Curl with PHP 5.2.9-2 and Apache 2.2.11 on Windows XP

This is a quick follow up post from Tony Spencers post “cURL with PHP and Apache on Windows.” I’d like to thank him for sharing his knowledge.

The reason i wanted to post this is to clear up any confusion you about getting Curl to work on Windows XP (with PHP 5.2.9-2 and Apache 2.2.11). Most likely this solution will work with all versions of PHP5 and Apache 2.2.x and if you are running XAMPP you can check how easy it is to >> enable << .

Getting Curl to Work!!

  1. First thing to do is to have the development environment installed locally on your computer. I have one at the office with installed without the installer and one here at home with the installer. For all intensive purposes lets concentrate on using php/apache installed with the MSI installer. If you got that going thats great, if not head on over to this >> Tutorial to install your local development << (the manual way with the installer) If you got it installed already head on over to the next point
  2. Next thing you need to do (after your installation) is to check your phpinfo() file. If you don’t have one make one and load it up on your local web-server. It should look like the screen below:
    Php.ini showing Curl extension

    If you don’t see your Curl extension in phpinfo() after trying to find it I suggest you install php again using the installer. Make sure your ENABLE all extensions/features in your installation as you will get an option to do so. (install all features please) If you explore the extension features in your install dialogue box you will see CURL there. This my friends is the key to the problem. If the installer gives you the option for less headache then use it. Did I mention that you can also rerun the installer and choose “Change”, then add the CURL extension?!

  3. Once you have installed properly and find the Curl extension in your phpinfo() screen make sure to copy these files from your PHP root directory (mine was D:\Program Files\PHP) to your c:\windows\system32:
    libeay32.dll
    ssleay32.dll

    Also make sure that a copy of php5ts.dll is also in your Apache/bin directory
  4. Last step is to uncomment this line curl: extension=php_curl.dll in your php.ini file. That should do it for you and hopefully everything worked out right!
  5. To test that Curl is actually working use this snippet of code and drop it in to your server root (usually htdocs):
    [php]

    [/php]

    Try this as well to display feeds from your blog (where $sXML = show_feeds(‘put the url of your blog here/atom’)
    [php]
    foreach($oXML->entry as $oEntry) {
    echo $oEntry->title . “\n”;
    }
    ?>
    [/php]

  6. If you see the the rss feed of Google then you are done! Change the output to ‘html’ and you will see the RSS feed displayed properly in html.

Scripting Twitter with cURL via Command Line

Ok the above explanation shows you how to use Curl and PHP together to build applications based on API’s that you would like to hook into. It doesn’t mean that you have Curl installed in your command like prompt where you can actually see the XML.

To do that is quite simple. Go over to http://curl.haxx.se/download.html and download the the Win32 Generic (7.19.4) by Dirk Paehl. Go ahead and extract it to a local folder (I extracted it to D:\Program Files\Curl).

Next open up the command prompt and cd into the same directory you extracted it into. Now just type in curl at the prompt to make sure the command is recoginized
Curl at the CMD line

If you want to easily overcome the shortcomings of Twitter’s API us this command below:

curl --basic --user username:password --data status="Checking out Curl!!" http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml
//replace username:password with your user name and password

You should end up with this below:
Scripting status update

So by now you should have a good idea of how Curl works with Apache and PHP as well as on the command line. The way i explained above should work straight out of the box. Good Luck!

10+ Open Source Social Platforms and Tools: Are they worth the fuss?

10+ Open Source Social Platforms and Tools: Are they worth the fuss?

I have been analyzing Open Source social media, how it works and what are the best platforms out there available for us to use. Though this is not a comparison of frameworks, or an in-depth article it’s a good place to start checking out the different frameworks that help us create these dynamic robust sites that are becoming more and more popular by the day.

There is always the option to build your own social media site (which we have already done, contact us for a demo). I have talked to companies that have taken the giant leap into social media and have implemented fully-featured scenarios enabling their users to interact, share and connect with others.

