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Why you should use a web framework, eventually


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Migrating a homebrew app to a Framework.
Slides from Samuel Fonseca's Jan 23 2020 Presentation.

Published in: Software
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Why you should use a web framework, eventually

  1. 1. Why you should use a Web Framework, eventually. Samuel Fonseca
  2. 2. Index Overview A self-taught journey Three major roadblocks The complexity problem Introduce Laravel Takeaways: production-level application
  3. 3. Overview o About me o Samuel Fonseca o Work at Clear Creek o Self-taught o started to learn with my job at Clear Creek o Discuss my first and last major project o How the code evolved o My first inspirations for the site’s structure o Based file structure on Elementary OS’ Open Source Website project o Researched what Student Applications looked like for other schools o Had to learn how SONIS’, our student management system, API, worked
  4. 4. 01 Both the front end and the back end had to be built by me. There was no one available to assist me in building any of the Application’s functions or its implementation within the current flow of Admissions. 02 It had to be done within one summer - between May and August - ready for testing and deployment during the fall semester for applications for the spring semester. 03 My knowledge of PHP and JavaScript were limited when I began. I also had to learn how to communicate with a complete separate system written in ColdFusion through their provided API - which had almost NO documentation. Three major roadblocks How a one-man job can seem overwhelming
  5. 5. The complexity problem o Programming is very complex o My code had to work with the current flow of Admissions o SONIS, the student management system, is less than ideal with complex and patched code. o Most of the code was encrypted o Their documentation was less than ideal o Front-end was even more complex o Offer applicants an error-free experience o A nice flowing process with intuitive design language o Fast load times, with quick server responses and smooth animations o Browsers and screens sizes make everything 100x more difficult o Compliance o The Student Application manages a lot of sensitive data o Any security holes could present a serious problem
  6. 6. Homebrew : The good / the bad How writing my own code helped me o Learned many basic concepts o Databases o HTTP queries o RESTful API o cURL o Authentication o Cookies & Sessions o AJAX o No previous experiences with most of those items o Handling POST/Responses from the API o Not efficient - since most of this was new Screens Every website has to take in consideration the different screens and browsers which will use their services
  7. 7. What building from the ground up taught me Homebrew code taught me to understand the basic building blocks of web applications o Understanding how a server handles sessions o Object-Oriented Code o DRY Code o SQL and database structures o The difference between the front-end and back- end o Understanding server responses
  8. 8. Introduce LaravelIntroduce Laravel Laravel is a web application framework with expressive, elegant syntax. We believe development must be an enjoyable and creative experience to be truly fulfilling. Laravel attempts to take the pain out of development by easing common tasks used in most web projects.
  9. 9. The decision to switch o The project had become extremely complex o Used a lot of SQL o Time consuming o Prone to errors o A lot of repeated code o The project needed some changes to its structure o The front-end was limited for expansions o The back-end was a mess of procedural and objective code o Laravel offered the basic needed tools o SQL abstraction helped decluarted the code o Starting from the beginning allowed for a new approach o Creating the application as a SPA o Data redundancy o The ability to expand functions o Reliability o Calls to the API are queued o Cache of API deliever’s results faster o Handling HTTP Error responses (400, 500, etc)
  10. 10. Laravel : The good / the bad Laravel opened the doors for a whole new level of development o Applied previous principles within the framework o A routable RESTful API o SPA o VueJS o Vue Router o Vuex o Better authentication o Database abstraction o LDAP support o Cached and queued communication with SONIS API o User Web Notifications o Laravel makes those much easier o Specially PDO database abstractions Screens Every website has to take in consideration the different screens and browsers which will use their services
  11. 11. How Laravel empowered me The framework introduced tools that takes care of the basics o Data Abstractions o Notifications & Mail templates o Routing o Web via VueJS Router o API via Laravel o Proper HTTP Responses o Response codes o Using JavaScripts Promises o Better error throwing & catching
  12. 12. Takeaways: A production-level application o Beginners should not begin their journey with a framework o Bad code taught me o How SQL and the server code interact with one another o SQL Table’s structures o Relationships o Understanding the importance of data structure o Data Types o Basics of Objects and their relationships o Class instances o Object inheritance o There is value in bootstrapping without a framework o Development time went from a bit over 4 months; to just about a month and a half
  13. 13. Takeaways (continued) o Frameworks are not for all projects o Consider this This is the basic principle of a framework: Not having to reinvent the wheel. And doing away with foreboding, low value added tasks (for example, the development of generic components) in order to fully focus on the business rules. As an example, a framework will keep the developer from having to spend 2 or 3 days creating an authentication form (which is not a specific task). The time that is saved can be dedicated to more specific components as well as to the corresponding unit tests; giving you solid, sustainable and high quality code.1
  14. 14. Thank you! Samuel Fonseca (859) 513-0933 samuel-fonseca