The blog code for the "I ♥ PHP" project
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Example project for "I ♥ PHP"

This repository contains the blog application code featured in the "I ♥ PHP" tutorial. The tutorial has been designed for beginner and improving-beginner programmers wishing to learn some good practices in PHP web development. The code example uses PDO/SQLite, and demonstrates parameterisation, HTML escaping, logic/content separation, authentication, form handling, sessions and proper password hashing. The repo is public so that experienced developers may propose improvements if they wish.

Code changes in the tutorial are shown as diffs in the text, and each modified file can be downloaded in its entirety at that point of development. To facilitate this, files and diffs are extracted from this repo by a script, rather than being copied in manually. This means that code improvements are much easier to transpose to the tutorial, than the traditional method of making adjustments by hand.

Here is a blog post about the tutorial, which is presently in alpha status.

See also the text repo here.

Development process

Since a fix may be necessary at an early stage of the project commit history, the approach I take is to use Git's interactive rebase, and edit the file(s) in question. Once this is done, I continue the rebase and fix up any resulting conflicts. Also, sometimes a new commit will be added, and that too will be rebased into the correct order. As one would expect, either of these results in a brand new commit history from the rebase point.

This has a number of ramifications. Firstly, the tutorial text cannot refer to commits by hash, since they aren't reliable -- instead, commits are referred to by their comment text. Secondly, modified branches need to be pushed with force in order to update their remote repositories. This means that two people cannot work on the same branch, but in practice that's fine - changes of this magnitude cannot really be merged anyway.

To make the process easier, sets of changes are added to a new branch in this repo, and the tutorial is then set to read from that branch instead. In the future this will permit several versions of the tutorial to co-exist, with each branch of the text repo referring to the appropriate branch in this repo. This will be helpful for users who are midway through the course - they can stay on the old version without incompatible changes being introduced that would force them to start afresh.

How to help

It is a good idea to raise an issue ticket about your proposed changes first. I (and the readership) will be most grateful for any improvements offered, but as maintainer I may have to turn down some changes. We first need to ensure:

  • the changes are actually an improvement
  • no security issues are being introduced
  • it is not overly complicated for a beginner audience
  • it does not reiterate concepts that have already been illustrated

If we agree that the change is a good one, then read on.

Check out the code, and switch to the latest branch. For convenience, they start with "master" (the oldest) and then go to "rebase1", and increase numerically from there. Create a new branch using a name of your own choosing. Make your changes and rebase them into the order you believe is suitable. Then push the new branch. If you have pushed before you will have to push with force; that's okay though, as no-one else should be working on it!

You can then create a pull request (or an issue ticket) and we'll look at a diff against the current branch to ensure the changes are good. If they are, I'll copy the branch into a new branch in the main repo. Note this usually won't be merged into an existing branch (unless the change is very trivial) so as to preserve earlier snapshots. I'll then push the changes to the tutorial server, and regenerate against the new branch.