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Anthony Ferrara:
Alternatives To MVC
November 25, 2014 @ 11:52:15

Following up on his previous article talking about the MVC design pattern (and the idea of "MVC"), Anthony Ferrara has posted some alternatives to MVC for your consideration. These other options are mostly variants of the typical MVC structure and could be considered "siblings".

Last week, I wrote A Beginner's Guide To MVC For The Web. In it, I described some of the problems with both the MVC pattern and the conceptual "MVC" that frameworks use. But what I didn't do is describe better ways. I didn't describe any of the alternatives. So let's do that. Let's talk about some of the alternatives to MVC...

He starts by restating some of the major issues with the typical MVC implementation (three of them). From there, he covers each of the alternatives with a summary paragraph or three about each:

He talks about the similarities between them, mainly that they're all "triads" of functionality and that they all have the same basic purpose. He also suggests that they're all "pretending" to be application architectures.

If it's not clear where something fits in your application, that's a sign that your application architecture is flawed. Not that you need to introduce some magic in to get it to work. So let's admit that none of these are application architectures... And let's admit that there is a problem we need to solve.
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Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2014/11/alternatives-to-mvc.html

Envato:
The Future of WordPress
July 10, 2014 @ 13:14:07

On the Envato blog there's a recent post that covers some of the future of WordPress resulting from some discussions at a recent Future of WordPress panel from the WP Think Tank.

There's one thing that we can all agree on: the future of WordPress is bright. Outside of this, the ever-passionate WordPress community is a hotbed for debates on where WordPress should go from here. With 22% of websites running on WordPress, a vibrant open-source community, amazing themes and plugins and a developer-friendly mindset, WordPress is stronger today than it has ever been. So what's next?

Their list includes changes touching just about all parts of the application including plenty of UI updates, a continued focus on backwards compatibility a shift towards plugin-driven development. This would allow new features to be installed as plugins when they're ready rather than modifying the core package. There's also some emphasis being put on making it work for "more than just blogging" and push towards more enterprise-level acceptance.

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Link: http://inside.envato.com/the-future-of-wordpress/

Paul Jones:
Refactoring To Action-Domain-Responder
June 06, 2014 @ 10:06:15

Paul Jones has a new post to his site today with a more in-depth look at his proposed "Action-Domain-Responder" design pattern and how to refactor an application, based on some with with the Aura framework, to use it.

The v1 version of the Aura framework includes a controller to handle web assets. The idea for this controller was that an Aura package might have images, scripts, and stylesheets that need to be publicly available, but in development you don't necessarily want to copy them to a public document root every time you change them. [...] That v1 version is a mess. The Controller handles the response-building entirely, and there is no Model separation at all. Let's try refactoring it to an Action-Domain-Responder architecture and clean it up some for a v2 version.

Associated code it just linked to, but he does summarize the steps needed to make the transition: extract the domain logic, move responses to a separate class and rename the controller to an action. He also shows how making this separation makes testing easier and links to examples of tests for each. He finishes the post with two final notes about the refactor. One points out that this method isn't the only way to handle this architecture shift and that the action returns a responder, not a response object.

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Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6006

Coding the Architecture:
Five things every developer should know about software architecture
March 05, 2014 @ 11:57:58

While not specific to PHP, this new article on the Coding the Architecture blog gives some good insights on what developers should know about software architecture.

Now I may be biased, but a quick look at my calendar hints to me that there's a renewed and growing interest in software architecture. Although I really like much of the improvement the agile movement has provided to the software development industry, I still can't help feeling that there are a large number of teams out there who struggle with a lack of process.

[...] Put very simply, software architecture plays a pivotal role in the delivery of successful software yet it's frustratingly neglected by many teams. Whether performed by one person or shared amongst the team, the architecture role exists on even the most agile of teams yet the balance of up front and evolutionary thinking often reflects aspiration rather than reality. The big problem is that software architecture has fallen out of favour over the past decade or so. Here are five things that every software developer should know about it.

Each of the five things comes with a paragraph of explanation (and some links to additional resources):

  • Software architecture isn't about big design up front
  • Every software team needs to consider software architecture
  • The software architecture role is about coding, coaching and collaboration
  • You don't need to use UML
  • A good software architecture enables agility
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Link: http://www.codingthearchitecture.com/2014/03/05/five_things_every_developer_should_know_about_software_architecture.html

Phil Sturgeon:
The "Framework" is Dead, Long live the Framework
January 14, 2014 @ 11:16:22

Phil Sturgeon has stirred the pot once more with a new post to his site suggesting that the "framework" is dead, but the framework still lives on (the difference being one is a structured whole, the other is made up of packages).

There have been a few posts over the last few months saying that the age of the framework is dead, and that Composer is the true savior, and other similar messages. This is half-true, but lots of people have been using the word "framework" differently over the years and I wanted to really work out a good definition of what a "framework" was in relation to PHP development, and in relation to these discussions.

