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Thread: PHP Rant

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    PHP Rant

    Okay, if you don't like listening to rants, or you feel I'm wrong, you can close this thread now I'd also reccomend knowing C before reading, or you might be utterly lost in what I'm saying.
    Else, continue:

    This is my personal opinion on what PHP lacks that it should have. (and that makes me hate PHP)

    1. Proper type definitions
    Honestly, is it so hard to implement types? It's a LOT smarter.
    $number = 5;
    $number .= ' string';
    echo $number;
    Prints "5 string". Seriously people, that's sad. Keeping proper types leads to less bugs.
    $number = 5;
    $number .= 'string';
    $number *= 25;
    echo $number;
    "WTF!??!?! IT DOESN'T OUTPUT WHAT I WANT!!". Ints should be differentiated from chars. Arrays are also a problem. They have so many open ends, it's crazy. Where are the days where the keys were ints? Now you can go
    $array['big long string here']['antoher string'] = 'yet another string!';
    The fact that C is strict is a deterent to people - that's a GOOD thing though (see furthur down)
    char string[15][200];
    strcpy(string[0], "Hello World");
    strcpy(string[1], "What is new?");
    strcpy(string[2], "Cool");

    Where are the days where you had to preallocate your arrays, your strings, everything? The days where if you screwed up your allocations, your program crashed and you screwed your computer up. Instead, your proogram runs flawlessly, and your memory justt gets overwritten and nothing crashes - wonderful.

    I'm all for a string type, that's fine, but honestly, unlimited unallocated arrays?
    $str = array();
    $str[] = 'test';
    $str[] = 'test';
    $str[] = 'test';
    $str[] = 'test';
    $str[] = 'test';
    $str[] = 'test';
    We shouldn't be relying on an engine that figures types out for us. Wouldn't it be quicker if it didn't have to figure it out? I would assume so. Typedef would be nice too.

    2. Way too simple
    The fact that PHP is way too simple is considered a plus by most - I consider it a minus. I'm surprised PHP work goes for as much as it does, it could easily go for $5 an hour.. anyone can learn it, and the majority of people end up learning it with a hackish coding style.. it's too easy to make your code sloppy.
    $q = mysql_query('SELECT * FROM table');
    while($r = mysql_fetch_array($q))
    {
    mysql_query('DELETE FROM othertable WHERE id='.$r['tid'].'');
    }

    Ooooh, our table has 500 entries? That's okay! 500 queries doesn't matter, it's on our server, who cares? Although your server may be more powerful than a client, it has feelings too. People who code (who don't know a client side language) generally forget about computer resources quite quickly. They lose all care, everything turns brutely inefficient, and nobody speaks of it again. The sad thing is people develop like this professionally. A lot of PHP developers are hacks, and it's sad. The people who actually know how to develop PHP properly, and who actually care about the server, about the resources it uses are the people that should be coding it. Everybody else should pack up their bags and leave.

    PHP is made so anyone can learn it, and it ends up that people don't learn it properly.

    3. Lack of security
    This is extended on the previous one.. people don't care about security.
    Right, so we'll have checkboxes for deleting private messages...
    <input type="checkbox" name="delete[<?php echo $r['id'] ?> ]" value="1" />
    Then on the submit page:
    foreach($_POST['delete'] AS $key=>$value)
    {
    mysql_query('DELETE FROM messages WHERE id='.$key.'');
    }

    Okay, so I write my own form that submits to their submit page, BAM emptied that table. Not to mention just executed 5,000 queries that ended up throwing their server down.. People that program like this are what disgraces PHP. This code needs:
    1. A count() to see if it's more than X number, to prevent massive server hog
    2. To combine it into 1 query
    3. To check for user id's.
    Yet nobody does either of these 3, and leave security holes aswell as bedroom-DoS holes wide open. It's too easy to bedroom DoS a PHP script, because of people doing this. Who needs to do a real DoS (syn flood, PoD etc.) when you can just make an auto refresher..

