Tag Archives: Human Interest

Use Zend_Translate to Translate Your Web App

There are some really good reasons to use Zend_Translate for your multilingual site instead of some other technique. Actually you can definitely simulate something like this Zend component with and array or ini file, but here are some good things to mention.

1. Write a human readable source file

In fact you can do this even without Zend_Translate. Image you’ve an ini file with some pairs like:

lblMyLabel = "My Label"

Nobody says this cannot be “more” human readable – like so:

My Label = "My Label"

Than you can support several files i.e. en.ini, de.ini, etc. where you can translate this label. The problem is that once you read the ini file you’ve to deal with those white spaces into the labels, while with Zend_Translate you can simply call them with:

$translate->_("My Label");

2. Default values for missing labels

Zend_Translate forces you to define a source file. Which is really great, because you always have a default value. Assuming that you don’t have a specific label translated in one of the ini files, you’ll get the default value from the source file, and defining source and other files is as easy as:

// en.ini
My Label = "My Label"
// de.ini
// while the locale is de_DE you'll have 
// the default value returned
$translate->_("My Label"); // will return My Label from the en.ini

3. Locales

It’s really great that you can directly setup a locale for this module. Thus you have more flexibility when switching between languages and you can benefit from the power of the framework when reading some browser specific locales. Here’s some code:

$translate = new Zend_Translate('ini', 'en.ini', 'en');
$translate->addTranslation('de.ini', 'de');
// than when you setup the translation locale

4. Cache

One of the greatest things about Zend_Translate is the native support of cache. It’s so cool! Actually the labels of a large web system are pretty static and don’t change every day. In other hand in large scale systems there are lots of labels, and the load time will be faster with cache.

$frontendOptions = array('lifetime' => 600, 'automatic_serialization' => true);
$backendOptions  = array('cache_dir' => 'path_to_cache_dir');
$cache = Zend_Cache::factory('Core', 'File', $frontendOptions, $backendOptions);

It’s a great advantage to use Zend_Translate after all this. Actually I have finished projects without any use of it, but I really can’t imagine how I’ll work now without it!

JSON and Zend Framework? – Zend_Json

That’s really a good Zend Framework’s class that help you do the encode/decode job very easily. First of all it escapes everything for you and second it prints a correct/valid code. Note that sometimes if you have a trailing whitespace after the closing PHP tag – ?> that will result in an error.

Here’s some code:

public function jsonAction()
	$data = array(3,4,'test', 'my-name' => 3,4);
	echo Zend_Json::encode($data);

and the result is:


Note that all integers are printed without double quotes – which saves some space!

Detecting Pressed Key with e.which in JavaScript

You have definitely decided to get which key has been pressed with JavaScript? This is very common when it comes to an Enter key press over a form element. Actually this should be automatically done by the browser, but when it comes to a default prevented form you’ve to check it for yourself.

The job can be done with a event’s which check. Let me show you some JavaScript/jQuery code:

$('.selector').click(function(e) {

Note that this can be checked under Firefox and/or Safari like browsers which support the console object. This will give you the idea which key is pressed in a number value. The Enter is usually 13!
If you don’t have such browser, you can replace that code with something like:

$('.selector').click(function(e) {

PHP Associative Arrays Coding Style

No PHP programmer writes code without arrays. Sound strange, but as many programmers there are, as many ways to format the array notation there are.

My advice is to rely on a defined standard. I personally use the Zend Framework’s coding style.

So how to format the code? The first way is on the same line:

$myArray = array('key1' => 'value1',
		 'key2' => 'value2');

And the other, perhaps more clear way is to place the associative pairs on a new line:

$myArray = array(
	'key1' => 'value1',
	'key2' => 'value2',

Note that in the second example there’s a comma after the second pair. This is correct PHP syntax and is strongly encouraged!

It’s up to you which way to take. However it mainly depends on the case, but please use standards.

Modyfing Response Headers with Zend Framework

Response Headers

You’ve probably seen that you can track the server response headers with Firebug – a wonderful extension to Firefox.

But have you ever asked yourself how to change a response header with Zend Framework.


Typically this is done with the built in PHP function header, where you can setup the header the page must return, but how to make it with Zend Framework?

It’s pretty simple of course, it’s Zend Framework in fact. To be more precise I’ll post a snippet:

$response = $this->getResponse();
$response->setHeader('content-type', 'application/x-javascript; charset=utf-8');