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SynapseIndia Part 4 – Displaying Data Php Development

Introduction

So far in this tutorial, you have created a database and put information into it. In this part I will show you how to create an input page for your database, and how to display the whole contents.

HTML Input

Inputing the data using HTML pages is almost identical to inserting it using a PHP script. The benefit, though, is that you do not need to change the script for each piece of data you want to input and you can also allow your users to input their own data.

The following code will show an HTML page with textboxes to enter the appropriate details:

<form action=”insert.php” method=”post”>
First Name: <input type=”text” name=”first”><br>
Last Name: <input type=”text” name=”last”><br>
Phone: <input type=”text” name=”phone”><br>
Mobile: <input type=”text” name=”mobile”><br>
Fax: <input type=”text” name=”fax”><br>
E-mail: <input type=”text” name=”email”><br>
Web: <input type=”text” name=”web”><br>
<input type=”Submit”>
</form>

This page could, of course, be formatted and have other changes made to it. It is just a basic form to get you started. Next you will need to edit the script from last week. Instead of using information to input into the database, you will instead use variables:
<?
$username=”username”;
$password=”password”;
$database=”your_database”;

$first=$_POST[‘first’];
$last=$_POST[‘last’];
$phone=$_POST[‘phone’];
$mobile=$_POST[‘mobile’];
$fax=$_POST[‘fax’];
$email=$_POST[’email’];
$web=$_POST[‘web’];

mysql_connect(localhost,$username,$password);
@mysql_select_db($database) or die( “Unable to select database”);

$query = “INSERT INTO contacts VALUES (”,’$first’,’$last’,’$phone’,’$mobile’,’$fax’,’$email’,’$web’)”;
mysql_query($query);

mysql_close();
?>

This script should then be saved as insert.php so that it can be called by the HTML form. It works because, instead of the data being entered locally, it is being entered into the form and stored in variables which are then passed to the PHP.

You could also add to this script a message confirming the data input. This is basic PHP, though, and you should read the PHP tutorial if you do not know how to do this.

Outputting Data

Now you have at least one record, if not many more, in your database you will be wanting to know how you can output this data using PHP. Before beginning, though you should be familiar with loops in PHP (you can find out about them in the tutorial on Free Webmaster Help) as they are used for this way of outputting data.

The first command you will need to use is a MySQL query made up like this:

SELECT * FROM contacts

This is a basic MySQL command which will tell the script to select all the records in the contacts table. Because there will be output from this command it must be executed with the results being assigned to a variable:

$query=”SELECT * FROM contacts”;
$result=mysql_query($query);

In this case the whole contents of the database is now contained in a special array with the name $result. Before you can output this data you must change each piece into a separate variable. There are two stages to this.

Counting Rows

Before you can go through the data in your result variable, you must know how many database rows there are. You could, of course, just type this into your code but it is not a very good solution as the whole script would need to be changed every time a new row was added. Instead you can use the command:

$num=mysql_numrows($result);

This will set the value of $num to be the number of rows stored in $result (the output you got from the database). This can then be used in a loop to get all the data and output it on the screen.

Setting Up The Loop

nYou must now set up a loop to take each row of the result and print out the data held there. By using $num, which you created above, you can loop through all the rows quite easily. In the code below, $i is the number of times the loop has run and is used to make sure the loop stops at the end of the results so there are no errors.

$i=0;
while ($i < $num) {

CODE

$i++;
}

This is a basic PHP loop and will execute the code the correct number of times. Each time $i will be one greater than the time before. This is useful, as $i can be used to tell the script which line of the results should be read. As the first line in MySQL output is 0, this will work correctly.

Assigning The Data To Variables

The final part of this output script is to assign each piece of data to its own variable. The following code is used to do this:

$variable=mysql_result($result,$i,”fieldname”);

So to take each individual piece of data in our database we would use the following:

$first=mysql_result($result,$i,”first”);
$last=mysql_result($result,$i,”last”);
$phone=mysql_result($result,$i,”phone”);
$mobile=mysql_result($result,$i,”mobile”);
$fax=mysql_result($result,$i,”fax”);
$email=mysql_result($result,$i,”email”);
$web=mysql_result($result,$i,”web”);

We do not need to get the ID field (although we could have done) because we have no use for it in the current output page.

