Websites are built using a complicated matrix of code that many end users won’t ever see or think about, but for web developers, using the best technology and coding frameworks can really improve the way websites appear and can make a huge difference between poor and excellent site functionality. Today, we spoke with one of our finest web developers, Robert Goldsmith, to find out how the names.co.uk development team approached the construction of the new website using Zend Framework.
Q) Why did you choose Zend Framework for the new names.co.uk website and what are its benefits?
A) We adopted Zend Framework and our own open-source templating system (ZTal) across all our projects as a way of standardising our development and providing the team with standard code for common tasks. There are a number of very good frameworks we could have chosen, but Zend Framework’s philosophy of allowing the developer to pick and choose only the components they need has allowed us to integrate the Framework organically into our legacy code. It not only allows standardisation of code and code styles, but we also benefit from the knowledge that the code being used has been vetted and tested by many other developers, reducing the possibility of bugs, in particular security bugs.
The fact that it is such a popular Framework means it solves the problems common to all developers, allowing us to solve the problems unique to names.co.uk. The result of this for names.co.uk means more advanced features sooner, and with a more maintainable product that we will be able to build on for many years. For our customers, it means a better, more modern site that meets their ever-changing needs.
Q) What was the greatest challenge for the team?
A) Weaving a modern Framework into our legacy platforms was the biggest challenge. It was tricky but after much time and care it has been very successful for us.
Q) Any advice for developers who are about to embark on building a new website using Zend Framework?
A) Zend Framework or any other framework will really help you to concentrate on what you are trying to build rather than having to focus on ‘boilerplate’ code. However, even the best Framework won’t be able to help if you don’t design your product carefully and extend it with care. A good tip is to get involved with the online community because if you encounter a problem, chances are someone else has already solved it.
Q) With the many new features on the names.co.uk website, do you have a favourite?
A) I love the new website platform and can’t wait to see where we take it next. I’m a geek so maybe you won’t be surprised to hear I most love the clean design and good organisation of the codebase above any particular feature, after all, I’m going to be involved in fixing and extending it! We are really looking forward to leveraging Zend Framework and ZTal across our platforms to improve our users’ experiences. It’s a big job and one we are relishing.
Q) Anything you’d like to add?
A) New technologies and frameworks only get you so far. We have skilled and dedicated development and design teams here and it is their talents that have really brought the new website platform to life.
Read more from the Access All Area series.