Kristian Lunde

Archive for the ‘PHP’ tag

On the move

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I am currently switching both domain host and web host, and in that case this site might be down for a little while. I am about to replicate the site to my new web host so hopefully it will be a minimum of down time.

I have chosen to leave which has been my web host since 2003, they have done a great job, but the time has now come to move to a web host which can provide me with some more advanced features.

I have chosen as my new web host. I chose them because they offer a multitude of different applications, for instance svn, python, ruby on rails and of course PHP. They also offer ssh access.

I chose to host my domain names, that was done out of convenience, they are well known, large and hopefully know what they are doing :P

Written by Kristian Lunde

June 3rd, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Misc,web

Tagged with , ,

Coding standard, coding style

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In Orange Bus we have been looking at our coding style lately. We have created our very own coding standard. Since we base most of our applications on the drupal we chose to use the drupal coding standard as our main source of inspiration.
During our process of creating this coding standard we found a few good links I thought we should share.

Mike @ Orange Bus found these two articles about beautiful and practical code, both these are a must read:

Another blog post about line density worth reading is:

Written by Kristian Lunde

November 11th, 2008 at 12:53 am

Posted in Drupal,PHP,Programming

Tagged with ,

All frameworks sucks…. ?

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I’ve been hearing this a lot lately, that most framework sucks, well do they?

Mr. Paul M. Jones has a really good article about the subject, he says that when a developer has to do a major change in his mindset and development routines to get used to a new framework, the developer often think that the “framework sucks”.

Personally I’ve been the kind of developer who like to write my own frameworks from scratch, and yes that also mean that I’ve written a couple of frameworks for myself, and threw them away. Since I like to write things from the scratch I’ve also been a bit critical to other frameworks,and I do understand term “all frameworks sucks”. When you’ve written your own framework, you know how it works, and it works just the way you want it to, at least that was the goal of writing it in the first place. It also gives you the possibility to change or add functionality in the core of the framework rather easily.

The advantages with a “off the shelf” framework can sometimes be intriguing, with a little bit of effort you can become darn efficent with this kind of framework, that will of course require a bit from the developer to learn the framework. Another bonus about learning a new framework is that you pick up on some of the bright ideas the developers have implemented in their framework.

I do not think that all frameworks sucks but, there are some frameworks out there that do not match my mindset at all, there is no secret that I’m not a huge fan of large enterprise frameworks with a wide extent of xml files and structures (I’m not naming any names, but the Java world have a few of these). Why on earth would you need to define a new page in three different xml files to get it working?

I’ve heard a lot about Code Ignitor and it sounds like a promising framework, I have not had the time to have a look at it yet. I am familiar with the Zend framework and EZ components which probably are more of a set of building bricks than frameworks, both of these are quite good and comfortable to work with.

Recently I’ve started to look at the Drupal. I realize that Drupal is more of a content management system than a framework, but it has its similarities to a framework. So far I still think Drupal “sucks” ;) but I do however like the simplicity of writing modules. What I do not like at all is the “lack” of OOP, and yes I know Drupal have its own way of implementing OOP, but I still feels thats is a little bit awkward, I am a bit of a OOP junkie :P
Anyway I see the potential of Drupal and look forward to getting to know it better. I believe I eventually will like Drupal because it is easy to extend, you get a lot of stuff for free because someone has already written it for you and it is a big community around it with a lot of smart developers. There is probably a reason why Drupal is one of the largest PHP framework out there.

Written by Kristian Lunde

October 25th, 2008 at 12:40 am

Templating with Eclipse

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Today I came over a a post on about Eclipse and templating. It turns out that you can write small templates of code snippets you use a lot and bind them to a keyword. When typing the keyword, press “ctrl” and “space” and a list of possible templates available will appear, select the prefered template, press “enter” and the code snippet is inserted into your working code. I works just the same way code completion. This actually means that you do not have to write the boring “for” loops or “if” tests anymore, just write a template and become a more efficient developer.

