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Add-On Development: EE Expects that Every Developer will do his Duty

Add-On Development: EE Expects that Every Developer will do his Duty



Add-Ons are what make ExpressionEngine the flexible powerhouse that it is today. Being able to write your own simple plugins or incredibly expansive modules allows you to mold ExpressionEngine to ...

Add-Ons are what make ExpressionEngine the flexible powerhouse that it is today. Being able to write your own simple plugins or incredibly expansive modules allows you to mold ExpressionEngine to nearly any task that your website might require. However, with that power comes a great responsibility to insure that your code is not slowing down the entire site or unduly stressing the server through bad code architecture.

There are simple tools already built into ExpressionEngine and PHP that you can use to see precisely what your Add-On is doing during page processing and where it might be doing more work than is absolutely necessary. Every developer should use these to optimize their work from the very beginning of development, prior to release. This workshop will explain these tools and how you can use them effectively. It will also delve deeper into optimization techniques and tricks that will keep your code light and clean, while finding a balance between functionality and performance.



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Add-On Development: EE Expects that Every Developer will do his Duty Add-On Development: EE Expects that Every Developer will do his Duty Presentation Transcript

  • Add-On Development: EE Expects that Every Developer will do his Duty Paul Burdick, Lead Developer solspace http://solspace.com/downloads/eeci2009/presentation.txt
  • Summary of Talk • What are Add-Ons? • The Three Types of Add-Ons in EE • Overview of Accessories in EE 2.x • Add-On Development Skills • Developing Add-Ons in ExpressionEngine • Writing Code • Debugging & Improving Performance
  • Summary of Talk • What are Add-Ons? • The Three Types of Add-Ons in EE • Overview of Accessories in EE 2.x • Add-On Development Skills • Developing Add-Ons in ExpressionEngine • Writing Code • Debugging & Improving Performance
  • I. What are Add-Ons?
  • Three Types of Add-Ons in EE 1.x and 2.x • Extensions • Modules • Plugins
  • Extensions
  • • Extends the base functionality of ExpressionEngine • Allows developers to interpose their own code into EE's codebase. • Restrained by where hooks are placed in the code and what arguments are sent with the extension call
  • • More and more Third Party developers are adding hooks to their own code, allowing extensions for Third Party Add-Ons. Pretty darn cool. • Typically no DB tables, but there are always exceptions • Settings Form CP
  • function settings() { $settings = array(); $settings['butter'] = "Quite Tasty"; $settings['buttery'] = array('r', array('yes' => "yes", 'no' => "no"), 'no'); // Complex: // [variable_name] => array(type, values, default value) // variable_name => short name for setting and key for language file variable // types: t - textarea // r - radio buttons // s - select // ms - multiselect // f - function calls // values: can be array (r, s, ms), string (t), function name (f) // default: name of array member, string, nothing // // Simple: // [variable_name] => 'Butter' // Text input, with 'Butter' as the default. return $settings; }
  • Modules
  • • The Mighty Workhorses of EE • Complete and expansive Control Panels. • Database Tables • Template Tags • Own extensions possible
  • Plugins
  • • No settings, no tables, no CP, no install • Text manipulation either via Template Tags or Custom Fields • Or, functionality "plugged" into your Templates.
  • Add-On Quantities @ devot-ee.com 18 October 2009 Extensions: 170 Modules: 73 Plugins: 248
  • Examples of Extensions • Edit Tab AJAX - AJAX enabled search for Control Panel's Edit area • FieldFrame - Easily create new custom field types for ExpressionEngine. • LG Add Sitename - Site Label in upper left of your CP
  • Examples of Modules • Structure - Create Static and Listing pages, editable via a tree sitemap • Tag - Folksonomy functionality for Weblog and Gallery Entries • User - EE's Member Functionality in Templates
  • Examples of Plugins • EE Gravatar - Global Avatars for site members • Image Sizer - Resizes and caches images on the fly • Markdown - Markdown formatting in EE Custom Weblog Fields
  • Accessories in EE 2.0
  • • Accessories provide tools, references, or abilities at the bottom of your EE Control Panel in ExpressionEngine 2.0 • No CP page for each Accessory • Can have own DB tables • View files! Lovely lovely View files!
  • II. Add-On Development Skills
  • PHP
  • • Duh... • PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. You really have to love recursive acronyms. • Server side programming language. Processed at runtime. • No Compiling! Viewable Source!
  • • PHP files contain code, but they can also have HTML, JS, XML, et cetera inside them. • Extremely widespread on hosting environments.
