ramblings on PHP, SQL, the web, politics, ultimate frisbee and what else is on in my life
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The power plug metaphor

Was talking with my dad about Hermann's blog post today, where I propose the following metaphor: Interfaces are exactly like wall sockets. Would you say that having the same wall sockets has stifled innovation? Would you say its a good thing that we have different plugs in different regions of the world?
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Auth checks and varnish

These days everybody seems to be using Varnish to speed up their site. Things are quite simple until you have to do authentication. IIRC it was my Liip co-worker Stefan Paschke who come up with a nice and simply solution to the dilemma that while you may have some content cached in Varnish, you still need to figure out if you can serve the content. The solution is as always by leveraging the HTTP specification. When we need to serve protected content, we simply turn GET requests into HEAD requests, send them to our app and check for HEAD requests inside a listener after the auth checks. In case of a HEAD request we then return the response early and Varnish can check the response to determine if to serve the original GET request or not. The good news is that its all nicely implemented in LiipCacheControlBundle, along with various other tools to better leverage Varnish, ESI and all that good stuff that is well integrated in Symfony2.
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Why bother?

In my previous blog post I was brainstorming the possibility of collaboration between various frameworks to define a set of common interfaces. But I kind of failed to explain why this would be useful. Herman's "rebuttal" made this omission on my part quite clear. He and other critics of this idea pointed out that PHP's success over Java in the web world should be seen as an indicator that standardization efforts stifle innovation and slow down development. I totally see where this view point is coming from, but believe that they are looking at certain facts and come to the wrong conclusion. That being said the open questions left in my previous blog might still prevent this idea to take off, even if I manage to convince the general community that the above mentioned negative effects are not such a significant concern.
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Interfacing the PHP world

I have done a few tweets in the past weeks hinting at wanting to create a set of common interfaces for things like logging, caching etc. Now I pondered this some more and there are a couple of problems which I am not yet sure how to overcome them. Obviously the goal would be to make it easier to drop in components from one library/framework into another. If you want to see a concrete case where such interfaces could help just have a look at the recently created Doctrine Search project which needs an HTTP client.
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Fixing the foundation of a standing house

I keep mentioning my stop building gold on top of crap blog post and here I go again. Basically the point of that blog post was that way too few PHP applications are build on top of a general purpose framework that enables developers to add custom functionality not directly related to the core of the application without having to commit suicide. Now I was arguing for these applications to adopt existing PHP frameworks. Obviously that would mean handing over quite a lot of control and for a large established application this might be a scary proposition even if it could save resources to focus more on the actual end user facing features of the application. Or there are others reasons, but either way it is a good move to think about how your foundation can empower such customizations. Interestingly enough I would claim doing so will also likely have a positive effect in your application on top as it will help untangle dependencies and assumptions into a cleaner structure. Even back when I initially posted my complaint Typo3 was already hard at work on doing exactly that: building a solid general purpose framework as the foundation of their next major CMS release. Today these efforts have come together in the first stable release of FLOW3! But other CMS are not idling either: With Nooku there will soon also be a rewritten core for Joomla and Dries and his team are also looking to clean up the core of Drupal to become more of a framework separated from all the higher level end user facing stuff in Drupal 8.
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