tkolar tkolar - 9 months ago 114
PHP Question

Manipulate an Archive in memory with PHP (without creating a temporary file on disk)

I am trying to generate an archive on-the-fly in PHP and send it to the user immediately (without saving it). I figured that there would be no need to create a file on disk as the data I'm sending isn't persistent anyway, however, upon searching the web, I couldn't find out how. I also don't care about the file format.

So, the question is:

Is it possible to create and manipulate a file archive in memory within a php script without creating a tempfile along the way?


I had the same problem but finally found a somewhat obscure solution and decided to share it here.

I came accross the great zip.lib.php/unzip.lib.php scripts which come with phpmyadmin and are located in the "libraries" directory.

Using zip.lib.php worked as a charm for me:

require_once(LIBS_DIR . 'zip.lib.php');


//create the zip
$zip = new zipfile();

//add files to the zip, passing file contents, not actual files
$zip->addFile($file_content, $file_name);


//prepare the proper content type
header("Content-type: application/octet-stream");
header("Content-Disposition: attachment;");
header("Content-Description: Files of an applicant");

//get the zip content and send it back to the browser
echo $zip->file();

This script allows downloading of a zip, without the need of having the files as real files or saving the zip itself as a file.

It is a shame that this functionality is not part of a more generic PHP library.

Here is a link to the zip.lib.php file from the phpmyadmin source:

UPDATE: Make sure you remove the following check from the beginning of zip.lib.php as otherwise the script just terminates:

if (! defined('PHPMYADMIN')) {