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What is FuelPHP Hosting?

FuelPHP is an open source, Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) coders. Characterized as simple and flexible, FuelPHP takes the best of other frameworks, and sustains itself with an active community.

About FuelPHP

In the context of software, a framework allows generic functions to be altered by new, user-written code. An MVC framework provides a pattern for implementing user interfaces. Further, it organizes an application into three parts, to separate coded information from the version seen by the user. It also defines the interactions between those three parts.

Because it supports a hierarchical, or (H)MVC, pattern, FuelPHP gives greater capabilities to the controller aspect of the MVC. Finally, FuelPHP includes Viewmodels, which retrieve data for the MVC framework. FuelPHP maintains comprehensive API documentation - explaining all available Classes, Methods and other structures.

The documentation also includes several different user guides, screencasts, and blogs - as a means for which to bring new developers up to speed as quickly as possible. The source-code itself is maintained on Github, which is updated often,  and issues can easily be reported. Having strong developer support is great news for any projects created from the platform.

Their is also a strong forum community - which details out all the technical specifications and explains plug and play applications which can extend the core functionality. These work a bit differently from CMS style plugins, with "Application Modules" instead add core programming Classes which can then be used when building the page systems.

The FuelPHP platform first originated in 2010, when a group of long-experienced PHP developers from a variety of frameworks started talking and decided that they could make something better than everything out there. With a community-driven approach to development - the process of growth has had involvement from over 300 developers.

FuelPHP really is an exemplary project - showing the world how an open source team can generate a tool of tremendous value. On their website, FuelPHP even hosts a bulletin board of jobs - serving to encourage gainful employment for anyone familiar with the platform.

Features of FuelPHP

A number of features come with FuelPHP. Nearly every class in the framework's core package may be extended without requiring you to change any of the code. Put greater functionality into packages for extending or replacing the core of FuelPHP, and maintain an adaptive application by dividing it into application modules.

  • A strong PHP based Hierarchical MVC framework
  • ViewModels / Presentation Models - as powerful layer in between Controller and View
  • Page Routing directly to closures - a special programming technique that allows locally scoped functions inside functions (great for dynamic content)
  • Modular and extendable Application Modules to add deeper functionality
  • "Package" based code-organization support, great for keeping track of your custom features
  • "Oil" - a utility which simulates a command line and makes it easy to handle: code generation, database migration, cron-like tasks, database migrations and more!
  • Base classes are also included to add simple page templating, combine two features into one controller
  • The Auth Framework sets a default interface to which interface drivers must adhere
  • Use of Object Relational Mapper (ORM) - which maps database rows to objects for easy API relations
  • Powerful uses of the ORM which uses "Observer" concept - which is great for deeply user-driven data
  • Use of a template parser for interpreting views - allowing for Markdown - Smarty Themes, Haml, Jade and non-PHP interpreters

Security is also great - with safety ensured through the use of input filtering, output encoding, Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) filtering,  and Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) token protection. This allows for protection against Structured Query Language (SQL) injection prevention, Cross Site Scripting (XSS) filtering,  other PHP based exploits. With so many system checks for identity, it allows support for a client Auth framework.

An Auth framework can connect to external resources for login and registration  - Google, Facebook, and Twitter. The Auth framework can easily be extended to include other sources, and encryption users secure hashing with a method called PBKDF2.

Hosting & Installation

Many hosting providers are able to host your FuelPHP projects. Fuel is modern and well maintained, so it will have support for the newest version of PHP. Being a framework rather than a CMS or special platform - an installation will require a bit more configuration.

Be ready to use an Application Module to start with, and creating page themes will require quite a bit more development work than installing a theme directly. Being modern, FuelPHP has support for a variety of data storage layers, whether it's relational like MySQL, or associative NoSQL databases like RedisDB or MongoDB.

Since FuelPHP is a very developer focused platform - the variety and combination of software used is entirely up to developer choice. This means that an application should be prototyped prior to finding a host - or profiling a particular host and building an application around that.

It is also possible to create a cross-domain site structure where needed - such as splitting up the PHP host from the database host and using some RESTful connection or data socket streams to connect the two parts. It is usually best practice to abstract the data layer so that local versus remote hosting can be flipped with a switch.

Who should use FuelPHP?

Developers, or anybody who can hire one. While some core "Application Modules" could be setup without deep developer involvement - the setup, customization, and user management will take a bit of manual effort and attention to detail.

FuelPHP is NOT a CMS - but FuelPHP can be used to make an amazing, super customized blog site with a lot of features that a traditional CMS won't have without a ton of effort. Some FuelPHP Blog applications already exist and can be found on Github like this one.

What is the advantage using FuelPHP versus working from scratch or creating a CMS plugin? 

 FuelPHP already has a ton of programming classes put together in an easy to understand way - if you are already a PHP developer, just read the API documentation and start creating awesome scalable products with 1000x less labor investment!

A CMS plugin similarly can extend new features onto a web platform - however - with a CMS plugin you are still confined to creating features which must operate inside of a CMS. For creating an application which might not focus on blogging, or that could manage computing cluster resources - it wouldn't make sense to start with a CMS. Figure out your user stories prior to picking a development path - FuelPHP is versatile but unspecific - pick whatever tool is right for the job.

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