As a bit of background, for the last couple of months I've been doing some work for a personal client aside from the work for
Seismic Technologies which is on the back burner till we pick up some more investment interest (I'm still the lead dev though) - the project is an add-in for an existing product (COM interop) which be must be deeply-integrated, as well as being capable of being used in stand alone mode...

It's a very advantageous project considering the time frame, but that's part of the fun :) Once the clients moved forward on some marketing I'll post a little more about some of the challenges I've faced along the way.

At any rate - the project's stalled briefly while the clients doing a little business analysis to get the underlying methodology sorted - so they've asked me to switch across to building the license generation / customer portal / license purchasing module for their preexisting CMS system (CMS made simple - PHP) ... where are the ruby or Monorail CMS's to wean my clients onto?

PHP... ack

... So I haven't used PHP in anger for years and years, but the one advantage of dynamic languages is you can generally hit the ground running a lot quicker then their statically compiled competitors...  maybe PHP even more so because it's focused on web development.

So far the two things that have bugged/puzzled me are:
  • Classes don't call their base classes default constructor implicity - you have to do that yourself.  This isn't all bad, at least you can control when the default constructor is called.

  • Methods are instance, static and pseudo-instance all in one...

I think the second one bugs me more because you end up with 2+ potential code paths that should be accounted for in testing, if your exposing an "api" for consumption - or more importantly you should throw an exception for the usages you don't wish to allow (I'm probably missing the "quick and dirty" point here of course ;o) - it's hard to fight years of  instance methods != static methods...

Maybe I'm just old fashioned and there's nothing wrong with this, I should have a flick through Programming Language Pragmatics again, there must be some other dynamic languages with similar behavior?

At any rate, the example:

class A
function foo()
if (isset($this)) {
echo '$this is defined (';
echo get_class($this);
echo ")n";
} else {
echo "$this is not defined.n";

class B
function bar()

$a = new A();
$b = new B();

And the output of that little example is shown below, notice how A:foo() knew it was being called from class
...  I wonder what phalanger is doing under the hood to achieve the same thing in the CLR...

$this is defined (a)
$this is not defined.
$this is defined (b)
$this is not defined.

Written on February 1, 2007