You have a file with a string (average sentence worth) on each line. For arguments sake lets say this file is 1Mb in size (thousands of lines).
You have a script that reads the file, changes some of the strings within the document (not just appending but also removing and modifying some lines) and then overwrites all the data with the new data.
Does 'the server' PHP, OS or httpd etc. already have systems in place to stop issues like this (reading/writing half way through a write)?
If it does, please explain how it works and give examples or links to relevant documentation.
If not, are there things I can enable or set-up, such as locking a file until a write is completed and making all other reads and/or writes fail until the previous script has finished writing?
My Assumptions and Other Information:
The server in question is running PHP and Apache or Lighttpd.
If the script is called by one user and is halfway through writing to the file and another user reads the file at that exact moment. The user who reads it will not get the full document, as it hasn't been written yet. (If this assumption is wrong please correct me)
I'm only concerned with PHP writing and reading to a text file, and in particular, the functions "fopen"/"fwrite" and mainly "file_put_contents". I have looked at the "file_put_contents" documentation but have not found the level of detail or a good explanation of what the "LOCK_EX" flag is or does.
The scenario is an example of a worst case scenario where I would assume these issues are more likely to occur, due to the large size of the file and the way the data is edited. I want to learn more about these issues and don't want or need answers or comments such as "use mysql" or "why are you doing that" because I'm not doing that, I just want to learn about file read/writing with PHP and don't seem to be looking in the right places/documentation and yes I understand PHP is not the perfect language for working with files in this way.