Making Sense, First Week

The morning view from our apartment
Breakfast with investor Ed Levinson
  1. “I don’t want to use a framework because there’s too much magic going on”

    I understand the sentiment here. Junior developers want the full picture, and `link_to` statements, for example, abstract from the underlying HTML you would otherwise write. I too wrote my own micro MVC frameworks in the early days, due in equal parts to my stubbornness, lack of perspective, and fright at learning something large like Laravel (~500 pages of documentation). But spending significant time writing low-level code is a small regret of mine.

    While writing your own micro-framework provides insights and awe at the inner-workings of a legitimate work of art like Laravel, it’s not directly productive. Work smart, not hard.

    Stand on the shoulders of the giants who have come before you. Use Taylor Otwell’s incessant work on Laravel to your advantage. Otherwise you will spend ten times as long as the dev next to you, writing buggier, less extensible code. At least for your first 5-10 years, by which point the world will have changed around you.
  2. “PHP sucks.” — “I’d rather die”

    I hear this one a lot. From students and mentors. But this kind of elitist programming vitriol always strikes me as peculiar.

    I’m happy to say that I’m language-agnostic. My Computer Science degree took me through Java, C, C++, and Perl for the most part, as well as a scattering of others. In my post-grad experience, I’ve become proficient in Objective-C, Javascript, Ruby (and its Rails), and PHP, of course. Not to mention the languages covering the two far ends of the full-stack.

    Most gripes against PHP seem to stem from the following:
    A) Type conversion on assignment, though the same applies to Ruby and Javascript. Solving this issue takes discipline. You can write shit code in any language. PHP’s type-hinting helps mediate.
    B) It’s slow. Really it’s Apache that is slow, at least relative to its handsome brother nginx and distant node cousins.
    C) WordPress uses it, and WordPress is gross. Huh? This argument is the most confused of all. WordPress may be sluggish with awkward quirks (a topic for another day), but its authoring in PHP says nothing about PHP itself.

    There are other arguments and issues, but they either stem from early versions of PHP, or can be overcome with HHVM and self-discipline.
  • Core programming: do your developers write modular, DRY code? Do you follow Object Oriented Programming principles (assuming you’re going the OOP route)? Do you architect to interfaces rather than concrete classes? Do you keep your languages separated? Do you follow conventions as a team? Do you leverage the framework or rewrite boiler-plate?
  • Database: Do you eager load your database queries or hammer MySQL for every related object in a collection? Are you full-text searching over joined tables on every keyword search? Is there any query involving joins that would benefit from a search index table?
  • Loading speed: Are your jpg images compressed to Photoshop’s magic 60%? Do you use an icon strip for same-size images/icons? Are you minifying and concatenating your assets? How many requests does the browser have to make to get your homepage? Is your javascript in the footer?
  • Are you getting a good night’s sleep? Eating your vegetables? Meditating regularly?

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CTO at Ensibuuko. Code and tech

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Corey Sanford

Corey Sanford

CTO at Ensibuuko. Code and tech

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