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  1. #76
    SitePoint Member stuartc1's Avatar
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    It really all depends what you want to do with the forum. If you intend making lots of customisations - then build it from scratch. If not then I'd go for Vbulletin - this way you have real people who are paid to fix any problems. It is always a big risk to use an opensource one, I've had several phpBB ones hacked and destroyed over the past year, no worth the risk if you ask me.

    Everyone has there own needs!!
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  2. #77
    Spacebug Beansprout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuartc1
    It really all depends what you want to do with the forum. If you intend making lots of customisations - then build it from scratch. If not then I'd go for Vbulletin - this way you have real people who are paid to fix any problems. It is always a big risk to use an opensource one, I've had several phpBB ones hacked and destroyed over the past year, no worth the risk if you ask me.

    Everyone has there own needs!!
    Well, vBulletin and IPB are also "open source" in that the code isn't encrypted so in that respect the patch time is the same if you watch out for reported holes and are savvy enough (which you should be) to edit some code
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  3. #78
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeeterbug
    i guess this post is for newbs... and i consider myself to be an experienced newb, as opposed to some professional programmer.

    some of the techniques i use are:

    1. DRY - any time you have to repeat yourself - figure out if its possible to organize your code so you DRY. when i started, i did a decent amount of this, but after reading the first few chapters of agile web development with rails, i took it to another level. repeating is EVIL. the include file is your FRIEND.

    2. seperate logic from content from presentation. i read this early on and always tried to do it. i have a page that runs through the application logic and then includes or redirect and includes the required template. when i've implemented tutorials with mixed logic and content, the first thing i did was try and seperate it. i have a logic page that is 2000 lines of code with probably another 500 lines of display... inserting multiple levels of html into that page would cause me to jump instead of just look over the edge... that's why i spent some time learning css... to get the presentation out of the display code. css cross browser support is a pain, but you can find others who have solved the issue and are generous enough to share their code - a shameless plug for sitepoint's own Paul. i tried to set up a phone app for a friend and css wasn't supported. i had to work with tables and style each td individually. i almost jumped and didn't finish the project. i told him to get a css enable phone browser or no dice.

    3. use classes (check the licenses, depending on intended use). i use Manuel Lemos' forms class and the adodb abstraction layer. man, both have been excellent, excellent resources. they both also help you learn how OOP concepts can help you to achieve your goals. for example, i get the benefit of client side validation w/o knowing how to do it in javascript. i can also apply ajax and use regexes to validate user input, not to mention use linked selects and whole lot more. i didn't use smarty because my template php based template system was just intuitive to me.

    4. always search for better ways. when you think you are done learning, you are simply *done*, as in "fork in the *ss" done. my friend's company is having trouble upgrading their code b/c the devs don't want to admit their code can be improved. he wants me to study the situation and render an opinion to help management. i already know the problem - and it is the attitude of the devs. they have static, repeating code everywhere, and don't want to improve the structure and incorporate a db to serve the data. that's a mangement issue that only management can solve. my opinion is that they would waste money on my opinion and still have the same problem, emotional and irrational devs. they want to pretend their code is the schznit and will fight, apparently to the death, any attempt to improve the code their god has ordained as truth.

    i learned to use heredocs to display my sql statements in a very readable format that alows easy copying between my query tester and my code. i'm reading agile web development for rails and applying the principles to my php code - i've already improved my templating system and reduced my repeated code. i learned how to apply bind variables for my queries. i still need to learn unit testing and need to learn when to apply html entities and when not to. you don't learn everything up front b/c you have to get stuff done, but learn bits as you go and then go back and improve your code. my gold page is a simple page where i make sure to implement everything i've learned... so when i update other pages, i know what page to reference for examples.

    i see the value of oop - it is huge. it greatly simplifies coding once implemented. however, i still struggle with planning it out, organizing it. i will just go through tutorials until it finally clicks after i get the requisite experience looking at the horizon instead of at my feet. but i will learn it and apply it. along with a whole bunch more.

    anybody else can feel free to critique this list and add to it.

