What’s the Purpose of a Boilerplate?

Regardless of the library, framework, or code with which you work, you’re likely going to encounter the concept of a boilerplate at some point.

There are a handful of them for WordPress, right 🙃?

But it seems to be an increasingly popular trend that people are creating more and more boilerplates, which isn’t inherently a bad thing, but that there may be confusion as to the purpose of a boilerplate.

The Purpose of a Boilerplate

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So, as defined by Wikipedia (which I think offers a great definition):

In computer programming, boilerplate code or boilerplate refers to sections of code that have to be included in many places with little or no alteration. It is often used when referring to languages that are considered verbose, i.e. the programmer must write a lot of code to do minimal jobs.

But notice there’s a phrase that should not be missed. Specifically:

…that have to be included in many places with little or no alteration.

And in some observations I’ve seen within the WordPress economy, at least, boilerplates seem to require that code be removed, modified, or stripped away rather than simply included or added.

That’s what I hope to clarify.

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Using the Registry Pattern in WordPress

I’ve had a few conversations with various friends and others on Twitter about the notion of global variables in programming languages. For those who are new to programming or who are unsure as to why they are bad:

The use of global variables makes software harder to read and understand. Since any code anywhere in the program can change the value of the variable at any time, understanding the use of the variable may entail understanding a large portion of the program.

This isn’t to say they don’t have their use, but if you’re interested in object-oriented programming (especially in a WordPress setting where you’re going to be using PHP), then it’s important to understand some better alternatives than global variables.

That is, there are ways to work with passing data around your application without the need for global variables. And one such way is the registry pattern.

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Native WordPress Debugging Tools That Don’t Require an IDE

If you’ve just happened to join up on the membership of the site and are pursuing content specifically for The Independent WordPress Developer, I recommend reading the previous post – at the very least – to prepare for content in this post.

If, however, you’re looking to catch up on the previous article, here’s a short list of everything that’s been written thus far:

  1. Local Development for the Indie WordPress Developer
  2. Databases and Tools for the Indie WordPress Developer
  3. Installing WordPress for Local Development

As we prepare to move into talking about more advanced topics such as debugging and IDEs, it’s first worth noting the tools we have tools available that we can install within WordPress that will help us with debugging issues during development.

Native WordPress Debugging Tools: WordPress

Further, these issues are not related to strictly PHP issues. These also include JavaScript issues. And to take it one step further, there are ways in which we can configure WordPress natively so that it outputs errors directly to our browser.

So before we look into error logs, IDEs, Xdebug, and so on, we’ll take a look at what we can do within WordPress itself.

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Musing on Modern Package Managers

I was recently talking with a friend about all of the available tools that are on the market for us today (some free, some open source) that help us with our development needs.

Modern Package Managers: Yarn

These include things like:

Of course, each of the above is not necessarily comparable because some are front-end tools, others are backend tools, and there are some that offer a hybrid of sorts.

Further, some are premium, some are open source, some appear to be abandoned, and some have even lead to broken build processes.

This leads to a series of questions several of which I’d like to cover. So here, if nothing else but musings on modern package managers, are the things about which I’ve been thinking.

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Split Strings and Integers in PHP Using Regular Expressions

Working with strings, numbers, and regular expressions in PHP is relatively easy given the vast number of functions the language provides.

There are times, though, where figuring out how to split on certain criteria may not be immediately clear, or it may be clear what you need to do but not how to best do it.

Split Strings and Integers in PHP Using Regular Expressions

Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

For example, let’s say that you have a string that’s mixed with both numbers and digits. For this post, let’s say that a given string:

  • includes hours and minutes,
  • when the minutes are at 60,
  • the string should increase the value of the of the hours by one
  • the value of the minutes is reset to zero.

An example, problematic string, then, may be of the form T3H60M. How then might we split the string into strings and integers and properly rebuild it?

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