Category Archives: tutorial


Track or count online users in Firebase webapp

It’s a pretty common need to track online users of an web application. Sometimes for counting total online users, sometimes by isolated space, e.g., by chatroom or shared list. So, instead of doing similar things every time, I’ve written a javascript module to use in Firebase web applications – Gathering.js.

In this post, I’ll show how it can be used for various type of tracking needs with small code snippets.

BTW, if you are thinking what Firebase is, it’s a Google acquired app development platform for mobile and web. For web application, it’s providing ready made infrastructure with super fast realtime database, flexible Authentication, cross platform Cloud Messaging, static hosting, CDN… (almost) everything you need to develop an app (or a feature) quickly with robustness. You should give it a try.

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Symfony Forms with Bootstrap 3 : Rendering a help block

It’s a pretty common need to show a help text with a form filed. Where we’ll tell the user about purpose of this field or some validation rules. Although Twitter Bootstrap already have a `help-block` class, Symfony Form component don’t have built-in support for rendering this kind of help block.

In this post I’ll share a simple trick that I use with Symfony Forms to render help block under form fields. Here is a sample output.


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Let's do with Drupal – Simplified Admin Panel

As you (if you’v at least installed and explored Drupal) know, Drupal‘s Admin panel is not comfortable for clients. It’s mostly developer centric and not similar to other common content managing panels. But, sometimes clients may need to manage some type of content. Recently I’ve faced this situation and made a simple, generic admin panel that only offers managing selective contents. Now I am going to tell you the how I’v done it. If you follow the steps, it should take hardly 30 minutes.

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Setting up Database testing with Kohana UnitTest module

Kohana Unittest module has made testing in Kohana v3 easy and fun. Lysender wrote a cool, straight forward post about how to set it up and running. I’ll just talk here about how I have set up database testing with Kohana Unittest for my personal use. Not saying “How to set up”. Because it’s obviously not the best way to do this.

Kohana Unittest

The important thing I need to ensure for testing database is, It’s in a known state before running a test. And, changes on database made by one test will not impact on another test. So, I’ll have a separate database for testing. Which will be loaded with a predefined dataset before running each test and will be truncated after test is done. Also, I have to be careful about that, my models are executing quires on test database in testing environment. Here is how I’ve done it? –

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Extending Zend Form Element to create customized Phone number field

Generally, Phone numbers has different parts. Such as, country code, operator code and subscriber number etc. When taking Phone number as user input, we can worn users about phone number format by setting a hint/description and can validate using Regular Expression. But, for better usability, along with hints, some web applications provide separate (generally 3) text fields for different parts of phone number. Also, some of them keep a separator, ‘-‘ or ‘#’ between this fields.

Now, if we try provide this feature in Zend Form, that’s possible. We can create three individual Zend_Form_Element_Text objects and join there value together to make the phone number. But, in this case, validating them together is a hassle. Again, placing them inline in the form and putting separators needs some Decorator magic. What if we can make it simply another Zend Form Element which renders three text box (optionally with separator)? And consider their value jointly and validate them together using ordinary Zend Validators? Lets try.

What we are going to make?

Let’s visualize our Phone number field first and list what we want from it.

  • It’s Simple. It’s rendering, validation everything is like any other ordinary Zend From Elements.
  • It prints 3 text boxes for different parts of Phone number.
  • When we validate it or take it’s value, the input of these three boxes jointly will be considered as the value.
  • We can set a separator character to be printed between text boxes.
  • We can include/exclude this separators from value.

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Taking Zend Framework workshop on Dec, 09

Bbjobs has arranged a workshop on “Zend framework fundamental” on December, 09  and invited us (me and Emran Hasan) to take it. We agreed happily. This is (so far I know) the first formal Zend Framework workshop in Bangladesh. The workshop has been defined as –

The Zend Framework Workshop is a 5 half-day tutorial-style course that takes an in-depth look at Zend Framework and its components. The workshop is designed for experienced PHP programmers who want to learn to combine ZF concepts and structural elements to utilize the full power of this software development kit for PHP 5 applications.

As per our plan about the context of this workshop, we are going to cover the following 8 basic topics of Zend Framework in 5 days.

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jQuery – Presentation at phpXperts Seminar, 09

At the phpXperts seminar 2009, I gave a talk on  “Blessings of modern javascript framework – jQuery” and it seemed well-received. I enjoyed giving the presentation very much!
Special thanks for all the organizers, group members and participants.

Here is the slide available for you.

Hope you’ll Enjoy the slides! Suggestions are welcome.

Advanced bootstrapping : Configure your Zend Framework application for multiple host

This tutorial is intended to explain a way of bootstrapping Zend Framework based MVC application for multiple host/domains. Before starting, let me explain a bit about the situation when it’s needed.

A web application goes through some stages when growing up. Generally, it starts from development and ends at production. There can be some more stages within this two ends. And, in maximum cases this stages are overlapped. The overlapped stages can be hosted in different servers with different settings but shares the same code. In this situations, if we want to keep bootstrap in SVN repo, it needs to setup bootstrap in a little different way. So that, it can handle many server settings with a single bootstrap.

For example, just now I am working on an application which is being developed in 3 local machines (me and two other members of my team) and being tested in our staging server. Besides, our client is monitoring progress of current sprint in their staging server and testing completed sprints in their pre-production server. Here, except the production servers, all hosts contains a checked out copy of code from a single repository. But this hosts have some difference in their library path, database host and authentication etc.

