Code Clinic: PHP
Illustration by Don Barnett

Code Clinic: PHP

with David Powers

Video: Retrieving the full-year records

The full year records of deep more weather data And save that as get_full_years.php.
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  1. 8m 49s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      4m 40s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 56s
    4. Getting the most from Code Clinic
  2. 1h 34m
    1. Introducing Lake Pend Oreille
      5m 4s
    2. Overview of my solution
      3m 22s
    3. Setting up the database
      4m 55s
    4. Retrieving the full-year records
      5m 20s
    5. Processing the full-year records
      10m 49s
    6. Priming the date_recorded column
      7m 47s
    7. Inserting the full-year data into the database
      6m 48s
    8. Processing individual days
      6m 54s
    9. Retrieving a year's data a day at a time
      7m 41s
    10. Keeping the data up to date
      4m 27s
    11. Calculating the mean and median values
      7m 21s
    12. Creating a web service
      6m 21s
    13. Getting the required data
      6m 50s
    14. Building the web service response
      10m 38s
  3. 49m 47s
    1. Identify the image subset
      3m 14s
    2. Overview of my solution
      3m 19s
    3. Setting up the files
      2m 43s
    4. Calculating the scaling ratio
      6m 28s
    5. Using a custom class to scale images
      6m 25s
    6. Generating the thumbnails
      7m 49s
    7. Using subimage-search in ImageMagick
      4m 32s
    8. Analyzing the image statistics
      4m 45s
    9. Finding the cropped images
      7m 13s
    10. Running the script and displaying the results
      3m 19s
  4. 39m 3s
    1. A classic CS interview question
      2m 4s
    2. Overview of my solution
      3m 48s
    3. Finding all possible combinations
      6m 26s
    4. Detecting horizontal attacks programmatically
      4m 8s
    5. Implementing the checkLayout() function
      6m 25s
    6. Rotating the chessboard
      4m 59s
    7. Eliminating duplicate solutions
      6m 34s
    8. Displaying the unique solutions
      4m 39s
  5. 21m 33s
    1. Build a musical instrument using mouse movements
      1m 35s
    2. Overview of my solution
      2m 1s
    3. Using the Web Audio API
      2m 47s
    4. Creating the tone generator
      7m 39s
    5. Controlling the frequency and volume
      7m 31s
  6. 31m 29s
    1. Searching directories for photos
      2m 44s
    2. Overview of my solution
      3m 24s
    3. Finding the images
      5m 30s
    4. Extracting Exif and IPTC metadata
      6m 18s
    5. Extracting XMP metadata
      6m 22s
    6. Reorganizing the folder structure
      7m 11s
  7. 39m 41s
    1. Building the web NEW
      1m 47s
    2. Overview of my solution NEW
      1m 50s
    3. Getting data from a CSV file: The basics NEW
      4m 29s
    4. Automatically generating an HTML table from a CSV file NEW
      7m 48s
    5. Displaying the table in a webpage NEW
      6m 26s
    6. Creating an associative array from a CSV file NEW
      3m 55s
    7. Displaying the array elements in a webpage NEW
      6m 30s
    8. Dealing with different CSV formats NEW
      6m 56s

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Watch the Online Video Course Code Clinic: PHP
4h 44m Intermediate Jul 15, 2014 Updated Dec 16, 2014

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Many successful programmers know more than just a computer language. They also know how to think about solving problems. They use "computational thinking": breaking a problem down into segments that lend themselves to technical solutions. Code Clinic is a series of six courses where authors solve the same problems using different programming languages. Here, David Powers works with PHP.

Each month, David will introduce a new challenge and provide an overview of his solution in PHP, explaining how he broke the problem up into logical components, and revealing the difficulties he encountered. Challenges will include topics such as statistical analysis, searching directories for images, and accessing peripheral devices.

Visit other courses in the series to see how to solve the exact same challenge in languages like C#, C++, Java, Python, and Ruby. And check back every month for new challenges.

David Powers

Retrieving the full-year records

The full year records of deep more weather data are located in the data/dm directory of the ponderay website. They're all named the same way. Environmental, underscore, data. Underscore followed by the year then .txt. According to this listing, the files are quite large. The ten files add up to ta total of just over 29 megabytes. So rather than attempt to access them remotely, I think it's best to download them and then work with them locally.

One way to get copies of these files is to right click the link of each one and then save link as. But since we're using PHP, let's create a script to do it for us. The first thing that we need is the URL. So if we can copy from the address from the browser, and then go to our editing program. And we need to create a new PHP file. And save that as get_full_years.php.

By default, PHP scripts automatically terminate after 30 seconds. So unless you've got a really fast internet connected, that's too short to download all the files. So we need to remove the time limit, we can do that by changing he PHP directive using ini set. So ini_set, and the argument of that is the directive, which is max_execution_time.

And the second argument is a string which we set to zero. So that will remove the max execution time. Next we need a variable for the URL, and that needs to be a string and we can paste in the URL that we copied from the Pondaray website. And all of the files begin with environmental_data_ ,so we can add that to the end of the URL. And then we create a loop to fetch the files for 2001 through to 2010.

So we'll have a full loop. We'll initialize year at 2001. We'll increment it until it gets less than or equal to 2010. Have been incremented each time the loop runs. Inside the loop, we can use file get contents to get the file from the remote server. And then file put contents to save it to our local disk. And we'll use some conditional statements to make sure that everything has gone okay.

So, first we need to get it. So if, and they will store the file contents as data, file get contents, and the argument to that will be the URL. Which will concatenate with the year, and then we will concatenate .txt as a string. So I then we'll need to put the contents using file put contents. So, if file put contents, and the first argument to that will be where we're going to put the file.

We'll put it in a folder called rawdata. Finish that with a trailing slash. And then, we'll concatenate onto that the current year. And onto that string.txt. And the second argument is the data that we're going to putting in this data file, which is in the data variable. So, if we've got that, we can say that we've saved the year. And if there was a problem, we'll say so.

And then if anything has gone wrong, a message saying problem getting the file. So, this script will go to the Lake Pend Oreille website, it will get the environmental data followed by the .txt, get that, it will save it in the raw data folder locally, and we should have everything locally to work with. I've already created the folder where I'm going to store all this raw data. So, all that's needed is to save that and then to load it into a browser. Now, depending on your connection, it could take a few seconds to a few minutes.

But if all goes well, you should see a list of years that have been saved. And there we are. We've saved all the years, everything seems to have gone fine. So, let's go back to my editing program, and there is raw data. And if we open that folder, there are all the text files in there. Everything has been downloaded successfully. So, the next step is to inspect the content of the files in preparation for filtering and loading the data into the database.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Code Clinic: PHP .

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Q: I'm encountering script errors message with the prime_dates.php file used in the "Priming the date_record column" movie in this course. How can I resolve these errors?
A: To avoid script errors, use bindValue() instead of bindParam() in Line 9 of the prime_dates.php file. You can also download the latest copy of the exercise files, which corrects this issue for you. For a more in-depth explanation of the difference between bindValue() and bindParam(), check out the "Binding input and output values" video ( in Accessing Databases with Object-Oriented PHP.

Q: Why can't I access the Lake Pend Orielle site (

A: The Lake Pend Orielle site is not accessible in some geographical areas. We have contacted the owner of the server to try to resolve this issue.

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