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Coding in Symfony: VDW Contributes to Worldwide Open Source Software

[Web Development, Community]

October is Technology Month in Vermont

October in Vermont brings pumpkins and falling leaves as well as a time to showcase the tech sector. Between hack-at-hons, meet-ups, and the Tech Jam, technology based PHP Code Screenbusinesses are stepping away from our screens to mingle and share our work. At last week’s Vermont Connected summit, we realized that Vermont is known for maple syrup, skiing, and cheese; but we’re not known for the incredible technology that we’re developing. Everyone knows about Logic Supply, My Web Grocer, and (or at least the names), yet there are hundreds of others creating and developing great products from web-based applications to hardware. And Vermont Design Works is one of them! In the spirit of taking pride in the work that we do and informing you about it, we’re posting a series of pieces about our work. First is our work with Symfony which has become our preferred framework for web application and website development.

What is the Symfony Framework

Symfony provides the architecture for us to build custom software on the web. We explain it as the Symfony Logofoundation of a house on which we build the Content Management System, databases, custom applications, and other website tools such as calendars, contact forms, and staff directories. As tools need to be updated, expanded, or removed, we can easily pull them out and replace them within the framework. Using the house metaphor, this is the equivalent of renovating a kitchen, replacing windows, and adding air conditioning; the foundation stays in place and features changes. Symfony is open source software to which we are deeply committed. Open source speeds the flow of information and ideas between experienced, talented developers across the globe. We believe in the ideals of open source software so much so that we regularly contribute to documentation, problem solving, and further development of the software.

In simplified terms this means that code and documentation written by VDW’s staff is being used all over the world! (see below for details)

 Why We Use Symfony

While there are other options, VDW chose Symfony for a number of reasons:
  • Robust Feature Set: With a large feature set that covers most common tasks for building web applications, we can focus on coding the custom parts of our clients’ application instead of re-investing the wheel for things like form validation, database access and file management.
  • Dedicated Maintenance Team: Symfony is backed by SensioLabs, a company with 80 employees and over $10 million in annual revenue. SensioLabs is dedicated to ensuring the framework stays up to date with new features and security fixes.
  • Excellent Documentation: Extensive online documentation with code examples makes it easier for new developers to work on projects written in Symfony.
  • Adherence to Established Standards for Structuring Complex Applications: The structure and many of the patterns used by the framework are adopted from battle-tested frameworks such as Django (est. 2005), Spring (est. 2002), and Ruby on Rails (est. 2005) instead of being created from the ground up.
  • Extensibility: The framework is built for customization and swapping out different components which gives us to flexibility to create technology solutions that meet clients’ specific needs rather than hoping that your needs conform to an existing solution.
  • Community: Symfony has a vibrant community of contributors and a large number of open source add-ons for common functionality like user login/registration, API integrations, and form customizations that can help reduce development time. And we contribute to the community too!

VDW's Contributions to Symfony CMF

Now, here is where we are going to brag about our work with Symfony. Our developers Ben Glassman and Brian Cappello have contributed a variety of framework components and packages. What they created in our Winooski, VT offices is in use (potentially) thousands of web applications that deploy the framework. Vermont Design Works is also proud to be a contributing organization to the Symfony community – one of only two firms in the United States. Our Director of Web Development, Ben, is a member of the Symfony CMF development team and has worked on the following open source projects:
  • Symfony Official Documentation: Contributed documentation on Form Validation.
  • Symfony Content Management Framework Official Documentation: Contributed Documentation for rendering and customizing Menus.
  • Symfony CMF MenuBundle: Extended menu generation code to allow for dynamic modification of menus.
  • Symfony CMF Routing: Collaborated with core developers to improve support for multiple domains.
  • Geocoder (Popular Geocoding Library): Allow easier access to error messages when using multiple geocoding providers.
  • SonataMediaBundle (Media Management for Symfony): Fix broken automated tests and incorrect mappings for PHPCR (PHP Content Repository).
  • VichUploaderBundle (File Upload Management for Symfony): Add support for file management when using PHPCR (PHP Content Repository).
  • KayueWordpressBundle (Wordpress Integration for Symfony): Fix bugs with blog post attachment URL generation and add documentation for use with Doctrine Fixtures library.
We are very proud of this list that our team and we, a small Vermont business, are making to impact the global technology community.

What This Means for VDW Clients

In the end, VDW clients benefit the most from our work with Symfony. We are investing in the future of the software that we use thereby extending to all of the web applications that we build with Symfony. Our team knows the framework because they are producing elements for it and helping others use it. Who better to build your web application than the developer who wrote the code and/or knows those who did? To see Symfony in action locally, take a look at the Vermont Systems Food Atlas, Smash Your Scale, and VELCO.

If you want to additional information about VDW’s work, contact us or call 802-383-7679. We would love to brag…ah, I mean tell…you more.