    5. self documenting code. for example...

    PHP Code:
    SELECT contract_idcontract_number FROM t_contract ORDER BY not(contract_number 'BTS'), contract_number ASC 
    is much better than...

    PHP Code:
    SELECT $c_id$num FROM t_c ORDER BY NOT($num 'BTS'), $num 
    believe it or not, there is worse than the 2nd example, too. i tend to be to descriptive.

  4. #79
    SitePoint Member klannorth's Avatar
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    Well think about it this way, im not a coder my self but i am a business man in some terms, look at vB and phpBB, are they big ?.. Yes. Do they make money?.. Yes..

    Thats all that matters to them there code is clean enough to sell and make the green. I do belive the owners of vB are not that intrestede that there code is'nt the best on the web, they stopped thinking about that after there first $10k..
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  5. #80
    SitePoint Enthusiast didimo's Avatar
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    i completely agree anyone see mambos index.php? yuk!

    heres a snippet from my cms's index.php (php5.1.2)

    PHP Code:
    <?php

    //include base phpBlocks class
    require_once('PHPBlocks.class.php');


    //load the framework
    PHPBlocks::loadClass('Framework');


    //load the stats class
    PHPBlocks::loadClass('Framework_Stats');


    //start execution time counter
    PHPBlocks__Framework_Stats::startCounter();


    //load the main configuration file
    PHPBlocks__Framework::loadConfig('../config.php');


    //set the language locale
    PHPBlocks__Framework::setLocale$_COOKIE['locale'] );


    //set the module name
    PHPBlocks__Framework::setModule$_GET['module'] );








    //load database classes
    PHPBlocks::loadClass('DB');
    PHPBlocks::loadClass('DBStatement');


    //try to connect to database using PDO
    try {
        
        
    //create new database object
        
    $DB = new PHPBlocks__DB (    PHPBlocks__Framework::getConf('db1_dsn'), 
                                    
    PHPBlocks__Framework::getConf('db1_user'), 
                                    
    PHPBlocks__Framework::getConf('db1_pass') );
                                    
        
    //make the database layer throw exceptions on error
        
    $DB->setAttributePDO::ATTR_ERRMODEPDO::ERRMODE_EXCEPTION );
        
        
        
    //create new statement object
        
    $STMT = new PHPBlocks__DBStatement();

    catch (
    PDOException $e) {
        
        
    //deal with the exception
        
    PHPBlocks::printException($ePHPBlocks__Framework::getConf('location') );
    }







    //load current user class
    PHPBlocks::loadClass('Framework_CurrentUser');


    //create current user object
    $CurrentUser    =    new PHPBlocks__Framework_CurrentUser();


    //authorise current user
    try {
        
        
    $CurrentUser->auth$_COOKIE['auth'] ,$DB);
    }
    catch (
    Exception $e){
        
        
    //deal with the exception
        
    PHPBlocks::printException($ePHPBlocks__Framework::getConf('location') );
    }





    //include the current modules business logic
    include_once( PHPBlocks__Framework::makeModuleName$CurrentUser->getUserLevel() ) );

  6. #81
    SitePoint Guru OfficeOfTheLaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z0s0
    From a design perspective?

    I have yet to find a _single_ bit of PHP forum software that doesn't fail my "is-it-crapware" test. That being:

    Code:
    root@Thunder phpBB2# grep "global $db" *
    common.php:* Remove variables created by register_globals from the global scope
    common.php:// Grab global variables, re-cache if necessary
    download.php:   global $user, $db, $config, $phpbb_root_path;
    download.php:   global $config, $user, $db;
    mcp.php:        global $forum_id, $topic_id, $post_id;
    mcp.php:        global $auth, $db;
    mcp.php:        global $db, $auth;
    mcp.php:        global $auth, $db;
    ....
    I'm truly astonished.. fudforum, smf, punbb, phpbb, vbulletin, every one of them is pure spaghetti.