    4. Stubborn people
    People who don't want to use functions (for real applications that is)... What are they thinking? Copying and pasting is just easier? These people need t'o be shot. It's crazy how stupid a lot of people are, who just don't want to learn to use functions/OOP and just write strictly procedural code. It's the stupidest thing alive. People need to learn to use abstraction classes to differentiate backend, output, and processing too.
    Classes for SQL, classes for output, wrappers for the SQL/Output, and then a few lines of procedural. If your index.php doesn't look something like this:
    require('classes/internal/mysql.php');
    require('classes/output/skin.php');
    require('classes/process/main.php');
    $m = new Main;
    $m->GetBlogEntries();
    $m->skin->Output;

    You need to reconsider. People need to keep their interface fies SKIMP, and their file structures appropriate. People need naming proper conventions, proper directory structures, etc. It's hilarious to see 50 files in the main directory. People need to split their files up, split their classes up, use proper conventions, and actually use PHP like it's supposed to be

    Misused OOP/Functions
    Wonderful, they've clued in to use functions/OOP - now they just need to learn to use it properly!
    If you:
    1. Have a class with "misc" functions
    2. Have a class that you initialize once at the top of your script, and use it throughout
    You should just stop programming in any langauge. OOP is so you can have multiple instances of code, so you don't need to copy and paste code, and so you can reuse code across applications. Objects are just like functions - they have 1 purpose, and that's it. I've had classes with 2 functions in them, there's nothing wrong with that - it's better to have 25 2 function classes than 1 50 function classes... that's how it's supposed to be used. Also, don't do this
    $DB = new MySQL($server, $user, $pass, $db);
    $DB->query('SELECT * FROM argh');
    .. different file ..
    $DB->query('SELECT * FROM otherargh');
    It doesn't make sense - mind you, OOP doesn't make perfect sense in my mind anyway (for PHP)... You generally spawn new instances like you do new threads. PHP on the other hand isn't live runtime, it's "execute once and display", meaning spawning classes isn't that beneficial (you would spawn a class on user input generally, but in PHP's case once you get user input you spawn a new page). I still use OOP in PHP, for other reasons, though.
    Back to what I was sayng though - OOP is made for multiple instances. People use abstraction classes for ease of use:
    $DB->query('SELECT * FROM test');
    while($r = $DB->fetch_array())
    You don't need to go $query = and pass it to the fetch_array, it's all done using internal class pointers - yet the fetch_array function accepts a resource, and the query function returns one - why? In case you need multiple queries at once:
    $q = $DB->query('SELECT * FROM test');
    $q2 = $DB->query('SELECT * FROM tester LIMIT 1');
    $data = $q2->fetch_array();
    while($r = $DB->fetch_array($q))
    {
    echo $q2['name'].' said: '.$q['info'];
    }

    (I know, I should use a join, it was for an example only!)
    The point of OOP is to have multiple instances:
    $q = new Query('SELECT * FROM test');
    $q2 = new Query('SELECT * FROM tester LIMIT 1');
    $data = $q2->fetch_array();
    while($r = $q->fetch_array())
    {
    echo $q2['name'].' said: '.$q['info'];
    }

    You never have to pass, 1 query per instance. That's how internal class variables were meant to be used, not as a variable that gets changed every time you call it.

    5. Lack of scalability
    Everything from using single quotes over double quotes, to using preg over eregi, to using strpos over of strstr.. they help your server. I've seen people tell me "I don't use single quotes as doubles are easier.. it's a marginal speed difference". I say "What if you had 10 million people on your site?" and they go "I don't expect that" - so?! Yikes, considering it's so easy to use single quotes (despite preferenace), why would you use double quotes and why would you take away from the ability to write scalable code?
    People who use tinyints for ID's should be careful too.. *cough* SPF contest.

    Look at Google - I find that the most amazing piece of software in the world. Every month they do an update that spans over hundreds of servers, they change their algo, they update billions of records, and they have no downtime (other than with viruses attack it). They also have amazingly high traffic numbers. I doubt very many people could write code that solid. I'm sure the Google developers didn't say "oh, well, we don't need to worry about getting big". If they had said that, they'd have to rewrite their code once they got big - that would really suck for them. So why limit yourself and write unscalable code? It's so much easier and smarter to just get it right the first time.

    I don't even think anyone can come close to arguing with this last point. If you argue that writing scalable code is bad, then you my friend should blow up your modem and never buy a new one.


    Just my 2 cents... I have other points to say, but I have work to do I'm sure poeple will disagree with me, and go ahead - sorry if my post offends anyone, I was just hired to clean up code that failed to meet the above critieria, and I'm in a "let's let steam off to SPF" mood. Seriously though, it comes down to: PHP should either be stricter, or the people developing should know C (as then they program PHP strictly enough). People need to think about the server, and code proper, scalable, efficient code. The hack developers should stop doing anything on the internet (won't mention any names, but I know a few on SPF here).

