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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

Anthony Ferrara:
A Beginner's Guide To MVC For The Web
November 24, 2014 @ 10:42:41

Anthony Ferrara has posted what he calls a beginners guide to MVC for the web, a tutorial that introduces to you the basic concepts behind the Model-View-Controller design pattern and how it should fit in with the SOLID design principles.

There are a bunch of guides out there that claim to be a guide to MVC. It's almost like writing your own framework in that it's "one of those things" that everyone does. I realized that I never wrote my "beginners guide to MVC". So I've decided to do exactly that. Here's my "beginners guide to MVC for the web".

He starts with his first lesson, his most important one really - you don't need "MVC" (the concept, not the pattern...he notes them differently). He then gets into what the MVC pattern actually is and describes each piece and how they fit together. Following that, he talks about "MVC" as a concept and how it's different from MVC, the design pattern (hint: the pattern describes one implementation of the MVC ideals). He talks about the role of state in the MVC structure and how the implementation of the MVC idea is slightly different in the various "MVC frameworks" out there.

There is a very useful lesson that MVC brings: Separation Of Concerns. Meaning that you should separate different responsibilities into different sections of your application. Separation of Concerns is a necessary step in dealing with Abstraction. Instead of latching on to MVC, latch on to abstraction. Latch on to separation of concerns. Latch on to architecture. There are far better ways to architect and abstract user interaction for server-based applications than MVC.
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Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2014/11/a-beginners-guide-to-mvc-for-web.html

NetTuts.com:
Design Patterns The Adapter Pattern
November 03, 2014 @ 11:54:20

In the latest post in their series looking at common programming design patterns, NetTuts.com talks about the Adapter pattern. This pattern makes it easier to swap out different connection types via an abstracted interface.

In this article, we will continue our discussion on design patterns by taking a look at the adapter design pattern. This particular pattern can be used when your code is dependent on some external API, or any other class that is prone to change frequently. This pattern falls under the category of "structural patterns" because it teaches us how our code and our classes should be structured in order to manage and/or extend them easily.

He starts off with the problem he's aiming to solve: a change in a "Twitter" class from one method name to another. An "adapter" lets an existing class be used from another interface, requiring no to minimal changes to the original class. He refactors the example to use an example of an adapter, creating a class that defines an object that passes in the original "Twitter" class instance and wraps the "send" call in its own method. With this in place, he also shows how to create a brand new adapter for Facebook, mimicking the "send" method, just with different functionality.

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Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/design-patterns-the-adapter-pattern--cms-22262

NetTuts.com:
Design Patterns The Facade Pattern
October 20, 2014 @ 13:17:46

NetTuts.com has continued their series covering common design patterns and their implementation in some example PHP scripts today. In their latest post they focus on the Facade pattern, a member of the "structural" family of patterns.

When it comes to design patterns, you may have questions: Why should we use design patterns in programming? Our code can work just fine without it. [...] Code that employs design patterns is easy to understand, easy to maintain, and easy to extend.[...] In this tutorial, we are going to cover the facade design pattern. It falls under the category of structural patterns because it deals with how your code should be structured to make it easily intelligible and keep it well maintained in the long term.

They start with a UML layout of a typical Facade and include a typical problem/solution where it could be used. They get into a code example that creates a simple checkout process. In this process, they use the Facade pattern to create a more maintainable, extensible ordering workflow.

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Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/design-patterns-the-facade-pattern--cms-22238

Mathias Verraes:
Resolving Feature Envy in the Domain
August 12, 2014 @ 11:55:24

Mathias Verraes has a new post today about something he calls "feature envy" in the domain, related to this code smell (based on a definition from Martin Fowler).

Benjamin Eberlei did a really nice job of explaining refactoring the Feature Envy code smell on his blog. I wrote a comment because I felt the example could be taken one step further. You should read the original post. Below are Benjamin's code examples (for reference), followed by a repost of my comment.

The "smell" is defined as "a method that seems more interested in a class other than the one it's in". Mathias includes the code examples from the other post showing a datetime calculation and how it could be abstracted out to another class and method. He talks about the migration and how it relates to the "Whole Value" pattern and integrating some of the logic into a factory, generating a "reporting period" instance. He finishes the post with a brief look at an application of domain-driven design concepts to the problem, suggesting that the reporting be even more abstracted from the datetime data and using the "reporting period" object instead.