  • PHP Learning References PHP Docs: http://php.net/manual/ W3C Tutorial: http://www.w3schools.com/PHP/php_intro.asp Zend Tutorial: http://devzone.zend.com/article/627
  • SQL
  • • Required for advanced Add-On development • Active Record only *helps* build queries
  • MySQL • Popular, open-source, relational database. • Simple to setup and administrate. • Fast for reading, decent for writing • Dominant on hosted environments
  • MySQL Learning References • MySQL Docs: http://dev.mysql.com/doc/ • Buy a book. ( O'Reilly Books are well done ) • Learn JOINs • http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx? p=30875&seqNum=5 • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Join_(SQL)
  • View Files • Essentially HTML files with PHP inside for outputting data • Part of ExpressionEngine 2.0 by default • Available in ExpressionEngine1.x using Hermes or custom include code
  • <?php echo $this->view('header.html');?> <h4 class="alertHeadingCenter"><?php echo $LANG->line('error');?></h4> <div class='defaultCenter' > <div class="box"> <strong><?=$error_message?></strong> <br /><br /> <strong> <a href='javascript:history.go(-1)'>&#171; <?=$LANG->line('back')?></a> </strong> </div> </div> <?php echo $this->view('footer.html'); ?>
  • User Interfaces • Build in static HTML, CSS, JS files before converting to View files. • Easier development. • Easier bug testing. • No need to create data variables/objects first. • UI developer does not need to understand PHP.
  • jQuery/JavaScript
  • • jQuery available in EE 1.x via an extension (not enabled by default) • jQuery available in EE 2.x with no additional work • Relatively easy to add other libraries or custom JS if need be.
  • global $EXT; if ( ! isset($EXT->version_numbers['Cp_jquery'])) { return $OUT->show_user_error('general', $LANG->line('cp_jquery_requred'))); }
  • III. Developing Add-Ons in ExpressionEngine
  • Never, Ever Just Start Coding!
  • Research • Previous Approaches • Required Features • Alternative Approach in ExpressionEngine? • Can this be done in EE in any other way? • Is a Module required? Could an Extension do it? • Could a Plugin output weblog data in the way you need?
  • Tell a Story • How will Person A do Task 1? • Question Previous Approaches. • Is X Really the BEST way to do it? • What Would Apple Do? • Eliminate Steps, Make Process Intuitive. • Follow your instincts.
  • Map Out Features • Major • Functionality required for module to serve its market/purpose • Minor • Not Necessarily Required. • Features are cuttable for a 1.0 release. • Icing • For specific clients or users • Think and consider them
  • Database Structure • Tables for your Major and Minor Features • Normalization: Eliminate Data Duplication • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Database_normalization • Indexes! • Specific, Sensical Field Names • 'event_title' vs 'event' • 'event_short_name' vs 'name'
  • Tags Structure • The Naming and Functionality of Template tags • For Each Tag • Describe • Name • Parameters • Variable Pairs and Single Variables • Consider this a precursor to your documentation
  • Tags Structure: Describe • Descriptions for each Tag, Parameter, and Variable. • Explain what each one does.
  • Tags Structure: Tag Name • Simple and Obvious • No Abbreviations, No Ambiguity • {exp:module:g_entries} vs {exp:module:gallery_entries}
  • Tags Structure: Parameters • Prefix? • form:id="" or form_id="" • Use prefixes to break up parameters into "groups" of functionality. • notify:admin_email="" • notify:user_email=""
  • Tags Structure: Variables • No Ambiguity, No Abbreviations • {group}{/group} vs {category_group}{/category_group} • {title} vs {event_title} • Prevent collisions in nested tags • Underscores recommended
  • Tags Structure: Show to Other People • Get Feedback • Revise until the Spec feels solid.
  • Building a Control Panel
  • Workflow Module’s CP
  • Control Panel: Break Up into Sections • Data Adding, Deleting, and Manipulation • Create/Modify/Delete Items • Ex: Calendar, Wiki, Forum • Build only one main interface • Preferences/Settings/Permissions • Per Site, Per Weblog, Per Member Group, Per X • Actions • Ex: Recount, Re-Cache, Clear Caches • Version Number and Documentation Link
  • KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid
  • Control Panel: Design • Build an HTML/CSS/JS mockup first • Put into a View file • PHP into HTML, Not HTML into PHP • documentDOM in Hermes - Builds HTML in PHP, specifically form fields • Ignore IE6 • EE 2.x no longer supports it • Solspace no longer supports it • Neither should you.
  • Time Wasted on IE6 Making Software Support IE6 vs. Upgrading Users
  • Time Wasted on IE6 Making Software Support IE6 vs. Upgrading Users 92% 8%
  • Have Goals, Even Milestones, Never Deadlines
  • IV. Writing Code
  • Follow the EllisLab Development Guidelines! http://expressionengine.com/docs/development/guidelines/index.html
