Monthly Archives: August 2007

Force users to use your forms

A neat little trick to prevent pesky spam-bots from flooding your form-based applications with garbage: Use a simple token in the session to block bots from submitting data to your forms. It works like this:

1.) Generate a random token when the form is displayed, remember it in your session and put it into a hidden field of your form:

<form ...>
	$my_token = create_random_string(5);   //generate the token
	$_SESSION['my_sess_token'] = $my_token;  //set it in your session
<input type="hidden" name="token" value="<?=$my_token?>">

2.) Check match of those 2 tokens on every form submit and only accept submission if both are equal:

/*process form*/
if ($_POST['submit'] && $_SESSION['my_sess_token']==$_POST['token']) {
	//process your form

This is a handy function to create such a token:

* Create a random word
* @param    numeric $length character lenth of the word
* @return   string random password of length
function create_random_string($length=6) {
	$arr = array("1","2","3","4","5","6","7","8","9","q","w","e","r","t",
	srand((float) microtime() * 1000000);
	for($i = $length; $i > 0; $i--) {
		$str .= $arr[rand(0, sizeof($arr))];
	return $str;
} //function

Video: How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People

An interesting talk [Google Tech Talks January 25, 2007]: “How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People- Every open source project runs into people who are selfish, uncooperative, and … disrespectful. These people can silently poison the atmosphere of a happy developer community. Come learn how to identify these people and peacefully de-fuse them before they derail your project. Told through a series of (often amusing) real-life anecdotes and experiences.”


By the way… Google Tech Talks are very interesting anyway.