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Onshoring Your Offshore Nightmare... er... PHP App

Earlier this year I agreed to take over the development of a friend's web app. Before I took over, my friend had relied on a lovely team of Pakistani (PK) guys to do the work. The PK guys were supposed to develop a complete, robust web app using PHP/MySQL underneath a sturdy AJAX-y shell. While PHP, MySQL and AJAX were indeed used, what was delivered was neither complete nor robust nor sturdy. It was also amazingly insecure and so badly architected that I still wonder if a college intern could've done it better.

This is the story of how I "repatriated" this huge codebase, on-shoring a previously off-shored project. It wasn't my first code repatriation and unfortunately it won't be my last...

Things I'll touch on in my discussion include but won't be limited to:

• What did my initial code review reveal (and *not* reveal) about what was lacking in the web app?

• What can go wrong when your developers don't understand what PHP can actually do, don't know how to design a real web app, and don't fully grasp how to do AJAX and database calls in an efficient, production-ready manner?

• How does one clean up a huge, undocumented codebase?

• How does an off-shored PHP project get in such a bad state? What could've been done from the very beginning to prevent such a negative outcome?


(Dennis Slade will be presenting this one. Since I got a beer glass the first time I presented, I'm hoping for an XXL t-shirt this time 'round. *hint hint*)

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  • Tom K.

    Having gone through this ~7 years ago, I kept nodding my head in agreement/understanding . Was not able to stay for the entire presentation, but enjoyed it. Dennis is an informative and entertaining presenter!

    1 · November 14, 2013

    • Dennis Slade J.

      Thanks, Tom! I'm happy that you enjoyed the part of the presentation you were able to attend.

      November 14, 2013

  • Hank M.

    Sorry I missed this yesterday, I have so been through this! Some folks say they've had great experience off-shoring, but its never been mine.

    November 14, 2013

    • Dennis Slade J.

      Sorry you couldn't make it, Hank. I'll post the slides in the next few days on SlideShare.

      November 14, 2013

  • Jovette E.

    Thanks for speaking tonight and sharing valuable information! I was quite pleased that you showed some code so we could see the blunders some offshore teams do

    2 · November 13, 2013

    • Dennis Slade J.

      You're welcome! I'm glad you found the presentation informative.

      November 14, 2013

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