    One last point I'd like to make: I wish people who helped others on discussion boards such as this one would EXPLAIN things... honestly, I've seen 1 person make the same mistake 3 times. Why? Because he asked "Why am I getting a parse error" and someone gave him a fix. They didn't explain that calling arrays shouldn't be in quotes (ie echo "$_GET['test']"; ), and he didn't explain that you either use curley brackets, get out of quotes, don't use quotes at all (for only echoing a variable, no text), or just not quote your index in the array.. they just told him to use "echo $_GET['text'];", and he used it in that case, but it didn't stick. I wish people explained things a bit better, but I guess that's just a pet peeve about boards like these...

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Let the flames and "it's all in how you code" begin...
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
    Personal blog: Strategerize
    Twitter: @jeremywright

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    You read that awfully quickly

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    SitePoint Guru okrogius's Avatar
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    Agree to a lot of the above; however, you shouldn't assume (or so it seems from the above) that everyone who writes PHP doesn't know how to develop software (versus code scripts). After all, that's one of the reasons PHP is so popular today, because very few who learn it, actually learn how write good software.

    Also, about your DB class, you really shouldn't make a godlike mysql class. Your query method should return another object, not modify some internal resource pointer.

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    I didn't assume everyone, I made sure I said "a lot" On my MSN list I have about 15 people who know PHP. Of that, my friend Gaheris (familiar name amongst PHP'ers?) is the only one that I feel is qualified enough for professional PHP. The rest, as I've seen it, are hacks. 1/15 people being good at PHP is enough for me to say "a lot" in my opinion.

    As for the DB class - my query method returns an object.
    $q = new Query('SELECT * FROM test');
    $q is an object. I store the resource handler in $q->query if I need it, but $q->fetch just uses $this->query. Originally abstraction classes would have an argument of $qid = '', and then go $q = ($qid == '') ? $this->query : $qid; to accept both, but because I only execute 1 query per class, that's not neccesary.

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    SitePoint Guru okrogius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by someonewhois
    I didn't assume everyone, I made sure I said "a lot" On my MSN list I have about 15 people who know PHP. Of that, my friend Gaheris (familiar name amongst PHP'ers?) is the only one that I feel is qualified enough for professional PHP. The rest, as I've seen it, are hacks. 1/15 people being good at PHP is enough for me to say "a lot" in my opinion.

    As for the DB class - my query method returns an object.
    $q = new Query('SELECT * FROM test');
    $q is an object. I store the resource handler in $q->query if I need it, but $q->fetch just uses $this->query. Originally abstraction classes would have an argument of $qid = '', and then go $q = ($qid == '') ? $this->query : $qid; to accept both, but because I only execute 1 query per class, that's not neccesary.
    Sorry about slight ocnfusion over your databse. Skimmed some of your post .

    I just assumed that given you wrote:
    while($r = $DB->fetch_array($q))

    Now of course that seems like a typo given the adjacent line of:
    $data = $q2->fetch_array();

    Iterating through your query result object shouldn't require a callback to your database class in my opinion.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot Anagram's Avatar
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    On my MSN list I have about 15 people who know PHP
    I could use yours when I'm stuck hehe
    If pigs could fly, the prize of bacon would reach the sky.

    www.dosspirit.net - Norwegian
    reviews of DOS games

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    public static void brain Gybbyl's Avatar
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    I agree with your points -- and I know that I'm guilty of some of them (certainly not all).

    There are certain things that you have to keep in perspective, though... Many of the people on this board are not going to be programming in 4 months, 6 months, 1 year... They will lose interest.

    Have you ever seen a really good project that was written by a newbie? They die it -- it's natural selection. I've been on this board for almost 2 years now (I think, maybe 3, dunno), and I (at one point or another) didn't know ANY of the stuff you had written down up there; I'd programmed in other languages, but PHP just makes it so easy for anyone to start with nothing and end up with a cool little script.

    You also have to realize that out of the people who do stick with it, many of them are never going to be writing code that anyone else will ever have to use. They'll write their Personal Home Page ( ) in PHP, maintain it themselves, and then go off to college and never see it again. Or maybe they graduate from college and never see it again. Whatever.

    MOST people in MOST languages do not know how to program with an object oriented mindset. I have been getting steadily better at OOP since one month after I learned how to program in the first place, and I still get confused. It doesn't seem like a tough concept, but, man is there a lot of information to take in and process. Design Patterns, abstraction, reusability, OO design, syntax, interfaces, typing, inheritance, aggregation, refactoring, packages, namespaces, private public protected static, unit testing, frameworks, libraries, encapsulation, polumorphism -- those are just the beginning concepts, and EACH of them is hard in it's own respect. I consider myself good in most of those areas, and a very competent programmer and OO programmer, but I don't even begin to claim to have mastery of many of those concepts.

