Posts tagged ‘development’

Computational Search Engine – Wolfram|Alpha

When we look for something in the web we use search engines. Like many of you my favourite SE is Google. The term googling started upon doing search using the Google. Then comes Bing. Now what do we search using SE? I asked my friends & collogues about this. Majority of the answers are almost anything. Well I also think more or less the same, but with an assumption of existence of the information on the web. This means I search for things like address of restaurant or coffee shop,  specific product review, news for certain things or may be work related information etc. I believe most of you also do the same. In simple words we search information present in the web using SE.

Now if you need to find out the some information like 30 degree C equivalent F or 8% tax upon $1200 or interest amount upon $4500 with 13.5% yearly compound interest etc. Best way is to find out pen & paper and a calculator to do the math. I found out an interesting search engine powered by computational power. Continue reading ‘Computational Search Engine – Wolfram|Alpha’ »

PHP serialization or Json

Information storage and retrieval is an important job while designing or developing an application. We all know how to store data with normal data types in database or file systems. Here I am going to discuss about storage and retrieval of data having complex type. Complex type means they are not like normal string or number or boolean values. Complex type means data structure or objects.

Think of a situation where you are working with some array. Now there may be some situations where you need to store the array and retrieve it back. If you are familiar with OOPS concept then objects are another type which you may need to store and retrieve.

Serialization is the process by which you can convert an object or data structure into a sequence of bits which can stored and retrieve back. Serialization is also known as deflating or marshalling. The opposite process (converting the serialized sequence of bits to object or data structure) is known as Deserialization or inflating or unmarshalling. Most of the important languages have their own implementation of these processes. In Java provides automatic serialization by implementing the java.io.Serializable interface. In perl there are modules like Storable or FreezeThaw. Python implements serialization through the standard library module pickle. In PHP there are two built-in functions as serialize() and unserialize() for this purpose. However as I will continue the discussion with PHP then you should be aware of the fact that – there is a difference in the implementation of serialization in PHP 4.x and PHP 5.x.

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QuickForm and AutoSuggest

The best example of auttosuggest filed I can instantly think of is Google. While designing dynamic forms I felt the requirement of such field. As I mostly use PEAR class and HTML Quickform to design dynamic forms in php. However in HTML Quickform there is autocomplete type but still there is no support for autosuggest. I googled a lot to get such support, but found it out in RFC of HTML Quickform. So I started working upon it. My first job was to found out a autosuggest Javascript code suitable for integration. I searched out an autocomplete javascript code by Beau D. Scott

The reasons why I selected Beau’s code is :
The code is simple to use but robust and has good documentation.
It uses standard JS library like prototype and scriptaculous.

Now having previous knowledge of integration of QuickForm and Jscalender I created the code for autosuggest class. This autosuggest class file contains constructor function, toHtml function which generates the HTML code for the field, getFrozenHtml function to return the autosuggest content in HTML and finally the registering process of the autosuggest type with HTML QuickForm. I put this autosuggest class name as autosuggestwce. View this wceautosuggest.php file.

To use this autosuggest field in HTML Quickform you need to have 3 javascript files as prototype.js, scriptaculous.js and autocomplete.js. Prototype Javascript is used for javascript framework, Scriptaculous for show and hide effect and AutoComplete is the main javascript functionality file. Among them scriptaculous.js can be removed if you don’t like to show effects, but you need to modify certain section in the wceautosuggest.php file. You also need to declare $GLOBALS[‘_HTML_QUICKFORM_AUTOSUGGEST_BASEPATH’] the global path defining variable for the javascript files path in the page where you will generate the form.

This autosuggest uses php script to populate values. The name of the php script has to be mentioned in the $attribute array for the key ‘fileref’.

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QuickForm and Jscalendar

Most of us are familiar with calendars in web pages. Small calendar showing date and year are really good to see and useful too. While in case of forms we have seen calendars attached with date fields. In some of my earlier projects I have designed date fields using simple drop down menu containing the data, month and year menu. It’s good but not very user friendly as user need to select 3 menus to choose a certain date. I had to stick with that format as I mostly use PEAR HTML_QuickForm to design forms in the web pages. Among many reasons the most unavoidable one is that it automatically generates client side validation JavaScript code. With time I realized that I should find some options to integrate calendar object with the QuickForm.

After giving a thorough search I selected jscalendar to incorporate with my form elements. The reasons behind selecting jscalendar are:

  • It has a nice interface and wide variety of themes.
  • Multiple integration options along with selectable date format to put the date in the text field.
  • Support for integrating the calendar object with HTML_QuickForm.

Prior to integrate the jscalendar I need to upgrade HTML_QuickFom version to 3.2.10 as I found some code added in this version to support jscalendar. I also need to upgrade my PEAR DB package to version 1.7.13 and DB_Table to version 1.5.5. In my projects most of the cases I generate forms using DB_Table instead of using QuickForm directly. This gives an extra benefit for data validation and storing them in database.

After the up-gradating the required pear packages I worked upon integrating the jscalendar code. After a spending a moderate amount of time I was able to work jscalender with the QuickForm. But unfortunately when I was trying generate forms using DB_Table jscalendar component was not working. I was getting javascript errors.
I was following the method described by Philippe Jausions of 11abacus in jscalendar.php file. It was working fine with the QuickForm. In that case I was using addElements function to add jscalendar with proper options using the $option array like this –

  1. $options = array(
  2.            ‘baseURL’ => ‘../js/jscalendar/’,
  3.            ‘styleCss’ => ‘calendar-win2k-1.css’,
  4.            ‘language’ => ‘en’,
  5.            ‘button’   => ,
  6.            ‘setup’ => array(
  7.                       ‘inputField’ => ‘datefield1′,
  8.                                       ‘ifFormat’ => ‘%d.%m.%Y %H:%M’,
  9.                                       ‘showsTime’ => true,
  10.                                       ‘time24′ => true,
  11.                                       ‘weekNumbers’ => false,
  12.                                       ‘showOthers’ => true
  13.                                       ),
  14.            );
  15. $form->addElement(‘jscalendar’, ‘ datefield1′, ‘My Date’, $options);

I used this same option array in the column definition for the same field, as DB_Table uses the column definition for the attributes of the form elements of the form. I written like

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