The original post explains how to set up templates, so I will not go into that in this post, but since I am primarily a PHP developer and the post describes templating for Java, I’ll just give a description of where to go if you use the PHPEclipse.
To edit and create templates for PHP, HTML or css, even javascript you have to use this path:

window -> preferences -> PHPeclipse Web Development -> PHP -> Templates.

To write and edit the templates, just follow the guidelines from Mr. Graversen, or have a look at the links below.

For further reading have a look these sites.

I guess if I had read the PHPEclipse manual when I first started using Eclipse, I would probably been using it from the start :P

Good luck with your Eclipse templates, I know I will be using them extensively.

Written by Kristian Lunde

August 20th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

The View Helper pattern

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Developing MVC (Model View Controller pattern) applications in PHP or any other language often require a lot from the view tier. The view needs to process data received from the model tier and form it into presentable data, it also has to manage user input and form that into data understandable for the model tier.
This might not be a big issue while working with small application, but when it comes to midscale and large applications the view helper pattern can be of great help. The view helper pattern is one of the J2EE core patterns and the documentation can be found on:

What does the helper pattern do?
First of all the helper pattern adds an extra tier to the system, this tier can be seen as a mid tier which has some understanding of the logic of the system, it knows a little bit about the view and a little bit about the model. Another cool thing is that the view helper pattern makes your code more reusable. When moving complex structures from the view and into a view helper it can with ease be used by other views.


You are writing a web application where the user writes a review of some product, the application should do auto saving of the user input every 20 second using Ajax functionality. The application should of course also save the user input then the user submits the data. The ajax request and the user submit does almost the same thing but the when the user submits the data the view should also store a rating of the product. This require the ajax request and the user submit to be two different views, or one complex view.

In an ordinary MVC system you would have to implement two views with very much of the similar behavior or one complex view. Using the view helper pattern you extract the storage of the user review in a helper which can be reused by both the ajax request view and the user submit view.

I have written a very simple implementation of the example in PHP. The implementation is not complete at all, but it is meant as a proof of concept that the reusability of code in your application can increase using the view helper pattern.

  1. <?php
  3. class ProductReviewHelper
  4. {
  5.  public function __construct(){}
  7.  /**
  8.    * save the review
  9.   **/
  10.  public function save($user_input)
  11.  {
  12.   //validate input
  13.   $input = $this->validate($user_input);
  15.   //saves the review and return the result of the save
  16.   return $review_manager->save($input['product_id'], $input['review']);
  17.  }
  19.  /**
  20.   * validate the input
  21.   **/
  22.  public function validate($user_input)
  23.  {
  24.   $filter_args = array('product_id' => FILTER_VALIDATE_INT,
  25.          'review'   => FILTER_SANITIZE_STRING);
  26.   $input = filter_var_array($user_input, $filter_args);
  28.   //do validation
  29.   return $input;
  30.  }
  31. }
  1. <?php
  3. //Ajax view
  4. $review_helper = new ProductReviewHelper();
  5. $result = $review_helper->save($_POST);
  6. echo $result;
  7. exit();
  8. ?>
  1. <?php
  3. //User submit view
  4. $review_helper = new ProductReviewHelper();
  5. $review_result = $review_helper->save($_POST);
  7. $rating_helper = new ProductRatingHelper();
  8. $rating_result = $rating_helper->save($_POST);
  10. //manage the result from the helpers
  11. ?>

I am sure that the view helper pattern has helped me to write better and more organized code, which is easily understandable and very reusable.

If you do not use the view helper pattern, and still have solved the problem with reusability of code in the view tier please feel free to leave me a comment describing your solution.

Written by Kristian Lunde

July 20th, 2008 at 11:11 pm

Password encryption using PHP

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A recent post on linked to a article about “password encryption using PHP” written by Stefan Ashwell on In this article he illustrate a how to save user passwords and authenticating users using the sha1 hashing algorithm.

First of all lets all agree that hashing passwords are basics requirements for a secure web application, but is a simple hashing of the password enough? I do not think so.

