South African HTML image map

I recently had to create an image map of South Africa, displaying each of the provinces with links to content for each province.

As it took me most of the day to complete I thought it might be handy for someone else too.

So in true open source fashion here it is for you to download and enjoy.

All I ask is that if you do use it, you post a link back to my site.

Filed under: DevelopmentTagged with: , , ,

Migrating from Drupal to WordPress

Well, it finally happened. After months of frustration with Drupal as a blog tool, I gave up and decided it was time to move over to WordPress.

I’m sure as a CMS system Drupal can be quite wonderful, but for running and managing a simple blog site, I have yet to come across a better platform than WordPress.

However the migration of the database content from one system to another had it’s ups and downs. Fortunately for me, not many people read this blog, so I only had to migrate the posts data from one database to the other.

Below is the script I wrote to do so, in the hopes that this might save someone else the hassle of writing it themselves.

P.S. This was for a Drupal 6 to WordPress 2.8.2 migration. If it doesn’t work for you because you are working with different versions of either Drupal or WordPress, drop me a line and I will try to modify it for you.

	* Setup database constants
	define('DRUPAL', 'phpdevec_drpl1');
	define('WORDPRESS', 'phpdevec_wordpress');
	define('URL', '');
	* Setup server constants
	define("SERVER", "localhost");
	define('USER', 'username');
	define('PASSWORD', 'password');

	* debug function outputs data
	function debug($data){
		echo '<pre>';
		echo '</pre>';

	* Connect to server and database
	function connect($db) {
		// database connection
		$conn = mysql_connect(SERVER, USER, PASSWORD);
		if (!$conn) {
			//connection to server failed
			die("Cannot connect to server");
			return false;

		$dbSelected = mysql_select_db($db, $conn);
		if(!$dbSelected) {
			// database connection failed
			die("Cannot connect to database");
			return false;
		return $conn;

	* Close database connection
	function disconnect($conn){
		if ($conn){
			// connection exists to close
			if (!mysql_close($conn)){
				// database connection failed
				die("Cannot close database connection");
				return false;
			return true;
		// default return in case the original connection failed
		return true;

	* Generic SQL SELECT, checks type
	* @param string $sql query
	* @param string $type object or assoc
	* @return mixed $return array of rows if select or true/false if insert/update/delete

	function sql($sql, $database, $type = 'assoc'){
		$return = '';

		// check database connection
		$connection = connect($database);
		if (!$connection){
			$return = false;

		$sql = ltrim($sql);
		$query_type = substr($sql, 0, 6);

		// run query
		$rst = mysql_query($sql);

		if (!$rst){
			// query failed for some reason
			die("Error in MySQL query: " . $sql);
			$return = false;
		}else {

			if (strtoupper($query_type) == "SELECT"){
				// query was SELECT
				$return = array();
				$rows = mysql_num_rows($rst);

				switch($type) {
					case 'assoc' : // return as assoc array
						while($row = mysql_fetch_array($rst)) {
							// gather rows
							$return[] = $row;
					default : //return as object
					while($row = mysql_fetch_object($rst)) {
						// gather rows
						$return[] = $row;
			}else {
				// query was INSERT, UPDATE OR DELETE
				$queryType = 'UPDATE';
				if (mysql_insert_id()){
					// query was INSERT
					$id = mysql_insert_id();
					$queryType = 'INSERT';
					$return = $id;
				}else {
					$rows = mysql_affected_rows();
					$return = $rows;

		// disconnect from database

		//return rows / whether insert/update/delete successful
		return $return;

	$sql = "SELECT n.*, nv.body as content FROM node as n LEFT JOIN node_revisions as nv on n.nid = nv.nid WHERE n.type = 'blog'";

	$nodes = sql($sql, DRUPAL);


	$Nodes = array();

	foreach ($nodes as $node){
		$nId = $node['nid'];
		$sql = "SELECT * FROM comments WHERE nid = '$nId'";
		$comments = sql($sql, DRUPAL);
		$node['comments'] = $comments;
		$Nodes[] = $node;


	foreach ($Nodes as $node){
		//publish draft

		$two_hours = 2*3600;
		$date = $node['created'];
		$gmt_date = $date - $two_hours;
		$modified = $node['changed'];
		$gmt_modified = $modified - $two_hours;

		$post_date = date('Y-m-d H:i:s', $date);
		$post_date_gmt = date('Y-m-d H:i:s', $gmt_date);
		$post_modified = date('Y-m-d H:i:s', $modified);
		$post_modified_gmt = date('Y-m-d H:i:s', $gmt_modified);

		$post_title = mysql_escape_string($node['title']);
		$post_content = mysql_escape_string($node['content']);
		$post_name = strtolower(str_replace(array(' ', '.'), array('-', ''), $post_title));

		$status = $node['status'] == '1' ? 'publish' : 'draft';

		$sql = "INSERT INTO phpdevec_posts SET
			post_author = 1,
			post_date = '$post_date',
			post_date_gmt = '$post_date_gmt',
			post_content = '$post_content',
			post_title = '$post_title',
			post_status = '$status',
			comment_status = 'open',
			ping_status = 'open',
			post_name = '$post_name',
			post_modified = '$post_modified',
			post_modified_gmt = '$post_modified_gmt',
			post_parent = '0',
			menu_order = '0',
			post_type = 'post',
			comment_count = 0";

		$id = sql($sql, WORDPRESS);

		if (!$id){
			die('An error occured adding the data to the database');


		if (!empty($comments)){
			foreach ($comments as $comment){

		$guid = URL . "?p=$id";

		$sql = "UPDATE phpdevec_posts SET guid = '$guid' WHERE ID = '$id'";

		$updated_rows = sql($sql, WORDPRESS);

		if (!$updated_rows){
			die('An error occured updating record no '. $id);

Filed under: DevelopmentTagged with: , ,

Riding on Rails

I’ve decided to spend less of my free time on blogging and more on learning new things. I had planned to change this site to run on WordPress, but have decided instead to learn Ruby on Rails.