    And about people not giving very good responses to questions -- it's hard to have to explain the same thing a million times to a million different newbies that don't understand the concept of the "search" utility. Seriously.

    I always find myself just "giving fixes" (I try to explain a little, but who really wants to sit here doing that all of the time?). Most of the people who are certified or actually know what's up and can help spend most of their time in the Advanced forum, and what ends up happening is that newbies try to help other newbies with their questions, and both parties end up getting frustrated and feeling stupid -- not a good situation.

    Maybe SPF should implement a "canned response" feature for really common questions, or just set up some kind of FAQ for newbies to go to and see if their question has already been answered a million times. Or perhaps they should just go out and buy a book. There are MILLIONS (ok, not millions, but 100+) of PHP3/4/5 books that will help even the greatest newbie accomplish almost non-newbie things.

    To all the n3wbz: it's worth the $40!
    Ryan

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    public static void brain Gybbyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by someonewhois
    On my MSN list I have about 15 people who know PHP
    You can add me if you want -- then you'll have 1.5/16
    Ryan

  10. #10
    With More ! for your $ maxor's Avatar
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    Eh...

    This is more of a rant on why some people, who aren't great coders suck at PHP.

    I think you highlighted a few things wrong with the actual language, the rest of it is "What's with people who...", "Why do people..." and "People are always..." rants.

    Seriously, go back and try to find all of the things that are about the actual language and not about the way people misuse or abuse it.

    <is there a rolling eyes icon here?>

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Yes, there is : rolleyes :

    About books - a lot of the books don't outline proper code structure, just how to do things. They obviously use proper code structure, but they don't don't specifically promote/push towards using that method.

    Maxor - thing is, it's the people who don't know PHP that kills the name of PHP, that kills servers. It's like when Ikonboard was banned from a bunch of web hosts - people blamed the fact it's CGI - they were all whiners and bandwagoners who had no idea that perl could be programmed properly. If you know how to program Perl properly, it works nicely, and servers support it perfectly fine. Eventually hosts'll have to phase out PHP scripts, or even PHP in general as it's too easy to screw up. That's where I lose out. (Well, currently I lose it out because I have a client on my dedicated server who hogs resources because he's a total idiot).

    There are some problems with the language, but it's mainly the developers. You think PHP is going to try and compensate for stupid developers? They tried the first step when they released PHP 4.2.2 - they failed. Most web hosts still have register globals on, and most people still have wide open holes because they rely on register globals and can't program properly. PHP can't enforce people programming properly, as peeople wouldn't use that version - which is unfortunate. It's too late to change (not that the PHP developers would).

    It's not so much they aren't great coders - it's that they haven't studied proper coding habbits. They may be proficient in PHP (knowing libraries, knowing how to do things etc.) but they leave way too many things open.

    PHP is a great language. My rant turned into going against the hacks only because I wasn't thinking straight and I went from "PHP is too easy to learn" to that. *shrugs* Like I've said, so many people knowing PHP is bad - it means we have people who compromise servers, and it means professional developers lose out. It's sad when people start doing projects for a fifth of the price just because they're bored (and most of the time they deliver something worse than a fifth of the quality). People who don't know PHP can't judge who's good and who's not (and if they knew PHP, they'd do it themselves), and it leaves the true PHP developers at a loss.

  12. #12
    public static void brain Gybbyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by somonewhois
    About books - a lot of the books don't outline proper code structure, just how to do things.
    What exactly is proper coding structure?

    That's something that each person has to figure out for themselves. I look around in the Advanced forum, and everyone has their own style.

    It all does the same thing, even though some of us think the person writing said code is crazy because it's the ugliest thing we've ever seen.
    Ryan

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    SitePoint Guru okrogius's Avatar
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    You're right about every programmer having their own style of doing some things, but there is certainly something called a proper coding structure.

    You can define your own standard of how you indent, use braces, your variable casing scheme, etc, and stick to it. Ideally you design those items in a way that makes your code readable easily.

    What's actually more important about "proper coding structure" is that if you give your code to another developer, they shoudl be able to understand it easily, and be able to maintain it just as easily. If that's not the case, you haven't done your job.

    To give a random illustration - relying on changing your error notification to not show some errors like notices, and write your scripts which produce those notices isn't "proper coding structure". If I take your script and run it on an environment where PHP prints out all errors, I shouldn't see any.

