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Work

SDES Template Engine

  • Type: Class
  • Language: PHP

Purpose

In our division, there are various entities we consider customers. Most of those customers cede support of their web environment to us, but some retain the right to have a full-time “developer” on staff to make edits. Unfortunately, there is crossover between sites we’ve developed and sites that these developers feel belong to them. This has been a problem for years; only now am I taking action programmatically. I got clearance to develop a simple PHP class/framework/engine to structure the basic data each of our sites require (title, subtitle, navigation, social networks, etc.).

Method

I wrote everything by hand, top to bottom, imagining our basic PHP sites as objects. These objects needed many small pieces, like the title, the associated department, and the contact phone number, but I considered larger items, like database connections, the page requested, and the layout/design of the site. I wrapped most of this data in a straightforward class that accepted changes to its properties exclusively via setter methods, exposed data exclusively via getter methods, and farmed settings out to a config.ini file.

Highlights

As every site was converted to this simple engine, it gave me the ability to wrap simple HTML blocks into helper methods. Now, every site has a standard way to print contact information, social networking URIs and buttons, footer information, and so on. It has been an easy bridge between design and development to save time and preserve a standard.

It also gave me a chance to develop a database class that preserves a single database connection via the singleton method (only allowing a single instance of the database object).

Takeaway

It feels like I’m creeping a little too far into custom-PHP land; I know we should be using something like Symphony or CodeIgniter and a templating framework like Twig or Smarty, but for this environment, where access to production is treated like a right and not something to be protected and given out sparingly, I needed something a bit more customized and esoteric. But rest assured this custom implementation will be trashed and swapped for some open-source framework as soon as our environment makes sense.

By radicoon

Web Developer, Project Manager, Internet Raccoon