Framework is King!

One of the many pitfalls, experienced programmers fall into is the desire to reinvent the wheel (with the use of personal functions, classes) all over again when developing software using their favourite language.

Not only is this method very challenging and time consuming, but its also not sustainable when working with a large number of developers as each programmer has a preferred way of developing applications which is usually different from the next person.

A simple solution to avoid confusion with many developers over their personal approach to software development would be to adopt a standard approach or methodology. This is precisely why software frameworks were created.

A software framework is a set of files, scripts written by a community of developers containing pre-defined global variables, constants, functions, classes all bundled together in a library, designed to help developers build and deploy applications in a better, faster, standard and more organized way.

Each programming language has quite a number of frameworks you can build in for e.g. PHP (Laravel, Symphony, CakePHP, CodeIgniter), Ruby (Rails, Sinatra), Python (Django, Flask), JavaScript (AngularJS/2/4, NodeJS, ExpressJS), Elixir (Phoenix) and so on.

Most frameworks are particularly known for their MVC (Model, View, Controller) approach to programming. This methodology encourages the separation of the business logic (model), presentation (view) and the controller (controller) into separate parts thereby ensuring ease of modification by many developers at the same time.

In this way applications built using MVC frameworks are easily scalable and can be worked on further by new developers who have an understanding of the framework used.

Ok, so if you’re not building applications using a framework right now, you are probably missing out on all the good stuff it has to offer. Here are a few technical reasons why we think you should be using frameworks in your software projects!

1) Data Escaping & Input Validation

Oftentimes when users submit data using forms, you need to ensure that the correct data type has been entered accurately in the input field so that it matches the data types on your columns in your database. Frameworks ensure that this is taken care of before data is submitted to the database through the use of validation rules defined within models.

2) Pagination

One of the many tasks developers are saddled with on a daily basis is how to paginate records being pulled from the database into a view. Frameworks make this extremely easy to do and helps handle much of the heavy-lifting, leaving the developer with much room to focus on the application’s specifics.

3) URL Rewriting (Routing)

URL Rewriting is a constant reoccurring theme which comes up when building web applications. Most frameworks come with built in routing mechanisms, which help you point URLs to user defined controllers. This helps you configure your own preferred custom URLs for your web application.

4) User Authentication

Another reoccurring theme in most web applications is the need to authenticate users during login. Frameworks also handle this very well by ensuring that authentication controllers which are usually extensions from the users controller base class verify if the user is logged in or not and subsequently redirect user to the appropriate destinations.

5) Database Seeding & Migration

Another unique feature of frameworks is that they provide database seeding and migration functionalities for most applications. The seeding helps populate the database with data, making it easy for developers to focus on building the core components of the application, while migration helps design the schema (columns, data type definitions) for most tables. An e.g. of such is the Laravel framework.

6) Templating

Frameworks also present developers with an option of generating reoccurring user interfaces of their application using templates. This powerful tool helps developers speed up design & development.

7) Session Management

Most frameworks provide a way to handle session management right from when the user is logged in up to the logout point.

8) 404 Error Handling

Frameworks also do a good job of handling 404 error pages as is mostly common in web applications.

9) Unit Testing

Another beautiful feature that comes with most modern frameworks is the ability to conduct unit tests for core modules or subroutines. This helps to proof read code and helps expose potentially faulty code that could break the application during runtime.

Conclusion

Frameworks do a whole lot more than just the few mentioned points above. Each framework one is unique and comes with its own special features.

If you’re not acquainted with any of the frameworks listed in this article, now would be a good time to invest into any of them that supports the language of your choice. It will improve your software development drastically.

Full Stack Engineer