If my assumptions are ok for you, let’s start after downloading.


I have assumed that you are familiar with Zend Framework. And already worked on (atleast one) ZF MVC application. You know the basic things about bootstrapping and using the most common directory structure (shown in image). However, you can tune this technique for your favorite Zend directory stracture.

Download files

Downoad the files from here. The zip file contains –

  1. index.php – This is the bootstrap file. Your .htaccess file points all request to this file.
  2. config.xml – Contains all configurations of your application, for all hosts.
  3. Bootstrap.php – A php class that handles all startup settings in a vary organized way. (I don’t know who first wrote it, Thanks to him)

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PunBB modification – Implementing iconized categories for forum topics

PunBB is one of the fastest and minimal forum softwares powered by PHP. PunBB says about itself:

PunBB is a fast and lightweight PHP-powered discussion board. It is released under the GNU General Public License. Its primary goals are to be faster, smaller and less graphically intensive as compared to other discussion boards. PunBB has fewer features than many other discussion boards, but is generally faster and outputs smaller, semantically correct XHTML-compliant pages.

You can see a detailed review about PunBB from

What’s the purpose this mod?

PunBB has categories for forum. But there is no categorization for Topics like many other forums. This mod implements an iconized category for topics. The end result of this mod is –

  • It will add an excellent looking “Category Icons” fieldset in “Post new topic” form. (see Image#1)
  • Users can (optionally) select a topic category while posting a topic.
  • The category icon will be displayed beside the topic title in forum index page, topic detail page, search result etc. (see Image#2 and Image#3)
  • Clicking on a category icon will show all topics under that category.(see Image#4)

Lets see some screenshot of this modification :

Category icons in "Post new topic" form

Image#1:  Category icons in Post new topic form

Category icons before topic title in forum page

Image#2: Category icons before topic title in forum page

FireShot Pro capture #5 - 'User Contributed Deals _ Television is poluting our culture' - local_deals_com_forum_viewtopic_php_id=5

Image#3: Category icon in topic page

FireShot Pro capture #7 - 'User Contributed Deals _ Search results' - local_deals_com_forum_search_php_search_id=1345131291

Image#4: Filtering by category

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Image manipulation in Zend Framework using PHP Thumbnailer Class v2.0

In the huge set of library, Zend Framework have no options for manipulating image. There is a proposal for Zend_Image which aimed to provides easier image manipulation using GD. But the proposal was not considered. Bill Karwin of ZF said,

Proposal not being considered

This proposal has been reviewed. The proposal describes functionality that is very similar to the existing PHP interfaces for ImageMagick or GD.

We are not considering this for inclusion in the Zend Framework at this time.

So, what to do when we need to make image thumbnail, resizeing or cropping image etc in Zend Framework?

The Solution

Zend Framework has the extensive power of integrating any library. So, we can use ImageMagick or GD library or any wrapper class using this libraries for manipulating image.

Here, I am explaining creating image thumbnail using PHP Thumbnailer Class v2.0 in 2 easy steps. I am assuming that, you are using Zend’s MVC with common directory structure and you’ve GD library with your PHP installation.

Step 1 – Create a Model for image manipulation :

Download the PHP5 version of PHP Thumbnailer Class v2.0 and put the class file “” in your model directory. Now change the file name to “Thumbnail.php” as it’s class name. Now your model is ready for action.

Step 2 – Use this model in Controller :

In your Controller, write a function to make thumbnails using this model. For example, you can use this function below:

<span style="color: #606060">   1:</span> <span style="color: #008000">/**</span>
<span style="color: #606060">   2:</span> <span style="color: #008000"> * Create thumbnail of an image</span>
<span style="color: #606060">   3:</span> <span style="color: #008000"> * </span>
<span style="color: #606060">   4:</span> <span style="color: #008000"> * @author    Anis uddin Ahmad (</span>
<span style="color: #606060">   5:</span> <span style="color: #008000"> * @param     string    Path of source image</span>
<span style="color: #606060">   6:</span> <span style="color: #008000"> * @param     string    Destination path of thumbnail</span>
<span style="color: #606060">   7:</span> <span style="color: #008000"> * @param     number    Width of thumbnail</span>
<span style="color: #606060">   8:</span> <span style="color: #008000"> * @param     number    Height of thumbnail</span>
<span style="color: #606060">   9:</span> <span style="color: #008000"> * @param     number    (optional) thumbnail image quality </span>
<span style="color: #606060">  10:</span> <span style="color: #008000"> */</span>
<span style="color: #606060">  11:</span>
<span style="color: #0000ff">private</span> <span style="color: #0000ff">function</span> _createThumbnail($sourcePath, $destPath, $w, $h, $q = 100)
<span style="color: #606060">  12:</span>  {
<span style="color: #606060">  13:</span>     $thumb = <span style="color: #0000ff">new</span> Thumbnail($sourcePath);
<span style="color: #606060">  14:</span>     $thumb-&gt;resize($w, $h);
<span style="color: #606060">  15:</span>     $thumb-&gt;save($destPath, $q);
<span style="color: #606060">  16:</span>  }

Done. Now you can use this function to resize/make thumbnail of an image. To resize an image with keeping it’s original name, pass the $sourcePath again in $destPath parameter. Then it will overwrite the existing image.

So, was it so though to manipulate image in ZF?