Much like other companies we have spent a lot of time and energy developing this system in-house and were lucky enough to have the development skills to get started + my own development expertise. I’ll tell you developing in-house isn’t as straightforward as leveraging an existing Open Source Platform or using Open-Source scripts.

The fact is that the web changes everyday and if you are not in the position to hire developers (the competent ones have high rates) you might be looking down a double edged sword. Instead why not avail the power of thousands of developers constantly improving one platform (of your choice) and then customizing it from there. This approach will save you a lot of time, money and hair-loss! Another point to note is that most of these open source systems are stable, easy to deploy and at fractions of the cost than that of In-house or contractual development.

So let’s get to it shall we? Ohh before I move on I would appreciate any comments or extra information that might add value to this article. Thanks..

Mahara:

Mahara

Mahara is an open source e-portfolio system with a flexible display framework. Mahara, meaning ‘think’ or ‘thought’ in Te Reo Māori, is user centered environment with a permissions framework that enables different views of an e-portfolio to be easily managed. Mahara also features a weblog, resume builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online learner communities.

Home Page: http://mahara.org/
Demo: http://demo.mahara.org/

Spree

Spree

Spree is an expert search engine where users ask questions to find other participating users, who are knowledgeable in that area and willing to help. Spree aims to create an active online community, especially in enterprises, where every user can ask questions or act as an expert helping fellow users.

Home Page: http://project.askspree.de/
ScreenShots: http://spree.dai-labor.de/screenshots/

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A list of PHP Frameworks

I started out in this business with a keen eye on design and especially flash.  What i missed out was was the business logic side, especially how rapidly one can develop websites/applications with the use of open source php frameworks.

What i didnt realize is that design is great, but most people want projects done with php. I’m not going to go on about this, but i am doing extensive research on different frameworks and which one would suit your business the best.

Here is a list of what i have found so far (Ajax and Javascript support as well).

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CodeIgniter: A PHP framework

Throughout my time as a web developer i have realized that using dynamically created web pages is the best solution to rapidly developing websites and applications.  I usually hunt around for frameworks when i have the free time and one that I found today was:  Code Igniter

WHAT IS CODE IGNITER?

CodeIgniter is a powerful PHP framework with a very small footprint, built for PHP coders who need a simple and elegant toolkit to create full-featured web applications. If you’re a developer who lives in the real world of shared hosting accounts and clients with deadlines, and if you’re tired of ponderously large and thoroughly undocumented frameworks.

Code Igniter is right for you if..

  • You want a framework with a small footprint.
  • You need exceptional performance.
  • You need broad compatibility with standard hosting accounts that run a variety of PHP versions and configurations.
  • You want a framework that requires nearly zero configuration.
  • You want a framework that does not require you to use the command line.
  • You want a framework that does not require you to adhere to restrictive coding rules.
  • You are not interested in large-scale monolithic libraries like PEAR.
  • You do not want to be forced to learn a templating language (although a template parser is optionally available if you desire one).
  • You eschew complexity, favoring simple solutions.
  • You need clear, thorough documentation.
There are lots of open source frameworks out there, but i feel that this is a great starting point, as it seems that they have targeted users who want to get the most out of php, whilst learning the least.  Go and see for yourself!  They provide great documentation, cool videos to start you off and a great forum where you can get help!!

Installing APACHE 2.0.6 / PHP5.2.6 for Windows

BRIEF HISTORY OF APACHE (As written on Wikipedia)

The Apache HTTP Server, commonly referred to simply as Apache [??pæt?i], is a web server notable for playing a key role in the initial growth of the World Wide Web. Apache was the first viable alternative to the Netscape Communications Corporation web server (currently known as Sun Java System Web Server), and has since evolved to rival other Unix-based web servers in terms of functionality and performance.

It is often said that the project’s name was chosen for two reasons: (1) out of respect for the Native American Indian tribe of Apache (Indé), well-known for their endurance and their skills in warfare, (2) and due to the project’s roots as a set of patches to the codebase of NCSA HTTPd 1.3 – making it “a patchy” server.
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