Random PHP function explained

file1_Open_Source_PHP_logo_667A few weeks ago, Jamie Bicknell notified me he read my article about the Random PHP function. Because I didn’t publish any code, he wrote a 3 line implementation of how he would fetch the functions for the randomness.

I promised him I would publish the code that weekend, and here we are, a few weeks later…

The script actually parses the http://php.net/quickref.php page, saves the result, and redirects the user.

$cacheFile './functions.tmp';
if (!
is_file($cacheFile)) {
$quickref 'http://php.net/quickref.php';
$xml DOMDocument::loadHTMLFile($quickref);
$links $xml->getElementsByTagName('a');
$functions = array();
    foreach (
$links as $link) {
        if (
substr($link->getAttribute('href'), 08) == '/manual/') {
$functions[$link->nodeValue] = $link->getAttribute('href');
} else {
$functions unserialize(file_get_contents($cacheFile));
$function $functions[array_rand($functions)];
$function 'http://php.net' $function;
header('Location: ' $functiontrue303);

Some improvements:

  • Invalidate the cache file when a new PHP version is announced.
  • Read random lines from the file (instead of loading the complete array in the memory).

Update: Forgot the mention the actual blogpost of Jamie Bicknell…

Random PHP function

To explore new things, I sometimes use the ‘Random article‘ link on Wikipedia. It is a simple and basic principle, but it gets you to articles you would never get by just browsing the site.

I was looking for something that did the same job for the php.net site, but could not find anything. As a programmer, you’re most likely to end up in the same chapters of the manual over and over again, and a ‘Random function’ link would be nice to find out new stuff.

So I wrote on myself…

The script parses the http://php.net/quickref.php page, and picks a random link to redirect you to. Anyone heard of HaruDoc? ūüôā

Try it yourself: Random PHP Function. Good luck!

ini_restore() and str_replace()

Today I’ve found a new function (new for me, that is). The function is called ini_restore(). It’s a small and simple function call, but it’s just cool to use built-in functions and save some typing and variables.

I use ini_set() from time to time in large scripts where I know it will take a while to execute and need some additional resources. I always try to avoid to set resets on the top of the script, because most of the scripts is doing regular stuff. When it would go wrong there, I want to know about it.

This is where ini_restore() comes in to play:

// old
$origMaxExecutionTime = ini_get('max_execution_time');
ini_set('max_execution_time', 900); // 15 minutes
// do some amazingly long work
ini_set('max_execution_time', $origMaxExecutionTime);

// new
ini_set('max_execution_time', 900); // 15 minutes
// do some amazingly long work

Aside from that one, I’ve discovered the fourth parameter in str_replace(): &$count. Nice to know whether the function call did anything or not.

Next step is to beat that annoying multibyte thing in str_replace().