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Criteria for selecting contributed Composer and Laravel packages vs. writing our own

Started by Nedjo Rogers in Agorakit : Développeurs et utilisateurs August 23, 2018 1:00 AM

Laravel core comes with a set of packages. Many more are available "in the wild". Beyond Laravel, there are other PHP packages available through Composer.

Whenever we're adding a new area of functionality, we probably have three basic options:

  • Select one or more existing packages that enable or meet at least a significant portion of the need and build on them.
  • Write our own custom packages.
  • Write custom code not abstracted as a package.

Making good decisions on if and when to use packages and which ones to select is critically important to the long term health of the project.

Take a concrete example: user roles and permissions.

  • We need them.
  • Laravel core doesn't have built-in support.
  • There are contributed Laravel packages available. Two are entrust and auth.

Developing a set of criteria to use can help guide the process, ensuring that we focus custom development on just the specific work required for our goals while relying wherever feasible on reliable and community-contributed solutions. This could lead to at least an informal decision making tree. New requirement is identified. These are the steps to follow to select existing package(s) to build on or, as a fallback, build custom solutions.

August 23, 2018 3:51 PM
I'd add : choose the package depending on the DB schema it provides. As long as the DB schema is sound, we can always remove the package and rewrite the functionality.

I tend to limit the amount of packages used, because counter-intuitively it increases the cost of upgrade if the package is not maintained anymore (it happened more than once already with Agorakit), or if a feature we critically need cannot be easily added with that package.

For example the two mentioned packages seems already too old for laravel 5.6, or the just released 5.7. In laravel world everything moves very fast...

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