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Web Helpers for 4 layer model demo
Designing PHP-Based Solutions: Best Practice example from a Well House Consultants training course
More on Designing PHP-Based Solutions: Best Practice [link]

This example is described in the following article(s):
   • Efficient PHP applications - framework and example - [link]
   • Application design in PHP - multiple step processes - [link]

Source code: 4lm_webhelpers.inc Module: H115

/* The following routines are for cleaning up
form inputs, and for preparing text for web
display - dealing with characters like ' \ <
> and so on which the maverick user may enter */

function ss($summat) {
        return stripslashes(trim($summat));
function web($summat) {
        return htmlspecialchars($summat);

/* Validators for certain input types; it is
arguable whether these should be in the web
helper or business logic */

function chek_an_alpha($fname) {
        global $error;
        $retstr = "";
        if (! ereg('[[:alpha:]]',$_POST[$fname])) {
                $error = 1;
                $retstr = "Must contain a letter";
        return $retstr;

function chek_a_phone($fname) {
        global $error;
        $retstr = "";
        if (! ereg('[[:digit:]]',$_POST[$fname])) {
                $error = 1;
                $retstr = "Must contain a digit";
        return $retstr;

function chek_a_postcode($fname) {
        global $error;
        $retstr = "";
        if (! ereg('[[:alpha:]][[:digit:]]',$_POST[$fname])) {
                $error = 1;
                $retstr = "Must contain a letter followed by a digit";
        return $retstr;

function chek_an_email($fname) {
        global $error;
        $retstr = "";
        if (! ereg('[[:graph:]]@[[:graph:]]',$_POST[$fname])) {
                $error = 1;
                $retstr = "No @ - not an email";
        return $retstr;

/* Form creation from an array of arrays that includes the
specification */

function mkeform($fields) {
        $form = "<form method=POST><table border=1>";
        foreach ($fields as $item) {
                $form .= makeformrow($item);
        $form .= "<tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td><input type=submit></td></tr>";
        $form .= "</table></form>";
        return $form;
function makeformrow($stuff) {
        if ($stuff[3]) {
                $errstring = "<br><font color=red>$stuff[3]</font>";
        } else {
                $errstring = "";
        if ($stuff[size]) {
                $size = "size=$stuff[size]";
        $string = "<tr><td>".htmlspecialchars($stuff[1]).

        if ($stuff[type] == "pulldown") {
                $string .= "<td><select name='". $stuff[0]."'>";
                if (is_array($stuff[options])) {
                foreach ($stuff[options] as $menuitem) {
                        $string .= "<option value=$menuitem[0]>".
                } else {
                $options = explode("|",$stuff[options]);
                foreach ($options as $maybe) {
                        $string .= "<option value=$maybe>$maybe";
                $string .= "</select></td></tr>";
        } else {
                $string .=
                "<input name='".
                "' value=\"".
                "\" $size></td></tr>";
        return $string;

/* Function to fill in a template */

function filltemplate($source){
        global $fill;
        $fh = fopen ($source,"r");
        $html = fread($fh,filesize($source));
        foreach (array_keys($fill) as $k) {
                $html = preg_replace("/%$k%/",$fill[$k],$html);
        return $html;

Learn about this subject

Books covering this topic
Yes. We have over 700 books in our library. Books covering PHP are listed here and when you've selected a relevant book we'll link you on to Amazon to order.

Other Examples
This example comes from our "Designing PHP-Based Solutions: Best Practice" training module. You'll find a description of the topic and some other closely related examples on the "Designing PHP-Based Solutions: Best Practice" module index page.

Full description of the source code
You can learn more about this example on the training courses listed on this page, on which you'll be given a full set of training notes.

Many other training modules are available for download (for limited use) from our download centre under an Open Training Notes License.

Other resources
• Our Solutions centre provides a number of longer technical articles.
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