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Link: http://verraes.net/2014/08/resolving-feature-envy-in-the-domain/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
MVC - a Problem or a Solution?
July 28, 2014 @ 11:42:36

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post by Jeroen Meeus that wonders if MVC is a solution or a problem when it comes to developing web applications.

Repositories, Adapters, MVC with all it cousins, SOLID, RTFM… As a (PHP) developer, those words are thrown at you from every corner of the web. And I hate it, I've had enough. Stop telling me what to do and show me those kittens instead. [...] When solving the web-application problem, we are forced to use MVC. The dev community often frowns upon those who don't use it, but seldom lets those they're frowning upon ask why. [...] MVC doesn't solve the Code complexity problem. It doesn't solve the code reuse or no-flexibility problem either. And it doesn't guarantee decoupled code.

He goes on to talk about how design patterns don't "solve problems". Rather they help us as developers by providing a best practice we can follow to get the job done. He suggests, though, that MVC has become "the new Singleton" but it has been used so much in so many different ways, it's boarding on the point of being abused.

Depending on the situation, and the problem at hand, different patterns can help you write robust, secure and understandable code. Just be careful using them - if you catch yourself using the MVC pattern for a 1-pager, ctrl+a del.
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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/mvc-problem-solution/

PHPBuilder.com:
Exploring PHP Design Patterns
June 23, 2014 @ 10:41:50

For those that might be new to development, the concept of "design patterns" could be one you're just approaching. These common practices define some "patterns" of development that have been proven to provide good structure and maintainability to applications...when applied correctly. PHPBuilder.com has an introductory article showing you how to use five of the most common patterns: Factory, Singleton, Observer, Chain of Command and Strategy.

Design patterns provide a generic reusable solution to common problems. A design pattern is not a concrete solution that can be converted in to source code or a machine code rather it is a template which can be used to solve a problem in different situations. Design patterns help in faster development as the templates are proven and from the developer's point, only implementation is required. Design patterns not only make software development faster but also encapsulate big ideas in a simpler way.

For each of the patterns represented a brief description is included and some sample code is given showing it in use. There's not too much depth in this post, so if you're looking for more "meat" on these patterns, I'd suggest checking out some more advanced articles on SitePoint.com.

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Link: http://www.phpbuilder.com/articles/application-architecture/design/exploring-php-design-patterns.html

Matthew Weier O'Phinney:
Better Understanding Controllers Through Basic Patterns
June 10, 2014 @ 09:53:21

In his most recent post Matthew Weier O'Phinney shares his own spin on the Action-Domain-Responder pattern (from Paul Jones): how the controllers in the ARD setup could be explained as facades.

Paul M. Jones has started an interesting discussion rethinking the MVC pattern as applied to the web, which he has dubbed Action-Domain-Responder (ADR). If you haven't given it a read yet, click the link and do that; this page will still be sitting here waiting when you return. I agree with a ton of it - heck, I've contributed to it a fair bit via conversations with Paul. But there's been one thing nagging at me for a bit now, and I was finally able to put it into words recently. Controllers - Actions in ADR - can be explained as facades.

Matthew starts off by defining the Facade design pattern with a quote from the infamous "Gang of Four" book: simply put, a simplified interface to a complex system. He provides a basic example of a facade that wraps some common steps for inserting and logging data with this kind of simplified interface. He applies this to the ADR pattern's controllers, pointing out that it handles a few complex steps "behind the scenes" common to marshaling and managing the request.

For me, thinking of Controllers and Actions as Facades has an additional benefit: it describes rather complex architectural patterns in terms of basic design patterns. I find the more I can reduce the complexity of a definition, the more likely I will understand and use it correctly.
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Link: http://mwop.net/blog/2014-06-09-controllers-as-facades.html

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

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Repository Design Pattern Demystified
June 02, 2014 @ 09:12:40

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today that hopes to "demystify" the Repository design pattern with an overview of its structure and ow your code can put it to use.

What is the Repository Design Pattern? To put it simply, it is an implementation of a brokering layer between the application and a data source. Neither party needs to be be aware of the other to perform their respective jobs which allows us to have a decoupled architecture which in turn helps in the scaling of the application in the big leagues without having hard dependencies.

He includes an example case where the Repository pattern might be used, to "proxy" requests to multiple types of data sources from many different inventory systems. He includes some pros and cons of using the functionality too, like a positive separation of concerns but a negative additional abstraction layer. The remainder of the post includes a code example basing it on a Laravel framework installation. He creates a simple Repository class and shows how to extend it with a layer specific to one city type.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/repository-design-pattern-demystified/


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