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Agile Toolkit Overview

To know where framework is heading, you must know where it is coming from. Agile Toolkit is a rewrite of the AModules3 framework which dates back to 1999 and was maintained by the same author, meaning that Agile Toolkit have lived through at least 4 generation and have established a very solid foundation.

Main Qualities of Agile Toolkit

Not so Volatile

Agile Toolkit reached two years ago where the syntax is so well defined and accepted that no fundamental changes are longer necessary. You can safely invest your time into learning Agile Toolkit knowing that the next release is not going to turn on it’s head.

Additionally - the object-oriented nature of Agile Toolkit allows to maintain a one-release compatibility. For example, application written for 4.2 will also work nicely on 4.3 with a help of “Compatbility” controller.

Object-oriented, not Class-oriented

Majority of PHP frameworks use class-oriented approach, static singletons, factories or global methods. Agile Toolkit uses classical Object-Oriented paradigms which are much more suitable for User Interface manipulation.

Performance and Flexibility

The major focus of Agile Toolkit is at speeding up development speed, however Agile Toolkit remains very swift and flexible at the same time. It creates quite a few UI objects as it works with your page, but it’s a manageable amount which would not slow your application more than an extra SQL query.

Fully integrated with a CSS framework

While AgileToolkit CSS is a great CSS framework on it’s own it also follows a very similar principles to the core framework. In a hands of a master you will be able to solve any possible problem.

A new web platform

In 1990, when applications were switching from DOS to Windows they discovered that they no longer need to worry about drawing dialog boxes, menus or buttons on the screen. A modern windowing systems do those things for applications more efficiently and more consistently.

Agile Toolkit is the same to your web application. Not only it is a framework, but it is a platform you use to develop your application.

This is a very important concept, because as you download an Agile Toolkit module, it will typically rely on all core features of Agile Toolkit. This makes add-on and extension development so much simpler, allows them to use a User Interface and automatically adjust it to your theme settings.

Academical Importance

There are just some web platforms you should stay away if you are just learning to program. They will teach you bad software development practices and will turn you into an in-efficient and poor developer. PHP developers has been frown upon thanks to platforms such as Wordpress and Drupal. While great products, they are good example of poor coding practices.

Agile toolkit, on the contrary, is designed to cultivate progressive thinking and as you learn it, you will become much more proficient developer. Even if you will have to switch to a different language later on, the principles you will learn in Agile Toolkit will let you remain a good software architect.

Two-pass initialization and rendering

Most frameworks go through a number of object and have them produce chunks of HTML which is glued together into a resulting web page output.

Agile Toolkit uses a two-pass approach. Your objects are initialized during the first step, then objects identify what needs to be repainted and render only relevant part of the page. This approach natively enables developers to use partial re-renders and encourage use of AJAX and building of rich applications.

Agile Toolkit is full-stack

By no means Agile Toolkit is a “minimalistic” framework. It has more stuff than some mature and heavyweight frameworks. However with efficient code re-use and clever architecture, Agile Toolkit wins on performance, is much more lightweight, simple and agile.

Data manipulation

Agile Toolkit views support connectivity with Data Sources - which can be anything: array, SQL, NoSQL or API. This means that creating a form and linking it with RESTful API is just as simple as saving it into the SQL table.

SQL Awesomeness

Most MVC frameworks offer a way to abstract SQL. Often they offer all-or-nothing solution.

Agile Toolkit features a clever objective data and relationship manager with support for all SQL server features including joins, sub-selects, expressions and conditions.

jQuery / JavaScript event system

Agile Toolkit possibly is the only framework which tightly integrates with JavaScript layer allowing you to write direct bindings between libraries like jQuery and your Views.

Everything is an Object

In our application so far we have defined and created objects, such as: model, crud, button and error-box. Agile Toolkit only work with objects.

The classes of those objects would inherit from AbstractObject, so all objects have a common ancestor.

Objects live in a Runtime-Tree

In Agile Toolkit you don’t create instances using a “new” statement, instead you “add” objects into other objects. It is, in a way, similar, but objects are by default connected with the rest of your application.

Any object of Agile Toolkit would have a reference to it’s owner - the object which spawned it. It also has a reference to the top-most object - Application object.

Create a new PHP file called “cmd.php”:


$app = new App_CLI('myapp');

$model = $app->add('Model', 'mymodel');
$ctl = $model->add('Controller', 'mycontroller');

echo $ctl->name."\n";
// Outputs myapp_mymodel_mycontroller

echo $model->name."\n";
// Outputs myapp_mymodel

echo $ctl->owner->name."\n";
// Outputs myapp_mymodel

echo $ctl->app->name."\n";
// Outputs myapp