Tag Archives: php

Social and Ethical Responsibilities

This morning I was attending Zeev Suraskis keynote at the International PHPConference in Mainz/Germany.

He spoke not so much about PHP or new technologies but what happens when technology fails. He gave us an insight into the things that happened around his last holiday in the south of Italy starting with a lost Internet-connection through a malfunctioning lens, a dead GPS-Display and his troubles getting mobile internet-access up to the dead fridge back home.

Besides the strange accumulation of bad luck it again showed me how much we depend on technology.
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Valid Syntax errors: Part 1

It took me about an hour to spot a strange behaviour in my PHP skript:

Have a look at this code:

$foo = array ( 'a', 'b', 'c' );
foreach ( $foo as $bar );
    echo $bar . "\n";
// Expected Output:
// a
// b
// c
// Actual Output: 
// c

What happened?

Would I have used phpcs it would have been obvious. I used a semicolon instead of a bracket after the foreach statement.

So instead of calling the echo command with each iteration the foreach silently iterated through $foo and assigned $bar on each iteration. That left $bar with the last value of the array that gave the strange output.

I can not actually remember whether there had been closing brackets but I did not get an Error regarding that.

phpcs would have detected the missing brackets — if that would be observed by the used sniff.

More on phpcs later.

unserialize values

Last week I had the problem, that – due to a wrong database-entry – a serialized value got scrambled. And due to that (and some missconfiguration of the server) the application broke. Instead of a search result the user simply got an error message about not being able to unserialize the value due to an offset-error.

So how could I avoid the error (which actually is a notice) being thrown and besides that get to know whether unserializing worked or not?

The hack I finaly came up with is as follows:

  • suppress the notice in any way
  • check whether the returned value is a boolean false and the given string is ‘b:0;’ (which represents a boolean false in a serialized string).
  • If so, the unserialize() failed, so lets throw an InvalidArgumentException

And here it is:

public function my_unserialize ( $value )
    $unserialized = @unserialize ( $value );
    if ( false === $unserialized && 'b:0;' !== $value ) {
        $le = error_get_last ();
        throw new InvalidArgumentException ( $le['message'] );
    return $unserialized;

Quality-Assurance with PHP – Unit-Testing


There has been much said about the advantages or disadvantages of unit-testing. So I will not recap on that.
But where to go after you have choosen to use unit-testing?

The following short tutorial will give you an ovberview of how to install the necessary software, how to come to unit-tests from your requirements and how to write your tests and your code simultaneously.
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