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25Jan 12

Under the development hood

Under the development hood

The development team at Clear Books has been relatively quiet of late so what has been keeping the guys busy? Here’s a quick update.

The team has been working very hard under the hood.

Over Christmas and into the New Year there haven’t been very many new features released because on the surface nothing has changed, however, behind the scenes key functionality has been migrated over to an MVC framework.

In simple terms this new structure to the code makes it easier to debug, re-use, test, optimise and change in the future.

Whereas in the beginning Clear Books code was written in a very procedural way with code and content interwoven, it’s now very abstracted with code in one place and content in another using OOP practices.

Re-writing an application is a daunting prospect that may be ill advised. It has the potential to drag on to the detriment of producing new functionality, features and usability.

Here’s how we approached it:

  • Identified the top 40 most used scripts/pages/features in the app and focused only on rewriting those.

  • The rest of the app remains in our original procedural style.

  • Set a deadline of 14th February to complete the migration.

  • The lesser used pages will be migrated over time as and when we either fix bugs or improve the feature.

This change provides a solid foundation to the app. From that base our next mamoth task is a huge design and usability review which has already been initiated and an update will follow in due course.

And of course we’re always on the look out to recruit talented PHP developers to join our development team.





  • Matt

    That’s an interesting approach you have. Can I ask what made you choose Zend over a different MVC such as CodIgniter?

  • Tom

    @Matt Quite a lot of the procedural code uses portions of the Zend component library so it seemed sensible to not stray too far from what we knew so the porting process didn’t take too long.

    We’re still not actually using the full blown Zend MVC package – quite a lot of the core of the framework has been developed from pre-existing MVC code used in some of the non accounting modules.

  • Matt Fairbrass

    @Matt Just thought I would add a couple of points to Tom’s original answer as to why we have made these decisions.

    As Tom noted, much of the legacy system used portions of the Zend framework which we wanted to be able to incorporate into the new framework we have been building, which is why we didn’t opt for a different framework sich as Code Igniter. We could have opted to use Zend’s MVC framework, however Zend MVC is very bloated to the point of where it could impact performance, so we opted to roll our own framework instead.

    This gave us another benefit in that we completely understand every component of our framework, and if problems were to arise we would be able to fix them instead of waiting for a patch to be appoved in the Zend framework etc..

    By rolling our own framework we were able to also able to incorporate some ideas from other frameworks as well.

    All in all the new framework is going to enable to us develop new features faster, find and solve bugs faster and will deliver better overall performance.

  • James

    I think MVC is the way to go. Quite surprised an app of this scale wasn’t already MVC.

    I find Codeigniter, Doctrine2 and Twig makes a great combo for MVC, ORM and templating the views.

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