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My current thinking is to use the SMF register Server Side Includes available, and maintain the distinct login/logout/authorize methods in SMF and the ZF parts of the site but point them to the same DB table.
I'm trying to learn php and the books I have been reading all use what seems to be a popular set of open source stuff, Zend Framework, Smarty Templater, Pear, it's a little irritating because I'd like to learn everything down to the bottom - but then, take Zend Framework for example, I'll probably never be smart enough to build my own framework as secure and clean as such an os project. I don't know.
Then there is the Simple Machines Forum. It's really nice from a user and admin point of view. From a developers side, it have a variety of Server Side Include that are supposed to make integration with other application easier. But - it's build in procedural php - and with all my learning resources teaching only object oriented, it's getting more and more foreign.
How do most people build their stuff? Do you build your own framework and so on? This forum looks like something built from the ground up.