The FlashMessenger in Zend Framework has a bit of an odd name as it has nothing to do with Adobe Flash at all. It is a controller action helper defined in the class Zend_Controller_Action_Helper_FlashMessenger, which is used to store and retrive messages that are temporarily stored in the user's session. This is useful if you want to provide form validation and redirection at the same time as you can print out messages after the page has been loaded. If you are familiar with Drupal then this class acts in the same kind of way as the drupal_set_messages() function.
I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of free books from the recent PHP Unconference Europe, one of which was Beginning Zend Framework by Armando Padilla. Having not looked into Zend Framework for a while I thought I would read the book to refresh my knowledge catch up and post a review.
The premise of the book was to create a sample application to keep track of music artist information, with each chapter building on the code from the previous. The first few chapters are about installing Apache, PHP and MySQL and some UML diagrams of the application that will be built. After reading this I was actually enthusiastic about the application and couldn't wait to get started.
If you have been following the last four posts you should now have an application that will allow you to view and edit PDF metadata, extract the document contents for search indexing, and allow users to search that index.
The one final thing to do is to sort out what happens when any PDF metadata is changed. At the moment the application will allow us to change the metadata as much as we like, but these changes will not be replicated in our search index. In order to do this we have to fully re-index everything. This is obviously the wrong way to go about things, and the solution is quite simple. All we need to do is up the file controllers/PdfController.php and change the editmetaAction() method so that when the PDF metadata is saved, the search index is updated. Add the following code to the editmetaAction() method, just before the redirect.
Last time we had reached the stage where we had PDF meta data and the extracted contents of PDF documents ready to be fed into our search indexing classes so that we can search them.
The first thing that is needed is a couple of configuration options to be set up. This will control where our Lucene index and the PDF files to be indexed will be kept. Add the following options to your configuration files (called application.ini if you used Zend Tool to create your applcation).
- luceneIndex = \path\to\lucene\index
- filesDirectory = \path\to\pdf\files\
Last time we looked at viewing and saving meta data to PDF documents using Zend Framework. The next step before we try to index them with Zend Lucene is to extract the data out of the documents themselves. I should note here that we can't extract the data perfectly from every PDF document, we certainly can't extract any images or tables from the PDF into any recognisable text. There is a little issue with extracting the text because we are essentially looking at compressed data. The text isn't saved into the document, it is rendered into the document using a font. So what we need to do is extract this data into some format the Lucene can tokenize. Because we are just getting the text out of the document for our search index we can take a few short-cuts in order to get as much textual data out of the document as possible. All of this data might not be fully readable and we will definitely loose any formatting and images, but for the purposes we are using it for we don't really need it. The idea is that we can retrieve as much relevant and indexable content for Zend Lucene to tokenize. Also, it is not possible to extract the data out of encrypted PDF documents.
When writing PHP class or function (basically any file containing only PHP code) files you might have learnt to write them something like this:
Every application has a locale, even if that is just the locale of the author. Through the use of locals you can make your application aware of what sort of language, currency and even timezone that the user would like to see. In Zend Framework this is accoumplished via Zend_Locale.
There are many things to do with locale once, but first you need to determine where the user is based. To find this out you simply create a new instance of the Zend_Locale object. The following code will create the Zend_Locale object and print out the language and region of the user.
Zend_Search_Lucene offers some powerful document scanning capabilities, and there are a few different formats that are useful for the search engine to index.
To allow the indexing and searching of Excel documents using Zend_Search_Lucene you need to use the Zend_Search_Lucene_Document_Xlsx class. However, to use this class you must have the Zip module installed with PHP. For Windows users this means editing your php.ini file and uncommenting the following line:
Whilst creating a site the other day I thought about how I would manage the sitemap.xml file. This file is basically a XML file containing a list of URLs. Most major search engines understand (and look for) this file, so having it present on a site is a definite must.