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Outputting the database result to a text file

From: Exporting Data to Files with PHP

Video: Outputting the database result to a text file

Generating a plain text file from a database result Inside that conditional statement, we need to send a series The first one there is cache control, no cache, With the stream open, we can loop through So, we use f write to go through each array And the second argument it expects is a string.

Outputting the database result to a text file

Generating a plain text file from a database result requires only a dozen or so lines of code. You don't even need to create a copy of the file for the user to download. The PHP script streams it directly to the browser with the appropriate HTTP headers. In my editing program, I've opened cars_text.php. It's identical to the page we set up in chapter one, apart from the label on the submit button. The command on line two includes the database query.

I'm using the mySQLi version. Change it to the PDO version if you're using the SQLi database or any other database. The code we'll write in this page will be the same, whichever version you're using. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page, we can see that the name of the submit button is download, so we need to add a conditional statement to check for download in the post array when the submit button is clicked. So, let's go back above the doctype and add a new line after line two, then a conditional statement, if is set and what we're looking for is the post array and the download element.

Inside that conditional statement, we need to send a series of http headers so the browser knows to expect a file. So we use the header of function which expects a string and the first one will be content-type followed by a colon and the mine type which is text/play. Then another header, and this one will be content-disposition, followed by a colon, attachment, a semi colon and then, filename equals, and let's call this cars.txt.

We need another three headers to prevent browsers from caching the file and to save time I'm going to copy them from the text file which you can find in the exercise files for this video. The first one there is cache control, no cache, the second one pragma, no cache, it the same as cache control but pragma is used by older browsers and this last one here, header expires zero. That means the file expires immediately, so a fresh download will always be generated.

Next, we need to open a file for writing, and we can stream it directly to the browser using the f open function. F open returns a file handle, in other words, a reference to the file, that we need to pass to functions that actually write the output. So we'll create that handle, we'll call that output, and F open, and the first argument as as string, php://output and that will stream it directly to the browser rather than creating a local file.

And the second argument that we need is the mode. Which will be right. So in quotes, w. With the stream open, we can loop through the database results, exporting a row at a time. Because mySQLI and PDO use different methods to fetch a row, we're going to use the custom get row function that was defined in chapter one. So, we need a while loop here and we'll save the row as row equals get row, and we pass it result, which is our database result.

Row is an associative array that uses the column names as the key for each array element. We can use the column names as labels. So when we go through each row, we need to go through each array element, and getting both the key and the value for each one. So we need a for each loop here, so for each row as, then key, and a double arrow value. So, we use f write to go through each array element and f write expects that handle which is output.

And the second argument it expects is a string. What we're going to use is the key as the label. And to make it look better, I'm going to use UC first to make the first letter of each label uppercase. So, UC first, then pass it key, then we'll have the concatenation operator, a dot, we need the rest of the string, We make that a double quoted string. We go in with a colon, then a space, value, then backslash R, backslash N.

That will create a new line at the end of each array element. So we'll have the label, followed by its value, followed by a new line, and then when we get to the end of the row, we'll add another new line so each result is separate. So, f write again, output, and the string will be a double quoted string backslash F, backslash N. And then when we get to the end of our database result, we need to close the stream.

So at the end of that while loop, f close, pass it the handle which is output and then finally exit the script. So we can now save that page. And test this in a browser. Here we are in a browser, it's localhost, phpexport, cars_text.php. Load that page. There's the list of fictitious cars for sale. Scroll down to the bottom. There's our download button.

Click that. And it has downloaded cars.txt. And if I open that, there it is in notepad. And each element is on a single line. And each row has got a line between them. So there is the plain text output. It doesn't produce a very elegant result, but it does have the advantage of being quick and easy to implement.

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This video is part of

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Exporting Data to Files with PHP

44 video lessons · 2514 viewers

David Powers
Author

 
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  1. 5m 57s
    1. Welcome
      59s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      2m 42s
    3. Using the exercise files
      2m 16s
  2. 28m 3s
    1. Loading the test data into a database
      4m 8s
    2. Querying the database with MySQL Improved
      6m 4s
    3. Connecting to different databases with PHP Data Objects (PDO)
      2m 26s
    4. Querying the database with PDO
      7m 47s
    5. Displaying the data in a webpage
      5m 1s
    6. Autoloading classes
      2m 37s
  3. 38m 47s
    1. Outputting the database result to a text file
      6m 32s
    2. Outputting the result as a CSV file
      6m 53s
    3. Introducing the Base class for file downloads
      4m 37s
    4. Using the Text class for greater control over output
      7m 20s
    5. Controlling CSV options with the Csv class
      6m 49s
    6. Saving the data to a local file
      6m 36s
  4. 51m 42s
    1. Introducing PHPExcel
      3m 31s
    2. Setting properties and defaults in PHPExcel
      6m 58s
    3. Setting the spreadsheet's print options
      5m 59s
    4. Populating an Excel spreadsheet with data
      7m 46s
    5. Formatting columns in PHPExcel
      5m 47s
    6. Downloading the data as a .xlsx file
      5m 18s
    7. Creating a spreadsheet in the OpenDocument format
      3m 4s
    8. Creating columns and headers in Fusonic SpreadsheetExport
      6m 27s
    9. Adding the data and downloading as a .ods file
      6m 52s
  5. 22m 10s
    1. Installing PHPRtfLite
      3m 27s
    2. Defining the page margins and the footer
      6m 55s
    3. Setting heading and paragraph styles
      5m 18s
    4. Adding the data and outputting a .rtf file
      6m 30s
  6. 16m 35s
    1. Understanding the basic process
      3m 52s
    2. Merging XML documents with XSLT
      4m 13s
    3. Preparing a directory to generate the output
      1m 48s
    4. Generating XML from a database result
      6m 42s
  7. 27m 17s
    1. Creating a .odt file to use as a template
      4m 29s
    2. Inspecting the structure of an OpenDocument text file
      2m 43s
    3. Extracting the main content file from a .odt document
      5m 2s
    4. Converting the main content file to XSLT
      8m 3s
    5. Outputting the database result as a .odt file
      7m 0s
  8. 29m 0s
    1. Creating a .docx file to use as a template
      3m 37s
    2. Extracting the main content file from a Word document
      5m 28s
    3. Formatting the main content file
      3m 38s
    4. Converting the main content file to XSLT
      6m 18s
    5. Outputting the database result as a .docx file
      6m 4s
    6. Offering a choice of download formats
      3m 55s
  9. 3m 25s
    1. Goodbye
      3m 25s

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