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An Extensive Examination of the PHP:DataGrid Component: Part 1

  • Posted March 10, 2006
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An Extensive Examination of the PHP:DataGrid Component: Part 1

Introduction One of the most common tasks in PHP
is retrieving data from a database table, and creating a HTML
table to output that data. It’s done in almost every project,
and it’s usually a really boring task, because the code is
always nearly the same, but not just same enough to be able to
copy it.

It often looks some like this (in pseudo-code):

Create database connection Get data from a table Output
table header (<table) Loop through each records ... output
tr's and td's ... Output table footer (</table>)

It’s a sad fact, but we’ve already written code like the above
hundreds of times. And for every project and script, you have to
do it again, again and again.

But why not use a solution that can do it for us? That’s exactly
what PHP:DataGrid is.

What is
PHP:DataGrid?

PHP:DataGrid is the answer to the above problem. It’s
basically a PHP component, that’s very similar to the ASP.NET
DataGrid control. PHP:DataGrid will take care of all the boring
tasks leaving you the easy and interesting parts. Very little
PHP code is actually necessary for PHP:DataGrid, and you can
change its looks and layout using simple HTML tags.

The only downside of PHP:DataGrid is that it’s not free. You
have to purchase it from TPG
PHP Scripts, but it’s $24.99 for a Developer license, which
grants you permission to use it in all your personal projects,
and I certainly believe that the advantages far outweigh the
cost. Even only the time saved by PHP:DataGrid is already worth
the cost for me. (editor’s note: use coupon code phpit
for a 10% discount!).

Let’s have an actual look at PHP:DataGrid. If you don’t want to
purchase the component yourself, then you can always have a look
at the demo’s only.

The
Basics
To create a new datagrid, we must use the
php:datagrid tag. This tells the PHP:DataGrid component that a
datagrid must be shown. The only thing that we must set is the
name of the datagrid. This is a required attribute, and cannot
be left out. A simple datagrid looks like this:

<php:datagrid
name="test"></php:datagrid>

That’s the only thing necessary to display a datagrid. But we’re
forgetting one thing – we haven’t binded any data to the
datagrid yet. If you forget to do this, nothing will be
displayed, except for an error.

Binding
Data
Binding data to a datagrid is really easy, and
requires only one line of real PHP code. The PHP:DataGrid
component automatically creates a variables called $_DATAGRID
(not a superglobal,
unfortunately). To bind data, you have to call the bind() method
on the $_DATAGRID variable, like so:

$_DATAGRID->bind('test', $data);

That’s all! The
test datagrid will now be shown, with the data contained in the
$data variable. The $data variable must be an array that was
retrieved using mysql_fetch_array() and a loop (see the datagrid
example below if you’re unsure about this) or similar format. In
any case, it should look like this:

Array ( [0] => Array ( [id] => 1 [title] => Item 1
[category] => 4 )

 [1] => Array ( [id] => 2 [title] => Item 2 [category]
=> 7 )

 [2] => Array ( [id] => 3 [title] => Item 3 [category]
=> 3 ) )

The above is a valid $data array. It won’t accept any other
format, and an error will be shown if you do bind a different
format.

An
Example
The below code is a working example of a simple
datagrid. It retrieves the 10 latest tutorials from the
PHPit.net database, and shows it in a datagrid.

<?php

// Include PHP:DataGrid include ('/path/to/phpdatagrid.php');

// Connect to database $link = mysql_connect ('localhost', 'sa',
'[db-pass]');

// Select database mysql_select_db('phpit', $link);

// Do query and Get data $result = mysql_query ("SELECT
title, description, author, datetimestamp, filename FROM
tutorial ORDER BY datetimestamp DESC LIMIT 0, 10"); $data =
array(); while($row = mysql_fetch_array($result, MYSQL_ASSOC)) {
array_push ($data, $row); }

// Bind data (THIS IS IMPORTANT) $_DATAGRID->bind ('test',
$data);

?> <html> <head> <title>PHP:DataGrid Demo
1</title> </head>

<body> <h1>PHP:DataGrid Demo 1</h1>
<p>Demonstrating a simple PHP:DataGrid, and nothing
more.</p>

<php:datagrid name="test"></php:datagrid>

<br /> <a
href="http://www.phpit.net/article/datagrid-1/"><
strong>« Return to the
article</strong></a> </body>
</html>

[ View live demo ]

As you can see little code is used for the datagrid. Most of the
code is actually spent on connecting to the MySQL database, and
getting the data. If you use any kind of database class, this
will be significantly easier.

If you have a look at the datagrid, you will notice that it
looks ugly, and pretty bad. That’s because we haven’t added any
styling at all. But that will have to wait until Part 2 of our
DataGrid series.

Summary
In this part of our DataGrid series, we’ve looked at the basics
of the PHP:DataGrid component: what it is, and how to put it on
our website. But it doesn’t look pretty yet, and in the next
parts we’ll be looking at creating a pretty datagrid, and talk
about more of its functions (e.g. templates, inline editing,
sorting and more!).

Click here to view the PHP:DataGrid Product Page Don’t
forget – use coupon code phpit for a 10% discount!

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  • Posted On March 10, 2006
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