set right:
upload_max_filesize = 2M
post_max_size = 8M

Very often people will up the upload_max_filesize to something like 20M without updating the post_max_size.

Then if you’re on IIS, there is one more gotcha.

There’s an upload setting in C:\WINNT\system32\inetsrv\MetaBase.xml — the default is 200KB. Up that to what you think is necessary for your web app.


Honorius, Lifestream and kPicasa

We are all like the Roman emperor, Honorius, who watched hoards of barbarians approach the gates of Rome. He knew that whatever Rome was was coming to an end.

The same thing can be said about Web 2.0.

If I look at the permanent hires happening right now they are happening in the iPhone app world. Zynga is still hiring like gangbusters if you got the LAMP stack and/or iPhone app experience.

As of today, looking at the TechCrunch Layoffs ticker there are about 78,000 techies out of work.

What’s a techie to do?

Yesterday, I looked at two WordPress plug-ins: Lifestream and kPicasa. I am currently helping out Conscious Fashionistas with their WordPress site.

Here’s the skinny.

Lifestream is perfect if you want to get any of these social networks onto your WordPress:

For me, having twitter and flickr is plenty.

If you know PHP, then you have the additional flexibility of being able to insert this piece of code to make your lifestream show up wherever you want:


kPicasa doesn’t have the flexibility and focuses solely on Picasa, Google’s photo service, but it’s great if you don’t want to bother with PHP and just want to get pictures from Picasa up on the web.

Anyway, as the holidays near, and you want to share pictures or microblog, these two WordPress plugins are great.

How-To php WebApps

Symfony Has a Swift Plugin for Sending Gmail

It’s easy to send emails using your gmail account with the Swift Plugin.
Here’s some sample code below

$to          = '';

$htmlMessage = "OH HAI!";
$textMessage = "*OH HAI!*";

$connection = new Swift_Connection_SMTP(

$connection->setUsername(sfConfig::get('app_email_username')); # gmail email
$connection->setPassword(sfConfig::get('app_email_password')); # gmail password

$mailer = new Swift($connection);
$message = new Swift_Message("Your subject goes here. OH HAI!");
$message->attach(new Swift_Message_Part($htmlMessage, 'text/html'));
$message->attach(new Swift_Message_Part($textMessage, 'text/plain'));
// Send,
// try and catch
try {
  if (!$mailer->send($message, $to, sfConfig::get('app_email_username'))) {
    throw new Exception('mailer error');
} catch (Exception $e) {
      "Caught swift send error exception:\n" .  
      $e->getMessage(). " ".
      $e->getFile() . ": Line ".
      $e->getLine() . "\n", $e->getTraceAsString(), "\n"
How-To php WebApps

sfGuardPlugin: The Extra Documentation

Hey Folks,

The Symfony project has a section called sfGuardPlugin Extra Documentation.

It’s worth a read, especially the part about using the sfGuardUserProfile calls.

The docs haven’t been updated since March, so if something isn’t working, please refer to my previous blog post on installing the sfGuardPlugin.

I’d like to state that personally, there isn’t really the right way to do this. Sometimes you already have a table that has a username and password. You can skip using the sfGuardAuth password tables by doing the following:

    algorithm_callable: md5
    success_signin_url: @homepage
    profile_class: sfGuardUserProfile
    profile_field_name: account_id
    check_password_callable: [Account, checkPassword]

The important line here is check_password_callable, where you are telling symfony to use the Account table and to use your own checkPassword method.


Wow, PHP has a wordwrap function!

picture of php wordwrap


How-To php WebApps

Installing sfGuardPlugin in symfony 1.1 — A Guide for the Perplexed

Like the verbally creative barfly, who is a dead ringer for a 21+ Juno, that you picked up during last call on a Friday night, symfony 1.1 starts to grow on you. Nevermind your friends, who found Erlang in some higher-scale, hipster, hippy hang out. They tell you it’s time to leave symfony 1.1. You’re perversely drawn to this framework and don’t mind racking up the future therapy bills.

God is dead, and so everything is permitted, unless you can install something like symfony 1.1’s sfGuardPlugin to add logins and login protection to web pages. Like the initiation rites into the Eleusinian mysteries or the Freemasons, not everything is articulated on how to do the install. But below, for the first time, it is.

Note: I use psymfony as an alias which really just means ‘php symfony’.

