Hi. I'm a newbie in php, and I recently bought a book called PHP and MySQL Web Development by Luke Wlling and Laura Thomson. I was able to make an order form in Chapter 1, but in Chapter 2, I have to process orders so that every time I fill out an order form, the order gets stored in my orders.txt file. Here is the code I have for processorder.php:

  // create short varible names
  $tireqty = $_POST['tireqty'];
  $oilqty = $_POST['oilqty'];
  $sparkqty = $_POST['sparkqty'];
  $address = $_POST['address'];
  $date = date('H:i, jS F Y');

  <title>Bob's Auto parts - Order Results</title>
<h1>Bob's Auto Parts</h1>
<h2>Order Results</h2>

  echo "<p>Order processed at ".date('H:i, jS F Y')."</p>";

  echo '<p>Your order is as follows: </p>';

  $totalqty = 0;
  $totalqty = $tireqty + $oilqty + $sparkqty;
  echo "Items ordered: ".$totalqty."<br />";

  if ($totalqty == 0) {

    echo "You did not order anything on the previous page!<br />";


  else {

    if ($tireqty > 0) {
      echo $tireqty." tires<br />";

    if ($oilqty > 0) {
      echo $oilqty." bottles of oil<br />";

    if ($sparkqty > 0) {
      echo $sparkqty." spark plugs<br />";

  $totalamount = 0.00;

  define('TIREPRICE', 100);
  define('OILPRICE', 10);
  define('SPARKPRICE', 4);

  $totalamount = $tireqty * TIREPRICE
               + $oilqty *OILPRICE
               + $sparkqty * SPARKPRICE;
  echo "Subtotal: $".number_format($totalamount,2)."<br />";

  $taxrate = 0.10; // local sales tax is 10%
  $totalamount = $totalamount * (1 + $taxrate);
  $totalamount = number_format($totalamount, 2, '.', ' ');

  echo "<p>Total of order is $".$totalamount."</p>";
  echo "<p>Address to ship to is ".$address."</p>";

  $outputstring = $date."\t".$tireqty." tires\t".$oilqty." oil\t"
                  .$sparkqty." spark plugs\t\$".$totalamount

  //open file for appending
  @ $fp = fopen("$DOCUMENT_ROOT/../orders/orders.txt", 'ab');

  flock($fp, LOCK_EX);

  if (!$fp) {
    echo "<p><strong> Your order could not be processed at this time.
          Please try again later.</strong></p></body></html>";

  fwrite($fp, $outputstring, strlen($outputstring));
  flock($fp, LOCK_UN);

  echo "<p>Order written.</p>";

After having filled out the order form two times, this is what my orders.txt file looks like when I copy and paste what I have onto here:

01:14, 27th April 2012 1 tires 2 oil 3 spark plugs $145.20 Address
01:14, 27th April 2012 1 tires 2 oil 3 spark plugs $145.20 Address

This looks right, but for some reason, on Notepad, the data isn't shown this way. Every time I used \t, the spacing in the output is inconsistent, and even though I used \n, a new order isn't recorded on a new line in Notepad.

Is there a way for me to make it so that Notepad shows the output correctly? Thanks.

Member Avatar

\n and \t do not do anything in simple html output. They help prettify html code but don't do anything for what you see on the screen unless using textarea

@ardav, he is talking about the contents in the file where he saved the tabs and newlines. Legitimate error. Has it got anything to do with "ab" flag/argument you're sending to the write() function there?

Member Avatar

Fair one.

Hi. Thanks for the help. For some reason, when I open this output file in Notepad++ instead of Notepad, the new order appears on a new line. Moreover, if I copy and paste what I have in Notepad onto Microsoft Word, I also get the new order on a new line. Is there a way for me the make it so that Notepad also shows the output correctly?

Finally, for some reason, instead a tab, I still get a single space between the quantity of tires and the quantity of oil and between the total amount and the address. The tab between the date and the quantity of tires is also different in width than the other tabs that work.

I still get this error even after changing 'ab' to 'a' in

@ $fp = fopen("$DOCUMENT_ROOT/../orders/orders.txt", 'ab');