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Alex Bilbie:
Open Source Guilt
August 18, 2014 @ 13:29:43

Alex Bilbie has an interesting new post to his site looking at the idea of open source guilt. He uses the term to describe the feeling you can get when a project falls by the wayside and you're not putting as much effort into it as you had before. He uses his own real-world project work as an example (an Oauth2 server and client).

I've willingly and happily poured hours of my life into both projects. [...] After leaving the university I moved to London and my life "got flipped-turned upside down" (as Will Smith once put it) which naturally resulted in a reduction in the number of commits that went into the projects. [...] I did my best with the emails piling up in my inbox but I also ignored many. [...] Releasing open source projects is a great feeling however there are a number of considerations one should bear in mind.

He makes the suggestion of four things to keep in mind when working on and releasing an open source project. These are things that can remind you (and keep you away from) some of the issues he's had in his own work:

  • Actions have consequences
  • People want to help
  • Your personal reputation is on the line
  • Popular open source projects work well when the authors are using the project regularly themselves

He also includes a few personal things he's going to do to try to make life easier and happier including roadmaps for projects, documenting via FAQs and being more honest about his own availability.

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opensource guilt project maintenance personal

Link: http://alexbilbie.com/2014/08/open-source-guilt/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Legacy Code is a Cancer
August 04, 2014 @ 11:08:45

In the latest post to the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc proposes the idea that "legacy code is a cancer" that can influence decisions and technology choices that shy away from the new and possibly more functional alternatives.

This might come out controversial, but I firmly believe there is no room for legacy code in modern systems. Allow me to elaborate before you sharpen your pitchfork and light your torch. What I mean by that is: there should be absolutely zero reason to keep implementing the functions you're adding to the new version retroactively into the old version, just because some people are still using it, even if the people using it are a vast majority.

He talks about the "support everything for as long as we can" ideal and how it can come back to bite you in the end. He suggests that, at some point, the v1 users have to "be discarded" and dropped for the upgraded version of the application. He talks about failure potentially brining around success and compares applications versus libraries and components and the upgrade path for each. He ends the post with a suggested upgrade path to move the system itself away from legacy support and into the new, latest version.

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legacy code cancer maintenance upgrade support users

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/legacy-code-cancer/

Paul Jones:
Framework Tradeoffs For Beginners Product Creation vs Program Maintenance
January 22, 2014 @ 11:53:42

Paul Jones has shared some of his thoughts about framework tradeoffs in his latest post. In it he compares two perspectives about framework use for beginners - either the "get something out there" product approach or focusing on the the long term maintenance of the product.

Phil Sturgeon at his blog, writing about product creators who neither know nor care much about programming as a discipline. [...] Phil's post focuses on the joyful, proud moments of creation that lead to business success, whether in terms of venture funding or continued sales. In this essay, I want to focus on what happens after that, when that initial creation passes into other hands to be maintained.

Paul talks about how frameworks can allow developers to work "beyond their level" and be more productive than they could be otherwise. He points out that this can create a beginner-level codebase that works "just enough" and then is usually passed off to more experienced developers to update, change and flat out fix issues.

From a financial standpoint, and perhaps even from an economic standpoint, it's easy to see enabling-via-framework as a positive. Indeed, the product creator may justify his failures of good programming practice by substituting the product popularity and continued rounds of funding as a marker of success. [...] But from a programming practices standpoint, enabling-by-framework too often leads to pain and frustration on the part of the maintenance programmers, who are now saddled with the baggage of an amateur.
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framework tradeoff beginner product creation maintenance

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/5890

MaltBlue.com:
5 Reasons Coding Standards Are Essential
March 13, 2013 @ 10:13:59

Matthew Setter has posted five reasons why he thinks that making a coding standard is an essential part of your development process. He suggests that "pain avoidance" is one of the key factors, both for new members of the team and for those maintaining it in the future.

Whenever you're working on a project, are you consistent? Are you consistent in your coding style, consistent in your documenting, consistent in your database naming conventions? Better yet, do you and your team have a coding standard which you consistently adhere to? If you don't, you're buying yourself and others a world of pain - which is painlessly simple to avoid. Today I'm banging the drum, shouting from the street corner, calling from the cathedral spire, imploring you to do one thing, above all else - pick a coding standard and then BE CONSISTENT!

His five reasons for implementing (and effectively using) a coding standard are:

  • Poor, Inconsistent Code - Causes You Pain
  • Your Code is Easier to Read
  • Your Code is Easier to Understand
  • Your Code is Easier to Maintain
  • Your Code is Easier to Collaborate on

Check out the post for summaries of each point.

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coding standard essential opinion maintenance read understand collaborate


Lee Davis' Blog:
The enum conundrum
July 06, 2012 @ 11:56:52

In a new post to his blog Lee Davis describes the enum conundrum - what's the right solution for effectively using ENUM-type fields in your data?

