Dusting off old code

I’ve started working on a new web based project using Haddock CMS (details to follow later).

This is the first web based project that I have started since I started to remove some of the modules (Admin, Database, HTML Tags, Public HTML) from the core of Haddock CMS, and using those core modules as plug-ins has required commenting out a lot of obsolete ‘require_once’ statements from some really old class definition files. When we started working on Haddock CMS, we decided that there should be one class per file and that each file should be named after the class. Rather like in Java. For a long time, we had to put lots of ‘require_once’ statements at the top of all the class definition files. Eventually, we came up with a way of automatically generating an enormous __autoload function (basically a large switch statement) using a CLI script for each project. That made adding new ‘require_once’ statements unnecessary.

However, we didn’t go through every class and delete those statements unless we got an error message. Because most of the classes have stayed in the same place since they were created, the old ‘require_once’ statements were not doing any harm and were forgotten about.

Moving the core modules to the plug-ins folder caused however a lot of error messages to be printed. There were a lot of ‘require_once’ statements starting ‘PROJECT_ROOT . “/haddock/…”‘ that were asking for files that are now in the plug-ins folder. That meant that I had to go to about 30 class definition files and comment out the offending lines. Not very difficult or dangerous but somewhat tedious.

The thing about all those files is that they were all for the bits of code that have not been touched for ages. All the code that has been worked on a great deal since we created the __autoload creation script had already been updated. I felt a certain amount of nostalgia and despair (is there a difference?) looking at these files. Some were clearly bad ideas that deserved to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Others were good ideas that were made obsolete by other bits of code. I found a few good bits of code that I might try to use again. Some of the code was trying to be too clever for its own good; perhaps that’s a risk that all object oriented code runs. The emotions of looking at code that was started in 2006 that still has not been completed (of looking at ideas that sparked, shone and died) are a mixture of shame, fear, resignation and hope.

If you use the Haddock CMS for a project, the branch where some of the core modules have been moved to the plug-ins folder can be found at


https://haddock-cms.googlecode.com/svn/core/branches/remove-modules-from-core/

and the various plug-ins can be found in

https://haddock-cms.googlecode.com/svn/plug-ins/

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