Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fastest PHP Framework

A web application framework is designed to support the development of dynamic websites, web applications and web services. It aims to alleviate the overhead associated with common activities performed in development such as database access, templating frameworks and session management, and it often promotes code reuse.

I have been coding Web Applications using PHP for a while and I find frameworks as very useful. It has an MVC (Model-View-Controller) approach, enforces good coding standards, has helpers and components which makes my coding life easier and saves me a lot of time and effort with its features. I and my officemates have been using CakePHP as our PHP framework for awhile and we think that its performance is becoming slow. We're thinking of trying out CodeIgniter, another famous PHP framework, but it makes me wonder, if it really is the fastest and most feature friendly framework we are looking for?

I did some research and I found DooPHP has quite an interesting portfolio.
Fig 1: DooPHP benchmark as of Febuary 25, 2011
DooPHP is claiming it might be the fastest MVC based PHP framework in the world. Beside that, it comes with features essential to today's Web 2.0 application development. It focuses on 7 main cores: MVC, REST, URI routing, ORM, Template engine, ease of use and performance. It even has a very loosely coupled design where developers can modify and add new functionailies to the framework easily.

Quite interesting right? What's not to like in this framework? Well for me, since it is still relatively new (started in 2009), I don't think it has a wide support base unlike its predecessors. Also, it feels like a hybrid framework. Why? One of the reasons why we use frameworks is because of its support for MVC.
function signup_action() {
/* Set the pages title */
$this->data['pagetitle'] = 'Signup';
// Load the User Model
// Get a new User Model Instance
$user = new User;
// Try and find a User with the specified username
$result = Doo::db()->find($user, array('limit' => 1));
In this example, we can see that it is accessing its data through the controller. That is not a good practice for "FAT MODELS, THIN CONTROLLERS" approach. It destroys the ideal MVC. Sure, it is faster but maintainability and reusability wise, it could be a pain in the future. For small scale projects, this could work since maintainability won't be much of an issue. Also, I get the feeling that it is like I am using classic PHP because I have to do/declare everything by myself as shown below:
class User extends DooModel {
    public $id;
    public $username;
    public $password;
    public $group;

    public $_table = 'user';
    public $_primarykey = 'id';
    public $_fields = array('id', 'username', 'password', 'group');

    function __construct(){
        parent::$className =;__CLASS__;

The closer you are to classic PHP, the faster your codes will be. Rasmus Lerdorf, the Godfather of PHP himself, believes that frameworks aren’t that great because they perform much slower than simple PHP. If you have to use a PHP framework, Rasmus likes Code Igniter the best, as it is "least like a framework"[2008]. We all have different needs, different wants and it all boils down to which framework will suit it. DooPHP is still young. It might be the fastest because it is almost similar to classic PHP, but it might be problematic in terms of scalability. Maybe after a few more years and this will be a framework to watch out for!

For now, I think I'll stick to CakePHP and will try its new stable version 2.0. :)

Other helpful resources:
DooPhp model guide
Learn DooPhp
10 Principles of the PHP Masters
CakePHP Best Practices: Fat Models and Skinny Controllers

Friday, November 25, 2011

JSON encode auto sorting issue

JSON is used to send data as an object either be an array or string.

I used AJAX to pass on my data from server to client. My intention was to populate a drop down list with values dynamically. I had created my array list as show below:
$result = array( '5' => 'a', '2' => 'b', '3' => 'c', '4' => 'd', );
echo json_encode(array( 'result' => 'success', 'details' => $result ));

I was expecting to see my array as is, but I was confused when I checked my JSON result array was as shown below:
array { result: "success", details: [{ 2: "b", 3: "c", 4: "d", 5: "a" }] }

See the problem? My array values were automatically sorted out. I found out that this is a browser issue with Google Chrome. I checked this using Firefox and there was no problem. So what is the solution to this problem? There are two ways:
  1. Don't use json_encode. I used this method because I realized I didn't really need to populate my dropdown list dynamically. I just needed static data for selection.
  2. Sort it out before appending to its drop down element.
  3. // data.details came from json_encode in the example above. 
    //arrVals should be an array.
    var arrVals = data.details();
    arrVals.sort(function(a, b){
            return 1;
        else if (a.val==b.val){
            return 0;
        else {
            return -1;

Hopefully, Google Chrome will fix this bug so we won't encounter this again or performance will not be wasted.

Sorting (dropdown) Select Options Using jQuery
Sort a select list box

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

CakePHP vs CodeIgniter

Web application framework, a software framework for development of dynamic websites, web applications, and web services

Nowadays, framework is important for us to create an agile, self-documented and organized Web Application. There has been a long fuss between these two great frameworks: CakePHP and CodeIgniter. But the question still remains, which framework should I choose? Read on to find out.