Combining The Script

We can now write a full script to output the data. In this script the data is not formatted when it is output:

<?
$username=”username”;
$password=”password”;
$database=”your_database”;

mysql_connect(localhost,$username,$password);
@mysql_select_db($database) or die( “Unable to select database”);
$query=”SELECT * FROM contacts”;
$result=mysql_query($query);

$num=mysql_numrows($result);

mysql_close();

echo “<b><center>Database Output</center></b><br><br>”;

$i=0;
while ($i < $num) {

$first=mysql_result($result,$i,”first”);
$last=mysql_result($result,$i,”last”);
$phone=mysql_result($result,$i,”phone”);
$mobile=mysql_result($result,$i,”mobile”);
$fax=mysql_result($result,$i,”fax”);
$email=mysql_result($result,$i,”email”);
$web=mysql_result($result,$i,”web”);

echo “<b>$first $last</b><br>Phone: $phone<br>Mobile: $mobile<br>Fax: $fax<br>E-mail: $email<br>Web: $web<br><hr><br>”;

$i++;
}

?>

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SynapseIndia Part 3 – Inserting Information Php Development

Introduction

Over the past two parts I have explained what I am planning to do in this tutorial and have shown you how to create a database to use with the tutorial. In this part I will be showing you how to insert some information into your database so that it is more useful.

Connecting To The Database

The first thing you must do before you can do any work at all is to connect to the MySQL database. This is an extremely important step as, if you are not connected, your commands to the database will fail.

Good practice for using databases is to specify the username, password and database name first so that if you change any of them at a later date you will only have to change one line:

$username=”username”;
$password=”password”;
$database=”your_database”;

At this point you may be wondering if it is a security risk, keeping your password in the file. You don’t need to worry, though, because the PHP scource code is processed aby the server before being sent to the browser so it is impossible for the user to see the script’s source.

Next, you will need to issue the command to start a database connection:

mysql_connect(localhost,$username,$password);

This line tells PHP to connect to the MySQL database server at ‘localhost’ (localhost means the server that the site is running one. Unless you web host tells you otherwise you should use localhost. If you are given a server address (such as sql.myserver.com you should replace localhost with “sql.myserver.com” (including the quotes)) using the username stored in $username and the password in $password.

Before I show you how to work with the database, I will show you one more command:

mysql_close();

This is a very important command as it closes the connection to the database server. Your script will still run if you do not include this command but too many open MySQL connections can cause problems for a web host. It is good practice to always include this line once you have issued all your commands to the database, to keep the server running well.

Selecting The Database

After you have connected to the database server you must then select the database you wish to use. This must be a database to which your username has access. The following command:

@mysql_select_db($database) or die( “Unable to select database”);

is used to do this. This tells PHP to select the database stored in the variable $database (which you set earlier). If it cannot connect it will stop executing the script and output the text:

Unable to select database

This extra ‘or die’ part is good to leave in as it provides a little error control but it is not essential.

Executing Commands

Now you have connected to the server and selected the database you want to work with you can begin executing commands on the server.

There are two ways of executing a command. One is to just enter the command in PHP. This way is used if there will be no results from the operation.

The other way is to define the command as a variable. This will set the variable with the results of the operation.

In this part of the tutorial we will use the first way as we are not expecting a response from the database. The command will look like this:

mysql_query($query);

The useful thing about using this form of the command is that you can just repeat the same command over and over again without learning new ones. All you need to do is to change the variable.

Inserting Data

For this part of the tutorial I will return to the contacts database which we created in the last part. We will now add our first information to the database:

First: John
Last: Smith
Phone: 01234 567890
Mobile: 00112 334455
Fax: 01234 567891
E-
mail: johnsmith@gowansnet.com
Web: http://www.gowansnet.com

This will all be put in with one command:

$query = “INSERT INTO contacts VALUES (”,’John’,’Smith’,’01234 567890′,’00112 334455′,’01234 567891′,’johnsmith@gowansnet.com’,’http://www.gowansnet.com&#8217;)”;

This may look a little confusing at first so I will explain what it all means.

Firstly $query= is there because we are assigning this to the variable $query (see the section above). The next part:

INSERT INTO contacts VALUES

is quite easy to understand. It tells the PHP to insert into the table called contacts the values in the brackets which follow.

The part in the brackets contains all the information to add. It uses all the fields in order and inserts the information from between the quotes. For example:

John

will be inserted into the 2nd field which, in this table, is the ‘first’ field.

You may have noticed that you are not inserting any value into the first field in the database (id). This is because this field is going to act as an index field. No two records in the database will have the same ID. Because of this, when we set up the database we set ID to ‘Auto Increment’. This means that if you assign it no value it will take the next number in the series. This means that this first record will have the ID 1.

SynapseIndia Php Development – File Write

Now that you know how to open and close a file, lets get on to the most useful part of file manipulation, writing! There is really only one main function that is used to write and it’s logically called fwrite.

php – file open: write

Before we can write information to our test file we have to use the functionfopen to open the file for writing.

