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Dr. Robert Ford is that dev who made himself indispensable to the organisation by deliberately not commenting his code. He operated under the notion of those senior developers that are the physical manifestation of the documentation gatekeeping the project2
#Suphle Rant 7: transphporm failure
In this issue, I'll be sharing observations about 3 topics.
First and most significant is that the brilliant SSR templating library I've eyed for so many years, even integrated as Suphle's presentation layer adapter, is virtually not functional. It only works for the trivial use case of outputting the value of a property in the dataset. For instance, when validation fails, preventing execution from reaching the controller, parsing fails without signifying what ordinance was being violated. I trim the stylesheet and it only works when outputting one of the values added by the validation handler. Meaning the missing keys it can't find from controller result is the culprit.
Even when I trimmed everything else for it to pass, the closing `</li>` tag seems to have been abducted.
I mail project owner explaining what I need his library for, no response. Chat one of the maintainers on Twitter, nothing. Since they have no forum, I find their Gitter chatroom, tag them and post my questions. Nothing. The only semblance of a documentation they have is the Github wiki. So, support is practically dead. Project last commit: 2020. It's disappointing that this is how my journey with them ends. There isn't even an alternative that shares the same philosophy. It's so sad to see how everybody is comfortable with PHP templating syntax and back end logic entagled within their markup.
Among all other templating libraries, Blade (which influenced my strong distaste for interspersing markup and PHP), seems to be the most popular. First admission: We're headed back to the Blade trenches, sadly.
2nd Topic: While writing tests yesterday, I had this weird feeling about something being off. I guess that's what code smell is. I was uncomfortable with the excessive amount of mocking wrappers I had to layer upon SUT before I can observe whether the HTML adapter receives expected markup file, when I can simply put a `var_dump` there. There's a black-box test for verifying the output but since the Transphporm headaches were causing it to fail, I tried going white-box. The mocking fixture was such a monstrosity, I imagined Sebastian Bergmann's ghost looking down in abhorrence over how much this Degenerate is perverting and butchering his creation.
I ultimately deleted the test travesty but it gave rise to the question of how properly designed system really is. Or, are certain things beyond testing white box? Are there still gaps in the testing knowledge of a supposed testing connoisseur? 2nd admission.
Lastly, randomly wanted to tweet an idea at Tomas Votruba. Visited his profile, only to see this https://twitter.com/PovilasKorop/.... Apparently, Laravel have implemented yet another feature previously only existing in Suphle (or at the libraries Arkitekt and Deptrac). I laughed mirthlessly as I watch them gain feature-parity under my nose, when Suphle is yet to be launched. I refuse to believe they're actually stalking Suphle2
Poorly built software is the other side of the coin of over-engineered software. They both exist because users carelessly use software products. By not exercising the code enough, or system failure not costing the business more penalties than they can bear, incompetent developers will continue to get away with building things haphazardly –not as relates to tech stack, but the nitty-gritty implementation details they gloss over without adequately thinking through
Because of this, there doesn't seem to be sufficient incentive for thorough planning –what could be referred to as over-engineering. Those fancy pedantry in code mostly goes unnoticed by the end user. Of course, this doesn't apply to big corporations in most cases. It's usually unexpected to see elementary bugs in them3
Nazgul devs: tested it thoroughly, sir. It's mankind-proof. Safe for unleashing in warfare
QA testers: I'm about to end this wraith's whole career1
Argentine players just won the world cup and have easily adjusted back to club life as if nothing happened. But I fell sick after last Christmas and even now I'm feeling stronger, I'm still finding it difficult to reintegrate into coding mode
These occasional contributor meltdowns on github threads make for comedic gold
The immediate next comment symbolizes my experience working with flutter. I was pleasantly surprised to see someone else feel the same. Full thread https://github.com/flutter/flutter/...7
I've been using boomplayer for years now, and I only recently observed that its notification panel has controls for toggling repeat/shuffle/single state. With bated breath, I clicked on it, half expecting it not to budge. But, impressively, it did
It got me thinking about the devs who worked on it and how much their manager would've insisted the app cannot be released without this *crucial* feature, when in reality, it's fringe and 1% of their (in most cases <5k) user base will ever notice it or be bothered by its absence
Now, I'm not advocating for incomplete releases. I'm just saying it's unnecessarily pedantic for management/product owners to double-down over flimsy stuff4
#Suphle Rant 6: Deptrac, phparkitect
This entry isn't necessarily a rant but a tale of victory. I'm no more as sad as I used to be. I don't work as hard as I used to, so lesser challenges to frustrate my life. On top of that, I'm not bitter about the pace of progress. I'm at a state of contentment regarding Suphle's release
An opportunity to gain publicity presented itself last month when cfp for a php event was announced last month. I submitted and reviewed a post introducing suphle to the community. In the post, I assured readers that I won't be changing anything soon ie the apis are cast in stone. Then php 7.4 officially "went out of circulation". It hit me that even though the code supports php 8 on paper, it's kind of a red herring that decorators don't use php 8 attributes. So I doubled down, suspending documentation.
