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Not just a PHP program - a good web application

A very busy week so far ... station pickups, a PHP course, hosting an external luncheon meeting and hotel guests at Well House Manor, and providing a venue for, and attending, a meeting of the presidents of some of the local chambers of commerce to discuss towns working together. And it's only just the end on Tuesday. Wednesday will bring ... well, you'll read some of it here.

On Monday, I "tunnelled" through PHP, producing a piece of code that worked for a benign user who put in sensible data. It coughed slightly with 'silly' values - it was obvious it had failed, and it looked really crappy - but it wasn't actually an injection attack risk. ("No - It's not nice - I will NOT publish it here"). And on Tuesday morning, I took that code and I said DESIGN MATTERS - for the user, and for the maintenance programmer ... and I came up with the following list which I chose to implement to a lesser or greater extent - at least to an illustrative degree:

1. Code should be commented for programmer
2. Page should include instructions for the user
3. Forms should include a submit button, even if they only have a single input box which submits on "enter"
4. Code should echo user inputs
5. First page should not perform submission actions on nothing
6. Fields should usually be sticky
7. Data should be validated
8. Data should be secure against injection attacks
9. Common code should be grouped into functions
10. Generated HTML should conform to selected standard (XHTML?)
11. Program and design elements should be separated
12. Error messages should be good 'uns

You see - it's not JUST about making the algorithms accessible and workable - it's much MUCH more. Come to think of it ... as I write this note, I see that there are a few more things I should have done / documented. Some have been done already - second nature - others aren't actually present in my demo.

13. Help window
14. Search Engine Optimisation
15. Make it interesting
16. Should look good and be corporate branded!
17. Should provide support contact
18. Should provide links back to the calling ap / rest of site

Have a look at the running application. Have a look at the source code. See if you can work out which of those extras I have done something towards, and which are on my potential "to do" list.

There's a huge difference between a PHP script and a good web based application!


P.S. - part built program / source [here]
(written 2009-09-29, updated 2010-11-01)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
H050 - PHP - General
  [4314] PHP training - refreshed modern course, backed up by years of practical experience - (2014-11-16)
  [3966] Our examples work with any recent version of PHP - (2013-01-01)
  [3952] PHP revision ... by example. - (2012-12-15)
  [3530] A typical weekend?? - (2011-11-28)
  [3025] Learning to Program ... in PHP. Course examples. - (2010-11-01)
  [2663] Improve your PHP on a weekend away - (2010-03-05)
  [2589] Your PHP code does not work? Here is where to start looking. - (2010-01-18)
  [2559] Moving the product forward - ours, and MySQL, Perl, PHP and Python too - (2010-01-01)
  [2504] Learning to program in ... - (2009-11-15)
  [2400] Are you wanting to learn PHP? - (2009-09-08)
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  [2222] A (biased?) comparison of PHP courses in the UK - (2009-06-07)
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  [1722] PHP examples - source code and try it out too - (2008-07-26)
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  [116] The next generation of programmer - (2004-11-13)

H115 - Designing PHP-Based Solutions: Best Practice
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  [4118] We not only teach PHP and Python - we teach good PHP and Python Practice! - (2013-06-18)
  [4069] Even early on, separate out your program from your HTML! - (2013-04-25)
  [3926] Filtering PHP form inputs - three ways, but which should you use? - (2012-11-18)
  [3820] PHP sessions - a best practice teaching example - (2012-07-27)
  [3813] Injection Attacks - PHP, SQL, HTML, Javascript - and how to neutralise them - (2012-07-22)
  [3539] Separating program and artwork in PHP - easier maintainance, and better for the user - (2011-12-05)
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  [1794] Refactoring - a PHP demo becomes a production page - (2008-09-12)
  [1694] Defensive coding techniques in PHP? - (2008-07-02)
  [1623] PHP Techniques - a workshop - (2008-04-26)
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  [1487] Efficient PHP applications - framework and example - (2007-12-28)
  [1482] A story about benchmarking PHP - (2007-12-23)
  [1391] Ordnance Survey Grid Reference to Latitude / Longitude - (2007-10-14)
  [1390] Converting from postal address to latitude / longitude - (2007-10-13)
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  [1323] Easy handling of errors in PHP - (2007-08-27)
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  [1047] Maintainable code - some positive advice - (2007-01-21)
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  [563] Merging pictures using PHP and GD - (2006-01-13)
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  [394] A year on - should we offer certified PHP courses - (2005-07-28)
  [340] Code and code maintainance efficiency - (2005-06-08)
  [261] Putting a form online - (2005-03-29)
  [237] Crossfertilisation, PHP to Python - (2005-03-06)
  [123] Short underground journeys and a PHP book - (2004-11-19)


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Abstract classes, Interfaces, PHP and Java
Controlling, supressing, enabling PHP error messages
Using print_r in PHP to explore mysql database requests
Moving busstop!
Not just a PHP program - a good web application
Tcl scripts / processes on a web server via CGI
Diluting History
Operator overloading - redefining addition and other Perl tricks
Which version of MySQL am I running?
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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