PHP Code:

$myFile = "testFile.txt";
$fh = fopen($myFile, 'w');

php – file write: fwrite function

We can use php to write to a text file. The fwrite function allows data to be written to any type of file. Fwrite’s first parameter is the file handle and its second parameter is the string of data that is to be written. Just give the function those two bits of information and you’re good to go!

Below we are writing a couple of names into our test file testFile.txt and separating them with a carriaged return.

PHP Code:

$myFile = "testFile.txt";
$fh = fopen($myFile, 'w') or die("can't open file");
$stringData = "Bobby Bopper\n";
fwrite($fh, $stringData);
$stringData = "Tracy Tanner\n";
fwrite($fh, $stringData);
fclose($fh);

The $fh variable contains the file handle for testFile.txt. The file handle knows the current file pointer, which for writing, starts out at the beginning of the file.

We wrote to the file testFile.txt twice. Each time we wrote to the file we sent the string $stringData that first contained Bobby Bopper and second containedTracy Tanner. After we finished writing we closed the file using the fclose function.

If you were to open the testFile.txt file in NOTEPAD it would look like this:

Contents of the testFile.txt File:

Bobby Bopper
Tracy Tanner

php – file write: overwriting

Now that testFile.txt contains some data we can demonstrate what happens when you open an existing file for writing. All the data contained in the file is wiped clean and you start with an empty file. In this example we open our existing filetestFile.txt and write some new data into it.

PHP Code:

$myFile = "testFile.txt";
$fh = fopen($myFile, 'w') or die("can't open file");
$stringData = "Floppy Jalopy\n";
fwrite($fh, $stringData);
$stringData = "Pointy Pinto\n";
fwrite($fh, $stringData);
fclose($fh);

If you now open the testFile.txt file you will see that Bobby and Tracy have both vanished, as we expected, and only the data we just wrote is present.

Contents of the testFile.txt File:

Floppy Jalopy
Pointy Pinto

In the next lesson we will show you how to get information out of a file by using PHP’s read data function

SynapseIndia Php Development – ile close

The next logical step after you have opened a file and finished your business with it is to close that file down. You don’t want an open file running around on your server taking up resources and causing mischief!

php – file close description

In PHP it is not system critical to close all your files after using them because the server will close all files after the PHP code finishes execution. However the programmer is still free to make mistakes (i.e. editing a file that you accidentally forgot to close). You should close all files after you have finished with them because it’s a good programming practice and because we told you to!

php – file close function

In a previous tutorial, we had a call to the function fclose to close down a file after we were done with it. Here we will repeat that example and discuss the importance of closing a file.

PHP Code:

$ourFileName = "testFile.txt";
$ourFileHandle = fopen($ourFileName, 'w') or die("can't open file");
fclose($ourFileHandle);

The function fclose requires the file handle that we want to close down. In our example we set our variable “$fileHandle” equal to the file handle returned by thefopen function.

After a file has been closed down with fclose it is impossible to read, write or append to that file unless it is once more opened up with the fopen function.

SynapseIndia Php Development – if/else conditional statment

Has someone ever told you, “if you work hard, then you will succeed”? And what happens if you do not work hard? Well, you fail! This is an example of an if/else conditional statement.

  • If you work hard then you will succeed.
  • Else, if you do not work hard, then you will fail.

How does this translate into something useful for PHP developers? Well consider this:

Someone comes to your website and you want to ask this visitor her name if it is her first time coming to your site. With an if statement this is easy. Simply have a conditional statement to check, “are you visiting for the first time”. If the condition is true, then take them to the “Insert Your Name” page, else let her view the website as normal because you have already asked her for her name in the past.

if/else an example

Using these conditional statements can add a new layers of “cool” to your website. Here’s the basic form of an if/else statement in PHP.

PHP Code:

$number_three = 3;

if ( $number_three == 3 ) {
	echo "The if statement evaluated to true";
} else {
	echo "The if statement evaluated to false";
}

Display:

The if statement evaluated to true

This is a lot to digest in one sitting, so let us step through the code, line by line.

  • We first made a PHP variable called $number_three and set it equal to 3.
  • In this example we compared a variable to an integer value. To do such a comparison we use “==“, which in English means “Is Equal To”.
  • $number_three is indeed Equal To 3 and so this statement will evaluate to true.
  • All code that is contained between the opening curly brace “{” that follows the if statement and the closing curly brace “}” will be executed when the if statement is true.
  • The code contained within the else segment will not used.

execute else code with false

On the other hand, if the if statement was false, then the code contained in the else segment would have been executed. Note that the code within the if andelse cannot both be executed, as the if statement cannot evaluate to both true and false at one time! Here is what would happen if we changed to $number_three to anything besides the number 3.

