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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Are you still a reputable developer if you use frameworks?

    Hello. I've been doing freelance for a little while now (on the side of my full time job) and am looking for more efficient ways of streamlining my work flow so it gives me more time for myself.

    I've been looking into making my own mini framework, as I want it to do what I want and I also have complete control over it. I've been looking at CodeIgnitor and jQuery and they do look great... But for some reason I feel like I'm not being the professional I should be if I just use frameworks... Ok, maybe not that bad, but I do feel I owe it to myself to learn how to put these kinda framworks together first, before using one myself - does that make sense?

    But is that just silly?

  2. #2
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    I think you will be a more reputable developer if you use frameworks. Unless you see something that you can improve upon or innovate, there is no point in writing your own framework.

    But, if you have the next Ruby on Rails in your mind then go ahead and do it.
    Mukul Gupta
    Indus Net Technologies
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    Design | Development | Internet Marketing

  3. #3
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Do you not think it would be good for me too how to make these kind of frameworks, before using them?

    I suppose every other developer here uses some sort of framework don't they?

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    To the contrary, I think you will make a better framework (should the need be!) if you use a few frameworks. This is sort of taking the best practices from them and then see what you can improve upon.

    You said your primary objective is to streamline your work-flow, you don't need to build a framework on your own if something which is already there can help you out. One of fear the people have in hiring freelancers is that they write code that is hard to maintain later, using any standard framework will lower this sort of risk for your potential clients and will improve your marketability.

    I suppose every other developer here uses some sort of framework don't they?
    Our company uses PEAR and CakePHP regularly and Seagull and CodeIgniter ocassionally.
    Mukul Gupta
    Indus Net Technologies
    _______________________________________
    Design | Development | Internet Marketing

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    What's your opinion of CodeIgniter?

    Like I said, I want something that is flexible and open ended, which doesn't get in my way. I do nothing too complex, and the sites I work on aren't massive corporate ones or anything... Just need a secure way of logging in, something I can make shopping carts (for PayPal) with, ways of displaying data, run queries, upload files and resizing images... A few other things, but that's about it really...

    Also... jQuery - that seems pretty good as a JavaScript framework? Do you think CodeIgniter and jQuery would be the best solution for a mostly one-man freelancer who is trying to offer good features, tailored CMS, fancy bits and bobs?

  6. #6
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    I've written a couple CMS's and in doing so homegrown frameworks. imo, use a framework that's well supported, extensible and well documented. Right now I'm playing with Zend's Framework, dhtmlx libraries and Smarty. I think it's natural for a developer to realize that a framework doesn't do everything and then to want to write their own. I'd try to resist that as much as possible. The reason is think 5 years down the road. Are you really going to want to both support and extend it all yourself? I like it when someone else is supporting the framework helping it grow and fixing bugs, hopefully. If they don't I abandon it and find a new one.

    I've found that one framework is as good as another and I end up extending it anyway. Since you're a one-man shop I'd suggest just find a framework, accept it's shortcomings and move on. Don't worry about being reputable. The bottom-line is all that matters. I know lot's of developers that are very bright that are frustrated with their job or business and have the income, or lack thereof, to back it up.

    You're a developer/designer but you're also a business owner. Focus an equal or far more attention to the business side, specifically marketing, and the rest seems to be a lot less important as time goes on. GL
    I study speed waiting. I can wait an entire hour in 10 minutes.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot
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    I have been using frameworks almost exclusively for several months, and I have 1,000 times more confidence in my code now than I did before I started using them. It is so easy to build code that already takes common pitfalls into account (security, cross-site scripting vulnerabilities, etc) and so easy to add a test suite on top of that to make sure everything is working exactly as I promised it would. That confidence that I am doing what I was paid for makes me far more reputable, in my opinion. It is orders of magnitude less likely that my code will fail now as a result of something stupid that I neglected to take into account.

  8. #8
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    All very good reasons indeed... It's making me think more and more about using one now to be honest...

    I think the thing that scares me the most is the fact that a framework could come and go... I suppose I'm really interested in CodeIgniter and Zend Framework... CodeIgniter because before I discovered it, it was pretty much how I was writing my own CMS anyhow... The way it loads things,the way you set things etc... Really quite similar. Also, it seems great for my level of freelance as it's small and does pretty much all the little niggly things I don't want to re-write every time... Also, the documentation is good (and almost fun!) and that is important to me. I was worried that CodeIgniter might not be around in a bit - what's offers opinions of this?

    Also, Zend Framework appealed to me as it's the kind of 'standard' now - is that right? Seeing that the people behind that, actually made PHP too, it seems that should be the natural choice for a stable, long living framework.

    As for Javascript... I was looking at jQuery... That looks interesting... And e-commerce? ZenCart interested me too...

    Thing is... I should just try them out... But time is of the essence, so I wanted to get opinions, experience and the like before I delved into something... Hope that all makes sense.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict ruby-lang's Avatar
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    Less popular frameworks come and go all the time, but CodeIgniter and Zend have enough developers using and maintaining them that they will probably be around for several years to come.

    Also, if you decide to write your own framework, knowing how popular frameworks solve common problems will be a huge help.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Just to add... I delved into CodeIgniter this weekend and realised...

    ...that it's bloody great!!! ... I've got ALOT of plans for this now!

    Thanks for your replies people

  11. #11
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    Good to know.

