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{ Category Archives } PHP

Simplifying the Settings API for WordPress

They suckered me into helping redesign the website for my daughter's school (don't worry—if you're looking at it before July 27, 2012 it's not my design), and they wanted to go with a WordPress site so lots of people could edit it easily. It seemed like a good idea, but it took 4 weeks of […]

Changing Images in a PDF

The PHP routines to fill in PDF forms work great, and now my partner wants to use them too. Changing the forms to make the physician name a fill-in field rather than fixed text is easy, but what to do about the signature? It's not like a check; a pixelated image would be fine (I'm […]

New Bing API

I use Bing for the search box on, and it's worked well; simple API, no need to create a custom search engine as with Google. Unfortunately, Microsoft is losing almost half a million dollars an hour on Bing, and they want me to make up the difference. Well, not me alone, but they are […]

Using imagettftext with Off-site Font URLs

I'd like to keep my font files on Amazon S3 and save the cost of storing them on my web server. imagettftext doesn't say whether I can use a URL for the font file, but imagettfbbox unambiguously says: fontfile The name of the TrueType font file (can be a URL). Unfortunately, they are lying, for […]

Using S3 files in PHP

As I wrote, I'm using Amazon S3 to store files that are too expensive to keep on my web server, with the plan of having frequently-updated files on the server and relatively constant stuff on S3. The address for my S3 server is, which is stored in the global variable $_SERVER['CDN']. So to include […]

The New Amazon Advertising API

I use Ulrich Mierendorff's aws_signed_request to create my Amazon Wishlist Widget. But Amazon just changed the terms of their API (which they do with frightening regularity). Luckily, it's a small change: each request now requires an Associate Tag in addition to the AWS key and encryption with the AWS secret key. But if you want […]

Fractions and Units in PHP

For the bililite webservices, I kept all the data in what I would call "standard" American medical units, centimeters for height, kilograms for weight, mmHg for blood pressure, mg/dl for bilirubin. But lots of doctors use pounds and inches, and it would be nice to allow those as well. I could have separate data entry […]

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel, PDF Style

After playing with creating PDFs with PHP using fPDF for a while, and trying to get everything to work consistently, I discovered tcpdf, which is a fork of fpdf that includes everything that anyone has ever added to the original. And I mean everything; this thing is huge! I printed out the source to see […]

Paths, Vector Graphics and PHP images in FPDF

Looking at FPDF and at my PDF tutorial, it is clear that there are a few things that PDF's can do that aren't part of the API of FPDF. However, FPDF is easily extensible to include everything I might find useful, so I put together a package of those routines. See the code. See the […]

Creating PDFs with PHP, part 5: Text

Now we need to add text. That's the most useful part of a PDF, and the easiest. Also the hardest. Sometimes life is like that. See the code.