PHP Code:

$number_three = 421;

if ( $number_three == 3 ) {
	echo "The if statement evaluated to true";
} else {
	echo "The if statement evaluated to false";
}

Display:

The if statement evaluated to false

The variable was set to 421, which is not equal to 3 and the if statement was false. As you can see, the code segment contained within the else was used in this case.

SynapseIndia Php Development :- The If Statement

The PHP if statement is very similar to other programming languages use of the if statement, but for those who are not familiar with it, picture the following:

Think about the decisions you make before you go to sleep. If you have something to do the next day, say go to work, school, or an appointment, thenyou will set your alarm clock to wake you up. Otherwise, you will sleep in as long as you like!

This simple kind of if/then statement is very common in every day life and also appears in programming quite often. Whenever you want to make a decision given that something is true (you have something to do tomorrow) and be sure that you take the appropriate action, you are using an if/then relationship.

the php if statement

The if statement is necessary for most programming, thus it is important in PHP. Imagine that on January 1st you want to print out “Happy New Year!” at the top of your personal web page. With the use of PHP if statements you could have this process automated, months in advance, occuring every year on January 1st.

This idea of planning for future events is something you would never have had the opportunity of doing if you had just stuck with HTML.

if statement example

The “Happy New Year” example would be a little difficult for you to do right now, so let us instead start off with the basics of the if statement. The PHP if statement tests to see if a value is true, and if it is a segment of code will be executed. See the example below for the form of a PHP if statement.

PHP Code:

$my_name = "someguy";

if ( $my_name == "someguy" ) {
	echo "Your name is someguy!<br />";
}
echo "Welcome to my homepage!";

Display:

Your name is someguy!
Welcome to my homepage!

Did you get that we were comparing the variable $my_name with “someguy” to see if they were equal? In PHP you use the double equal sign (==) to compare values. Additionally, notice that because the if statement turned out to be true, the code segment was executed, printing out “Your name is someguy!”. Let’s go a bit more in-depth into this example to iron out the details.

  • We first set the variable $my_name equal to “someguy”.
  • We next used a PHP if statement to check if the value contained in the variable $my_name was equal to “someguy”
  • The comparison between $my_name and “someguy” was done with a double equal sign “==”, not a single equals”=”! A single equals is for assigning a value to a variable, while a double equals is for checking if things are equal.
  • Translated into english the PHP statement ( $my_name == “someguy” ) is ( $my_name is equal to “someguy” ).
  • $my_name is indeed equal to “someguy” so the echo statement is executed.

a false if statement

Let us now see what happens when a PHP if statement is not true, in other words, false. Say that we changed the above example to:

PHP Code:

$my_name = "anotherguy";

if ( $my_name == "someguy" ) {
	echo "Your name is someguy!<br />";
}
echo "Welcome to my homepage!";

Display:

Welcome to my homepage!

Here the variable contained the value “anotherguy”, which is not equal to “someguy”. The if statement evaluated to false, so the code segment of the if statement was not executed. When used properly, the if statement is a powerful tool to have in your programming arsenal!

SynapseIndia Php Development Require

Just like the previous lesson, the require command is used to include a file into your PHP code. However there is one huge difference between the two commands, though it might not seem that big of a deal.

require vs include

When you include a file with the include command and PHP cannot find it you will see an error message like the following:

PHP Code:

<?php
include("noFileExistsHere.php");
echo "Hello World!";
?>

Display:

Warning: main(noFileExistsHere.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in/home/websiteName/FolderName/tizagScript.php on line 2Warning: main(): Failed opening ‘noFileExistsHere.php’ for inclusion (include_path=’.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php’) in/home/websiteName/FolderName/tizagScript.php on line 2

Hello World!

Notice that our echo statement is still executed, this is because a Warning does not prevent our PHP script from running. On the other hand, if we did the same example but used the require statement we would get something like the following example.

PHP Code:

<?php
require("noFileExistsHere.php");
echo "Hello World!";
?>

Display:

Warning: main(noFileExistsHere.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in/home/websiteName/FolderName/tizagScript.php on line 2
Fatal error: main(): Failed opening required ‘noFileExistsHere.php’ (include_path=’.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php’) in/home/websiteName/FolderName/tizagScript.php on line 2

The echo statement was not executed because our script execution died after the require command returned a fatal error! We recommend that you use require instead of include because your scripts should not be executing if necessary files are missing or misnamed.