Blog Comments

  1. Nile's Avatar
    Actually, your representation of the control pattern is more of a presenter pattern (MVP, not MVC). You'd benefit from reading a ton of this user's top answers. He's brilliant and has loads of knowledge on this topic. Specifically look at this answer.
  2. traq's Avatar
    Interesting discussion on the topic over at PHPBuilder.
  3. djr33's Avatar
    On the other side of things, if you don't do this, you find yourself validating a lot of function input. I've written if (!is_array($var)) { return false; } far too many times to count.

    I may try using this instead. It seems useful.
  4. traq's Avatar
    That's the one. The boyfriend (Sandler) is planning a walrus study expedition. There is size-related walrus innuendo throughout the film.

    Beyond "interesting," how PHP handles type juggling is worth the read. It leads to obscure problems sometimes, especially if one isn't familiar with how it works. In general, though, it's meant to be a "transparent" process, and it works "well enough" that most PHP coders may never have to worry about it - or even know it exists.
    Updated 11-29-2012 at 08:09 PM by traq
  5. keyboard's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by traq
    Ever seen 50 First Dates?

    Actually, my current long-term side project is organizing all of my PHP "boilerplate" code into a web app framework-like-thing, and type hinting is pretty useful (especially where a method [function] needs an object of a particular class).
    I think so... that's the one where the girlfriend has amnesia and everyday she forgets him?
    (I've only seen a little bit of that one anyway).
    Adam Sandler is the boyfriend?

    What's that got to do with pondering being a walrus?

    Anyway, interesting traq......
  6. traq's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by keyboard1333
    I was pondering what it would like to be a walrus earlier
    Ever seen 50 First Dates?
    Quote Originally Posted by keyboard1333
    Not sure how much you would actually use this in a live environment...
    Actually, my current long-term side project is organizing all of my PHP "boilerplate" code into a web app framework-like-thing, and type hinting is pretty useful (especially where a method [function] needs an object of a particular class).
  7. keyboard's Avatar
    I was pondering what it would like to be a walrus earlier.... does that count as random?

    But seriously - this is interesting traq... I've never even thought about this...
    Not sure how much you would actually use this in a live environment... but still usefull to know.
  8. Beverleyh's Avatar
    No worries. I'll be patient

    Don't forget to make time for all those Chrimbo films that'll be gracing our TVs soon! Glitter, grog and goodwill - Fantastic!
  9. traq's Avatar
    It's gonna be a big one, so it might take a few weeks. But I'm workin' on it, trust me!
  10. Beverleyh's Avatar
    You got me traq. I need to straighten out my methods, cos some aren't pretty.

    I'm sitting here waiting with my chewed pencil, notepad (the paper and digital kind) and cup of tea in hand.

    Any ETA? - my tea's getting cold
  11. bernie1227's Avatar
    I don't really mind whether you do tutorials aimed towards people with more experience, however you may wish to actually make it more obvious in the blog what the purpose of the blog is and who it is aimed at, as this tutorial definitely seems to be geared more towards beginners, otherwise you wouldn't be explaining how to use php.
  12. traq's Avatar
    You're not butting in!

    You've got a good point. To answer your question in a very general way, I think the reason I didn't spend more time explaining syntax and code examples is that I didn't really intend to... What I wanted to hit was what I thought was wrong with so many tutorials, not to define a "new standard" for tutorials. Just the idea. Likewise, while I'm talking about beginners, and what I think would be good things to teach them first, beginners weren't really my sole target audience. I had something I'd been thinking about for a long time, and I wanted to share it with people with a wide range of experiences.

    I'm not trying to sidestep what you're saying. I completely agree that this is [would be] a lousy tutorial. I'm wanting to do a tutorial in the future, but it would need to have a lot more effort put into it than this blog post...