    Surely someone has written something decent?
    Heh, at my last job I cried too... my ex employer had about 20 client sites running heavily modded phpBB ... adding addons or patches was a nightmare ... and the code made me cringe each time I dived into it.

    James Carr, Software Engineer


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  7. #82
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy
    wwb_99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Redpath
    Sounds like a nightmare to me! Would you really want to try and refactor a mess like phpBB without a good suite of unit tests to back you up? How would you know your refactoring hasn't broken anything?

    Starting from scratch would be by far the more headache-free way of doing it.
    But the first part of refactoring would we writing the test suite . . .

  8. #83
    Bad Ass Mother F#$%^& Devious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z0s0
    From a design perspective?

    I have yet to find a _single_ bit of PHP forum software that doesn't fail my "is-it-crapware" test. That being:

    Code:
    root@Thunder phpBB2# grep "global $db" *
    common.php:* Remove variables created by register_globals from the global scope
    common.php:// Grab global variables, re-cache if necessary
    download.php:   global $user, $db, $config, $phpbb_root_path;
    download.php:   global $config, $user, $db;
    mcp.php:        global $forum_id, $topic_id, $post_id;
    mcp.php:        global $auth, $db;
    mcp.php:        global $db, $auth;
    mcp.php:        global $auth, $db;
    ....
    I'm truly astonished.. fudforum, smf, punbb, phpbb, vbulletin, every one of them is pure spaghetti.

    Surely someone has written something decent?
    What does that have to do with the design perspective?
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  9. #84
    SitePoint Addict bwdow's Avatar
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    Coding must have standards. Unfortunately beginners are starting from "hello world". Programmers must to use some standards and maybe some organisation gives the rules. And programming languages doesn't works with spaghetti codes. I am serious with this.
    I hate bad written programs. I hate programmers writes bad codes. One day i will shoot them all!

  10. #85
    SitePoint Addict Adam A Flynn's Avatar
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    I tried vanilla a bit ago, and, I must say, I was quite impressed by it.

    It is actually a good piece of software.

  11. #86
    SitePoint Guru silver trophy Luke Redpath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagfinn
    You'd have to build acceptance tests first and then add unit tests along the way. I'm not sure it's as crazy as you think. I've seen several re-implementation projects that were undertaken with too much hubris and didn't incorporate the experience from the previous project. The advantage of refactoring is that it's gives you somewhat predictable improvement.
    Don't get me wrong, I know its possible, but trying to write tests around an existing piece of software is just a complete pain in the **** and often mind-numbingly dull. Does phpBB really have that much value that its worth trying to bend its code into shape? Refactoring is great and a powerful tool when coupled with strong tests (unit and acceptance) but I do believe that some software can be so badly written that writing it from scratch would be the better option.

  12. #87
    SitePoint Guru silver trophy Luke Redpath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaskoda
    I'm jumping a tad off topic here... but I've found PM Wiki's code base to be very friendly to work with.

    As for vBul... I hate dealing with the code base...
    If we're giving shoutouts to decently coded open source software, then I seem to remember coWiki was a well written piece of software, written in php5 in an OO manner and it had unit tests too I think. Its been a while since I looked at it and its probably come some way since then.

  13. #88
    Non-Member Musicbox's Avatar
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    vbulletin and invision board both boards are good but vbulletin takes number 1 position.

  14. #89
    SitePoint Zealot Gman's Avatar
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    vbulletin and invision board both boards are good but vbulletin takes number 1 position.
    Thats your opinion

    I would say IPB has the better hand over VB... but again, that is my opinion...

  15. #90
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    wow this post just came up while I was thinking the same thing about phpBB.

    You would think that at least they would have a php5 version of it by now. It takes so long to figure out what's going on. It's setting cookies at like 4 different locations and there's no comments. Who wrote this?

  16. #91
    SitePoint Addict sporkit's Avatar
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    ive had several sites hacked threw outdated boards. i try to stay away from them as much as possible with my own closed source code. a basic forum is easy to code and well worth the time put into it in my opinion. plus i like the fact that im creating fast concise code without anything uncessesarry.

    on a side note if you do plan on creating your own forum software code features as they become nessesary to save yourself time.