  • psymfony generate:app backend

Now you can start following the guide written on the symfony website. Below is just from my shell’s history log:

  • psymfony plugin:install sfGuardPlugin
  • psymfony propel:build-model
  • psymfony propel:build-sql
  • psymfony propel:insert-sql — this didn’t work for me so I ended up just doing: mysql -uusername -p < data/sql/plugins.sfGuardPlugin.lib.model.schema.sql
  • follow the instructions in the guide above for fixtures
  • psymfony propel:data-load frontend
  • psymfony propel:data-load backend
  • vim apps/frontend/config/settings.yml
  • vim apps/backend/config/settings.yml
  • psymfony cc

But you’re not done yet. Are you running into a propel connection error? Then you might have to edit some yaml files based on this blog post.

In my case, I ended up having to edit config/databases.yaml by adding the following below:

     class:          sfPropelDatabase
       phptype: mysql
       host: localhost
       database: dev_starster
       username: writes
       password: some_wicked_sick_password
       dsn:          mysql://writes@localhost/dev_starster
       datasource: propel

Are we out of the woods yet?

Unfortunately, symfony 1.1 has a signout bug, where sessions are not entirely cleared. Thanks to this blog post, I was able to hack something together.

In apps/yourapp/modules/sfGuardAuth/actions/actions.class.php write:

public function executeSignout()
if (sfConfig::get('sf_environment') != 'test')

You might have to link the sf_guard_user table to an account table, if you want the account table to do the authorization instead. If so edit apps/modulename/config/app.yml by adding something that looks like this:

    algorithm_callable: md5
    success_signin_url: @homepage
    profile_class: sfGuardUserProfile
    profile_field_name: account_id
    check_password_callable: [Account, checkPassword]

In the lib/model/Account.php you should add code that looks like this:

  public static function checkPassword($username, $password) {
  	$c = new Criteria();
  	$c->add(AccountPeer::EMAIL, $username);
  	$c->add(AccountPeer::PASSWORD, md5($password));
  	$rac = AccountPeer::doSelect($c);
  	//print_r($rac) ; die();
  	if ($rac == TRUE) {
  		return TRUE;
  	} else {
  		return FALSE;

Here is a list of links that made getting the plugin working possible:

php WebApps

sfValidatorCompare Is Now sfValidatorSchemaCompare

I’ve been running into other folks that have been having trouble with symfony 1.1 on Twitter. One common stumbling block is sfValidatorSchemaCompare.

I’m just gonna paste code here, because I’m now a week behind schedule working with symfony 1.1 because I didn’t pad time for having to read a good chunk of the source of symfony 1.1:


    $this->validatorSchema->setPostValidator(new sfValidatorAnd(array(
	  new sfValidatorSchemaCompare('email', '==', 'email_confirm',
		    array('invalid' => 'The email adresses must match')
	  new sfValidatorSchemaCompare('password', '==', 'password_confirm',
		    array('invalid' => 'The passwords must match')


Anyway it’s been cool getting props for posting code like the above. 😀

Good luck!

php TechBiz WebApps

Does Core Developer Think Symfony 1.1 Alienates PHP Developers?

Have you ever coded in a framework and then woke up one day to find that all your code broke when you upgraded? That’s exactly what happened when symfony 1.1 was released without backwards compatibility. A core symfony developer, François Zaninotto, shares his thoughts about the non-launch of symfony 1.1.

A couple key phrases, that he uses to describe the symfony core developers attitude to us mortals, are pretty disturbing:

  • If you just used symfony for one project, and left if afterwards because it lacked some feature that you needed, then you don’t deserve to be informed that this new release does have this feature.
  • Symfony 1.1 is so good, that it should not be left in everybody’s hands. Think of it as a forbidden manuscript of the middle ages, that only a few copyists ever read and got a fair picture of.
  • …there is no “First Project tutorial” at all for symfony 1.1.

Caveat: Do not use symfony 1.1 unless you want to pour through source code.

Problem: You’re working on symfony 1.1 and it doesn’t work as advertised.

Solution: You have to pad your estimates on symfony based projects by at least a hundredfold. A form that should have taken me no more than an hour at Dogster ended up taking 4 days! Read this blog for important symfony 1.1 updates.

So does François think that PHP developers are being alienated? It’s strongly suggested through his use of irony, and analogy of symfony to a medieval text, but does he say abandon symfony?

Not at all. Rather his frustration noted in a follow up blog post has to do with the fact that he cares a great deal about symfony. If you were thinking about leaving symfony, François is enough reason to stay.