Here is the scenario, Someone breaks into your system (not through the web application, but for instance through an ssh connection), they get access to your user database or file where you store user account information.  The intruder is now in possession of the password and user name of all your users, but still the passwords are hashed with md5, sha1 or an similar hashing method. If the intruder is determined to get into your system and mess up, he may now try to decrypt the passwords using a  dictionary word file and brute force (also known as rainbow tables). This method is quite common and is not advanced at all, all it does is looping through the dictionary file, which contains all words and common password phrases, do a md5 or sha1 hashing of these words and see if it matches up to the hashed password, if it does it has found a match, and the intruder is able to log into the account.

Even though this brute force method might take some time, he will eventually get the passwords and get full access to the users account. There are however methods to complicate this and even make it impossible for the intruder to get the password using brute force method and that is called salting your password.


  2. $salt = '2glkpe895';
  3. $password = $_POST['password'];
  5. $encrypted_password = sha1($salt . $password . $salt);

As you can see the salt is an secret string which is only used by your application, it is prepended and appended to the password. You could of course also go the extra mile and split the password in two and add the salt in the middle of the password, but there might not be any point in doing that.

This makes the word not like any word you will find in an dictionary and therefore the brute force method will not find the password.

The point is that if the intruder get a partial access to some of your system, for instance the user database, it will not be enough to get access to the total system because the security system is layered, one layer in your code, and one layer in your user database.

I do not say that this method is a 100 percent secure but it is is way more secure than not using a salted password.

Written by Kristian Lunde

July 10th, 2008 at 10:28 am

PHP Vikinger

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I attended the PHP vikinger unconference in Skien on Saturday. Rather than writing my own wrap up of the unconference I choose to link to the wrap up written by Mats Lindh and Derick Rethans

Notes from Mats:

Notes from Derick:

Written by Kristian Lunde

June 23rd, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Posted in PHP,Real Life

Tagged with ,

Writing SOA applications with PHP

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Lately I’ve been working a lot with data integration between several web applications, and a natural choice for the integration was to use a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). I’ve built both SOA servers and clients before using the SOAP approach, which is a superb way of transferring data when not knowing who the user of the service is, or when you are a client of such a service. However in this setting I knew who the user was, I knew what the service would be used for, also had the chance to write both the client and server.

The choice fell on a simple implementation using the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) data structure. This is really easy using the built in json library in php. The server use the json_encode() function and the implemented sub class of the client use the json_decode() function.

To simplify this further I implemented two abstract classes, a ServiceServer class and a ServiceClient class. The service server class contained a very simple displayJSONResult function, which sets the correct header, encode the data as json data and echo the data.

The service client class has two main functions, doGetRequest and doPostRequest, both functions use the cURL library in PHP.


  1. <?php
  3. abstract class ServiceServer
  4. {
  6.  public function __construct(){}
  8.  protected function displayJSONResult($data)
  9.  {
  10.   header('Content-type: text/plain');
  12.   echo json_encode($data);
  14.   exit();
  15.  }
  16. }


  1. <?php
  3. /**
  4.  * ServiceClient
  5.  *
  6.  *
  7.  * @author Kristian Lunde
  8.  *
  9.  */
  11. class ServiceClient
  12. {
  14.  public function __construct(){}
  16.  /**
  17.   * do a post request to a service
  18.   *
  19.   * the params parameter must be a string with the format:
  20.   * key=val&key2=val2&key3=val3
  21.   *
  22.   * @param string $url
  23.   * @param string $params
  24.   */
  25.  protected function doPostRequest($url, $params)
  26.  {
  27.   $ch = curl_init($url);  
  28.   curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER , false);
  29.   curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER , true);
  30.   curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POST   , 1);
  31.    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS     , $params);
  32.   $result = curl_exec($ch);
  33.   curl_close($ch);
  34.   return $result;
  35.  }
  37.  /**
  38.   * do a get request to a service
  39.   *
  40.   * @param string $url
  41.   *
  42.   * @return mixed
  43.   */
  44.  protected function doGetRequest($url)
  45.  {
  46.   $ch = curl_init($url);  
  47.   curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER , false);
  48.   curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER , true);
  49.   $result = curl_exec($ch);
  50.   curl_close($ch);
  51.   return $result;
  52.  }
  54. }


To illustrate the easiness and simplicity of this SOA approach I written a small example. In this example the server finds the country of a city using POST parameters or it can find cities using the country as a GET parameter.

