Archive for the ‘PHP Tutorials’ Category

PHP: Image Directory Repeater

There are lots of great prewritten scripts to build out relatively custom image slideshows. One of the main issues I’ve run into is that these plugins require a listing of images, and sometimes, it is more convenient to just pull images from a folder directory. Well, even if you don’t know much about PHP, it is incredibly easy to write one! Here, you’ll learn the basic PHP code you’ll need to repeat through all the JPG images within a folder.

<?php
   $dir = "directory/*.jpg";
   foreach(glob($dir) as $image)
      echo "<img src=\"".$image."\" />";
?>

That’s it! You just have to update the $dir variable to lead to the folder you want to run through. This script only repeats through JPG images, which you can change by altering the file extension within the $dir variable. Got questions? Ask away!

PHP – Header and Footer Templates

Why use PHP header and footer templates? Luckily, there is a very simple answer to this question. When you need to change a piece of navigation, or an image such as your logo, or even just change the copyright year in your footer, do you want to have to go into every HTML file to change that one item? Of course not! Using a php header and footer will allow you to avoid changing all of your pages, and instead only make you change it once!

So how does it work? Simple. There are a few catches though first which you might not like, so pay attention! First, your website URLs will now end in .php instead of .html. Second, you won’t be able to test your website without using a server that can compile your PHP. As I explained in a previous post, PHP – What Is It Good For?, PHP is a server side language, as opposed to HTML, CSS, or Javascript, which are all client side languages. Client side languages are read and interpreted by an individual person’s browser, whereas server side languages are read and interpreted by the server that hosts the website before it arrives back to the individual user. Easy solutions are to either put it up live to test it (not advised), or to install an Apache server on your computer, which wasn’t the easiest thing for me to do (because I’m not very techy) but there are some good walk-throughs out there, and the software is free. I use it all the time now because I do all my sites in PHP.

But I’m not a web developer, I’m a web designer! Don’t be intimidated if you aren’t a programmer. Writing websites in php can be as little as 1% PHP and 99% HTML/CSS. I didn’t realize this until I actually tried to learn it, at which point I was much more comforted. You still make your entire site using your HTML or CSS, the PHP just decides essentially what content to put in where after you’ve made it all using your HTML/CSS.

How do I implement it? Alright, now here is your explanation. You’ll need 3 total files. One called “header.php”, one called “footer.php”, and one called “index.php”. Inside your header file, cut and paste all the header code (starting all the way at your opening html tag or doctype declaration if you have one… because you should). Then, do the same for your footer file with your footer HTML. Now, inside of your index.php file write two lines of code, one at the top, and one at the bottom, you can probably guess which goes where:

<?php include("header.php"); ?>
<?php include("footer.php"); ?>

And that’s it, run it on a server and you are set. Still a little confused? Well here, this is what each of your files should look like:

header.php

<html>
  <body>
    <div class="header">
      Logo, navigation, et cetera goes in here
    </div>

index.php

<?php include("header.php"); ?>
    <div class="mainContent">
      <h1>Header in here</h1>
      <p>Paragraph in here</p>
    </div>
<?php include("footer.php"); ?>

footer.php

    <div class="footer">
      Footer content goes in here
    </div>
  </body>
</html>

And that’s it, got any questions, ask away!

PHP – What Is It Good For?

So, interested in using PHP for your website? You are making a smart move. PHP is great for a relatively small and simple website like mine (say between 10 and 100 pages) and offers easy implementation of:

  1. Including template files. This allows you to have one file that you can pull in on your site at anytime in any place. A simple and common implementation of this is to write one file that includes the header, and another file for the footer. I use this on my own site.
  2. Storing data in array files. This is a great way of displaying different content on a simple template page. For example, on my site, I have one file that lays out what the page will look like in my photography section, and then another file that has different content for different photographs. Only 2 files can create an endless number of pages!
  3. A simple and functional formmail script. This can allow users and/or customers to fill out a form, sending an email to a specified account. This helps your users easily get in touch with you.

It is important to realize what PHP actually does before you use it. PHP is a server side scripting language. That means that the code you write in your files are interpreted by the server before it reaches the user. This is different from client side scripting languages like Javascript where the code reaches the user, and is then implemented. Usually, the PHP will be read by the server, and it will output plain markup or HTML. This is great because it doesn’t rely on your users’ browsers to do anything. Some users turn off Javascript which can be a problem if you use javascript to include certain code in your files.

Soon, I’ll write a post on simple code to get started on some of these uses of PHP. If you’ve never coded anything other than HTML/CSS before, then PHP will be a much different step because it uses logic statements. However, if you’ve ever coded anything with logic (C+, Java, ASP.NET, Javascript, Visual Basic, etc.) then PHP won’t be that hard to pick up.