Phelio Gnomi

My words from my mind

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Debugging PHP the hard way

Having to maintain a massive Object Oriented web application written in PHP, it’s amazing how many times I’ll have to use the same functions over and over again in multiple different places. I’m listing them down here before I forget.


The most used one, and the only way I can print anything right now in the application I’m working on without screwing up everything. It prints out the message into the application error log, which I then tail -f and keep it running in one monitor. Way to go multiple monitors.


How do I live without this. Even with the power of IDE ( I’m using NetBeans ), it’s frustrating sometimes to find out what the class of the object actually is. Especially in “well designed” object oriented application full of decorator and factories, it’s easy to get lost. get_class() produce the exact class of the object. Can’t live without this function.

var_export($object, $return=false)

var_dump() used to be my ultimate savior, but with the limitation on the printing into the web without breaking anything, I’ll have to print everything to the log file. var_export() does exactly that when the “return” flag is set to true. Although most of the times it ended up with recursion error, it’s still pretty useful.


Got to find the way to trace where something started. Pretty straight forward when combined with var_export() and error_log() as mentioned in one of the brilliant StackOverflow answer.

$e = new Exception;

error_log(var_export($e->getTraceAsString(), true));

What are your favorite debugging snippets in PHP?

Sharing objects between Modules in AngularJs

It turns out that sharing objects between angular modules is as simple as injecting a module into another module. Say myApp has some controllers and providers or other objects and myApp2 want to use some of those controllers. When creating myApp2, inject myApp into it and myApp2 now has access to all the objects in myApp to the extend that the HTML can use the controller from myApp without any extra codes.

// Common library of some sort
app = angular.module("myApp", []);

app.value('someVal', 'This is a val');

app.controller("controller1", ['$scope','someVal', function($scope, someVal){
$scope.someVal = someVal;

// My actual module
app2 = angular.module("myApp2", ["myApp"]);

app2.controller("searchController", ['$scope', function($scope){
// ... some controller's codes
<body ng-app='myApp2'>
<div ng-controller='controller1'>

Note that the HTML is using ‘controller1’ which is from ‘myApp’. I’ve built an app in AngularJs and going to create another one using the similar format. It also means that most of the codes are going to be shared. I’m glad that I don’t have to do much refactoring.

Slicker way to export crosstab in Tableau

Tableau has an awesome feature to allow users to export the processed data into crosstab, or I would say Comma Separated Value format.

We use Tableau to help us visualize data into graphs and charts. And our raw data is often messy and huge and doesn’t really make sense in that granular state. So the charts and graphs are really much better to look at. And even though some users are happy enough by looking at charts, some others find it important that we can get the post-calculated raw date, i.e. the numeric equivalent of the given chart.


But when it comes to a grander scale of a few thousands rows of records, The Export Crosstab to Excel just doesn’t work well. It took a very long time to work, and that if it works at all.

So, instead of exporting it to Excel, use Copy -> Crosstab function. This function is surprisingly much faster than exporting to Excel.


As a comparison, exporting 50,000 rows to Excel will take forever, and never but copying the same 50,000 rows to clipboard only takes 5 seconds.

The Magical Tableau Filtering and how to get the Tableau result limiting right

NOTE: this tutorial is based on the coffee shop sample data came with tableau desktop.

The other days long time ago, we all thought that there is a simple way to limit the results of a tableau report. Even though it’s a bit of an unwritten magic, but the legend stays true that it’s quite simple indeed.


Say that you have a coffee shop chain that is doing so well it has branches in all 4 corners of the imaginary planet of Zox. Now you have no other thing to do, you decided to look at the ups and downs of your profit throughout the year. So you decided to make a chart that looks something like this



Now you can see how much sales your coffee shop is making along the year in a very nice chart. But it’s too much information on the chart, so you decided to just show the top 3 products based on its sales.

To do that, you pulled the product field from the Dimensions field box into the Filters box on the top left corner. A dialog window will pop up and navigate to the “Top” tab. You set it to only show the top 3 products based on the total sales of that product.




All looks good so far. After looking at the chart for like 10 seconds, you got bored again. So you decided to add more fun to the chart. “How about getting the top 3 products of each product type you have, Coffee, Espresso, Herbal Tea and Tea” you thought, then you proceed to pull the Product Type field into the Filters box and make the selection box appear on the right side of the chart.


(Right click on the Product Type filter and click “Show Quick Filter”)

and tada… everything looks wrong now. It only shows 1 product, instead of Top 3 products as you’ve commanded it to show.




So you play around with the filter on the right and figured that it might be the culprit. You looked back at the pictures that you’ve screenshotted and noticed something that might be useful, the “Add to Context” option on the right click menu.


You do that to the Product Type filter and voila!! it works!!



Tableau filter by default doesn’t apply to the “Top x” filter. By adding a filter to context, it’s specifically telling tableau that the filter is to be taken contextually. Without the “add to context” option, the “Top x” will get the top x across the product type, as if the filter is not there at all.

This problem had costed me a million seconds to fix, but I hope that this short article will save some of your time.

Alteryx encoding

Have you ever get so fed up because there is no such thing as “Encoding” tool in the vast collection of Alteryx tools and you are getting a non “CSV” export file filled with unreadable characters in it? Well, You’ve came to the right place.

Alteryx uses the term “code pages” to describe encoding, or UTF-8 or Character Sets setting. What the hack is code page anyway? can’t you just say “Encoding” or “Character Set” so it’s more commonly used nowadays?

Anyway, here is the solution. First, search the Alteryx help index for “code page” and it will list you a list of encoding standards with its respective code.


Now, comes the biggest spoiler, the encoding tool is hidden inside the Formula tool as a “function” and named ConvertToCodePage and ConvertFromCodePage.





Back to PHPUnit

I have couples of the same PHPUnit Manual tabs on my browser, not because I’m referring to different parts of the lengthy documentation, but because I keep getting the same result from Google search + suggestion from those in PHP chat rooms.

I don’t know what makes it so hard to learn how to use PHPUnit. I can’t even remember what did I do the last time (which is few months ago) I try it out. First is probably the outdated PEAR project that doesn’t seems to be updated any more. Then, the tutorials that I can’t even get to work on my machine. Googling around doesn’t seems to find me what had I done wrong. And probably the installation guide I posted few months ago has already outdated.

Now, I’m stuck with the fact that my PHPUnit folder under the PEAR folder is not the same structure as what other people on the internet has. Got to continue googling for me. Wish me luck!

Sitting is Killing You

Why do you want to stand if you can just sit down. Standing is a punishment back in school. As a programmer, I might be sitting whole day. Probably the whole 24 – 8 hours of sleep – 1 hours of small walking. But people are claiming that it’s dangerous to be seated. Below is the nice illustration of the story.

Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding