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For 2023 - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))
PHP - static declaration

If you want to retain the value of a variable between one call to a function and the next, you can declare it as static. And as part of the initial declaration, you can assign a starting value to it. This allows you to test whether you're calling a function for the first time, or for a subsequent time.

function getavail($stamp,$forevent = 0) {
  static $haverooms = 0;
  static $blocked, $held;
  if (! $haverooms) {
    $haverooms = 1;
    $blocked = array();
    $held = array();

OK - so that's the feature - so what's the benefit?

Using a static in this way allows you to include code to initialise variables AND make use of them in the same logical block - making maintainance of code much easier than in would be if you were passing parameters around, or relying on globals.

A block of code that runs only the first time a function is called is also useful if the function is required to do some heavy work that doesn't change within a running of your program; there's no point in re-calculating a value that you had already calculated, but lost when you exited from a function, is there? The code snippet above is a good example of this - over the New Year, I've been updating our online booking system to include hotel rooms as well as courses, and to dynamically refer back to the databases as it offers available rooms and courses to web site visitors. My getavail function returns the number of (rooms) available on a certain date, passed in by the time stamp variable. The workings are quite intricate at times, and when we produce a calendar of availability we have to keep calling it for day after day .... so we seed the $blocked and $held arrays during the first call - pre-loading tables of events, courses, prior bookings and closure periods which aren't going to change within the few milliseconds the program takes to run.

Are statics always useful? No - they are fiercely anti-OO. In other words, I would have a major problem if I wanted to extend my events tables, etc, to cover two different hotel objects. Ah - but I don't see us opening a second hotel in the near future.

((See further example - global / static / regular - [here]))
(written 2007-01-04, updated 2010-12-31)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
H105 - PHP - Functions
  [96] Variable Scope - (2004-10-22)
  [223] There is a function in PHP to do that - (2005-02-21)
  [308] Call by name v call by value - (2005-05-11)
  [339] Passing information into and out of PHP functions - (2005-06-07)
  [340] Code and code maintainance efficiency - (2005-06-08)
  [409] Functions and commands with dangerous names - (2005-08-11)
  [421] Don't repeat code - use loops or functions - (2005-08-21)
  [775] Do not duplicate your code - (2006-06-23)
  [866] A lazy programmer is a good programmer - (2006-09-15)
  [936] Global, Superglobal, Session variables - scope and persistance in PHP - (2006-11-21)
  [1163] A better alternative to cutting and pasting code - (2007-04-26)
  [1202] Returning multiple values from a function (Perl, PHP, Python) - (2007-05-24)
  [1267] is there a lookup function in php? - (2007-07-15)
  [1357] Clean my plate, but keep my wine bottle. (PHP; Static) - (2007-09-18)
  [1380] Static variables in PHP - (2007-10-05)
  [1784] Global - Tcl, PHP, Python - (2008-09-03)
  [2488] A variable number of arguments in a PHP function - (2009-11-02)
  [2630] Static variables and ampersands in PHP - (2010-02-10)
  [2682] Adding extensions to PHP Open Source applications - callbacks - (2010-03-17)
  [2737] Improving your function calls (APIs) - General and PHP - (2010-04-24)
  [2929] Passing a variable number of parameters in to a function / method - (2010-08-20)
  [3026] Coding efficiency - do not repeat yourself! - (2010-11-02)

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