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General coding best practices and PHP for a non coder PM.

Startup Entrepreuner non coder needs advice for coding platform

3:05 pm on Jan 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have a site now that is doing very well and I need to expand it and grow and addon. The site was built in php/mysql/ajax and is a full blown social networking niche site. It was built around 3 years ago using smarty template but the new US based coder said that its a mess, spaghetti code and barely held together and terribly coded. I got a 2nd opinion and my other coding friend said it was very junior coders that did this and it does need to be rebuilt.

I am OK with a full rebuild by a new team but before i search for them I just wanted some assistance from a coders point of view since i am not. This time around I do know i want a framework and I just want good clean php coding. Are there protocols or things i should ask for when finding this team so that i can relay to them I am in the know?

I guess my question is how or what can I do as a non coder to make sure they code this time around clean, commented, solid coding so that if and when we need future work anyone can work on this easily and it not be a mess and its just coded right.

I imagine most coding is logical and depends on the coding team but what can i do to find a coding team to let them know this needs to be done right.

I do pride myself on the ability to create a scope, flow and system so they easily know what i want and this time around they will have the old site to clone off of as well.

I was initially open to a CMS or 3rd party like drupal or joomla but feel i need a custom php solution due to the niche and flexibility of custom features I need. I do also want to stay with PHP and MYSQL as i want to merge the preexisting users with the new build.

ANy help would be great, thanks!

3:44 pm on Jan 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld thinkbigger :) One difficulty in moving from one dev team to another is that lack of documentation can make things hard on someone taking on the old code.

I'm always wary of someone throwing up their hands and wanting to start afresh - even if there are significant problems with the old version. I'd read this for starters:

  • Things You Should Never Do, Part I [joelonsoftware.com]

    As a non-coder, it is difficult to impose a coding style, but you can make specific demands about clarity and documenting changes with the help of the new dev team. But see if the old site can be analyzed and upgraded without a total rewrite. :)

  • 11:53 pm on Mar 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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    One man's spagetti code is another's masterpiece!

    If it's working for you, no need to re-write. If you need to expand and your current development team can't understand how to scale up the old system, you will need to re-write.

    Having people code the "right" way is tough. I have difficulty with this almost every day. I'm sure it will be tough for you because you won't know what you are looking at.

    I suggest not only looking at frameworks, look at development methodologies. Agile and Test Driven Development (TDD) are currently hot topics and I believe good ways to go.