I'm using PHP, MySQL, Smarty, jQuery, etc. for my website. I'm using an MVC architecture to develop the website. Now in one of the functionality I'm fetching a large amount of data and perform some processing on it. Then I'm returning the finally processed data from model to the controller and assigning it to the Smarty template for showing the result to the user.

But all this scenario is taking more time. The user has to wait for a long time to get the final output result. I've tried my best to optimize my code so the data could be fetched, processed and displayed to the user as early as possible but still the issue of loading time exists.

Can anyone please help me in optimizing the code in order to reduce the loading time?

Controller (match_question.php):


  $objQuestionMatch  = new QuestionMatch();

  $request = empty( $_GET ) ? $_POST : $_GET ;

    $subject_id = $request['subject_id'];
    $topic_id = $request['topic_id'];

  if($subject_id !='' && $topic_id !='')
    $all_match_questions = $objQuestionMatch->GetSimilarQuestionsBySubjectIdTopicId($subject_id, $topic_id);

  $smarty->assign('all_match_questions', $all_match_questions);

Model (QuestionMatch.php):

  class QuestionMatch {

    var $mError = "";
    var $mCheck;
    var $mDb;
    var $mValidator;
    var $mTopicId;
    var $mTableName;

    function __construct() {
      global $gDb;
      global $gFormValidation;

      $this->mDb        = $gDb; 
      $this->mValidator = $gFormValidation;
      $this->mTableName = TBL_QUESTIONS;
     * This function is used to get all the questions from the given subject id and topic id
    function GetSimilarQuestionsBySubjectIdTopicId($subject_id, $topic_id) {

            /*SQL query to find out questions from given subject_id and topic_id*/
            $sql  = " SELECT * FROM ".TBL_QUESTIONS." WHERE question_subject_id=".$subject_id;
            $sql .= " AND question_topic_id=".$topic_id;

            $questions_data = $this->mDb->FetchArray(); 
            /*Same array $questions_data is assigned to new array $questions to avoid the reference mismatching*/
            $questions      = $questions_data;

      /*Array of words to be excluded from comparison process*/
            $exclude_words = array('which','who','what','how','when','whom','wherever','the','is','a','an','and','of','from');  

      /*This loop removes all the words of $exclude_words array from all questions and  
       *converts all questions' text into lower case
      foreach($questions as $index=>$arr) {
        $questions_array = explode(' ',strtolower($arr['question_text']));
        $clean_questions = array_diff($questions_array, $exclude_words);
        $questions[$index]['question_text'] = implode(' ',$clean_questions);

      /*Now the actual comparison of each question with every other question stats here*/
            foreach ($questions as $index=>$outer_data) {

        /*Logic to find out the no. of count question appeared into tests*/
        $sql  = " SELECT count(*) as question_appeared_count FROM ".TBL_TESTS_QUESTIONS." WHERE test_que_id=";
        $sql .= $outer_data['question_id'];

        $qcount = $this->mDb->FetchArray(MYSQL_FETCH_SINGLE); 

        $question_appeared_count = $qcount['question_appeared_count'];
        $questions_data[$index]['question_appeared_count'] = $question_appeared_count;
        /*Crerated a new key in an array to hold similar question's ids*/
        $questions_data[$index]['similar_questions_ids_and_percentage'] = Array(); 

        $outer_question = $outer_data['question_text'];

        $qpcnt = 0;     
        //foreach ($questions as $inner_data) {
        /*This foreach loop is for getting every question to compare with outer foreach loop's 
        foreach ($questions as $secondIndex=>$inner_data) { 
            /*This condition is to avoid comparing the same questions again*/
          if ($secondIndex <= $index) {
            /*This is to avoid comparing the question with itself*/
              if ($outer_data['question_id'] != $inner_data['question_id']) {

              $inner_question = $inner_data['question_text'];  

                /*This is to calculate percentage of match between each question with every other question*/
                similar_text($outer_question, $inner_question, $percent);
                $percentage = number_format((float)$percent, 2, '.', '');

                /*If $percentage is >= $percent_match only then push the respective question_id into an array*/
                if($percentage >= 85) {
                $questions_data[$index]['similar_questions_ids_and_percentage'][$qpcnt]['question_id']       = $inner_data['question_id'];
                $questions_data[$index]['similar_questions_ids_and_percentage'][$qpcnt]['percentage']        = $percentage;
                /*$questions_data[$secondIndex]['similar_questions_ids_and_percentage'][$qpcnt]['question_id'] = $outer_data['question_id'];
                $questions_data[$secondIndex]['similar_questions_ids_and_percentage'][$qpcnt]['percentage']    = $percentage;*/