The container won't support union and intersection types cuz I dislike the ambiguity. Enums can't be hydrated. So I refactored implementation and usages of decorators from interfaces to native attributes. Tried automating typing for all class properties but psalm is using docblocks instead of native typing. So I disabled it and am doing it by hand whenever something takes me to an unfixed class (difficulty: 1). But the good news is, we are php 8 compliant as anybody can ask for!
I decided to ride that wave and implement other things that have been bothering me:
1) 2 commands for automating project setup for collaborators and user facing developers (CHECK)
2) transferring some operations from runtime to compile/build TIME (CHECK)
3) re-attempt implementing container scopes
I tried automating Deptrac usage ie adding the newly created module to the list of regulated architectural layers but their config is in yaml, so I moved to phparkitect which uses php to set the rules. I still can't find a library for programmatically updating php filed/classes but this is more dynamic for me than yaml. I set out to implement their library, turns out the entire logic is dumped into the command class, so I can neither control it without the cli or automate tests to it. I take the command apart, connect it to suphle and run. Guess what, it detects class parents as violations to the rule. Wtflyingfuck?!
As if that's not bad enough, roadrunner (that old biatch!) server setup doesn't fail if an initialization script fails. If initialization script is moved to the application code itself, server setup crumbles and takes the your initialization stuff down with it. I ping the maintainer, rustacian (god bless his soul), who informs me point blank that what I'm trying to do is not possible. Fuck it. I have to write a wrapper command for sequentially starting the server (or not starting if initialization operations don't all succeed).
Legitimate case to reinvent the wheel. I restored my deleted decorators that did dependency sanitation for me at runtime. The remaining piece of the puzzle was a recursive film iterator to feed the decorators. I checked my file system reader for clues on how to implement one and boom! The one I'd written for two other features was compatible. All I had to do was refactor decorators into dependency rules, give them fancy interfaces for customising and filtering what classes each rule should actually evaluate. In a night's work (if you're discrediting how long writing the original sanitization decorators and directory iterator), I coupled the Deptrac/phparkitect library of my dreams. This is one of the those few times I feel like a supreme deity
Hope I can eat better and get some sleep. This meme is me after getting bounced by those three library rejections
Today, I Had this wild idea of doing a career 360 into cancer research after earning enough (money and suffering) to leave programming in some years. Can't tell how feasible that'll be, seeing as I have no degree in the field. But it's pretty surprising that none of the bright minds throughout history have given it their best shot without hacking it for good8
I wonder how many github issues have been closed by asking the author to implement the feature they've requested for. In the past, I was confident my issue will be resolved by opening a new one when there's no answer in earlier questions. I can't tell whether the nature of my questions advanced or whether it's a new trend. But I've opened maybe 4/5 issues in recent memory, and each time, the collaborators suggest the feature is one I should contribute to their project by implementing. Isn't this their job as maintainers? I'm already working on something that barely gives me breathing space. I encountered a challenge using your library, and your idea of helping is that I dissent from my own trajectory, acquaint with your project /how to implement what I want, wait for it to get merged etc, before continue what I originally intended. Do they think that's worth it?
