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Easily Manage WAV Files with PHP

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Here, we look at one of the file formats that you can manage easily with PHP.

 

Editor's note: This article is an excerpt from You Want to Do WHAT with PHP?, a new book from MC Press.

  

The second file format we'll look at is WAV, the Waveform Audio File Format. WAV is a relatively simple format for storing uncompressed audio data. It is easy to interpret, and I happen to have a WAV file on my desktop, so it makes good sense for me to use it as an example.

 

The key to working with almost any binary file structure is interpreting that structure. That is what we will do with our unpack() function call. By looking at the WAV file specifications, we are told the sizes of the fields and the fact that the WAV file format uses little-endian byte ordering. From there, we can figure out which format characters we need to use. Table 7.4 lists the pack()/unpack() format characters.

 

Code

Description

a

NUL-padded string

A

SPACE-padded string

h

Hex string, low nibble first

H

Hex string, high nibble first

c

Signed char

C

Unsigned char

s

Signed short (always 16-bit, machine byte order)

S

Unsigned short (always 16-bit, machine byte order)

n

Unsigned short (always 16-bit, big-endian byte order)

v

Unsigned short (always 16-bit, little-endian byte order)

i

Signed integer (machine-dependent size and byte order)

I

Unsigned integer (machine-dependent size and byte order)

l

Signed long (always 32-bit, machine byte order)

L

Unsigned long (always 32-bit, machine byte order)

N

Unsigned long (always 32-bit, big endian byte order)

V

Unsigned long (always 32-bit, little endian byte order)

f

Float (machine-dependent size and representation)

d

Double (machine-dependent size and representation)

x

NUL byte

X

Back up one byte

@

NUL-fill to absolute position

Table 7.4: Format constants for the pack() and unpack() functions

 

For a quick illustration of how endianness works, consider the code in Figure 7.8.

 

$int = 256;

$str = pack('n', $int);

echo "Big Endian: ";

printBytes($str);

 

$str = pack('v', $int);

echo "Little Endian: ";

printBytes($str);

 

$data = unpack('vdata', $str);

echo "\n";

var_dump($data['data']);

 

function printBytes($data)

{

      $len = strlen($data);

      for ($c = 0; $c < $len; $c++) {

            if ($c % 8 === 0) echo "\n";

            $hex = str_pad(dechex(

                 ord($data[$c])), 2  , 0, STR_PAD_LEFT);

 

            echo "0x{$hex} ";

      }

      echo "\n";

}

Figure 7.8: A test demonstrating endianness

 

We use the number 256 because it cannot be represented in a single byte. What this code does is take the 256 value and split it into both a 16-bit (short) little-endian and big-endian formatted value and convert it back. Figure 7.9 shows the output.

 

Big Endian:

0x01 0x00

Little Endian:

0x00 0x01

 

int(256)

Figure 7.9: Output of endian test

 

If the concept of packing and unpacking bytes was a little foggy before, I hope this helps to explain it.

 

One of the nice things about binary files is that they tend to be relatively rigid in their structure. Table 7.5 shows the header for the WAV format.

 

Field

Length

Type

Contents

File type ID

4

String

 "RIFF"

Size

4

Unsigned long

Length + 4

Wave ID

4

String

"WAVE"

Data

n

 

Rest of the file

Table 7.5: Wav file header

 

So let's look at the hex data and compare it with what we've seen so far. Figure 7.10 shows the WAV file raw data.

 

101310SchroederWAVfilesc7f15

Figure 7.10: WAV file raw data

 

As expected, the first four bytes contain the string "RIFF", which stands for Resource Interchange File Format. The next four bytes are the length of the file in little-endian format. The four after that are the string "WAVE".

 

You might be looking at the file size of 0x78CD2704 (positions 4–8) and thinking that this is a huge file because that evaluates to 2,026,710,788 bytes. This is where the concept of endianness is important. We did some basic examination of endianness when we discussed network protocols. But because most IP-implemented protocols use the same endianness as IP, which is big-endian, it hasn't been much of an issue.

 

With WAV files, however, all the integers are in little-endian format, which means that the least significant byte comes first. With big-endian, the most significant byte is first. So, if we were to take the file size stated in the second field and flip it to big-endian, it would look like 0x0427CD78. This size evaluates to 69,717,368 bytes, or about 66.5 MB.

           

To read the bytes from the file and get the proper interpretation of the structure, we will use unpack() and specify the 'V' format. 'V' tells unpack() to read four bytes and return the long value from a little-endian formatted byte array, which we read as a string. Figure 7.11 shows the code to read the WAV header file.

 

$filename = 'test.wav';

$fh = fopen($filename, 'r');

 

$typeId = fread($fh, 4);

$lenP = unpack('V', fread($fh, 4));

$len = $lenP[1];

$waveId = fread($fh, 4);

 

if ($typeId === 'RIFF' && $waveId === 'WAVE') {

      echo "We have a WAV file\n";

      echo "Chunk length: {$len}\n";

} else {

      die("Invalid wave file\n");

}

Figure 7.11: Reading the WAV header file

 

Running this code produces the output shown in Figure 7.12.