His suggestions, sparked by a conversation on Twitter, suggest that frameworks should only provide the architecture of the application, a "set of lines to color inside". He goes back in time and looks at PHP frameworks past (like CodeIgniter and Kohana) and compares them to some of the popular ones of today like Zend Framework 2, FuelPHP, Laravel and Aura. He also talks about the good and bad of traditional frameworks, how they can be harmful to beginners in PHP and how much more difficult it's getting to be to say "That framework is popular" because of the changing definitions.

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Link: http://philsturgeon.co.uk/blog/2014/01/the-framework-is-dead-long-live-the-framework

PHP Town Hall:
Episode #13 - PHP Internals, Service-orientated Architecture and Language Wars
October 15, 2013 @ 13:36:30

The PHP Town Hall podcast has released their latest episode - Episode #13, PHP Internals, Service-orientated Architecture and Language Wars:

Ben, Zack K. and Phil discuss the difference between PHP's organisational structure and lack of BDFL with that of Rails, or Linux. We then discuss service-orientated architecture a little and move onto how you should not box yourself into a single programming language - on your CV or in general as a programmer.

You can listen to this latest post either through the in-page player, by downloading the mp3 or by subscribing to their feed.

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Link: http://phptownhall.com

Community News:
"Laravel From Apprentice To Artisan" Book Release
July 17, 2013 @ 10:31:41

As is mentioned on Reddit.com, Taylor Otwell (author of the Laravel framework) has released his latest book about the architecture of Laravel applications.

Written by the creator of Laravel, this is the definitive guide to advanced application development with Laravel 4. Learn about dependency injection, interfaces, service providers, SOLID design, and more while exploring practical, real-world code examples. Whether you're building a robust, large application with the Laravel framework, or just want to sharpen your software design chops, this book will be of great value to you and your team.

The book covers a lot of common architecture concepts too, not just things specific to Laravel like:

  • Interfaces as contracts
  • Working with service providers
  • the Single Responsibility Principle
  • the Interface Segregation Principle
  • the Dependency Inversion Principle

You might notice that those last few chapters are actually covering the SOLID design principles. You can pick up the book over on Leanpub.

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Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1ifd09/laravel_4_from_apprentice_to_artisan_book_released

The PHP.cc:
A Framework is No Architecture
June 20, 2013 @ 09:52:08

On the PHP.cc site today Stefan Priebsch has shared a video of a presentation he made called "A Framework Is No Architecture":

Back in April I presented a keynote titled "A Framework Is No Architecture" at the Inspiring Flow conference. [...] Frameworks solve common problems, and thus allow rapid application development. Agile and incremental software development, however, does not magically create architectures as you go. We will prove the point that your favourite framework does not provide you with an application architecture, and analyze what implications this has.

You can watch the video in-page or over on YouTube if you'd like a bit larger view.

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Link: http://thephp.cc/viewpoints/blog/2013/06/a-framework-is-no-architecture

Dave Marshall:
Silex Route Helpers for a Cleaner Architecture
November 27, 2012 @ 10:57:16

In a previous post of his Dave Marshall talked about using controllers as "services" in a Silex-based application. In this new post he takes it a step further and shows you how to use route helpers to make working with those controllers even simpler.

Supposing we want to render some HTML, do we want to inject the template engine in to the controller? Should the controller be responsible for knowing how to render the template? I'm not sure, but if I can have it not do it with minimal fuss, I think I'd rather it not. The full stack framework has the @Template annotation, which allows developers to assign a template to a controller and then simply return an array. If they can do it in the full stack framework, we can do it in Silex.

He includes the code for an example of a 404 handling page that uses the "convert" method to configure a route (path to a controller) for the currently matched route. He also shows the creation of a simple "CustomRoute" class and a "TemplateRenderingListener" to make it simpler to customize the handling and output of the request, all injected into the application's DI for later use.

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Reddit.com:
Thoughts on API centric architecture
September 11, 2012 @ 09:17:50

On Reddit.com there's a recent post talking about an API-centric architecture that would separate out business logic from user logic.

I'm in a fairly unique position of being able to refactor an existing site that gets a moderate amount of traffic (~10k per day). Technically speaking, it probably does not NEED to be rebuilt from ground up, but as this is somewhat of a hobby project for me, I am choosing to rebuild it because I think there are significant long term benefits and because of the learning experience it affords me. [...] The solution that I've come up with, so far, is to create a single library whose sole responsibility is to handle system / business level interactions that occur. This API is completely segregated from any consumer facing frontend and de-coupled from any particular framework implementation.

Comments on the post are mostly supportive - they're in favor of the API-for-business-logic approach, but some recommend other methods than the single library attack. There's suggestions of using current frameworks to handle some of the "dirty work" involved in setting up the API and a mention of focusing on performance as well as functionality.

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