Is it just me or is this a common occurrence, lately?22
What do you think happens when enterprise software meets big data and user generated content? Idk, ask Github. These guys are sitting on a goldmine. The paradise of every big company. The only reason they're not faang is cos it's niche but they'll probably be influential (read, big bad) in the coming years
I predict the copilot thing is a benevolent side. Or maybe it still seems so since it's still in infancy and hasn't aggressively started snatching most developer jobs. What will become of us when that time comes? What other form of technology can computer still require our assistance to create?17
Why does rails have validation at the model layer? Isn't that what the table schema/migration is for?4
#Suphle Rant 5: Xavi
When I first detailed what it was I was working on to my brother and its expected impact on the industry, I must have done so with an enormous amount of enthusiasm that he impatiently began to request when the dream will be realised. He didn't give a shit about specifics of where I was on the timeline. He kept repeating the same question. Exasperated with the futility of my explanations, I replied that I'd be done by November as this was far beyond my estimated completion date
Every milestone (e.g. my birthday) I've expected it to be ready at has come and gone, including the unrealistic November. My present state of mind is far from the optimistic pioneer I was then. I'm just going with the flow and won't be surprised if it's not officially released by the end of the year
This gonna be me in 2072, convincing anyone who cares to listen that I'm fleshing out the docs and that the reason the release date keeps getting pushed back is because nobody has shown interest in either using or contributing to it
At a startup where the software was built haphazardly because the developer thought he'll lifelong be the sole maintainer. The dude antagonized me at every turn and refused to help with familiarising with his code. He eventually left majority of the work for me, and dedication to work continued to dwindle until he threw in the towel
After his departure, we surprisingly grew fond of each other, discussing code concepts at length. He was in the habit of refusing to read any of the articles I sent him, or answer open ended questions citing the claim that they require thinking and he was busy. I didn't take any of this to heart
But it accumulated and I deleted his number. I didn't bear him any ill wishes but it wasn't respectful to myself for him to remain in my space. Some day, I was looking for a point raised during our conversations and went rummaging through our chats. Going down memory lane opened scars I'd long forgotten. I was embarrassed to see the way I forgot all about it. I should never have had anything to do with someone like that
He contacted me for a favour just less than a year after I deleted his contact. I didn't even think of declining. But this evening, I randomly remembered how he saw a defect in my code, promised me that the code will fail in production and resisted all pleas to point out what it was. I don't know if I hate him for his dastardly acts. What I feel deepest is sadness/bitterness that I got to experience all that2
I am busting moves rn. I'm in the bathroom but the surge of energy is making me pump my arms like the time Leo Messi scored a clutch winner against Valencia in 2019
Remember the plugin I referred to in this rant? https://devrant.com/rants/6019851/...
Yup! I managed to subdue that fossilised codebase. Effected all changes required. To have a rough idea about how ancient the code is, its classes use constructors predating PHP 5. It throws away the ~15 years of autoloading, view templates, routing engines, DI, ORMs (NO PDO!!), lower-cased multi word variable names, etc. I'm looking at SCRIPTS with raw functions north of 4-600 lines. The client insisted I zip the folder across
BUT! The good news is, we surmounted it. In fairness to them, it's commendable for one man to have pulled this off. The codebase is massive and appears to have been predominantly written by some Gideon dude. Who knows where he is now
There is one pattern I appreciate –something I wish Transphporm does–some segments of the rendered view are composed using class methods ie instead of having the HTML file mixed with templating syntax, you have class methods that receive the raw data. Then you can extend this class as you wish, overriding just the method that composes the segment you intend to modify. That was elegant to work with. But it can become dreadful if the class expects a specific structure of data (an array with weird keys) that you have no access to sourcing
So, I finally get to enjoy one good evening in 2/3 weeks. I called 2 friends to express an emotion that's not gloomy, but they were unavailable. Will probably get some sleep4
#Suphle Rant 4: Laravel closing the gap II
I had expected rant 4 to come at least, some days later. Apparently, I'd miscalculated how fast things work in this wonderful world of software. In an earlier rant, I wrote about how dismayed I was to learn laravel had implemented one suphle feature I'm very proud about. They call it Premonition. Idk if it's officially rolled out yet but you can do a search among accepted pull requests for what it's all about
Well, today, I've just seen a draft from one of their maintainers showing one of the things suphle was designed to do: https://twitter.com/enunomaduro/.... They can't integrate it with this pattern since php doesn't have generics, so it'll either get trashed or with plastered as some band aid. In suphle docs, I explicitly indicated the data structure/typing for that feature is a polyfill for the absence of generics
I think I can get away with it because of where I'm using it (model authorization instead of custom exceptions/throwable operations, in general, like theirs)
I don't feel as distraught as I did on finding the Premonition thingy. Am I impressed with these things dawning on them? Ffs Laravel was invented in 2011. It's incredulous to think it gave me hell for years. Waited ~2 years for me to fix all issues in a brand new framework, only to magically gain iq points and start improving their work
It's weird and brutal. If they keep figuring stuff out, it may not be long before there are no features unique to suphle. Then, my worst nightmares will come to life. I will argue there's one thing nobody will ever copy, not without rethinking the mvc architecture in its entirety.2
#Suphle Rant 3: Road to PHP8, Flow travails
Some primer: Flows is a feature that causes the framework to bypass handling the request now but read it from cache. This cache entry is meant to be populated without warming, based on the preceding request. It's sort of like prefetching but done on the back end
While building Suphle, I made some notes on some chapters about caveats and gotchas I may forget while documenting. One such note was that when users make the Flow request, the framework will attempt to determine who user is, using authentication mechanism defined on the first module (of the modular monolith)
Now, I got to this point during documentation and started wondering whether it's impossible for the originating request to have used a different authentication mechanism, which would result in an empty entry for returning user. I *think* it's possible cuz I've got something else called "route mirroring", where web based routes can be converted to API routes. They'll then return JSON, get served under defined API path, use JWT, all automatically. But I just couldn't connect the dots for the life of me, regarding how any of this could impact authentication on the Flow request
While trying to figure out how to write the test for this or whether it was even necessary (since I had no use case), it struck me that since Flow requests are not triggered by an actual user, any code attempting to read authenticated user will see nothing!