    My second blog, on retrospect, looks even more like it's "supposed to be" a tutorial. Maybe I'm going in the wrong direction - maybe I should be doing "Tutorial-First." Thoughts on this? Ideas for a specific topic?
  13. bernie1227's Avatar
    Sorry to interject guys, however, I just wanted to ask traq something. If this tutorial is for people who are only just starting php, as this tutorial, you implied, is meant to be a replacement of the tried and tested <?php echo "Hello World." ?> Then shouldn't you be spending more time explaining the syntax and how the code works rather than chucking code at them and saying Stick this in your code and see what happens.? See the fact that you're doing that can have the effect on people, that rather than being able to see what the code does, and more importantly, how it works and how to write their own, the user may just turn into a copy-paste coder.

    I guess what I'm saying is; This could be a much better beginning php tutorial if you were to attempt to let the user know how it works. A good example of this in your tutorial are these parts:
    Firstly this one;
    PHP Code:
    <!doctype html> 
    <html> 
    <head> 
        <meta charset="UTF-8"> 
        <title>Simple, Dynamic PHP</title> 
    </head> 
    <body> 
        <form> 
            <p> 
                <label>What's your name?  
                    <input name="visitor_name"> 
                </label> 
                <input type="submit" value="Tell Us!"> 
            </p> 
        </form> 
    <?php 
        session_start
    (); 
        if( !empty( 
    $_GET['visitor_name'] ) ){ 
            
    $visitor_name htmlspecialchars$_GET['visitor_name'] ); 
            
    $_SESSION['visitor_name'] = $visitor_name
        }elseif( !empty( 
    $_SESSION['visitor_name'] ) ){ 
            
    $visitor_name $_SESSION['visitor_name']; 
        }else{ 
            
    $visitor_name 'Guest'
        } 
        echo 

        <p>Welcome to my Simple, Dynamic Website, 
    $visitor_name!</p>"
    ?> 
    </body> 
    </html>
    The idea behind this method of teaching is good, however, you're not doing the key part a tutorial should do, which is explain how the code works. Basically all you say in explanation of this is; ".....you might do is try to remember the visitor's name during their entire visit:.....". So all we get from it is that it remembers the visitors name. But then we ask ourselves how, but you don't tell us. A much better way, would be to analyse how the code works rather than throwing at them and saying, "here, put this on a server". For example, we could do something like:

    in this code, the first piece of php you see is session start how this works is blablablablabla
    The next thing the program does is check whether the user has submitted the form properly. This is through the use of $_GET which is a super global variable and using the empty function to see if it's empty. If it's not empty (not is signified by !), blablablablabla
    then it sets the name of the user in the submitted form to a variable (variables are signified by $), blablablablablablablablabla
    you may also wonder what the htmlspecialchars function does (functions are signified by () at the end, and we will create our own later), what it does is blablablablablablablablablablablabla
    Then it uses another super global variable, $_SESSION, blablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablabla
    etc.


    Anyway, you get the idea. Another place in the tutorial you could do better to explain, would be here:

    PHP Code:
    <?php 
    // it works up here 
    session_start(); 

    // let's get the visitor name from a function (see bottom of script) 
    $visitor_name get_visitor_name(); 

    // build our HTML 
    // this type of string definition is called a "heredoc" -  
    //   it's very useful for writing large chunks of HTML because you can use quotes freely. 
    // a heredoc starts with three less-than (<) brackets, a space, and an opening token: 
    $HTML = <<< HTML 
    <!doctype html
    <
    html
    <
    head
        <
    meta charset="UTF-8"
        <
    title>SimpleDynamic PHP</title
    </
    head
    <
    body
        <
    form
            <
    p
                <
    label>What's your name?  
                    <input name="visitor_name"> 
                </label> 
                <input type="submit" value="Tell Us!"> 
            </p> 
        </form> 
        <p>Welcome to my Simple, Dynamic Website, $visitor_name!</p> 
    </body> 
    </html> 
    HTML 
    ; // a heredoc ends with a matching token, followed by a semicolon. 


    // all done 
    echo $HTML; 
    exit; // works! 

