PHP and Diagram Tool

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I am a beginning to intermediate PHP programmer. Home schooled. My
programmes are starting to get rather big with a couple of thousand
lines of code and 10's of different files. I am starting to lose the
bigger picture.

I want to start using a flow/diagram tool. But I have no idea what
program to use. Are there experienced users that can help me with this
subject? What to look for in a program and what to not look for.

I hope you can help me.

Kind regards,

Re: PHP and Diagram Tool

Flak wrote:
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One that works on your architecture would be a good start. One which *you*
find effective and easy to use.

UML (a diagramming system - not a specific bit of software) is pretty much a
defacto standard for OO design...but you use the word 'flow' in your
request - does anybody still use flow diagrams? It rather suggests your
coding style is sloppy.

If you are not already using PHPDoc (or similar) then its definitely time to



Re: PHP and Diagram Tool

Colin McKinnon schrieb:

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While UML is definitely the best way to go, I wonder if Flak really
would like to jump in here. UML isn't that simple at all.

Flak, in case you want to start learning UML, you might wish to
download Visual Paradigm for UML here

Search there for 'Community edition', which is free and available for
Mac OS  X, Windows and Linux.

Re: PHP and Diagram Tool

Following on from seaside's message. . .
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No it isn't.  UML is just one possibility.

It may well be that the OP wants more detailed documentation and a few  
relationships in which case diagrams are _not_ the way to go at all.

UML is beloved of academics because they can 'teach it'.  Many other  
people think it's great because it is 'comprehensive'.  IMHO diagrams  
are for overviews and /illuminating/ other, more concrete documentation.  
(Except back of envelope sketches which are (a) informal and (b)  
scribbled in pencil in 10 seconds - unlike the hours of UML tedium.)

My opinion is this:
* You need pre-coding documentation
* You need in-code documentation (During development this will include  
tags to loose ends such as '[T]' for deserves a test routine, '[D]' for  
'needs to be mentioned in the user documentation'.  For this you need  
commenting standards and a program to interpret the standards.
* You need an object/routine/method/property summariser which scans code  
to produce nitty-gritty documentation such as what sort of parameters  
are required and whet the result will be...
* ... but you also need functional grouping of objects/methods to be  
able to quickly navigate 'by feel' through code.
*  IMPORTANTLY you need _briefing documentation_ that gives the  
background to all sorts of matters inherent in your code or assumed by  
the environment.  For example how would someone twiddling with your code  
(it could be you in a couple of years time!) access the database?  Using  
an object, set of objects, hierarchy of objects and what would be the  
basic set-ups for those objects?  Two ways are used here:-
1 - Comments and exercise code in the main code
2 - Stand alone example exerciser code.
I prefer method 2 as it is easier to split 'what it should do' from 'how  
it works'.

All-in-all (even though I have a very visual style of learning) I would  
rather spend the time others spend on pretty pictures, doing written  
documentation and exercise code.

Put yourself in the position of a USER of a mass of code.  An overview  
diagram and outline of the principles behind the relationships would be  
very useful - ie. where objects fit in the overall plan ...  ... but  
then you need to know what each object is about *in specific detail* and  

PETER FOX Not the same since the pancake business flopped
2 Tees Close, Witham, Essex.
Gravity beer in Essex  <

Re: PHP and Diagram Tool

Peter Fox wrote:
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Putting myself on the the position of a user I want both: A comprehensive
diagram of overall flow, and a user guide which explains all possibilities
in detail. An overall overview really helps understanding, 'a picture is
worth more then a thousand words' still applies.

Offcourse, it all depends on how much of the flow the users should be aware
about to use it. It's one off those rare occasions in miss M$ however. M$
Visio was apt to my need, but I'm not going to pay for it. It's the free
graphic programs I use now to clear up certain dependancies, but they're
not very user-friendly.
Rik Wasmus

Re: PHP and Diagram Tool

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Do you mean you need to document the existing process flows, in which
case any flow charting system will suffice (you could even do it in
Excel / Word using the wordart shapes) or do you mean to re-engineer
the code into something like the MVC model where you separate out
business logic from data access and user interface, in which case
something like Code Igniter or Ruby on Rails would be worth

or do you just mean some sort of source code control so you can see
what it in your live systems and what is in development code.

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