I HATE it when I realize there's ambiguity or an oversight, after the amount of attention and suffering devoted. This, along with a chain of personal troubles set off despondency for a couple of days. No appetite for food or talk. Grudgingly refactored in this update over some days. Wrote some tests, not all passed. More pain. May have to convert them to unit tests
For clarity, my expectation is, I built this. Nothing should be impossible for me
Surprisingly, I caught a somewhat lucky break –an ex colleague referred me to the 1st gig I'm getting in 1+ year. It's about writing a plugin for some obscure forum software. I'm not too excited cuz it's poorly documented and I'll have to do a lot of groping, they use arrays instead of objects etc. There's no guarantee I'll find how to implement all client's requirements
While brooding last night, surfing the PHP subreddit, stumbled on a post about using Rector to downgrade a codebase. I've always been interested in the reverse but didn't have any incentive to fret over it. Randomly googled and saw a post promising a codebase can be upgraded with 3 commands in 5 minutes to PHP 8. Piqued my interest around 12:something AM. Stayed up all night upgrading it, replacing PHPSTAN with Psalm, initializing the guy's project, merging Flow auth with master etc. I think it may have taken 5 minutes without the challenge of getting local dev environment to PHP 8
My mood is much lighter than it was, although the battle is not won yet –image tests are failing. For some weird reason, PHP8 can't read generated test images. Hope I can ride on that newfound lease on life to study the forum and get the features working
I have some other rant but this is already a lot to digest in one sitting. See you in rant #4
It seems to me that browsers lagging behind is the reason we've seen the JS framework boom both in recent years and ongoing, evident in what they regard as major updates. Most of the functionalities implemented in my time working on the front end are high level problems ubiquitous enough to have been solved at the browser level. Same goes for all the optimizations CSR frameworks are struggling to attain. Every CSR app genuinely feels like recreating a browser, both in UX and dev requirements. These problems exist because current browsers are analog software still accustomed to loading all content at once, no in-app state, just scroll states
The React-Vue-Angular wars of today are a direct hat-tip to the Netscape-Microsoft wars of the early years. If they can form a coalition that sets a standard for syntax, best rendering engine, natural way for user facing devs to control app state, fetch data or connect the back end, somehow render this on the server or find a workaround SEO issues on CSRs, etc, given the shared agreement on expectations for modern web software, it'll be fascinating to see such a possibility8
#Suphle Rant 2: Michael's obduration
For the uninitiated, Suphle is a PHP framework I built. This is the 2nd installment in my rants on here about it.
Some backstory: A friend and I go back ~5 years. Let's call him Michael. He was CTO of the company we worked at. After his emigration, they seem to have taught him some new stack and he needed somewhere to practise it on. That stack was Spring Boot and Angular. He and his pals convinced product owner at our workplace to rebuild the project (after 2+ years of active development) from scratch using these new techs. One thing led to the other, and I left the place after some months.
Fast forward a year later, dude hits me up to broach an incoming gig he wants us to collab on. Asks where I'm at now, and I reply I took the time off to build Suphle. Told him it's done already and it contains features from Spring, Rust, Nest and Rails; basically, I fixed everything they claimed makes PHP nonviable for enterprise software, added features from those frameworks that would attract a neutral party. Dude didn't even give me audience. I only asked him to look at the repo's readme to see what it does. That's faster than reading the tests (since the docs are still in progress). He stopped responding.
