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Tech Stuff - PHP Web Tool Kit

This is the first version of our PHP web based tool-kit for manipulating and debugging web sites. A 'rag-bag' of tools for fixing 'screw-ups' and other sundry highly technical issues. Hope it may be of some use to you and saves you some time (check our links pages for all the primary references).

Health-Warning This is made available at your risk, we make no warranty that the code has no bugs in it or that it will even do what we think or say it will. Like all downloaded software we urge caution if you use it.

History Lesson (..or why we built this kit)

When we set out on our voyage of discovery (updating our web site in 1999) we started to create a mixture of Javascript and Apache SSI based pages. Like all folks who do things in a hurry (short-hand for not reading all the documentation) we hit a problem which basically meant that we had to modify about 400 files.

Immediately after the panic (we had a very nice panic actually) we looked at the available techniques for fixing our 'little local difficulty' which included shell script, PERL and some other stuff all of which would do the job and all of which would require us to invest time and effort learning (remember we were 'newbies'). But we had also made a corporate decision (pretty impressive eh!) that our future direction was web based for everything (we are going web-based for all our product configuration tools) and since neither shell scripts or PERL have much relevance in that context we decided to investigate a web based solution. And we decided on PHP (bit of a toss up over Python at the time whereas now we would use Ruby at the drop of a hat).

So we fixed our immediate problem (replace strings in all relevant files) using a 10 line down-loaded PHP script (probably from, then discovered that we needed to conditionally add lines .. and delete lines .. and publish webs and so it grew.

Web Kit Functions

This link takes you to an eviscerated (whoa! even the spell check doesn't have this word) page (the buttons call invalid pages - except the phpinfo section) which contains the GUI interface to the web tool kit page and describes the functions and their parameters.

The Web Kit

The kit consists of four PHP pages (actually the initial page does not need to be php its a straight forward multiple form page....but we were young and innocent at the time - well innocent at least)

  1. The tools menu, documentation and parameter capture page. Save as tools.php to your cgi-bin directory.

  2. The functions for replacing, adding and deleting text page. Save as change.php to your cgi-bin directory.

  3. The web update and synchronisation (publishing) page. Save as update.php to your cgi-bin directory. This page contains an embedded (included) PHP file containing the thingy object that we use to simplify the functionality (actually we just wanted to write an object in PHP if truth be told). Save as thingy.php to your cgi-bin directory and then fix the absolute reference in the include statement of update.php to reflect your cgi directory.

  4. The php info feature page. Trivial phpinfo page to provide php configuration info. Save as info.php to your cgi-bin directory


  1. To capture the modules just click 'save as' a php module in an appropriate cgi-bin directory. If you are using netscape (4.x) you may have to 'copy' and 'paste' into a suitable text editor and then save. Or you can download them as a zipped file.

  2. If you are doing very large web updates the 'Update and Synchronise' sometimes 'times out' with an FTP error and takes a good 2 mins to do so. Right now we do not have a good explanation for this but suspect it's our FTP server (ProFTP). We are investigating .. but if you find out before we do .. let us know.. In the meantime the workaround is to update sub-directories and use the 'single' option when updating the web root or use the directory to directory updates if your filesystems are all on-line.

  3. The Web Update function (in update.php) is implemented as a thingy object mostly as an experiment in writing PHP objects but we think the implementation is cleaner than in-line code would have been (trying to appease the OO crowd!!).

  4. All you should have to do to modify for your site is:

    1. Either modify or remove the 'virtual' lines since they contain our header and trailer and other page formatting stuff.
    2. modify as necessary every 'action' to reflect your 'cgi-bin' directory.

    If you need to do more contact us and we'll fix these instructions or add a readme.txt to the zip.

Technical Explanation

One day (real soon now) we'll add some notes but there are comments fairly liberally throughout the code.

Problems, comments, suggestions, corrections (including broken links) or something to add? Please take the time from a busy life to 'mail us' (at top of screen), the webmaster (below) or info-support at zytrax. You will have a warm inner glow for the rest of the day.

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