I am basically getting data from various APIs and using PHP to put them together - like a web mashup. I am currently using 4 foreach statements to insert the gathered data into their individual arrays. I believe that the current code is inefficient because it takes probably around 3 seconds to load the page which is displaying the PHP data. In the past I had just one big foreach loop to go through all the data at once and also print them. But that too felt inefficient to me.

So how can I make my code more efficient in term of it processing faster? I have seen a few mashup websites such as Soundeer which load around a second. Is that becuase of their code efficiency?

The code which I am using is:

$echonest_uri = simplexml_load_file("http://developer.echonest.com/api/v4/artist/search?api_key=$APIkey&style=rap&results=10&start=$element_num&bucket=id:deezer&bucket=images&sort=familiarity-desc&format=xml");

//Swap the comments for when in UWE or not
//$echonest_xml =  new SimpleXMLElement($echonest_uri);
$echonest_xml = $echonest_uri;

$artist_name = array();
$artist_image = array();
$echonest_id = array();
$full_deezer_id = array();
$deezer_id = array();
$num_of_albums = array();

//Loop through each entries in the id_arr and make each image of the artist a link to the album page passing all the relevant information. 
foreach($echonest_xml->artists->artist as $artist){
    $artist_name[] = $artist->name;
    $artist_image[] = $artist->images->image[0]->url;
    $echonest_id[] = $artist->id;
    $full_deezer_id[] = $artist->foreign_ids->foreign_id->foreign_id;

foreach($full_deezer_id as $key => $value){
    preg_match('#deezer:artist:([A-Z,a-z,0-9]+)#', $value, $id);
    $deezer_id[] = (string)$id[1];

foreach($deezer_id as $id_index => $id){
    $deezer_xml = simplexml_load_file("http://api.deezer.com/2.0/artist/$id/albums&output=xml");
    $num_of_albums[] = $deezer_xml->total;

//The variable which will contain the HTML code to display the artists.
$output = null;

foreach($deezer_id as $key => $value){

    $fav_count_query = "SELECT COUNT(user_index) FROM fav_artist WHERE artist_deezer_id = '$value'";
    $fav_count_resource = $mysqli->query($fav_count_query);
    $fav_count = $fav_count_resource->fetch_assoc(); 

    $output .=  <<<HERE
                <div class="artist-container">
                    <a href="albums.php?echonest_id={$echonest_id[$key]}&deezer_id={$deezer_id[$key]}&artist_name={$artist_name[$key]}&artist_image={$artist_image[$key]}&num_of_albums={$num_of_albums[$key]}" class="artist-image">
                        <img src="{$artist_image[$key]}" alt="{$artist_name[$key]}" title="{$artist_name[$key]}"/>

                    <a href="albums.php?echonest_id={$echonest_id[$key]}&deezer_id={$deezer_id[$key]}&artist_name={$artist_name[$key]}&artist_image={$artist_image[$key]}&num_of_albums={$num_of_albums[$key]}" class="artist-name">
                    <a href="albums.php?echonest_id={$echonest_id[$key]}&deezer_id={$deezer_id[$key]}&artist_name={$artist_name[$key]}&artist_image={$artist_image[$key]}" class="album-number">Albums: 

  • \$\begingroup\$ Would you have a few possible values to input so that I can try a few things ? (Of course, I know that the DB query will fail). \$\endgroup\$
    – SylvainD
    Jan 20, 2013 at 8:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ foreach->simplexml_load_file("..."); How many calls are this? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 20, 2013 at 12:54

1 Answer 1


Please add the following method do your code and print the runtime of every section of your code. As indicated by my comment I guess the foreach->simplexml_load_file("...") might take a while.

//PHP <5.0.0
function microtime_float()
    list($usec, $sec) = explode(" ", microtime());
    return ((float)$usec + (float)$sec);

echo microtime_float()-$start;

echo microtime(true)-$start;
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The codereview of YOUR code is: microtime(true) returns a float value without the need to explode and add. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Sven
    Jan 20, 2013 at 21:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your are right :) Nice to know. This was introduced in 5.0.0. I'm so used to this lines that I never checked if there might be a API update. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 21, 2013 at 4:51

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