 

We have a WAV file

Chunk length: 69717368

Figure 7.12: Output of reading the WAV header file

 

When we compare the actual length of the file with the chunk length, we get the chunk plus eight. What this means is that the chunk length will be the file length minus the eight bytes that were needed to determine the chunk length. A chunk, if you are not familiar, is just a block of data of a defined length. HTTP can use chunks to start downloading a file of indeterminate length. In HTTP, the length of the next chunk is appended after the end of the last chunk. Chunk, block, they all kind of mean the same thing except chunks tend to be a little more variable in length, though that is by no means a rule.

 

After we have read the header, the next step is to read chunk data. There are three types of chunks in a WAV file: the format chunk, the fact chunk (used for compression), and the data chunk. Right now, we're just interested in the format chunk because it gives us our metadata about the nature of the data in the file.

 

Table 7.6 shows the format of the format chunk.

 

Field

Length

Type (pack)

Contents

Chunk ID

4

String

 "fmt "

Size

4

Unsigned long (V)

0x16, 0x18, or 0x40

Format

2

Unsigned int (v)

 

Channels

2

Unsigned int (v)

 

Sample rate

4

Unsigned long (V)

 

Data rate

4

Unsigned long (V)

 

Block size

2

Unsigned int (v)

 

Bits/sample

2

Unsigned int (v)

 

Extension size

2

Unsigned int (v)

0 or 22

Valid nits/sample

2

Unsigned int (v)

 

Channel mask

4

Unsigned long (V)

 

Subformat

16

Unsigned char (c16)

 

Table 7.6: WAV file metadata format

 

To read the data in that format, we need to unpack() it. To do so, we append the code shown in Figure 7.13 to the code we had before.

 

$chunkId = fread($fh, 4);

if ($chunkId === 'fmt ') {

 

      $size = unpack('V', fread($fh, 4));

      if ($size[1] == 18) {

            $d = fread($fh, 18);

            $data = unpack('vfmt/vch/Vsr/Vdr/vbs/vbis/vext', $d);

            $format = array(

                  0x0001 => 'PCM',

                  0x0003 => 'IEEE Float',

                  0x0006 => 'ALAW',

                  0x0007 => 'MuLAW',

                  0xFFFE => 'Extensible',

            );

            echo "Format: {$format[$data['fmt']]}\n";

            echo "Channels: {$data['ch']}\n";

            echo "Sample Rate: {$data['sr']}\n";

            echo "Data Rate: {$data['dr']}\n";

            echo "Block Size: {$data['bs']}\n";

            echo "Bits/Sample: {$data['bs']}\n";

            echo "Extension Size: {$data['ext']}\n";

      }

}

Figure 7.13: Code to read the metadata

 

First, we read the four bytes to identify the chunk. Then, we read the size. In this case, the size returned is 18 bytes. As we saw in the preceding table, the size can be 16, 18, or 40 bytes long. That table is the 40-byte version of the header. Because my sample file uses only the 18-byte header, we will parse only that one out. That means reading up to and including the extension size field.

 

When we run the code, we get the output shown in Figure 7.14.

 

We have a WAV file

Chunk length: 69717368

Format: PCM

Channels: 2

Sample Rate: 44100

Data Rate: 176400

Block Size: 4

Bits/Sample: 4

Extension Size: 0

Figure 7.14: Output of reading the metadata

 

So we have a PCM (pulse-code modulation) WAV file with two channels, a sample rate of 44.1 KHz, and a bit rate of 176.4 kbit/second.

 

So far, so good. But that was with a relatively simple file format. What we have done here is read the basics of a format that was "more binary" than the tar format. Tar has a structured format, but it is based on structured text fields. The WAV format is structured but has more binary data in it. We could continue on with the WAV file, but because we generally do more Web-based work and the rest of the file is simply chunked data that would be output to an audio interface, the usefulness of the WAV file as an example is a little limited. With that in mind, let's move on to a format that is not so simple.

 

Editor's note: This article is an excerpt from You Want to Do WHAT with PHP?, a new book from MC Press.


 

Kevin Schroeder

Kevin Schroeder has a memory TTL of 10 years, and so he has been working with PHP for longer than he can remember. He is a member of the Zend Certification Advisory Board and is a Magento Certified Developer Plus. He has spoken at numerous conferences, including ZendCon, where he was twice the MC. When his head isn’t in code (if code is poetry, then it is Vogon poetry), Kevin is writing music, having been a guitarist since hair bands were cool (and having survived their welcomed demise). He has recorded two albums, Coronal Loop Safari and Loudness Wars. Kevin’s wisdom is dispensed to his loyal followers on Twitter at @kpschrade and on his blog at www.eschrade.com, where he speaks in the first person.


MC Press books written by Kevin Schroeder available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Advanced Guide to PHP on IBM i Advanced Guide to PHP on IBM i
Take your PHP knowledge to the next level with this indispensable guide.
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The IBM i Programmer’s Guide to PHP The IBM i Programmer’s Guide to PHP
Get to know the PHP programming language and how it can--and should--be deployed on IBM i.
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You Want to Do What with PHP? You Want to Do What with PHP?
This book for the creative and the curious explores what’s possible with PHP.
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    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.