After a few years of neglect I decided it was about time I gave my ageing PHP Secret Santa App a bit of an update.
The original, having been the result of a spur of the moment, hacked together reaction to the idea of running a CS Secret Santa between my friends (way back when in my second year of UNI), was as you may have guessed a pretty crappy implementation. The code was awful and the word awful just doesn’t capture just how bad the UI really was. Despite this, I’ve still somehow ended up running the script almost every time Christmas rolls come around.
My newer version of the script functions, effectively, the same as my original. Rather than taking the more common approach of putting the names in to two arrays, shuffling one, then joining em back together until no one ends up with themselves, I decided to stick with my original “names in a hat” style algorithm. Mostly just for nostalgia value. The implementation effectively mirrors its real world equivalent, with each user taking their turn to grab a value from the “hat” (array of users who need gifts buying from them) and putting it back and taking another if they happen to get themselves. This continues until every user has someone to buy for. The one flaw with this plan is that when the final person comes to pick, if it so happens that the only person left in the “hat” is themselves, there a little stuck. My solution to this problem was essentially just to make them swap with another user. Which so far has worked pretty well 🙂
Once everyone has been assigned someone to buy for, the next step is just email everyone telling them who they have. It may not be the shortest, simplest or most straight forward solution, but I quite like it either way.
Please feel free to ask questions, point out bugs/flaws or even just use the script for your own Secret Santa’s.
Its been a while since I last blogged so I thought I may as well post an update. The main thing I plan to present is my, hopefully useful, PHP SharePoint API Class.
The aim of the class is essentially to make interacting with the SharePoint Lists API a whole lot more straight forward and allow PHP developers to talk with the Lists API without having to get there hands dirty with SOAP.
As with most stuff I create, its free under MIT licence and is being maintained on my Github account. At current the tool is fairly basic, although if I end up working on a SharePoint based project again I may take the opportunity to expand it further. If anyone spots any bugs or wants to add some features feel free to send em my way or just fork the github repo. Currently the SharePointAPI code is only capable of interacting with an existing SharePoint list and does not support creating new ones programmatically at this time.
You can grab the full source from: https://github.com/thybag/PHP-SharePoint-Lists-API
Setting up the PHP SharePointAPI Object
Using the SharePointAPI to read a SharePoint list is pretty straight forward. The first step is to create a new instance of the SharePointAPI object which requires a username and password (which it will authenticate with in order to interact with the lists) as well as the path to a local copy of the SharePoint Lists WSDL file.
You can normally grab the WSDL from: sharepoint.url/subsite/_vti_bin/Lists.asmx?WSDL
$sp = new SharePointAPI('<username>','<password>','<path_to_WSDL>');
Reading from a Sharepoint List
Once the SharePointAPI Object has been created, you can read from a list simply by calling:
More advanced filtering is also possible, for example if you wanted to filter on surname = Smith and only return 5 results you would call:
$sp->read('<list_name>', 5, array('surname'=>'Smith'));
You can filter on multiple parameters simply by adding extra values to the filter array. (currently only AND ing is possible)
All results are returned as associative arrays, calling print_r on the results of a $sp->read(‘<list>’); is probably the best way to understand exactly what data is being returned.
Writing to a SharePoint List
Writing to a SharePoint list (or inserting a new list item) is equally straight forward. The data to be inserted is simply provided as an associative array to the function. For example to add someone called bob to a list you may use:
$sp->write('<list_name>', array('forename'=>'Bob','surname'=>'Brown','pet' =>'cat'));
Editing a SharePoint List Item
To edit an existing SharePoint item the syntax is fairly similar to the above examples. The primary difference being that the ID of the record you wish to edit is also required. Assuming the ID for Bob’s record was 20, you could change his pet to dog with the following code:
Deleting a SharePoint List Item
Deleting a SharePoint list item also requires the ID of the record you wish to remove.
Thanks for reading 🙂
P.S. I’m now only one week away from starting my new job on the Kent Web Development team. Woo 😀