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    As codename49 said - Coding style has 2 aspects - proper defined by efficiency and practicality, and preference defined as to how you want to do braces, spacing (if ( substr ( $var , 'test' ) ) { or new line for bracket, or no spacing on the function etc.).

    Proper coding style example: Don't do queries within a loop You can't tell me your personal preference is to do queries in a loop (and if you tell me that, you should definately stop coding PHP, unless it's local host only.. save the servers!)

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    With More ! for your $ maxor's Avatar
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    PHP is a great language. My rant turned into going against the hacks only because I wasn't thinking straight and I went from "PHP is too easy to learn" to that. *shrugs* Like I've said, so many people knowing PHP is bad - it means we have people who compromise servers, and it means professional developers lose out. It's sad when people start doing projects for a fifth of the price just because they're bored (and most of the time they deliver something worse than a fifth of the quality). People who don't know PHP can't judge who's good and who's not (and if they knew PHP, they'd do it themselves), and it leaves the true PHP developers at a loss.
    Okay I think this says it all. It's not PHP it's people. A lot of people knowing PHP is just fine. If people are starting to do work for a fifth of what it normally goes for, to me that suggests a change in the market. The value of knowing PHP is decreasing, if people want to pay for low quality work, they'll get low quality work. This has been the case for every industry of 'skilled' workers. Nothing new here.

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Nothing new, but the thing is - it takes a lot of time and effort to learn know how to make televisions, or to make hardware... PHP you can learn at the snap of your finger, making the market that much easier to get bloated. I can't think of another field that has as many people involved as PHP (well, maybe web hosting )

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    public static void brain Gybbyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Codenam49
    if you give your code to another developer, they shoudl be able to understand it easily, and be able to maintain it just as easily.
    That's an inherent property of your own coding style, though.

    PHP Code:
    class claZz implements SuperDieDuperTypeObjectInMyPantyPoos { function thiz$that ){ return $this->thiz()->thing; } function BLaHHalsd$prg=array() ){ $m="";$m=5;switch(func_num_args()){case 0:$this->thiz( ( is_array($prg) ? "the$m"{$m}e{$m}o" ) ); while( $m ){ for( $m='f';++$m<>'chz';{$m}++){do{printf("%s",ord($m))}while(--$m)}}break;}} 
    Obviously, though well formed (not really, but this is a random illustration, this is hard as you will to read. This is the same code, different formatting style.

    PHP Code:
    class Clazz implements SuperType

        function 
    thiz$that )
        { 
            return 
    $this->thiz()->thing
        } 

        function 
    blahHalsd$param=array() )
        { 
            
    $m="";
            
    $m=5;
            switch( 
    func_num_args() )
            {
                case 
    0:
                    
    $this->thiz( ( is_array$prg ) ? 'the'.$m $m.'e'.$m.'o' ) ); 
                    while( 
    $m )
                    { 
                        for( 
    $m='f'; ++$m != 'chz'$m++ )
                        {
                           do
                           {
                               echo 
    ord$m )
                           }
                          while( --
    $m )
                        }
                    }
                    break;
             }
         }

    This is the same code. Different formatting options.
    Ryan

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Different classname

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    public static void brain Gybbyl's Avatar
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    lol, you know what i mean!

    Classnames are an aspect of programming style
    Ryan

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    public static void brain Gybbyl's Avatar
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    Also, I think I have a suggestion to make to all those who are providing help to people in the forums. Like someonewhois said, alot of times the person will just give the the questioner the answer with NO explanation.

    Perhaps we should all try to explain the answer with NO code before we help them with a snippet or anything like that. Guide them in the right direction instead of giving them the fish (teach them to fish).
    Ryan

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Yeah, but a lot of the time people just want quick help It's the reason I stopped visiting this forum, but now a lot of the questions have died down (I think it's because of the PHP resource thread that has answers to most of the questions about installation etc.), and half the questions are worth answering. People get hostile when they have bugs, it's common nature

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    you must have a lot of extra time on your hands to make a long post on something that focuses on other people's mistakes that they are never going to read.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Not really, only took me a few minutes to type that. Haven't you ever heard of people who blog? They post blog about whatever's on their mind not knowing if anyone really cares

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    but you seem to really care about something you can't change. Do you also attend anti-war demonstrations?

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Of course not. They take hours. This post took me under 10 minutes to write, and it's just a way to get steam off before I get down to work.. *shrugs*


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