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Going Beyond Cargo Cult Programming


Well-known member
I joined this wonderful community in December 2011. My knowledge of PHP was next to zero. Oh I could find the tags and insert in PHP code found on a website but I had no knowledge of why anything worked or failed. An error message was nothing but a big red flag - and didn't really contain anything useful.

Since joining, I've spent countless hours reading posts, comments, and suggestions on how to do 'this-that-or-the-other' and the advice has helped me build enough confidence to try my hand at ripping through code, most of the time ending up with a kludge or two. Actually - most of the time it's just a southern pile of droppings from a north bound animal.

Last year I started tweaking code snippets. This was possible after reading/scanning numerous PHP books, watching countless videos, and pouring over PHP code. Most of my time has been spent on the WordPress spaghetti code - because of the numerous online tutorials (and bad advice). Eventually I started figuring out the value of print_r, the need to set up a test environment, and reading XF code.

The Challenge: Years later I'm now a big time cargo cult programmer ready to move on to bigger and better work. So, I spent a few hours this morning figuring out the best approach to improving the WordPress / XenForo integration. The challenge is the numerous possible WP configurations, the constant changes in WP code, and the strange approaches to roles, permissions, etc. So I started improving my own PHP class - a boilerplate if you will.

Anyway - this tl;dr post is just to say publicly - I'm looking forward to the next few years of learning to code from scratch. It's all been possible because of this community. The developers here are simply awesome and have always encouraged me to go one step beyond my current abilities.

And if you happen to have any advice on how to move beyond cargo cult programming then feel free to post an idea or two. How did you manage the transition?

Thank you XF and have a great evening.