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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
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    Maintaining undocumented application

    Hi. First of all, please excuse my bad english.

    I have been assigned a project, an online shop, which is almost finished. The previous programmers abandoned the project and I have to finish it, apparently just "a few small things". The real situation is that the application is not almost finished, when I began to use it, errors began to appear. The people who contracted the project are not programmers and they don´t know how to test deep the application.

    I have been programming and managing small projects for 3 years, but I have never been in such situation (a situation we all have to face sometimes, I suppose). The documentation is some phpdocumentor generated files, of the application classes (I didn´t say it is programmed with PHP 5, PEAR and a huge amount of css files).

    The fact is that I don´t rely on code which I have not written, although it may work apparently. So, after reading topics about design theory and such issues, I thing one factible approach could be to make unit test, almost to the critical parts of the application. Some parts are quite intrincate, and do not have comments in the code. I have tried to trace it, recognize design patterns, for example, but it has been fruitless.
    The disadvantage of unit testing, also, it takes time and the client want it done as soon as possible (as always).

    Could you give me some advice of how would you manage this situation? What more documentation could I ask for? Although the previous developers say the have no more.

    Any advice is thanked, also any grammatical correction.

    Greetings.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Member
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    You can ask for class diagrams, api documentation or specific part of codes if possible.

    I think there is no disadvantages to unit testing specially with simpletest.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Member
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    You can use PHPXref which will help you to understand better the code as it creates a cross reference of functions, classes, constants, variables ...

    Using an IDE with code completion can be really useful for learning how the code works.

    And if you can add Unit Tests the nightmare will be shorter.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Member
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    Sorry for the late in answering.
    I have found PHPXref a really useful tool. Apart, I have began to write a bit of documentation, class diagrams and unit testing. The project seems a bit better now.

    Thank you all for the recommendations!.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Here's what I would do:
    - refuse to take over any project if it doesn't have decent tests
    - gather user stories ASAP to get a grip on what the system needs to do
    - use these to define functional tests, for which SimpleTest comes highly recommended


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