                /*Logic to find out the no. of count question appeared into tests*/
                $sql  = " SELECT count(*) as question_appeared_count FROM ".TBL_TESTS_QUESTIONS." WHERE test_que_id=";
                $sql .= $inner_data['question_id'];

                $qcount = $this->mDb->FetchArray(MYSQL_FETCH_SINGLE); 

                $question_appeared_count = $qcount['question_appeared_count'];
                $questions_data[$index]['similar_questions_ids_and_percentage'][$qpcnt]['question_appeared_count'] = $question_appeared_count;
    }    //}    
    /*Logic to create the return_url when user clicks on any of the displayed matching question_ids*/
    foreach ($questions_data as $index=>$outer_data) {
      if(!empty($outer_data['similar_questions_ids_and_percentage'])) { 
        $return_url  = ADMIN_SITE_URL.'modules/questions/match_question.php?';
        $return_url .= 'op=get_question_detail&question_ids='.$outer_data['question_id'];

        foreach($outer_data['similar_questions_ids_and_percentage'] as $secondIndex=>$inner_data) {
          $return_url = $return_url.','.$inner_data['question_id'];
        $questions_data[$index]['return_url'] = $return_url.'#searchPopContent';
          /*This will return the complete array with matching question ids*/
      return $questions_data;

View (match-question.tpl):

<table width="100%" class="base-table tbl-practice" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0">
  <tr class="evenRow">
    <th width="33%" style="text-align:center;" class="question-id">Que ID</th>
    <th width="33%" style="text-align:center;" class="question-id">Matching Que IDs</th>
    <th width="33%" style="text-align:center;" class="question-id">Percentage(%)</th>
{if $all_match_questions}
  {foreach from=$all_match_questions item=qstn key=key}   
    {if $qstn.similar_questions_ids_and_percentage}
      {assign var=counter value=1}
  <tr class="oddRow">
    <td class="question-id" align="center" valign="top">
      <a href="{$qstn.return_url}" title="View question" class="inline_view_question_detail">QUE{$qstn.question_id}</a>{if $qstn.question_appeared_count gt 0}-Appeared({$qstn.question_appeared_count}){/if}
      {foreach from=$qstn.similar_questions_ids_and_percentage item=question key=q_no}
        {if $counter gt 1}
    <tr class="oddRow"><td class="question-id" align="center" valign="top"></td>
    <td class="question" align="center" valign="top">

        {if $question.question_id!=''}
      <a href="{$qstn.return_url}" title="View question" class="inline_view_question_detail">QUE{$question.question_id}</a>{if $question.question_appeared_count gt 0}-Appeared({$question.question_appeared_count}){/if}
        {if $question.question_appeared_count eq 0}
      <a id ="{$question.question_id}" href="#" class="c-icn c-remove delete_question"  title="Delete question"> Delete</a>{/if}


    <td class="question" align="center" valign="top">
        {if $question.percentage!=''}{$question.percentage}{/if}
        {assign var=counter value=$counter+1}
    <td colspan="2" align="center"><b>No Questions Available</b></td>
  • \$\begingroup\$ One note on $request = empty( $_GET ) ? $_POST : $_GET ; is that it's really bad practice to do this. It makes the $_POST/$_GET abstract, I would rather use (don't, really don't) use $_REQUEST. Even more, is it possible to have both POST and GET data. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3, 2014 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


I would remove your very performance heavy GetSimilarQuestionsBySubjectIdTopicId from PageLoad and call/load it asynchronously with AJAX.

I would also try and redesign it so you do not execute a SQL query in a loop.

  • \$\begingroup\$ :I thought and tired using AJAX but not able to called the AJAX request recursively. Can you please demonstrate your answer with some code? \$\endgroup\$
    – PHPLover
    Dec 11, 2013 at 10:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PHPLover - Sorry but I don't know enough PHP to effectively implement it. But here is a simple example (stackoverflow.com/a/5298493/1021726) which should hopefully get you started. \$\endgroup\$
    – Max
    Dec 11, 2013 at 10:20

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