  • "Prolific and informative commenting using proper comment style" • We want to know your thinking! Why this way? • Expect people to learn from your code. • Helps you understand your *own* logic
  • Sanitize and Escape Everything • Be Paranoid! Nothing is Immune! Constant Vigilance! • If you DID NOT set or get data yourself, assume it is tainted, even EE variables • If you DID set or get yourself, but not within ten lines of code, assume it is tainted. • Sanitize and Escape at the Query • No Security Exceptions for SuperAdmins
  • Abstraction • Use Twice, Write Once • Create Libraries! • Reduces Work and Mistakes • Purpose of Hermes
  • Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
  • Simplify: Reduce Code Work • Do the Least Amount of Effort to produce results • Bail Out First, Work Second • Invalid variable type? Bail. • No Permissions? Bail. • Error? Bail. • Don’t Do Serious Work Until You Know You Have Work To Do
  • Simplify: Reduce DB Work • Performing Multiple Queries are OK. • Validate, Check Pagination, Then Retrieve Data
  • Simplify: Models • Abstract common SELECTs into separate methods • INSERTs/UPDATEs for a DB Table in one method • Hermes has per Add-On model caching caching built into it. • Speaking of caching...
  • Per Page Load Caching • Use $SESS->cache • Suggested: • $SESS->cache['modules']['module_name']['some_cache'] = array(); • Alternative: • $SESS->cache['Solspace']['module_name']['some_cache'] = array() • Try a Reference! • $this->cache =& $SESS->cache['modules']['module_name']; • $this->cache[‘some_cache’] = array();
  • Weblog Module Class • Very powerful code, no need to write your own. • Code was written so that it could be used elsewhere. • Returns Results based on tag parameters • You can modify $TMPL->tagparams!
  • require_once PATH_CORE.'core.typography'.EXT; require_once PATH_MOD.'/weblog/mod.weblog'.EXT; $TMPL->tagparams['entry_id'] = '1|2|3|4'; $TMPL->tagparams['dynamic'] = 'off'; $TMPL->tagdata = $TMPL->assign_relationship_data( $TMPL->tagdata ); $TMPL->var_single = array_merge( $TMPL->var_single, $TMPL->related_markers ); $weblog_object = new Weblog; $weblog_object->fetch_custom_weblog_fields(); $weblog_object->fetch_custom_member_fields(); $weblog_object->fetch_pagination_data(); $weblog_object->create_pagination(); $weblog_object->build_sql_query(); if ($weblog_object->sql == '') return $this->return_data = $TMPL->no_results(); $weblog_object->query = $DB->query($weblog_object->sql); if ($weblog_object->query->num_rows == 0) return $this->return_data = $TMPL->no_results(); $weblog_object->TYPE = new Typography; $weblog_object->fetch_categories(); $weblog_object->parse_weblog_entries(); $weblog_object->add_pagination_data(); return $this->return_data = $weblog_object->return_data;
  • Provide Tools for Keeping Things Tidy • Removal of Old Data. • Removal of Old Caches • Optimize Tables - Reduce DB Overhead
  • V. Debugging and Improving Performance
  • Consider Performance an Aspect of Add-On Debugging
  • Turn on PHP Debugging • Insure Display Errors Setting is On in php.ini • Error Reporting is E_ALL • No PHP Errors! Ever! • Remove All Deprecated PHP Functions.
  • Turn on SQL Queries • Admin => System Preferences => Output and Debugging • Queries appear on both CP and User side of EE • Review Queries • Check the Add-On's CP • Extensions: Check areas of usage in CP • Check EVERY single tag in a Template. • Eliminate Duplicates!
  • Turn on SQL Queries • Are Certain Queries Necessary on EVERY load? • Settings/Preferences • Caching (Checks, Re-caching, Emptying) • Statistics • Evaluate Queries for Performance • Run in phpMyAdmin or similar • Try Making the Query More Efficient • Add a WHERE clause on indexed field • Remove Extraneous JOINs when possible
  • Turn on SQL Queries • De-Normalization. • Duplicating Data or Grouping It to Reduce Work • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denormalization • Best example? Statistics: Hit count. • Abstract methods for data consistency (i.e. correct values) • Learn About Optimizing MySQL • MySQL Performance Blog • http://mysqlperformanceblog.com
  • SuperSearch SQL Queries
  • Turn on Template Debugging • Admin => System Preferences => Output and Debugging • Outputs Elapsed Time during Add-On processing • What Code is Taking the Longest to Process? • $TMPL->log_item() • $TMPL->log_item('Freeform Module: Run Query'); • Disable Processing • Disable Parameter ( disable="feng_shui" ) • Auto-detect Variables and Remove Queries and Processing
  • Vanilla Template Log
  • SuperSearch Processing
  • Knowing is Half the Battle!
  • Automated Actions • Example: Caching or Retrieving Remote Data • Can Seriously Slow Down an Add-On • Try AJAX
  • Deprecated Code • Consider using trigger_error() • trigger_error('Favorites Module: The Favorites Count tag has been deprecated. Use the Entry Count tag instead'); • Don't Leave It Around Forever, Discontinue Support, Then Remove It
  • Ask for Help • Plenty of EE, PHP, SQL Knowledge out there. Use it. • Often just discussing a problem will lead to a solution.
  • V. Presentation Over, So Let's Talk