[FX.php List] [OFF] Someting to show at DevCon CWP User Group? -> web frameworks

Tony White tony_white at twdesigns.com
Sun Jul 14 20:23:07 MDT 2013

Hi Joel,

Please see in-line replies below...

On 6/20/13 6:42 PM, "Joel Shapiro" <jsfmp at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Hiya
> First - Tony (& Michael), you're in luck :-)  We've got someone coming to the
> group this year who's going to show us how he's using CodeIgniter w/ FM (FX
> specifically, I believe) and talk about why he decided to make the effort to
> learn it, and why he, like Dale, "will never go back".

> Second - Steve: I think you make a really great point.  I thought about that
> kind of thing recently when a new client of mine wanted me to make a small
> change on a site built by their previous FM/CWP devs.  It turned out that the
> site used both Smarty ("PHP Template Engine") & Dojo ("JavaScript toolkit"),
> neither of which I knew.  I was able to figure them out enough to make the
> requested changes, but it really got me thinking about the line between a
> developer's preferred tools & the client's best (long-term) interests.

I am with you on the Smarty thought. Just because you call it Smarty does
not mean that it is! Perhaps it should be called Slowy ;-)

[begin excerpt]
Note: CodeIgniter does not require you to use this class since using pure
PHP in your view pages lets them run a little faster. However, some
developers prefer to use a template engine if they work with designers who
they feel would find some confusion working with PHP.
[end excerpt]

Just my opinion at the moment. I could be missing something.
> It may be more relevant for consultants than for in-house developers (since a
> "house" can set their own tools & requirements), but I think it's a good thing
> to think about when choosing what tools to use on a job.  (For instance, I'm a
> huge fan now of Sass and CSS pre-processing, but if a future developer on one
> of my sites doesn't know or like Sass it'll be no problem because s/he could
> just choose to edit the plain CSS files that get produced and totally ignore
> everything Sass.)



> Best,
> -Joel
> On Jun 20, 2013, at 2:28 PM, Steven Thoms wrote:
>> So, it's clear frameworks are preferred here, and I use them, and largely
>> agree.
>> That said, I often choose to write procedural code for a simple reason; more
>> people can pick it up, read through it and solve a problem. When I have a
>> small client, with a limited budget, I think the kindest, long term solution
>> is to write a neat, well-commented procedural experience. This gives them
>> many more options in future, after I'm gone. If the code is well commented, I
>> believe a novice can often go in, take a peak and maybe avoid spending a
>> bunch of money hiring a big gun with big tools.
>> Security often overrides this calculus, but I wanted to inject the simplicity
>> point for discussion.
>> - Steve
>> On Jun 20, 2013, at 12:02 PM, Tony White wrote:
>>> Hi All,
>>> First off, I should say that on the topic of web frameworks, I have more
>>> questions than answers.
>>> That said, I have been researching web frameworks both in the PHP world and
>>> in the Ruby world and have some thoughts on the matter.
>>> I have to confess a bias...I prefer to code as ³close to the metal² as I can
>>> for any given environment. I want the shortest path from point A to point B,
>>> unless there is an advantage to inserting more hops along the way.
>>> There are lots of blog posts (many of which I¹ve read) that talk about the
>>> advantages of using a framework versus not using a framework.
>>> There are also many blog posts on the web comparing procedural PHP to
>>> object-oriented PHP.
>>> There is also a lot of documentation about how different frameworks work. I
>>> have read through much of the documentation for CodeIgniter and ZEND.
>>>> From Joel Shapiro a while ago:
>>> http://www.phpframeworks.com/
>>> Having said all that...I¹m currently of the opinion that it is sometimes
>>> correct to use a web framework and sometime correct to avoid using a web
>>> framework. 
>>> Likewise it is sometimes correct to use object-oriented PHP and sometimes
>>> best to use procedural PHP.
>>> Any given choice should be guided by pros and cons and how they affect a
>>> particular situation.
>>> I¹ll start off by making the assertion that the web frameworks have greater
>>> complexity. This complexity must be balanced by benefits in order to justify
>>> the cost.
>>> For an example of complexity, have a look at what¹s involved using the ZEND
>>> framework to add form elements to a web form...
>>> http://framework.zend.com/manual/1.12/en/zend.form.standardDecorators.html
>>> Š and compare this to building a form manually:
>>> http://webcheatsheet.com/PHP/form_processing.php
>>> Most people would agree that it is more complicated to use a web framework
>>> for this task.
>>> This gets us to the question, ³what are the advantages to balance out this
>>> type of complexity?²
>>> The idea behind a web framework is that it solves a number of recurring
>>> problems that will (or might) come up in any given web project. Examples
>>> include:
>>> * Protection against cross site scripting attacks
>>> * The ability to implement unit testing (PHPUnit, RSpec, etc.) to protect
>>> against changes breaking code, for example on large projects with multiple
>>> team members.
>>> * Protection against web form spoofing.
>>> * Dynamic database query generation within an Object-relational mapping
>>> pattern 
>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-relational_mapping
>>> *** I wish I had a comprehensive list of all the things that a web framework
>>> gives you. Please feel free to add to this list. Additions appreciated.
>>> A web framework is a collection of code, some of which which will be useful
>>> for a given project and some of which will not. There might be advantages in
>>> deploying only the pieces of code that are needed for a given project and in
>>> the simplest possible way.
>>> For example, in the Ruby world, the 2 popular frameworks seem to be Ruby on
>>> Rails (RoR) and Sinatra. Ruby developers talk about using RoR in some cases
>>> and Sinatra in other cases where they don¹t need the overhead of RoR. This
>>> method of starting with the amount of code that¹s appropriate for a project
>>> seems like a good idea. There is also the question of how easy is it to
>>> modify a framework for those cases where you need to color outside the
>>> lines.
>>> The most important question seems to be what problems does a framework
>>> solve? If we can answer that question, it will help us make the best
>>> decision of when to use a framework and when to keep it simple.
>>> What do you all think?
>>> Thanks.
>>> All the best,
>>> Tony White
>>> Tony White Designs, Inc.
>>> Tel: 646-714-2797 (Google Voice)
>>> Tel: 718-797-4175
>>> tony_white at twdesigns.com
>>> http://www.twdesigns.com
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