Opache gui update and now on Packagist

I’ve just pushed to github a big overhaul of the opcache gui script. It comes with a sweeping set of changes which also includes using react.js to power some of the interface to really enhance the real-time updates. (OK, it was really just an excuse for me to learn a little about react.js but I think it was worth it!)

I’ve also put the opcache gui and the php error log gui up on packagist – my first packages on there!  Check ‘em out:

https://packagist.org/packages/amnuts/opcache-gui
https://packagist.org/packages/amnuts/phperror-gui

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‘Open in PhpStorm’ context menu for Windows

I’ve just started to use PhpStorm, which is a wonderful IDE. However, I wanted to make it even easier for myself to open files and folders. A context menu in Windows fits the bill quite nicely – just right-click on a folder and open in PhpStorm.

This batch file will do just that!

loading gist file...

Just set the path to whatever suits your system and then right-click and ‘run as administrator’ on the batch file.

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JWPlayer thumbnail preview generator

Create video thumbnail previews for JW Player


JWPlayer is a fantastic video player for the web. One of the great features it provides is the ability to show thumbnail previews of the video as you slide along the toolbar timeline, much the same way that YouTube and the like allow.

Generating the thumbnail images is not quite so easy unless you have ffmpeg installed and know a bit about the command line options. I got a little frustrated myself having to come up the with the command line magic whenever I needed it, and so the JW Player thumbnail preview generator was born!

It’s a simple command line tool, written in PHP, that allows you to whip up the thumbnails and generate the required VTT file with a command as simple as:

php thumbnails.php -i "/input/video.mp4"

OK, so you still need to have ffmpeg installed on your machine – not much I can do about that one, sorry! – but at least generating the files is now much easier!

You can generate the individual thumbnails or have them coalesced into  sprite sheet, and generate a random poster image. Full instructions are on my GitHub account; so go, fork, improve, and feel free to give any feedback.

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Simple interface for viewing the PHP error log file


Example usage

Recently at work I found myself trawling through the PHP error log file and found that all the lines of text were starting to blur after a while. Thinking there had to be a better way over viewing the log file, and following on from my single-file opcache viewer gui, I decided to knock out something for viewing the error log file as well.

With this single-file error log gui it will only show the error once and then tell you how many times it appears in the log. It will allow you to narrow down your search of errors by being able to hide the different types or sort in different ways, and it will also allow you to search results based on particular file paths.

I’ve pushed the code up to my GitHub account, so please feel free to fork and improve and/or give feedback.

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Counters in CSS: making a table of contents list

As I’m sure you know, you can create an ordered bullet point list but it has limitations.  For example, if I wanted to have a table of contents so that the numbering goes 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.2.3, 1.2.3.1 and so on then the standard ordered list just isn’t going to cut it.  Oh, sure, you could reset the numbering on the sub-lists so that it uses roman numerals or something like that but to me that just doesn’t feel quite right…

Enter CSS counters!

Counters offer you a way to increment and decrement a value every time an element has the rule, and there doesn’t have to be one counter – you can have as many as you need,

So using counters can easily produce the correct kind of TOC list that we want. And here’s the jsFiddle to show you just how easy it is.

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Tweeting on a button press with the Raspberry Pi


A while ago my door bell broke. So I did what any sensible person would; I decided that instead of buying a new one I would hook up an old bell I had to a Raspberry Pi and have the bell ring when someone pushed a button on my door. But then I though, “well, that’s a bit boring.  My doorbell should tweet me, too!”

The long and the short of it is that I couldn’t get the mechanics of the bell ringer to work but had a lot of fun with the tweeting side of things because it involved my first shot at doing some Python code. And the really good news is that it’s ridiculously easy to accomplish.

This was roughly my process…

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simple-botting-with-php

Book review: Instant simple botting with PHP

I had the chance recently to read the book Instant Simple Botting with PHP, written by Shay Anderson and published by Packt Publishing. The book is designed to be a very quick and easy (hence the title!) introduction in to creating bots to scan web pages and collect information from them.

The book seems squarely aimed at beginners in PHP and object orientated programming so lives up quite well to the “simple” aspect of the title. However, I wouldn’t really say “instant” because there are quite a few pages dedicated to setting up PHP and making sure it works with a simple “Hello world”. My preference would have been just to assume that  someone that wants to know how to create bots probably already has PHP set up and has at least a passing familiarity with it. But as it seems to cater to real beginners I suppose it needs to hand-hold people through the setup.

The code is clear throughout and easy for anyone to understand and follow and by the end of it you’ll have something that will very basically scrape a web page. If you’re a beginner I’d imagine you’d be left with some sense of accomplishment and something pretty simple with which you should be able to tinker without getting too caught up with a tonne of code or complexity. However, if you are any kind of seasoned developer then you will probably find the book too light-weight as there are no advanced techniques are really discussed. But then, what would you expect with just around 60 pages in the book?

However, as I’ve said, the code is nice an clean, the book for what it is is well written, and the author discusses some good practices.  Great for a beginner but probably not enough for a mid/seasoned developer.

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Easy page scraping with Zend\Dom (from Zend Framework 2)


The other day I was interested in getting some information from the sussex.academia.edu site, specifically I wanted a list of tags for each of the faculty members. Now, this sounds relatively easy except when you consider that initial page contains a list of links to various schools/departments people have listed, and then under each of those pages you have different fieldsets with different types of people on them (and I was only interested in the faculty fieldset), and each person may or may not have tags and even then those tags may be hidden behind some javascript so that you click and view all of the tags… When you consider all of that you would be forgiven in thinking that it’s actually quite a daunting task!

Let me assure you, though, that by using Zend\Dom from the Zend Framework 2 library it’s actually a really simple task. In fact, I did it in around 20 lines of code.

So let’s start by looking at the code and then break it down a little more.

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Zend Studio and SVN 1.8

I use SVN for most of my projects at work and have diligently kept it up-to-date with the latest versions of the work copies. What happens when the working copy structure changes, as it did from 1.7.x to 1.8.x, is that Zend Studio gives error messages about the SVN connector client not being compatible. Annoying! However, if like me you’ve recently updated your SVN version to 1.8 and want Zend Studio to be compatible then it’s just a matter of a few easy steps for you to take.

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Same height for elements


A while ago I wrote a jquery plug-in that allows you to easily make selected elements all the same height. Well, it turns out that it could be a little better because it didn’t take in to consideration margins, padding and such. So here’s a slightly more robust version.

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