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Jason Lefkowitz's Blog:
The Worst Thing About PHP
June 01, 2006 @ 14:45:05

In his latest post, Jason Lefkowitz takes on something that's praised by PHP developers and non-PHP developers alike - the documentation for the project. There's just something he finds messy about the whole business.

Really, it has more to do with the way that PHP's structured than the actual documentation. It's just a case of art imitating life.

Now, having lots of libraries isn't necessarily bad - Java has an even more Herculean list. It only becomes a problem when you make no distinctions between them in the docs - like PHP.

PHP just throws a huge list of libraries at you and leaves you to figure out which one you need. There's no overarching "Database" package - instead you get Postgres functions and Oracle functions and Firebird functions and MySQL functions, all sprinkled throughout the list.

He also comments that the entire listing is also cluttered with other functionality, things that most developers would toss aside if they came across - they just don't need them.

His point isn't without merit - there is definitely a need to reorganize things in the manual to make them a bit more "topic friendly". The documentation is already one of the most well-maintained in the Open Source community, so the content is there, maybe it's just the structure that needs to be changed.

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