Fig 1: CakePHPFig 2: CodeIgniter

Both CodeIgniter and CakePHP are best suited for object oriented programming and support the Model View Controller architecture which provides robustness and flexibility to a great extent. CakePHP is the better one when it comes to robustness and strictness of conventions, which is appreciated by a section of the programmer community because it is easy to remember. On the other hand, venturesome programmers see this as a shortcoming in CakePHP. CodeIgniter has a wide built-in library that serves most of the purpose of a beginner in PHP programming. For those ahead of the rest, CodeIgniter lets them create their own libraries or rather classes within those libraries barring the database classes. There are certain simple naming conventions that need to be followed. The flexibility of creating custom classes and modifying existing native classes is something highly appreciated by radical programmers, always itching to create something different. CakePHP on the other hand, is more in demand with hard core PHP guys for its robustness and superior auto-load features. ORM is another strong point of CakePHP. In terms of speed, CodeIgniter wins hands down.

Both CakePHP and CodeIgniter has an active community and is open-source so development and improvements are continuously being done. They say clarity of documentation and online support community of CodeIgniter is far better than CakePHP, which makes it the framework of choice for toddler programmers and experts alike. For me, I prefer the documentation of CakePHP. Recently, they updated their website and I like the changes because now the community can edit the documentation. It is also easily searchable and well-organized; There is a blog tutorial that will easily help you jumpstart in getting used to CakePHP.

Bottomline, if you're a beginner you're best bet will be using CodeIgniter because it is closer to classic PHP, faster to learn, easy to use and fast. Otherwise, choose CakePHP for its strict MVC, robustness, data sanitation, and support for PHP4 and PHP5.

Monday, November 14, 2011

JQuery Scroll to top plugin

I am using this template at work and I find this plugin to be cool and useful. It's a JQuery Scroll to Top Dynamic Plugin by Matt Varone! It is a good UX design especially when you have a lengthy website and it is very easy to use.

Fig 1: Screen shot 


You may download file by clicking this link or manually download it by visiting Matt Varone's website



Easy right? Try it out!

Reference: UItoTop jQuery Plugin - Matt

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Imagine a world where writing does not exist. Where people rely on the human senses to remember things, to pass on the knowledge and explain what is seen. The world would have been a chaotic world. But when writing started to exist, everything seem to change; There was order; There was peace; Technological advancement and sharing was possible. Writing came in different form also known as Typography. Wikipedia defined it as:
"Typography is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible."
A simple change in spacing and sizing could make a huge difference in your art work. What differenciates a professional looking work to an amateur work boils down to the typography used. Here are some pointers to remember:

  • Mix Seriff and San Seriff. (I used Arial and Georgia in the example below.)
  • When using two or more fonts, match the max height of small letters. (I used Verdana and Georgia)

If you will compare both examples, You will notice that "ScriptCity" doesn't feel right, as in there is something off.

  • Make use of font face that are meant to be used for each other. Some of the font face that are meant for each other are Arial and Georgia. 
  • Instead of placing letters vertically, just rotate the letters 45 degrees
  • Lastly, mind the spacing. Left-align is the best option for readability.

Any other opinion regarding typography? Pitch in your ideas at the comment section.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

User Design Experience

I was browsing and reading random IT-related websites I bumped to this article "The Role of Design in the Kingdom of Content" by Smashing Magazine. It talks about the importance of user design experience. Fascinated and curious of its contents, I started reading it. Here's what I learned:


Act on the opportunity the right way by using design to highlight the site's most valuable content. Build designs suitable with your content. Use visual tools like lines and shapes not just for decorating but also use it to support the conversation of a goal or the delivery of a message. Comments helps in gaining credibility and insights from users.


The world of websites is a world of first impression. A good design is important, even when the page is loading, or how the content is presented, users will judge it the minute they see your website. Take for instance adding a background image of woods, It gives the user a feeling of being at a relaxed and common place. It makes the user comfortable at the site and begins browsing around.


We all know that in designing, every line spacing, typography used or even how elements are grouped are important in giving an impression to your users what your website is. For a professional theme using wrong typography like Comic Sans will ruin the look and feel of the site. Consistency is important. Just be sure that if you want to look different, be different.


The web is so vast. Numerous sites and information is readily available in the web. The question is, how will your website outstand? Answer: Make your site reactive. Take advantage of social networking, share your site to your friends and let them leave comments in your site. The degreee of how viral your site will be depends on how the user feels and how easy it is to share.

UX design is about developing a road map for the user, encouraging certain actions, and developing a user base that wants to engage with your content. We make design to make the page more memorable and meaningful. We do this by laying a foundation of good impression by enabling smooth and meaningful reading and encouraging user engagement. This will make the user experience harmony in content.

Reference: The Role of Design in the Kingdom of Content