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<Using remote filesPersistent Database Connections>
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Last updated: Thu, 21 Aug 2003

Chapter 20. Connection handling

Note: The following applies to 3.0.7 and later.

Internally in PHP a connection status is maintained. There are 3 possible states:

  • 0 - NORMAL

  • 1 - ABORTED

  • 2 - TIMEOUT

When a PHP script is running normally the NORMAL state, is active. If the remote client disconnects the ABORTED state flag is turned on. A remote client disconnect is usually caused by the user hitting his STOP button. If the PHP-imposed time limit (see set_time_limit()) is hit, the TIMEOUT state flag is turned on.

You can decide whether or not you want a client disconnect to cause your script to be aborted. Sometimes it is handy to always have your scripts run to completion even if there is no remote browser receiving the output. The default behaviour is however for your script to be aborted when the remote client disconnects. This behaviour can be set via the ignore_user_abort php.ini directive as well as through the corresponding "php_value ignore_user_abort" Apache .conf directive or with the ignore_user_abort() function. If you do not tell PHP to ignore a user abort and the user aborts, your script will terminate. The one exception is if you have registered a shutdown function using register_shutdown_function(). With a shutdown function, when the remote user hits his STOP button, the next time your script tries to output something PHP will detect that the connection has been aborted and the shutdown function is called. This shutdown function will also get called at the end of your script terminating normally, so to do something different in case of a client disconnect you can use the connection_aborted() function. This function will return TRUE if the connection was aborted.

Your script can also be terminated by the built-in script timer. The default timeout is 30 seconds. It can be changed using the max_execution_time php.ini directive or the corresponding "php_value max_execution_time" Apache .conf directive as well as with the set_time_limit() function. When the timer expires the script will be aborted and as with the above client disconnect case, if a shutdown function has been registered it will be called. Within this shutdown function you can check to see if a timeout caused the shutdown function to be called by calling the connection_timeout() function. This function will return TRUE if a timeout caused the shutdown function to be called.

One thing to note is that both the ABORTED and the TIMEOUT states can be active at the same time. This is possible if you tell PHP to ignore user aborts. PHP will still note the fact that a user may have broken the connection, but the script will keep running. If it then hits the time limit it will be aborted and your shutdown function, if any, will be called. At this point you will find that connection_timeout() and connection_aborted() return TRUE. You can also check both states in a single call by using the connection_status(). This function returns a bitfield of the active states. So, if both states are active it would return 3, for example.

add a note add a note User Contributed Notes
Connection handling
pulstar at mail dot com
07-Aug-2003 01:32
These functions are very useful for example if you need to control when a visitor in your website place an order and you need to check if he/she didn't clicked the submit button twice or cancelled the submit just after have clicked the submit button.
If your visitor click the stop button just after have submitted it, your script may stop in the middle of the process of registering the products and do not finish the list, generating inconsistency in your database.
With the ignore_user_abort() function you can make your script finish everything fine and after you can check with register_shutdown_function() and connection_aborted() if the visitor cancelled the submission or lost his/her connection. If he/she did, you can set the order as not confirmed and when the visitor came back, you can present the old order again.
To prevent a double click of the submit button, you can disable it with javascript or in your script you can set a flag for that order, which will be recorded into the database. Before accept a new submission, the script will check if the same order was not placed before and reject it. This will work fine, as the script have finished the job before.
Note that if you use ob_start("callback_function") in the begin of your script, you can specify a callback function that will act like the shutdown function when our script ends and also will let you to work on the generated page before send it to the visitor.

<Using remote filesPersistent Database Connections>
 Last updated: Thu, 21 Aug 2003
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