He's only the second person who has contacted me for a gig since I left. Both former colleagues. Both think lowly of PHP, ended up losing my best shot at earning a nickel while away from employed labour. It definitely feels like shooting myself in the foot.
I should take up his offer, get some extra money to stay afloat until Suphle's release. But he's adamant I use Spring. Even though Laravel is the ghetto, I would grudgingly return to it than spend another part of my life fighting to get the most basic functionality up and running without a migraine in Spring. This is a framework without an official documentation. You either have to rely on baeldung or mushroom blogs. Then I have to put up with mongodb (or nosql, in short).
I want to build a project I'm confident and proud about delivering, one certified by automated tests for it, something with an architecture I've studied extensively before arriving at. Somewhere to apply all the research that was brainstormed before this iteration of Suphle was built.
I want autonomy, not to argue over things I'm sure about. He denied me this when we worked together. I may not mind swallowing them for the money, but a return to amateur mode in Spring is something I hope I never get to experience soon
So, I'm wondering: if his reaction reflects the general impression PHP has among developers globally, it means I've built a castle on a sinking ship. If someone who can vouch for me as a professional would prefer not to have anything to do with PHP despite my reassurance it'll be difficult to convince others within and beyond that there could be a more equipped alternative to their staple tool. Reminds me of the time the orchestra played to their deaths while the titanic sank16
What exactly is the essence of web frameworks introducing new syntax? Does it mean language can't be augmented without turning the syntax upside down? All js frameworks are guilty (think svelte is the exception). Php, eloquent accessors, laravel facades etc.
Then, in addition to learning their available methods, classes, folder structure and possibilities, etc, you have to grapple with silly syntaxes. Sad3
How do I create a collab post? The only buttons visible to me is the giant + for creating regular rants that would end up on the feed. But the special collab page, along with the template all collabs are written with imply there should be a separate creation button for it, somewhere. Is it the wk247 thing?4
How did mobile development manage to take off and survive up till now? Numerous aspects of its existence are a huge drawback to web apps and the Web, in general. When using an app, you:
- Can't select a term and press "search" from the context menu
- Can't have multiple app pages open
- Can't save pages for a revisit
- It Requires installation
- Takes up memory on installed device, not to mention accumulated app data
- It requires updates
- Development can get horrifying. From setting up optimal dev environment for device SDK, gradle differences, publishing an installable build despite sometimes stubborn dependencies, waiting for approval from app stores
It's literally an inconvenience, however you look at it6
#Suphle Rant 1: Laravel closing the gap
This is the first of a series of long overdue rants regarding Suphle, because I have had so so much to grumble about over the last ~2 years building it. A bit of introduction: I compiled a list of all the challenges I faced in my time as a salaried PHP developer. I also gathered issues complained about by other developers in a laravel group I'm part of, and decided to solve them at the framework level since they're avoidable. I also borrowed impressive features encountered in my time working with other languages and invented a new one, as well. I quit my job last July, still haven't get a new one yet cuz office workload kept conflicting with Suphle development. I concluded all work and testing on it back in August/September but it's yet to be officially released since the docs is still in progress.
Anyway, yesterday, I stumbled upon what is IMO the most progressive /tangible update I've seen in all my time following Laravel updates. It's called [precognition](don't have enough rep to post the PR link but you can search on their repo), and contains features that are actually beneficial to both developer and end user. It also turns out to be functionality that was part of Suphle's bragging rights. Their DX is still tacky but I'm devastated cuz it's a matter of time before they work it out. Makes me wonder what the quality of all I've built would be in a year if it doesn't become big enough to attract frequent contribution. I guess there's only so much one can do against a community.
Later that evening, I found a developer from my country on twitter who claims to be making a decent living. A little snooping around his profile informed me he's building his own back end framework but in NodeJS. I know with every degree of certainty that what he'll eventually do can't hold a candle against Suphle in overall functionality or thoroughness. Not a dick measuring contest but when your motive isn't significant innovation, you'll neither plan properly nor even know what exactly to build. You'll just reinvent the wheel as an academic exercise
Yet, I can't help but have that sinking feeling he's winging it, while making a windfall with his dozens of freelance projects. It kind of feels like I shortchanged myself, and Suphle's shelf life will suffer the same fate as a hobby project for 10 stars (which I don't even have yet!!). I reached out to him to rub minds together but he ignored. More pain.
I'll get over this and return to work on the docs, but from the look of things, the end isn't an appealing or expected /deserved one