Simple image view helper for Zend Framework

Here’s a simply view helper for the Zend Framework that can be used to display image tags. It checks to see if the image file exists and if not then it’ll use the data url scheme to output a very simple image that, ironically, says ‘NO IMG’ on it. 🙂 Please note, though, that I’ve only seen Firefox support this scheme, as wonderful as it is!

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Is this what being starstruck feels like?

Right now I’m sitting at a table with the likes of Cal Evans, Ben Ramsey, Sara Goleman, and Derick Rethans – all big players in the PHP world. And here I am, lowly ol’ me who does a bit of PHP at work. Wow. I feel a little starstruck (in a geeky kinda way), I have to admit!

OK, to be honest, I’m not saying anything, but, hey! I’m here. It’s a start. 😉

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Today I’m flying to Atlanta for the php|works conference. I am really looking forward to this as there seem to be quite a number of good talks – so many, in fact, that I had a hard time deciding which tracks to attend.

As part of this conference package I also had the opportunity to do the Professional PHP online course run by php|architect. I enjoyed that, and learned a fair bit, so I’m hopeful for the conference. 🙂

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Robust email address validator – with address suggestions!

I’m sure you’ve seen the simple email address format validation function; they’re usually a simple regular expressing that just check the address portion (the bit). That’s really only a bit of the validation that should be done. The RFC822 specs detail that the format of email addresses can be much larger, for example, it could be something like “Andrew Collington & Co.” <>, and, of course, the simple regex on that would fail. But even a check on the address format isn’t often enough… The user could enter a correctly formatted email address but simply have mis-spelled the address… they may accidentally type in, or rather than, and things like that. In which case you may want to check the MX and/or A record to see if its a valid domain. And whilst you’re doing that, why not check to see if it’s a commonly used email host that maybe they’ve typed in wrong?

So here is a class that will allow you to do all that in one easy method call:

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Easy chained select lists using Zend Framework and Prototype

Building a set of select lists that are dependant of each other can be a daunting task, but for a simple two-level list – in that what you select from one drop-down will changing what’s displayed in one or more other drop-downs – is actually quite easy thanks to Zend Frameworks and Prototype, both of which support Json.

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Create a random thumbnail of a video file

Create a random thumbnail of a video file

Looking at sites like YouTube, you may think it’s quite hard to create a lot of different thumbnails from video files, and have them from random times within that file. But, no, it’s not! As this article shows, by using the very fabulous FFmpeg library, it’s actually a very short amount of code that’s required to create all those lovely random thumbnails.

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Validate a UK postcode

You’ve probably seen this before, if not a thousand times, but here’s a simple function to check the format of a UK postcode.

function valid_uk_postcode($postcode)
    return (preg_match('/^([A-PR-UWYZ][A-HK-Y0-9][AEHMNPRTVXY0-9]?[ABEHMNPRVWXY0-9]? {0,2}[0-9][ABD-HJLN-UW-Z]{2}|GIR 0AA)$/i', $postcode)) ?
        true : false;
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