:: Archive for the 'Web Development' Category ::

Zdbform: Simple database admin forms with the Zend Framework

Posted on March 25th, 2006 in PHP, Web Development by Greg

I’ve put together a database admin application using the database functionality provided by the Zend Framework. Basically, it’s a generic set of classes that allows people to quickly add, edit, delete, and view data in a database table. The nice thing is that this uses the Zend_DB_Table classes, so it should presumably work with just about any database supported by the Zend Framework. I’ve tried this on mySQL and sqlite, and it worked just fine on both. There are some limitations of course. Right now this will only work on tables that have auto-increment primary keys. I don’t quite know how this would work with databases that don’t have auto-increment such as Oracle – maybe this could have support for defining the sequence that should be used when inserting data. This is a PHP5 only class due to it’s reliance on the Zend Framework.

The intention of Zdbform is to have a quick way to put up a database admin page for webapp control panel that is easier to use than tools such as phpMyAdmin. Something that can provide validation, customization of the view, integration within other pages,

You can see an example of this running or check out the API docs.

Zdbform has the following features:

  • Simple maintenance of database tables
  • View table data with pagination, searching, and sorting of columns
  • Ability to change the display names of columns
  • Ability to hide columns in view, add, and edit
  • Extendable set of widgets to show data in table / forms
  • Extendable set of validators to validate column data
  • Ability to add row validators that validate the full contents of a newly inserted or edited row

Other items that I would like to add in the future are:

  • Custom callbacks on add / edit / delete
  • Think about defining Zdbform as extension of Zend_DB_Form
  • If definition of class settings is externalized it could open up opportunities for export of data, ajax editing, ajax validation, etc.
  • Rename classes to fit within naming standards of Zend Framework. Think about how this fits into the MVC parts of the Zend Framework.

The page that defined the example is shown below:

require_once 'Zend/Db.php';
require_once 'Zend/Db/Table.php';
require_once 'zdbform.class.php';
require_once 'zdbform_widgets.class.php';
require_once 'zdbform_validations.php';
$params = array (
    'host'     => 'localhost',
    'username' => 'test',
    'password' => 'test',
    'dbname'   => 'delicious.db'
$db = Zend_Db::factory('pdoSqlite', $params);
class Posts extends Zend_Db_Table {}
$dbform = new Zdbform('Posts');
$dbform->setWidget('posted', 'timestamp');
$dbform->setWidget('description', 'html');
$dbform->setWidget('href', 'link');
$dbform->setDisplayName('id', 'ID');
$dbform->setDisplayName('href', 'Link');
$dbform->setHelpText('posted', 'm/d/y format');
$dbform->setHelpText('tags', 'Enter one or more tags, separated by commas');
$dbform->tableTitle = "Backed up delicious links";
$dbform->editTitle = "Edit link information";
$dbform->addTitle = "Add new link";
$dbform->addColumnValidator('tags','validate_minlength',array('minlength' => 4));
$dbform->rowsPerPage = 15;
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
<title>ZDBFORM: Manage Posts Table</title>
<link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="zdbform.css" />

Here are the main steps:

  • Lines 2-6 include the required libraries for this to work. It’s important to note that you need to have the Zend Framework classes in your include path for PHP. Alternatively, you can use the set_include_path at the top of the script.
  • Lines 7-13 sets up database parameters and then creates a Zend DB Adapter using the options provided. In this case it’s a sqlite database. Typically this stuff would probably just be defined in one place in your application, and then included, but for this case I’ve put everything on one page
  • Lines 14-15 set the newly created Zend DB Adapter to be the default adapter for Zend DB Table and then defines ‘Posts’ a class that extends Zend_DB_Table. The name of the class is important – it is the name of the database table we want to manage.
  • Line 17 is the first place where we see Zdbform. Here, we create an instance of Zdbform, passing it the name of the table we want to manage.
  • Lines 18-32 set various options for our table. For example, Line 18 sets the posted column’s widget to timestamp, which will show a dropdown for selection of a date. Line 19 sets the description column’s widget to html, which will use FCKeditor (a JavaScript HTML editor) when adding and editing data. Lines 30 and 31 set various validators that will validate data on edit or insert. All of these steps are optional and only enhance the behavior / look and feel of Zdbform.
  • Line 33 calls Zdbform::processForms(), which will process any data that has been submitted for add, edit, or delete
  • Finally, lines 47 and 48 display the forms and display the table of data

Download the code and example

Sorting sortables and dragging between lists with Scriptaculous

Posted on March 9th, 2006 in Web Development by Greg

I’ve put up an example page that takes advantage of a number of Scriptaculous features to allow the following:

  • Drag and drop items within a group
  • Drag and drop items between a group
  • Drag and drop groups
  • Create new groups and drag items into the new group

In doing this, I used a couple Scriptaculous features I hadn’t used before:

  • Many of the options in creating sortables to limit where the item could be dropped
  • The Bulider object to create new groups
  • The Sortable.sequence function to get the order of items in a sortable as a JavaScript array

A lot of people have posted comments here asking if there is a way to drag items between lists. Obviously, Scriptaculous has provided this functionality for a long time, but there aren’t many examples out on the web showing how to use it…so my new example page is an attempt to show it off – congrats to Thomas Fuchs for putting together such a useful library that is such a pleasure to use.

Multifaceted Lightbox

Posted on February 26th, 2006 in Web Development by Greg

What is it?

A script (JavaScript) that allows you to focus the users attention on a particular portion of the screen. It creates the equivalent of a modal dialog box – this means that while the user looks at this focused part of the screen, they can’t interact with the rest of the screen.


What is different about this version?

  • This version has 4 different types of data that can be loaded into the lightbox:
    • String: you can pass a simple string that will be loaded in the lightbox
    • Image: it can pickup the url of an image and load it inline in the lightbox
    • Local element: you can pass it the ID of an element on the page to be shown in the lightbox. When the lightbox is closed, the element will be hidden and added as the last element within the body
    • AJAX: content can be loaded from a URL with AJAX
  • Aside from the image version, you can specify the width and height of the lightbox when invoking it
  • If the dimensions of the lightbox are bigger than the user’s window, it will automatically shrink the size of the lightbox (for all except image lightbox)
  • The functions have all been put inside of a simple class to avoid function name clashes and encapsulate the functionality
  • This doesn’t automatically add the lightbox functionality to links with particular text in them (i.e. rel=”lightbox”)

Check it Out

View examples and download

Posted WordPress Subpages Plugin

Posted on September 22nd, 2005 in PHP, Web Development, WordPress by Greg

I’ve posted the simple WordPress pluggin that I mentioned months ago that shows subpages for the WordPress ‘Pages’ feature. A couple people had asked for it, so now you can download it at the following location:


Updated Scriptaculous Lists Example

Posted on September 7th, 2005 in PHP, Web Development by Greg

Downloadable from here is a version 0.02 of the SLLists class I put together (mentioned in the previous post). This includes a generic PHP script that will:

  • Load data from a database
  • Display it in a chosen format on the page
  • Allow the user to drag and drop the individual records to change the order
  • Click save to persist the changes in the database

To use this all you really need to do is setup the database login properties, choose a table, and choose which fields contain the primary key, the displayable text, and the actual sort order.

That’s it!