Ransford Okpoti's Blog

1 February, 2008

Smarty Overview

Filed under: Smarty Templating — Tags: , — ranskills @ 5:30 pm

Smarty is one of the most popular PHP templating engines. There are many other templating engines, based on similar principles, such as

  • PHPTemplate
  • PHPTAL (TAL Template Attribute Language), phptal.motion-twin.com/
  • Savant, http://phpsavant.com/
  • FastTemplate
  • PHPlib

Irrespective of the templating engine that one uses, one of the design goals is the separation of business logic from the presentation logic. A point of caution, you can still use Smarty, the wrong way, without the clear separation of the business and presentation logic since Smarty does not enforce the separation of the 2 logics.

Business logic basically has to deal with how you solve the problem at hand, such as the computation of an employee’s monthly salary using the various parameters required in a typical payroll application.

Presentation logic, as the name suggests, deals with the logic pertaining to the presentation of data/content only. Examples of presentation logic are: iterating through an array of data to be displayed, picking the first X number of characters to display such as displaying a news or an article summary, alternating row colours of tables, etc.

Simply put, a templating engine replaces placeholders with values you specify.
In a real world web development project, there are going to be 2 main teams working on the project namely:
The developers/programmers who uses the full power of the programming language to achieve the requirements of the system such as accessing data from a database or a web service, validating and process the data, and persisting or presenting the processed data if required.
Designer or user interface (UI) team which builds the interface the users of the application would interact with using xHTML and it’s various controls or any appropriate UI technology suitable for the project at hand without affecting the developers codes.




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