    Did you compared Codeigniter with anyother framework like CakePHP? Just interested to know how you feel about CakePHP. Our company made a decision to migrate to Cake framework about 2 months back.
    Mukul Gupta
    Indus Net Technologies
    _______________________________________
    Design | Development | Internet Marketing

  12. #12
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    Well... the main reasons why I went with CodeIgniter is more for the fact that it suits my one-man-band setup... I'm a freelancer, but I also have a full-time contract in the day, I also have other interests that I need to somehow fit around this (which is pretty hard!)... My first idea was to come up with lightweight home-made framework that would handle all the little niggly things (like database stuff, file uploading, image manipulation etc.) so I can just use this for my projects... Every project I do is different, but the base things (mentioned above) are always the same across every project...

    Then I came across CodeIgniter... And it really is basically the framework I would of wrote if I had the time... Even down to the way the documentation is done, it all just 'fits me' very nicely... And it's incredible small, lightweight and from what I can see, fast too. But I deal with small to medium sites, not massive corporate ones - so CodeIgniter here seems to fit in nicely... After having a good session with it this weekend, it was very easy to pick up and understand and the documentation really is second to none... Also, the community seems great (and fast to respond) which really is some of the most important things...

    To be honest, I haven't given CakePHP a recent go... I did a while ago, but maybe things are a little different now? It's documentation certainly isn't as great though, and this is a big factor for me... But CakePHP and CodeIgniter seem to be two of the same, in a sense... Using either one or the other doesn't really matter too much I think... But I really ain't in a position to tell you whats great about either... yet.

    Zend looks interesting though... But again, at the moment, CodeIgniter seems to do everything I need... And I can see it saving me alot of time over the next year.

  13. #13
    Caveat surfer Buddy Bradley's Avatar
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    I use CodeIgniter for pretty much everything now. I like it because it has the backing of a 'proper' company behind it (EllisLab, who make ExpressionEngine) who will be constantly improving it - ExpressionEngine 2.0 will run on CI - and also because it's so easy to work with.

    jQuery is great (and will be baked into CI soon as well, making it a good choice), although there's not necessarily any need for a JavaScript framework on smaller sites, it can be overkill.

  14. #14
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    My company has been using Smarty for a while alongside their own legacy code. It can get ugly when combining the two, but by learning Smarty I learned how to makes improvements that are "Smarty-approved". That is, how to code along with its guidelines. I plan to use CodeIgniter for one of the future projects that I will manage. And I use it for my personal projects as well.

    More recently I have put in the Xajax framework together to work with CI, and it really improves my workflow. No longer do I have to create many .js files for each Ajax function I want to do. Now I can just put the functions in the controller part of CI.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Member lsalberg's Avatar
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    To answer your original question, which to some degree has been addressed here already, I think you are actually doing a disservice to your clients by not using Frameworks when and where applicable.

    If you are constantly "reinventing the wheel" (so to speak) everytime you come across a need, that would not only be inefficient, but possibly putting the client's development (and future success) at an unnecessary delay.

    Many frameworks are developed by folks a lot smarter than most of us, user-tested, security-patched, and have wide-spread use such that errors are fixed long before they reach your client. I can't see how you would not consider using them. If cost were a key issue (as it used to be) I could see how you'd be tempted to dig your own hole, but when the hole diggers are free (or nearly so), it's hard to make that argument stand.

    There seems to be some mixing of frameworks here in the discussion. I don't strictly view jQuery as a framework since it is really an "add-on" for javascript/ajax. Arguably, you could incorporate such jScript "frameworks" later. But doing so with a server-side language would be a waste of time. Better to just start off with CodeIgniter/EE, etc.. early on in a project, if not from Day One. Smarty is just one of many template "frameworks", but again, not really a framework in the strict sense.

    There are folks today calling a sets of CSS code that zero out default browser settings "CSS Frameworks". Kind of a stretch. Some call them CSS Resets, which I think is a bit more accurate since a framework can't be "undone". You can undo part of a CSS Reset, or you can hand-code some JavaScript if you like, but you can't really use a framework like CodeIgniter part of the time and then place calls to the database the other part of the time using your own code. Well, you *could*, but you might as well stick a knife in your eye if you enjoy that sort of "pleasure".

    Lastly, a CMS can overlay - or be used in conjunction with - a framework, or standard site. Having switched last year to using TextPattern for small business clients, I can honestly say that I waited too long to do so. Although the learning curve took a few extra weeks out of my life, I can't see ever posting a site without some kind of CMS. I would say that T/P and WordPress now run over half of my and my client's sites (the exceptions being old one-page deals for nearly no money, and web apps).

    Don't feel bad that you won't have as much custom code in your apps or sites. The big sites (like Yahoo, Digg, Pownce, etc) all use various frameworks (or at the least, design patterns).

  16. #16
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    Thank you very much... That's a quality reply and it has really made me realise that you are right... Not only would it be a good idea for me, but also a good idea for my clients...

    This summer is going to be a serious overhaul of my freelance work... To make it better for me, my clients (and my indirectly, my girlfriend!)

  17. #17
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    I've been weighing alot of this up recently... After playing with CodeIgniter (http://codeigniter.com/) and jQuery (http://jquery.com/) and I feel these two are my way forward now...

    They have both been around for a few years, CodeIgniter itself has been spoken very highly of by alot of people, and they're both just quality products...

    ... And what's more... They have made coding FUN again!


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