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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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silex microframework controller route helper architecture tutorial


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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Anthony Ferrara:
N-Tier Architecture - An Introduction
August 02, 2012 @ 08:32:42

Anthony Ferrara has posted an introduction to the concept of an N-tier architecture - a method for planning your application so that there's a separation of concerns between multiple layers, each handling their own specialty.

If you've been following me for a while, you've likely heard me use the term "N-Tier Architecture" before. Today's question comes from Arno. He basically asked "What is this N-Tier Architecture thing you keep talking about?"... So, to answer his question, a N-Tier Architecture is one that uses more than one tier. Of course there's more to it than that...

He talks about the idea of a "tier" and how, despite it being somewhat subjective depending on the application and the person talking, all agree that it's a separation in the structure of your app. He shows some common setups for a PHP-based application and explains the usefulness of a tiered architecture. He also includes a more real example that involves multiple languages and data sources and explains some of the downsides to the tiered architecture approach.

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ntier architecture introduction tutorial tier


Chris Roane's Blog:
Options for Building a Website from a Developers Perspective
June 25, 2012 @ 08:28:27

Chris Roane has a new post to his blog outlining a few different options web developers today have for creating new websites or applications - static, custom, framework-based or CMS.

Over the years I've built many different types of websites. These range from being a few pages, to being very customized with advanced features. I've learned there is no clear definition in the best way to create a website. But I do think there are advantages and disadvantages to pursuing different methods. This article takes an analytical look at each option. Let's take a closer look at the different approaches in building a website.

He includes a brief summary talking about each method and mentions things like benefits and downfalls of the approach and what can be involved in their development.

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Mayflower Blog:
Software Architecture Decisions - How to do it Wrong the Hard & Easy Way
June 22, 2012 @ 10:55:10

On the MayFlower blog today there's a new post looking at two ways to do software architecture (the easy way and hard way) and some of the traditional practices behind its development.

When it comes to software architecture, stuff gets funny. First we learn everything about it at university. We learn to use it as a part of our main project plan. We learn how to do risk evaluation. [...] Since we didn't have a lot of experience with software back then, the resulting architecture is a badly done, but well documented. This style of software architecture is called "Enterprise Architecture" and usually done by consultants.

They talk about delivering software versus delivering documentation and list some of the actual common reasons software architecture turns out how it does including: "I read about it in a blog", "It worked for me once" and the idea of the "Golden Hammer" of standardized structures.

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