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PHP Script for Writing Text Files

PHP can write just about anything. The script below will concentrate on text (TXT) files.


The one thing you need to watch here is permissions. On some servers, you need permissions (CHMOD) set to 755 to use the PHP fwrite function, which all the file creations below use in their code. But on other servers (like ours, we discovered), you need permissions set to 777. There are people that understand why. We are not those people, nor is our server host. Older servers seem to need 777. Newer servers need only 755—which is obviously more secure. But this is not a hard and fast rule—your mileage may vary. If you find that you need 777, you may find your host blocks this setting. But you may find you can fwrite with only a 755 CHMOD (public_html AND the PHP script file setting). Some hosts disallow fwrite and even PHP file functions in general. You will find that write-nearly-any-type-of-file-with-php.html is the best place you can go for answers if you are testing a PHP script for writing a file and you get the dreaded permission error message.

Writing Various Types of Files

There are times when you just need to use PHP to write various types of files. The list below shows you how—it's not hard at all. There are even five PHP scripts for creating graphics/image files. For image creation, we concentrated on the simple task of allowing users to input text and using PHP to take this text and put it in a nice box with a border and save it as a graphics/image file. Let us know how you like these scripts! We kept them as simple as we could so you could get the idea in a flash.

The PHP Script for Writing Text Files

First, notice that the newline characters are escaped (\n) in the PHP variable string $p. We will look at text files in a second. But first, let's check out the PHP aspects of the script. The $p variable is most of the script—it's the text file content. The file will contain a simple couple of sentences. We could have written a whole block of JavaScript text, but we went for simple, in this illustration. Next we use fopen and put in a file name and a w for write. Then we use fwrite to write the file. Next we use fclose, which you should always do when using PHP file functions. Finally we CHMOD the permissions to a nice safe 644. A created file may be getting this CHMOD by default anyway, but why take chances? Of course, your host may not allow CHMOD from a PHP file anyway. Some do; others don't.

So that takes care of the PHP, which simply writes a TXT file whose contents are what's in the PHP variable string $p.

If you want to learn text file writing with PHP because you do not know it, check out a text file writing tutorial.

There is plenty of use in creating text pages using PHP file functions. You may easily find some use for this idea in archive creation or general database use. In databases--mysql-or-not-mysql.html, we discuss the subject of databases in fair depth. Of flat (text) file databases, SQLite usually will work great as the database engine of choice. One file holds the entire database. After db creation, everything else is just file editing/reading. Our write-text-file-with-php.html script is a very simple example of writing a flat/text file and if you want a flat/text file database that's actually usable, a really simple flat file database with column sorting can be found here: Flat File Database Demo. But for a serious non-MySQL database, SQLite is the way to go. All of this is file writing. We've even seen a blog that saves HTML pages on the fly, but we cannot recall whether the scripter's purpose was archival, SEO, or what. Obviously Wordpress and Blogger use saved blog content, but it's saved in MySQL for Wordpress and who-knows-what for Blogger. I.e., the blog contents are stored in databases and retrieved as dynamic web page contents. They don't save HTML pages or text pages.

Here is the result: my_text_file_written_with_php.txt

$p = "This is the text file written by a php page.\n\nHow do you like it?";
$a = fopen("my_text_file_written_with_php.txt", 'w');
fwrite($a, $p);
chmod("my_text_file_written_with_php.txt", 0644);