Facebook Graph API App Easy w/ PHP SDK

NOTE: This post was written using Facebook’s PHP SDK version 2.1.2. Since this post was made, the PHP SDK has changed and some of the process that are explained below may have changed as well. At some point I’ll have to revisit this post and update it but at this time just keep in mind of the above.

As promised, here is a post (similar to my Twitter API post) on using the Facebook API. There are many reason why one would want to access the Facebook API – maybe to create a mobile app that lets you post photos to your Facebook albums, or maybe you just want to show your last few Facebook status updates on your blog; what ever the reason may be, Facebooks Graph API mixed in with their PHP SDK makes it really easy to accomplish this.


  • Setup our environment
  • Register an app on Facebook
  • Understand the authentication process and extended parameters
  • Understand Graph API
  • Retrieve our latest status updates
  • Add a new status update
  • Retrieve our photos from our albums
  • Add a new photo Continue reading “Facebook Graph API App Easy w/ PHP SDK”

Twitter API, OAuth Authentication, and Zend_Oauth Tutorial

* 06/2014 UPDATE
Thanks to Ivan for pointing out that the siteUrl is now ‘https://api.twitter.com/oauth’. Make sure to use this new value anywhere where the siteUrl is mentioned below.

I recently had to work on a project that required me to interact with the Twitter API. I had done this before so I wasn’t expecting anything different until I remembered that Twitter had changed their API to start using OAuth for authentication. If you are not familiar with OAuth, it’s a secure way of authenticating without requiring a user to submit their username and password to third-parties – you can read more about it at OAuth. There are lots of resources online that talk about this in detail but I wasn’t able to find one that explained the entire process in a way that made sense. Hopefully this post will give you everything you need to get started with the Twitter API. I’m going to go through the steps required to make this work without using the entire zend framework.


This tutorial will go step-by-step in explaining how to create a small PHP application that can interact with the Twitter API. Our goal is to:

  • Authenticate
  • Display our latest tweets
  • Post new tweets from PHP
  • Display the last few times our account was mentioned

The only assumptions at this point (other than knowing PHP) is that you have a twitter account and the zend framework library downloaded. We won’t be using the entire framework, just some of the files as standalone modules.

Registering An App

The first step in being able to communicate with the Twitter API is to register an app in their system so you can receive all the necessary keys to authenticate with OAuth. Go to dev.twitter.com and log in with your Twitter account. Now click on ‘register an app’ (if that link is not visible then click on ‘your apps’ on the top right and then click on ‘register an app’ in the next page). These are the values I put in the form on the next page for my app. Feel free to follow along. I’ll explain the important inputs.

Application: Joey’s Blog Example
Description: Twitter PHP App
Application Website: http://www.joeyrivera.com
Organization: None
Application Type: Browser
Callback URL: http://www.joeyrivera.com/twitter/callback.php
Default Access Type: Read & Write Continue reading “Twitter API, OAuth Authentication, and Zend_Oauth Tutorial”

Automate Db Model Creation with Zend_CodeGenerator_Php_Class

I’m working on a new tool at work that will automate several processes for a few employees so they don’t have to spend too much time doing very repetitive tasks. This tool has to do a good bit of database manipulation so I’ve decided I’ll build it in PHP using Zend Framework.

I’ll be using Zend_Db_Table_Abstract to communicate with the db tables from my project and I’ll be creating a model for each table as well to store and manipulate data. I’ll be working with lots of tables in the database and many have lots of fields.

I start by opening up Zend Studio on one monitor and SQL Query Analyzer on the other and get to work. The first table I want to work with is the ‘Student’ table. I create a new file in my project called Student.php. Place it on my models/DbTable folder and inside I simply have to declare ‘_name’ as a protected property with the value ‘Student’ and extend ‘Zend_Db_Table_Abstract’. Easy enough but now I want to create the model I will be using to convert the database data into workable objects through my mapper class.


I create a new file called ‘Student.php’ and save it to my models folder. I open the file up and now I have to create a property (it’s actually an array _data with all properties defined as keys inside) for each field in the Student table… all 50 of them! I have to be careful to name each correctly as well as to not accidentally miss some field. It ends up being a time consuming process and inefficient so I start looking for a better way to accomplish this. Continue reading “Automate Db Model Creation with Zend_CodeGenerator_Php_Class”

Caching using PHP/Zend_Cache and MySQL

I like the definition used in Wikipedia: “a cache is a temporary storage area where often accessed data can be stored for quick access”. The idea is to get ‘often accessed data’ from a database and store it in memory (RAM or as a file in your local file system). This is because:

  • it’s quicker for a machine to read from memory than to connect to a database and query data.
  • it’s more efficient for the database to not waste time and resources returning the same dataset multiple times when it could be focusing on other tasks.

As long as the data, in this scenario from the database, doesn’t change, there is no need to query it again.

