php code architecture thoughts and suggestions

I am working on a php project. Currently I have a php script that display a fair amount of text, email addresses atec on a page. The user has an option to edit it. If they do, a mail script which I have written is called and it parses a mail together and sends it out using the PHPMailer class.

after the mail is sent the user is moved back to another page.

This system is used to track work (here at work) and is used very often and many emails are sent from it. All the data is stored in a mysql database.

Here is my dilemma:
When a user sends out email, the script does not return until my script has parsed the message together and theclass file has connected to the mail server and sent the message. This can cause a very noticiable delay: 2-10 seconds usually, and if there are a few attachments, or large attachments, much longer.

What I would like to discuss:
How I can move this load of off the users browser and have "the server" take care of it.

Two ways I have thought of so far are :





having a php script which looks for some entry in the database and when it sees it, shoot off a message and change that value in the db. This would be done using a script that is run say every 5 minutes on the server via a batch file??




Secondly, which would probably be more preferrable is to have the mysql database call a php script via a command window when a certain value is changed (i.e a trigger function).


Now, i know mysql does not yet have triggers, but maybe some of my fellow coders here have already thought of a way around this or would like to think of a way.



3rdly, I would love to hear any other ideas anyone has on this topic.



Thanks alot,
Anthony
lazyelmAsked:
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aolXFTCommented:
Hmmm The only way I can see to solve your problem lies, in writing your own custom mail function, for either PHP, or MySQL.

This would depend on the sustem you are using, eg Linux, Windows, etc, but the main idea would involve spawning another process, and using it to send the mail, using the fork() command.
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ashooooCommented:
You can create cron jobs to run, say, every 5 mins.

You can save all the mail requests in a db. The script would return as soon as it has made the changes to the db.

The cron job would then go through all the records and send emails and delete the records from this table.

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aolXFTCommented:
Then you could let the main process get on with the job, and let the spawned one, send the mail. I don't particularly recommend doing this with PHP, as an apache(or other WebServer) module, though, because I don't have the necessary experience with apache programming to make such a recommendation.

The same would apply to a MySQL Operation. The problem is that you have no way to check for errors, because you would have to wait until the mail-sending is finished, before you see if it worked.
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ashooooCommented:
I would recommend using cron jobs in linux/unix and at commands in windows to do the mailing job. Your PHP script should return as soon as it makes changes to the DB.

If at a later time, the mailing fails, you can notify the user using.. well.. another email :) or display it on the next page he visits.

Depends on your architecture....
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msknrCommented:
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shmertCommented:
Just posted this in the other thread, too... (actually accidentally double-posted :P)

Try this syntax to get the php call to system() to return _immediately_

system('/usr/local/bin/long_script > /tmp/php_out &');

This redirect output to the /tmp/php_out file, and the ampersand tells it to run in the background.  Both of these steps are essential.
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