When I started teaching myself scripting languages, I started with Perl. One Perl motto is "TMTOWTDI" -- "There's More Than One Way To Do It," and pronounced "tim-toady." The idea is that there's likely multiple ways to accomplish the very same thing, and the culture of the language encourages finding novel ways to do things.
I've seen this principle used everywhere and in just about every programming situation possible, applied to logical operations, naming conventions, formatting, and even project structure. Everyone has an opinion on these topics, and given free rein to implement as they see fit, it's rare that two developers will come up with the same conventions.
TMTOWTDI is an incredibly freeing and egalitarian principle.
Over the years, however, my love for TMTOWTDI has diminished some. Freeing as it is, is also a driving force behind having coding standards and conventions -- because when everyone does it their own way, projects become quickly hard to maintain. Each person finds themselves reformatting code to their own standards, simply so they can read it and follow its flow.
Additionally, TMTOWTDI can actually be a foe of simple, elegant solutions.
Why do I claim this?
During ZendCon this year, we released 2.0.0beta1 of Zend Framework. The key story in the release is the creation of a new MVC layer, and to sweeten the story, the addition of a modular application architecture.
"Modular? What's that mean?" For ZF2, "modular" means that your application is built of one or more "modules". In a lexicon agreed upon during our IRC meetings, a module is a collection of code and other files that solves a specific atomic problem of the application or website.
As an example, consider a typical corporate website in a technical arena. You might have:
These can be divided into discrete modules:
Furthermore, if these are developed well and discretely, they can be re-used between different applications!
So, let's dive into ZF2 modules!
Earlier this year, I wrote about Aspects, Intercepting Filters, Signal Slots, and Events, in order to compare these similar approaches to handling both asychronous programming as well as handling cross-cutting application concerns in a cohesive way.
I took the research I did for that article, and applied it to what was then a "SignalSlot" implementation within Zend Framework 2, and refactored that work into a new "EventManager" component. This article is intended to get you up and running with it.
In the past six weeks, I've delivered both a webinar and a tutorial on Zend Framework 2 development patterns. The first pattern I've explored is our new suite of autoloaders, which are aimed at both performance and rapid application development -- the latter has always been true, as we've followed PEAR standards, but the former has been elusive within the 1.X series.
Interestingly, I've had quite some number of folks ask if they can use the new autoloaders in their Zend Framework 1 development. The short answer is "yes," assuming you're running PHP 5.3 already. If not, however, until today, the answer has been "no."
Zend Framework has offerred a code generation component since version 1.8, when
we started shipping
Zend_CodeGenerator largely mimics PHP's
ReflectionAPI, but does the opposite: it instead generates code.
Why might you want to generate code?
zf.shto generate controller classes and action methods).
Zend\CodeGenerator in the ZF2 repository is largely ported from Zend Framework
1, but also includes some functionality surrounding namespace usage and imports.
I used it this week when working on some prototypes, and found it useful enough
that I want to share some of what I've learned.
ZF2 development is ramping up. We've been at it for some time now, but mostly taking care of infrastructure: converting to namespaces, re-working our exception strategy, improving our test suites, and improving our autoloading and plugin loading strategies to be more performant and flexible. Today, we're actively working on the MVC milestone, which we expect to be one of the last major pieces necessary for developers to start developing on top of ZF2.
A question I receive often is: "How can I contribute to ZF2?"
Consider this your guide.
Last month, during PHP Advent, gwoo wrote an interesting post on Aspect-Oriented Design, or Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP) as it is more commonly known. The article got me to thinking, and revisiting what I know about AOP, Intercepting Filters, and Signal Slots -- in particular, what use cases I see for them, what the state of current PHP offerings are, and where the future may lie.
But first, some background is probably in order, as this is a jargon-heavy post.
My job is great: I get to play with technology and code most days. My job is also hard: how does one balance both functionality and usability in programming interfaces?
I've been working, with Ralph Schindler, on a set of proposals around the Zend Framework 2.0 MVC layer, specifically the "C", or "Controller" portion of the triad. There are a ton of requirements we're trying to juggle, from making the code approachable to newcomers all the way to making the code as extensible as possible for the radical performance tuning developers out there.
In Zend Framework 2.0, we're refactoring in a number of areas in order to increase the consistency of the framework. One area we identified early is how plugins are loaded.
The word "plugins" in Zend Framework applies to a number of items:
In practically every case, we use a "short name" to name the plugin, in order to allow loading it dynamically. This allows more concise code, as well as the ability to configure the code in order to allow specifying alternate implementations.