From what I can see it is (in many ways) similar to CakePHP (which I love) but with more of a command line/linux approach. Also it’s a new and interesting language to learn, so I’m sure there will be some exciting challenges along the way.

I don’t know where this new road will take me, but if its anything like CakePHP, I’m sure it will be fun. (yes, only geeks find coding fun!)

In other (u)interesting news, the FCK Editor helper I wrote has been used as part of someone else’s cake-bake-enhanced project.

To be honest I think it’s kinda cool, my first CakePHP helper and people are actually finding it worthwhile…time to write some more…

Filed under: Development

Developing with CakePHP: Creating a simple admin control panel

If you are like me, you prefer to have a specific url mapped to your applications control panel/backend etc.
This is usually something along the lines of or

Normally during the CakePHP “bake” process, the system will ask you what you want your admin route to be (default “admin”). Once this has been set you are merely 3 simple steps away from creating your own simple user control panel….

Step 1) Routing the admin url.
Add the following to your app/config/routes.php

Router::connect(‘/admin/’, array(‘controller’ => ‘admin’, ‘action’ => ‘index’));

This will route to the admin controller index function

Step 2) Creating the admin controller
Create the admin_controller.php file in /app/controllers/ and add the following code

class AdminController extends AppController
var $name = ‘Admin’;
var $uses = array(); //This controller does not need to use a model

function index(){


Step 3) Create your views
Create the app/views/admin/ directory and add an index.ctp view to it, with whaterver code you prefer (mine is merely a bunch of links to other controllers at this stage)

  • link(‘Posts’, ‘posts/’);
  • link(‘Comments’, ‘comments/’);
Filed under: DevelopmentTagged with: ,

Create an array containing the days of the week

You could simply code:

$days_of_week = array(‘Monday’, ‘Tuesday’, ‘Wednesday’, ‘Thursday’, ‘Friday’, ‘Saturday’, ‘Sunday’);

but thats the “noob” way, a real coder creates a function…

function days_of_week(){
// declare days_of_week array
$days_of_week = array();

// get current date integer value (0 – 6)
$day = date(“w”);

// get current date values
$today = date(“j”);
$month = date(“n”);
$year = date(“Y”);

// get start day and end day of the week
$start_day = $today – $day;
$end_day = $start_day + 6;

// build days of the week array
for ($i = $start_day; $i <= $end_day; $i++) {
$days_of_week[] = date(“l”, mktime(0,0,1,$month,$i,$year));

// return array
return $days_of_week;

Filed under: DevelopmentTagged with: , ,


This is something I came across a while ago, but it has really come in handy.

It is a project that attempts to make many php functions available in javascript. As most php developers will at some point have to write some javascript, it is a very handy library.

You can find it over at

Filed under: DevelopmentTagged with: , ,

MySQL: filtering results from a list of id's

A short while ago I posted about testing if a variable exists in a list and I spoke about the MySQL “IN” keyword.

I realised this week that not everyone knows about the MySQL “IN” keyword, so I’ve decided to explain this very handy SQL keyword.

Lets say you have a user table with the following fields; user_id, username, password. You have a list of user ids (eg 1, 3, 5) and you want to draw the usernames and passwords for these users.

You could use the following SQL code:

SELECT `username`, `password` FROM `user`
WHERE `user_id` = 1 AND WHERE `user_id` = 3 AND WHERE `user_id` = 5;

Now while this is correct and will return the required results, it is quite a bit to code (especially if you have a larger list of user ids). Here comes the “IN” keyword to save us.

SELECT `username`, `password` FROM `user` WHERE `user_id` IN (1, 3, 5);

See how easy that is. Now if you have a much larger list (or the list grows) you simply add the user ids to the comma delimited list. Less time spent, and the same result. I’m all about the shortcuts….

Filed under: DevelopmentTagged with: ,

Life of a developer

It has been a while since I have posted here, mainly due to the time consuming period that is the festive season and also because I am discovering that I am getting fairly annoyed by Drupal as a blog tool and am trying out the new WordPress as an alternative.

For now I have a small post on something that many people aren’t aware of but is VERY handy, the ternary operator.

Basically it is a shortcut to do a simple if-then-else statement in one line when you are performing fairly simple checks for a single value. I tend to use it a lot when checking for GET or POST variables.


$getContents = (isset($_GET) ? $_GET : array());

would check if the $_GET variable array is set, if it is return its contents to $getContents and if not return and empty array to $getContents.

Much easier that coding:

$getContents = array();
if (isset($_GET)){
$getContents = $_GET;

P.S. Just on a side note, if you are new to PHP and want to use this code to check for and receive your $_GET contents, dont forget to sanatize your data as well (hmm I think I see a new post topic)

Filed under: DevelopmentTagged with: ,

Delving deeper into the PHP lake…testing if a variable exists in a list

As a PHP developer of almost four years now, I often still come across little problems in coding that make me do the good ol Google search to find the answer. (someday I will have memorised the entire PHP manual, but today is not that day ;-).

Anyway today I was asked about how to do a IN LIST type comparison in PHP. (similar to the mysql IN statement).

A few google searches later revealed that there exists no such PHP command, however the in_array function can be used to perform the task:

$myArray = array(1, 2, 3, 4, 5);

if (in_array($var, $myArray)){
// do some code.

I guess one could also combine the two as follows:

if (in_array($var, array(1, 2, 3, 4, 5))){
// do some code.

I’ll have to test that one, but you get the idea…

Filed under: DevelopmentTagged with: