XML Entities in PHP

Because htmlentities() doesn’t even come close.

This small file contains 4 functions (2 of which are taken from the PHP manual, credit given!) which will allow you to encode and decode entities from ASCII/unicode strings in either decimal or hexadecimal format for use in valid XML documents.

The xml_entity_decode() function accepts an optional second parameter to allow non-standard XML entities (that may have been specified in your schema) in the format:

  // 'entity' => 'char'
  'amp' => '&',
  'lt' => '<',
  'gt' => '>',
  'apos' => '\'',
  'quot' => '"'

Example usage:


$s = 'This should be safe, but don\'t assume!
'; print ''.xmlentities($s).''; // outputs: <strong>This</strong> should be safe, but don't assume!<br/>

You can get the script here, or there’s a demo here too.

PHP CSV Reader

I’ve never really built a definitive CSV reader and end up building a quick implementation of one any time I need one.

But after working on the chunk script I decided that next time I build a CSV class I’d do it properly.

This is the result:


  header('Content-type: text/plain');

  $csv = new CSV('test.csv');

  while ($row = $csv->read()) {

There’s an information page here, and the script is here.

CakePHP: Components, redirect fail (On my part…)

I’ve been working on a CakePHP project lately and created a small component which was only needed in one of my controllers:

class CounterComponent extends Component {
  var $components = array(

  function i() {
    if ($this->Session->check('Counter.i')) {
      $i = ($this->Session->read('Counter.i') + 1);

    } else {
      $i = 0;

    $this->Session->write('Counter.i', $i);

    return $i;

  function clear() {

Continue reading “CakePHP: Components, redirect fail (On my part…)”

PHP: Object Oriented Image Manipulation

I’ve been working on a CMS lately and having to create thumbnails for uploaded images is always a pain, lots of maths working out the correct sizes and such, so I’ve created a fairly small script to manipulate images in an object-oriented style.

For example:

scale(400, 300);

$image2 = new Image('image2.jpg');
$image2->watermark = 'sample.png';

I’ve only implemented a few of the GD library methods, but I think these are the most useful methods. I might have to work on something that rounds the corners too, but I don’t have any need for it just yet.

There’s a demo page as ever, and you can get the script here (It’s a bit big, because the sample image is included, here’s one without it).

String Variable Concatenation

I stumbled across something odd today in PHP:

$r = '';
$r .= $r .= $r .= 'a';

Now, personally, I’d have expected a syntax error from the above code, but the result was even more confusing at first…

print $r; // 'aaaa'

Not sure if this was the expected output or not I tested similar code in other languages:


r = ''
r += r += r += 'a'
puts r # 'a'


r = ''
r += r += r += 'a'
#   File "", line 1
#     r += r += r += 'a'
#             ^
# SyntaxError: invalid syntax


var r = '';
r += r += r += 'a';
alert(r); // 'a'


my $r = '';
$r .= $r .= $r .= 'a';
print $r; // 'aaaa'

That explains it!

So the reason the string is ‘aaaa’ seems to be that the code is evaluated from right to left:

$r = '';
$r += $r += $r += 'a';

// How it works:
// $r += 'a'; // 'a'
// $r += $r += 'a'; // 'a' + 'a';
// $r += $r += $r += 'a'; // 'aa' + ('a' + 'a')

I don’t think it’s a bug, well, at least I assume not, but is there a name for this?

Update: I asked some clever people for help understanding it.

Trackr 0.1 – jQuery based user interaction tracking (PHP/MySQL)

Trackr is a very simple, lightweight (well, if you’re already using jQuery) user interaction tracker. It’s not particularly robust and is only in a fairly simple form right now.

The back end is written in PHP using MySQL for storage, but could easily be implemented in other languages.

To log data, you simply add a call to Trackr.init() to the page load event, passing the desired options as the only parameter to the function.

There are a variety of options that can be specified and for more information please see the test page.

You can get it here (includes jQuery 1.3.2).