  17. #92
    Web developer Carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warjockey
    wow this post just came up while I was thinking the same thing about phpBB.

    You would think that at least they would have a php5 version of it by now. It takes so long to figure out what's going on. It's setting cookies at like 4 different locations and there's no comments. Who wrote this?

    Actually lack of code comments is a bigger crime than spagetti code. You can figure out the worst tangled ball of twine if given proper directions. But the is a disease of opensource PHP. Code it so it works and document it never. If you run Doxygen on most OSS in PHP you will get a mostly bank archive of docs.

    There is a seperate project for PHP5 use in phpbb

  18. #93
    SitePoint Guru dagfinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Redpath
    Don't get me wrong, I know its possible, but trying to write tests around an existing piece of software is just a complete pain in the **** and often mind-numbingly dull. Does phpBB really have that much value that its worth trying to bend its code into shape? Refactoring is great and a powerful tool when coupled with strong tests (unit and acceptance) but I do believe that some software can be so badly written that writing it from scratch would be the better option.
    I did say "experiment" and the reason is that I don't have the final answers to these questions and I believe the only way to really find out is to try it.

    Does phpBB have that much value? Its success indicates that many people perceive it to have that much value. A refactored work-alike might be able surf on the success of phpBB.

  19. #94
    SitePoint Zealot agoossens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagfinn
    Does phpBB have that much value? Its success indicates that many people perceive it to have that much value. A refactored work-alike might be able surf on the success of phpBB.
    I personally doubt it, especially if it didn't have a visible competitive edge over phpBB. Joe Webmaster probably doesn't care about the quality of the phpBB code, just that it gives him avatars, cool moderator features, little pointless game addons, etc.

    Edit: You'd definitely learn a lot, though, but the scale of the refactoring would scare off a lot of people.
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  20. #95
    SitePoint Guru dagfinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agoossens
    I personally doubt it, especially if it didn't have a visible competitive edge over phpBB. Joe Webmaster probably doesn't care about the quality of the phpBB code, just that it gives him avatars, cool moderator features, little pointless game addons, etc.
    That's true. But with better code, some improvements would be practically for free. Above all, having more readable code and isolating the security-related parts of it would make it much easier to ensure security by inspecting the code.

  21. #96
    Afraid I can't do that Dave Hal9k's Avatar
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    Off Topic:

    Code:
    root@Thunder phpBB2# grep "global $db" *
    grep as root? :S


  22. #97
    SitePoint Member
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    I wonder how popular PhpBB would have been it was sold for something like $50.

    I think the quality of the code is also quite dependant on time constraints and amount of resources reserved for that specific projects. Free or voluntary projects usually lack both of these so...

  23. #98
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy kyberfabrikken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devious
    What does that have to do with the design perspective?
    As a rule of thumb, globals are evil.

    Or a bit more pronounced - A global is accessible from anywhere in the entire program. Each time you introduce a global, you thus potentially affect any part of your application. This means that with a complex application, the consequences are incomprehensible.
    Possibly worse though, is that whenever someone (for example a thirdparty developer) needs to write any piece of code which interacts with you application (or indeed just run alongside it), the programmer will need to take each and every global into consideration.

  24. #99
    SitePoint Enthusiast LobsterMan's Avatar
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    All big forums are messy (ad a nightmare to customize) but have you triedMiniBB? it only has the most basic features, but it has add ons and plugins for the rest. I also heard some good things about Vanilla and UseBB
    They're all smaller and simpler than the popular forum monsters, but sometimes that's a plus.

  25. #100
    SitePoint Addict
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    Another thing about quality of code and why badly coded applications become so popular - n00bs can modify them! Not so with OO apps.

    I bet for all the 20 million phpBB hacks that are around, many were made by people who's first experience was the phpBB code. If it was some really complicated OO software, most of these hacks could've never been made.

    And the number of freely available modifications is, again, one of the reasons that makes phpBB so popular.


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