Att köra Word på en server

Att automatisera Word och köra det på en server för att enkelt skapa dokument utifrån innehållet i en databas kan vara ganska praktiskt. Jag har varit med om flera projekt där man tillämpat just detta. När man läser i Microsofts knowledge base så kan man nästan få intrycket att Microsoft inte tycker det är en riktigt lika bra idé. Detta trots att de tillämpar licensmodellen att om en servertjänst skapar Word-dokument så måste alla klienter som använder server-tjänsten ha en Word-licens.

Skrivet på rätt sätt kan Word dock med fördel användas på en server. Om man exempelvis endast använder förutbestämda mallar som fungerar på servern riskerar man inte att få in strulande macro eller andra olägenheter.

Using PHP to check response time of HTTP-server

I must start off with admiting that my PHP skills are very limited, however being a very experienced Perl hacker this is very similar to me. Edit 2013-01-30: This is no longer true 🙂

I needed a script that checked for a normal HTTP response from another server, a status script to see if the other server(s) where behaving as they should.

The resources on-line for PHP are great and I quickly found the code needed to retrieve a remote page and read the contents. I also found some tutorials describing how to use this code. My version ended up looking like this (thanks for the tutorial!):

// check responsetime for a webbserver
function pingDomain($domain){
    $starttime = microtime(true);
    // supress error messages with @
    $file      = @fsockopen($domain, 80, $errno, $errstr, 10);
    $stoptime  = microtime(true);
    $status    = 0;

    if (!$file){
        $status = -1;  // Site is down
        $status = ($stoptime - $starttime) * 1000;
        $status = floor($status);
    return $status;

What this code does is to measure, using the microtime function, the time difference between initiating a connection using fsockopen and when that functions has completed executing. If a connection was established the time difference is returned. If fsockopen failed to open a connection -1 is returned.

The time difference is multiplied by 1000 to get the number of milliseconds it took, floor() is then used to round down to the nearest integer value.

To call this function simply add the domain or IP you want to check the response time of:

Fireflake: <?php echo pingDomain(''); ?> ms<br>
Example: <?php echo pingDomain(''); ?> ms<br>
Internal IP: <?php echo pingDomain(''); ?> ms<br>
Fail: <?php echo pingDomain(''); ?> ms<br>

Sample output from the above statements are:

Fireflake: 111 ms
Example: 139 ms
Internal IP: 0 ms
Fail: -1 ms

Also, sometimes DNS servers return a “search engine” response if the domain is unknown or unreachable. To be sure you reach the server you want try calling it by IP-number instead to make sure your DNS isn’t fooling you.

EDIT:  Thx for adding the tip to use @ to supress error messages. Just use @fsockopen to supress the inevitable error message.

EDIT 2013-01-30: Fixed the old code and added some more examples.

EDIT 2013-03-07: Added clarification about unit used in $status.

IIS easy restart

One annoying thing about the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) is that it’s quite a few clicks in order to restart it through the normal GUI. If you use it as a development environment and happen to make an infinite loop or some other bad thing it’s annoying to have to go through all those steps every time.

To save some time here is a simple tip, since the IIS run as a normal service simply make a file called “kick iis.bat” (at least that is what I call it) and enter the following:

net stop w3svc
net start w3svc

This should work for the standard installation of IIS. This will take the server down and then back up again, faster than the GUI just double click the file. I keep it on my dekstop… that might give you an idea of how often I trash the IIS hehe.