Learn to Implement Estimated Reading Time using PHP Part 1: The Basics
November 16, 2019

If you already know the basic functions, skip to part 2.

Learn to Implement Estimated Reading Time using PHP Part 2: Final Implementation with Source Code

That can be easily done in PHP. For that we need to use str_word_count() Function. Let’s look at the basics of the function. 


str_word_count(string,return value,characters)
  • In the syntax above, string is required and it’s the whole blog article you want to be considered as reading material. 
  • return value is optional and it returns possible values for different return values from 0 to 2. 
  • characters is optional as well and it asks for the special characters you want to count as words.

For example the following PHP statement will return 2 as there are 2 words in the string.

echo str_word_count("Hello world!");

Now, let’s focus on our main example. Let’s say I have a article and it is stored in a variable $article from your database.

In that saved $article variable you might have some header tags like <h1> or paragraph tag like <p> and we don’t want to count those tags in time to read as user won’t be able to see them at all. So we need to remove those tags. For that we will use strip_tags() function.

Let’s take a look at the syntax.

strip_tags(string,allowed tags)

As you can see, it takes 2 arguments and one of them is the actual string and the other one asked if you want to keep some tags by allowing them, which is optional.

Now, the following example will return us Hello world without any tags even if the string has tags in it.

echo strip_tags("Hello <h1>world!</h1>");

The strip_tags removes HTML, XML and PHP tags. Also, HTML comments are always removed using this. You can’t use allow to keep the comments.

Learn more in PART 2 of this article. 

Learn to Implement Estimated Reading Time using PHP Part 2: Final Implementation with Source Code


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