Resources are limited on systems and to take advantage of your resources, you need to make sure time isn’t spent on tasks that could be handled better elsewhere. Here is a silly real world example. Imagine on a daily basis, I have to track how many magazines I have and send this information to Person X. I get new magazines at the beginning of each month only. To track the number of magazines I have every day I could

  1. Count them, one by one every day and send Person X the total. If I have 50 magazines this could take some time and assume I get 10 more every month, after a year or two I could spend all day just counting how many magazines I have instead of working. Sound productive?
  2. Count them once and write the number down on a piece of paper (caching!). Everyday when Person X asks how many magazines I have, I read the number from the piece of paper. Only when I get new magazines (once a month) do I count them again (or just add the current number + the new amount) to get my new total. Then I update my piece of paper with the new total (updating the value in cache).

The latter is definitely the more productive choice.

The same idea applies to computer systems. In the web, you have static and dynamic files. Static files are quicker to serve on a server because the server only has to read the contents of the file and send it to the browser requesting it. Dynamic pages take more time and resources because the server needs to execute the code in the page and only once it’s done can it send the request back. PHP can be used to create dynamic pages. The server executes the php code and spits out a file that then is read by the browser. If a database is involved, then the database has to run it’s task as well before the final file is returned.

When ever possible, it’s more efficient to serve a static file or static content. We use cache to accomplish this. In this post I’m going to talk about caching files and database queries to local files on the server. Continue reading “Caching using PHP/Zend_Cache and MySQL”

Implementing Vanity URLs in PHP w/ Zend Framework

One of the reasons why people like vanity url’s is because they are easy to remember. For example take the following url:


If this was the url to my page in some social network site, there’s no way I could remember it nor would I be able to easily share the url with others unless I sent them the link. Now, if I could instead create a vanity url that looked like the following:


it would be much easier to remember and to share with others. Not only that but now I have a much more search engine friendly url with keywords that I would like to be found under – but ignore the search engine benefits for now.


I’m currently working on an application that can benefit from vanity urls for the reasons mentioned above so I decided to spend some time thinking of ways to implement this. The first way that came to my mind was using mod_rewrite. Mod rewrite lets you manipulate urls. For example, you can write rules in your .htaccess file so when a user goes to http://www.somesocialsite.com/joeyrivera it really calls http://www.somesocialsite.com/search.php?user=joeyrivera or in zend the request would be more like http://www.somesocialsite.com/search/user/name/joeyrivera Continue reading “Implementing Vanity URLs in PHP w/ Zend Framework”

Extract collections of similar objects from an array in php

A co-worker was working on some stuff dealing with creating collections of objects within an array so I decided to play around with the idea. Basically, you start with a big array filled of objects and the objective is to create smaller arrays of similar objects. In this case we want collections of person objects who names are the same. Here is what I came up with:


class person
	public $id = null;
	public $name = '';

	public function __construct($id, $name)
		$this->id = $id;
		$this->name = $name;

$persons = array();
$persons[] = new person(1, 'bob');
$persons[] = new person(2, 'bob');
$persons[] = new person(3, 'moses');
$persons[] = new person(4, 'joey');
$persons[] = new person(5, 'bob');
$persons[] = new person(6, 'joey');
$persons[] = new person(7, 'bob');
$persons[] = new person(8, 'moses');
$persons[] = new person(9, 'joey');
$persons[] = new person(10, 'joey');

$collections = array();

// loop until there are no person left in array
while(count($persons) > 0)
	// new collection and insert first person from array
	$collection = array();
	$collection[] = $persons[0];

	// now remove person from array since already in collection

	// loop through each person in array
	for($x = 0; $x < count($persons); $x++)
		// check if there is a match
		if($persons[$x]->name == $collection[0]->name)
			// add person to this collection
			$collection[] = $persons[$x];

			// pop if last item
			if($x+1-count($persons) == 0)
				array_splice($persons, $x);
				array_splice($persons, $x, $x+1-count($persons));
			// move back since array position gets deleted, else will skip over next index
	$collections[] = $collection;

function debug($o)
	echo '<pre>';
	echo '</pre>';

And the result is:

    [0] => Array
            [0] => person Object
                    [id] => 1
                    [name] => bob

            [1] => person Object
                    [id] => 2
                    [name] => bob

            [2] => person Object
                    [id] => 5
                    [name] => bob

            [3] => person Object
                    [id] => 7
                    [name] => bob


    [1] => Array
            [0] => person Object
                    [id] => 3
                    [name] => moses

            [1] => person Object
                    [id] => 8
                    [name] => moses


    [2] => Array
            [0] => person Object
                    [id] => 4
                    [name] => joey

            [1] => person Object
                    [id] => 6
                    [name] => joey

            [2] => person Object
                    [id] => 9
                    [name] => joey

            [3] => person Object
                    [id] => 10
                    [name] => joey



You start with 1 big array and end up with, in this case, 3 arrays of person whos names are ‘bob’, then ‘moses’, and finally ‘joey’.

