Displaying the Most Popular Youtube Videos with PHP

Oct 19, 2009 php
This post is more than 18 months old. Since technology changes too rapidly, this content may be out of date (but that's not always the case). Please remember to verify any technical or programming information with the current release.

During one of my random dreams of how to become an internet millionaire, I thought about displaying the top youtube videos on an aesthetically pleasing backdrop.

While I’m not feeling that artsie right now, I did code together a quick script to do this using SimpleXML:

function embed($src)
  return '<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="' .
         $src . '"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param>
         <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="' .
         $src . '" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always"
         allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>';

$xml = simplexml_load_file(

echo '<h1>Most Popular YouTube Videos</h1>';
print '<h2>' . date('F jS, Y', strtotime($xml->updated)) . '</h2>';

echo '<table>';
foreach ($xml->entry as $entry) {
  $link = str_replace('watch?v=', 'v/', $entry->link[0]['href']);
  echo '<tr><td>';

  echo embed($link) .  '<br />';
  echo "<a href='$entry->link[0]['href']'>{$entry->title}</a>";

  echo "</td></tr>";
echo '</table>';

Real brief analysis: The function embed() is used to generate the code to embed the video. The first step is loading the file with simplexml_load_file(). (Do keep in mind to make sure you can remotely open a file in php.ini). Next, I generated the title and created a header based on the last time the xml file was updated. The final step was to create a table and generate a loop to display each embedded video with a link to its source (see usage of the embed() function there? yeah….).

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