Example server

  1. <?php
  3. /**
  4.  * Example of using the ServiceServer class
  5.  *
  6.  * Returns countries or cities
  7.  *
  8.  * @author Kristian Lunde
  9.  */
  11. require_once('ServiceServer.php');
  13. class ExampleServer extends ServiceServer
  14. {
  18.  public function __construct()
  19.  {
  20.   $this->countries = array('norway'  => array('Oslo',
  21.               'Trondheim',
  22.               'Bergen',
  23.               'Halden',
  24.               'Sarpsborg',
  25.               'Hammerfest'),
  26.          'sweden' => array('Stockholm',
  27.               'Gothenburg',
  28.               'Karlstad'),
  29.          'england' => array('London',
  30.               'Newcastle',
  31.               'Bath',
  32.               'Liverpool'));  
  35.   if(isset($_GET['country']))
  36.   {
  37.    $this->findCitiesByCountry(trim($_GET['country']));
  38.   }
  40.   if(isset($_POST['city']))
  41.   {
  42.    $this->findCountryByCity(trim($_GET['city']));
  43.   }
  44.  }
  46.  public function findCitiesByCountry($country)
  47.  {
  48.   $cities = 'Not found';
  49.   $country = strtolower($country);
  51.   if(isset($this->countries[$country]))
  52.   {
  53.    $cities = $this->countries[$country];
  54.   }
  56.   $this->displayJSONResult($cities);
  57.  }
  59.  public function findCountryByCity($city)
  60.  {
  61.   $country = 'Not found';
  63.   $break = false;
  64.   foreach($this->countries as $key => $val)
  65.   {
  66.    for($i = 0, $count = count($val); $i < $count; $i++)
  67.    {
  68.     if($city == $val[$i])
  69.     {
  70.      $country = $key;
  71.      $break = true;
  72.      break;
  73.     }
  74.    }
  76.    if($break)
  77.    {
  78.     break;
  79.    }
  80.   }
  82.   $this->displayJSONResult($country);
  83.  }
  84. }
  86. $obj = new ExampleServer();
  87. ?>

Example client

  1. <?php
  2. /**
  3.  * Example of using the ServiceClient class
  4.  *
  5.  * does a request to the ExampleServer
  6.  *
  7.  * @author Kristian Lunde
  8.  */
  10. require_once('ServiceClient.php');
  12. class ExampleClient extends ServiceClient
  13. {
  14.  public function __construct()
  15.  {
  16.   $this->getCities('Norway');
  17.   $this->getCounty('Bath');
  18.  }
  20.  public function getCities($country)
  21.  {
  22.   $url = '' . $country;
  23.   echo $this->doGetRequest($url);
  24.  }
  26.  public function getCountry($city)
  27.  {
  28.   $url = '';
  29.   $params = 'city=' . $city;
  31.   echo $this->doPostRequest($url, $params);
  32.  }
  33. }
  34. $obj = new ExampleClient();
  35. ?>

I’m quite satisfied with this implementation because it is so easy to maintain and even more important, implementing new services and clients for the services is straight forward and supports rapid development.






Written by Kristian Lunde

June 8th, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Writing exceptions in PHP

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Fredrik Johan Holmström has a entry on his blog about writing exceptions in PHP. He points out that several of the large PHP framework assumes that an exception is a fatal error, and that this may be a flaw in the design.

An Exception is not necessarily a fatal error and it should be the responsibility of the code that catches the exception to determine if it is a fatal error or not.

The blog entry got me thinking, and yes I’ve done that mistake a few times myself, I’ll do it right  the next time I write an exception in PHP,


Written by Kristian Lunde

May 24th, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Cheat sheets

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When talking about cheat sheets, has a list of a few good cheat sheets. I’ve actually printed some of them at work and taped them to the wall next to my computer.

Thanks to Dave Child for doing the work of putting together these sheets.


Written by Kristian Lunde

May 12th, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Databases,Misc,PHP,web development

Tagged with , , ,

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