SQLSTATE[HY000]: General error – using php/pdo mysql stored procedures (sp)

I spent many hours last night trying to figure out why I was getting a fatal error: ‘SQLSTATE[HY000]: General error 0’ in my code and finally figured it out but first my environment. I’m using Zend Server CE running php 5.3.0, zend framework 1.9.0 and mysql 5.1.32. I should have tested this bug without the zend framework to make sure it’s not specific to zf (I don’t think it is) but I’m feeling lazy so I’ll let someone else try it out.

My code works as follows. I have a php class that calls a stored procedure which will take in an id, return a record set (if found) and will also return 2 out variables. While it was returning a record set everything was working perfectly fine. When I tried passing an invalid id, nothing was being returned and my code would keep giving me the ‘SQLSTATE[HY000]: General error 0’ (very helpful error indeed…).

The issue ended up being the way I had my stored procedure coded. I would first check to see if the id passed was valid, if so I would select the data else I would set my out vars to some value and do nothing else. For some reason, because I wasn’t returning a select, my code would blow up. In the mysql query browser, my stored procedure worked fine and my second select to get the out vars was working correctly. But php didn’t like it one bit. I tried forcing a select in my stored procedure in the invalid id section and then everything worked fine again. This sounds a bit confusing so here is the way I can replicate this. Continue reading “SQLSTATE[HY000]: General error – using php/pdo mysql stored procedures (sp)”

Creating RSVP in PHP/MySQL w/ Zend Framework

This post is to share the php/zend framework code I used to create an rsvp for my wedding site. I’m not going into all the details since that would take too long ;p but all the code is available if you want to use it. This was created using the zend framework version 1.7.

So I’m getting married in two month and for our wedding my fiancee and I decided to create a website for our guests. The site includes information such as location, time, links to registries, maps, and a section to rsvp. The site was made by my fiancee in html and css. When she was done, I ported it over to zend framework and started creating the rsvp section which I’ll describe next. You can view the finished wedding site here:



Continue reading “Creating RSVP in PHP/MySQL w/ Zend Framework”

Using MySQL Stored Procedure IN/OUT and Recordset w/ PHP

Note: The code below will not work on all environments. I’m using php 5.2.6 with mysql driver 5.0.18.

In a previous post:

I explained how to use MySQL stored procedures with different db adapters such as mysql, mysqli, and pdo in PHP. In those examples, I demonstrated calling a sp with in/out variables and calling a stored procedure that returns a recordset. One of the comments I received was a person asking how to call a stored procedure that uses in/out parameters as well as returns a recordset. It’s not much different and here’s how.

The trick is to combine both methods in one. Here’s an example of what the stored procedure looks like:

DROP PROCEDURE IF EXISTS `test`.`get_users` $$
IN firstName VARCHAR(100),
OUT totalUsers INT
INTO totalUsers
FROM users
WHERE first_name = firstName;
FROM users
WHERE first_name = firstName;
END $$

Continue reading “Using MySQL Stored Procedure IN/OUT and Recordset w/ PHP”

AMF,XMLRPC,JSON,REST Zend Web Services Tutorial

I’ve been using the Zend for the last few months and I’m loving it. Here at work we were having a discussion about implementing some web services in the future so I decided to see what it takes to create some web services in PHP using Zend. I was pleasantly surprise (well not really surprised) that it was extremely quick and easy to get things up and running.

In this post, I’m going to explain how to create web services that can be accessed via AMF, XMLRPC, JSON, and REST using the Zend Framework. Hopefully these should cover most uses out there. I left SOAP out since I don’t really see myself using it any time soon. I will be communicating with a database as well to make the tutorial more informative. The db will consist of one table with information about courses such as mathematics courses.

I’m going to show you the final product first, hopefully to catch your attention so you’ll read the rest :). This is what the final product will look like. If you look at the following links in Chrome, do a view source to see the formatted response.


One course:  http://www.joeyrivera.com/ZendWebServices/xml-rpc/course-info/abbr/math101/
All courses:  http://www.joeyrivera.com/ZendWebServices/xml-rpc/courses-info/


One course:  http://www.joeyrivera.com/ZendWebServices/json/course-info/abbr/math101/
All courses: http://www.joeyrivera.com/ZendWebServices/json/courses-info/


One course:  http://www.joeyrivera.com/ZendWebServices/rest/course-info/?method=getCourseInfo&abbr=math102
All courses:  http://www.joeyrivera.com/ZendWebServices/rest/courses-info/?method=getCoursesInfo


One course:  http://www.joeyrivera.com/ZendWebServices/amf/course-info/abbr/math101
All courses:  http://www.joeyrivera.com/ZendWebServices/amf/courses-info/ Continue reading “AMF,XMLRPC,JSON,REST Zend Web Services Tutorial”