    // define a function that gets the visitor'
    s name 
    //   (function definitions are "okay" after output): 
    function get_visitor_name(){ 
        if( !empty( 
    $_GET['visitor_name'] ) ){ 
            
    $visitor_name htmlspecialchars$_GET['visitor_name'] ); 
            
    $_SESSION['visitor_name'] = $visitor_name
        }elseif( !empty( 
    $_SESSION['visitor_name'] ) ){ 
            
    $visitor_name $_SESSION['visitor_name']; 
        }else{ 
            
    $visitor_name 'Guest'
        } 
        return 
    $visitor_name
    }
    There is so much more you could explain and ways you could explain it than just throwing in a few comments. "// define a function that gets the visitor's name
    // (function definitions are "okay" after output):
    ", does squat to tell us how this code works.

    Anyway, sorry for butting in again guys, it's just something for you to think about when doing future tutorials. You have done a very good job explaining separation of concerns and such, but not so much on the actual code.
    Thanks,
    Bernie
  14. traq's Avatar
    Personally, I believe that output buffering is (almost always) a workaround for something that could be solved by planning the program's flow more carefully. I'm not saying OB is a bad thing; but it is expensive in processing terms, and at least as hard(harder, IMO) for a beginner to understand than "PHP first."

    About beginners vs. experienced PHP developers: yes, the more experienced developer might know enough, and understand what's going on well enough, that they can write really good programs without putting PHP first, but the concept is still beneficial. I went through a lot of effort to build PHP-first habits over the past 1-1/2 years (or so), and it's really helped me with my programming. Granted, I'm doing things that are far more complicated than most PHPcoders would ever even consider, but I honestly think that I would have been better off if I could have learned this way from the beginning.
    Updated 11-04-2012 at 09:32 PM by traq (typos)
  15. keyboard's Avatar
    I get what you're saying in point 2, and it's a good point!
    It helps to answer some of the basic questions that a lot of first timers have. (in a lot of tuts, it never really explains that php is run on a server (server-side) etc.).

    However, if you're worried about conflicting with headers you (should) be able to just start up the output buffer at the top of the page and dump it at the end.
    But it is still useful to know how it all works!

    I'd like to mention then, that these don't really apply to experienced php users... more to beginners. Would you agree with me?


    p.s. the doctype and the javascript without semi-colons was just to point out that there are a lot of things that you don't "have" to do, but you're supposed to
  16. traq's Avatar
    Yes, it "works" just fine.

    (Btw, the doctype is only missing because I copied the original example directly from a tutorial, which I later decided to leave unnamed (both because it wasn't my intent to bad-mouth anyone, and because it's not really that bad a tutorial, as tutorials go). I'm not trying to write my own tutorial, here, either; just want to talk about some of the concepts behind how to code.)

    The advantage is twofold:

    1) it's easier to follow what's going on (I'm going to talk about controllers next). All the PHP happens in one place. It also reinforces the fact that PHP is processed first, and is completely isolated from its output: HTML, the DOM, and JavaScript don't even know that PHP exists.

    2) putting PHP first prevents all kinds of output-related problems. These examples are very simple, so no, it's not essential; but when you start working with sessions, cookies, http headers, or error handling for more complex HTML generation, it becomes very important to have control over how and when you send output to the browser.

    These benefits are a little difficult to realize with simple examples, but I believe it's good to make good habits early on. The fact that no one teaches these things holds a lot of people back - I can't count how many times I've explained (for example) why PHP can't do anything with a variable that JavaScript just collected from a form input, even though the PHP was "after" the form on the page.
    Updated 11-04-2012 at 03:00 PM by traq
  17. keyboard's Avatar
    Code:
     <?php // PHP first!
    $message = "Hello World";
    $HTML = "
    <html>
    <head>
        <title>My First PHP Page</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        $message
    </body>
    </html>";
    
    // all done
    echo $HTML;
    ?>
    How's there any advantage for doing that instead putting the stuff into a variable then just adding in an echo in the middle of your html?

    I know on several occasions you've mentioned that you should do all your php before you output anything. Is there any advantage to doing this?
    The very first bit of code you wrote works... why is there anything wrong with it? (I'm not saying we should all not use doctypes and not use semi-colons in Javascript, but this is different...)