So a user signs up and I want to store a status that reflects their account, or at least an identifier representing that status. Their account could be active, disabled (temporarily), pending approval or maybe deleted. Should I use an enum? I've heard they're evil. Maybe having a reference table with statuses would be better? But now I have to manage a separate table just for that one snippet of data, is that overkill? Could I maybe use that status table for other entities? Or, could I instead just use an integer and reference it on the code level? What is the right solution?

He presents three of the most common situations he's seen for people using enums in the application:

  • "I used enums all over the place" (maintenance between code and DB values)
  • "use a reference table"
  • "I could use a class constant to represent the enum" (enforced in the app)

Of the three, he suggests the third as the option with the most advantages. Not only does it make it simpler to get the allowed values for the field, but you're also more flexible in the kinds of validation you can do on the values.

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enum conundrum reference table constant maintenance


Tom Schlick's Blog:
Wrench for FuelPHP
November 30, 2011 @ 12:40:57

Tom Schlick has a new post to his blog talking about a tool he's written for FuelPHP-based applications called Wrench. It's a command-line tool to make taking your site "offline" simpler.

If you have been following what I've been up to lately you would see that many of my recent projects are based on FuelPHP. Since Fuel is so awesome and allows you to create "packages" that can be dropped into your application, I have created a few that help me quickly piece together apps. The first package I'm "releasing" is called Wrench.

The tool works with the oil command-line tool already included in the framework to swap out the default action with a "Down for Maintenance" message. It will look at the current state of the app and switch it to the opposite when run, but you can also define "start" and "finish" manually if you'd like. You can find the source for the package on Tom's github account.

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wrench site maintenance message tool task fuelphp framework


Richard Thomas' Blog:
ZF please before you go 2.0 gunho please clean out the attic
January 28, 2010 @ 12:20:21

Richard Thomas has a suggestion for the Zend Framework development group - clean out the attic before you hit the 2.0 mark.

A big focus of 2.0 it seems is going to be performance and cleaning up the structure to make use of php 5.3 features which is great, I have been preaching the need for ZF to start taking performance as a real concern for a while now. On the other hand they have gotten to a certain point that they need to reflect on what they already have and not let the spiderwebs grow to large.

Richard points out that the Zend Framework, which has a focus on being a "business-class framework" and having the best to offer, has quite a few parts of it that are older and aren't well maintained. This sort of thing could cause some big problems down the line and could even cause some doubt over the developer's choice of frameworks.

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zendframework opinion cleanup maintenance


Doctrine Blog:
Doctrine 1.0.8 and 1.1.0-RC2 Released
March 03, 2009 @ 10:24:36

Guilherme Blanco passed along a note about the latest releases from the Doctrine project, Doctrine 1.0.8 and 1.1.0-RC2:

Today I am happy to tell you that we have two new versions of Doctrine available for you to use. The first is the monthly maintenance release for Doctrine 1.0 and the second is another release candidate for the newest major version of Doctrine, 1.1. As always you can grab them from the downloads page.

Updates in these two versions include a few backported fixes from 1.1, updates to the Doctrine_Query::count() method for optimization, and several fixes in the Release Candidate in preparation for the next release. You can see the full Changelogs here: 1.0.8 and 1.1.0-RC2.

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doctrine release maintenance orm object relational mapper layer


Ibuildings Blog:
About Open Source software projects
July 22, 2008 @ 10:27:15

On the Ibuildings blog today Mikko Koppanen talks a bit about Open Source software projects and things that can help to make them successful.

An idea can be a tool or a library that you need and think others might find useful; a new technology innovation; or something you think you could implement better than the existing tools. Extra care has to be taken if you decide to create a new tool to replace an old one. In most cases, these projects end up reinventing the wheel without any added value. A wheel is wheel, right?

He recommends a team infrastructure growth as the application grows and the importance of documentation and maintenance after the project has been launched.

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opensource software project manage team infrastructure documentation maintenance


CodeIgniter Blog:
CodeIgniter 1.6.3 Maintenance and Security Release
June 27, 2008 @ 09:34:52

The CodeIgniter framework has made a new release today, 1.6.3, containing updates to fix a few bugs and address some security concerns.

We are happy to release CodeIgniter version 1.6.3 today. Version 1.6.3 is primarily a maintenance release, with a variety of bug fixes and some refinement to existing features (with a few new ones tossed in for good measure). Details of course can be found in the Change Log.

The release also fixes a potential cross-site scripting issue that, while it hasn't been reported as used yet, could still have some bad consequences if found and abused. You can grab this latest version from the CodeIgniter downloads page.

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codeigniter framework maintenance security xss crossitescripting bug fix



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