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Exploring Hack: Building a MicroFramework

As a full-time Magento Developer I deal with a very specific kind of PHP every single day; this can at time get rather boring since rarely one can apply new technologies or programming concepts. One of the new languages that keeps grabbing my attention is HACK, which is almost identical to PHP in terms of syntax but at the same time implements some of the more attractive features from statically typed languages.

Hack is a language for HHVM that interopates seamlessly with PHP. The barrier to entry for Hack is low. To get started, all that is needed is to generally understand the features that Hack provides and how to call the Hack type checker (hh_client invokes the type checker at the command line)

I have covered Hack previously on the following articles:

Learn by Doing

I honestly believe the best way to learn something is to get your hands dirty and make mistakes; so instead of writing dozens of post on the many new features of Hack and why they are awesome (in theory) let's build something useful.

So to get started I've decided to build a micro-framework using HACK and HHVM, building a simple microframework should be a challenging enough task to illustrate some of the more interesting features of the language and at the same time it has an achievable goal so we don't end on a never ending development cycle.

Let's call our new framework something clever:

Meet Slash

Get it? Hack, Slash (it's a clever name, shut up). Before we start writing any code let's think a little about what kind of micro-framework we want to build. There are many amazing PHP micro-frameworks out there, just to mention a few:

Outside of the PHP world, there is Sinatra which is Ruby based and excellent example of a powerful micro-framework. Curiously enough Sinatra seems to be the source of inspiraton for many of these frameworks; so let's not break tradition and use Sinatra as our main source of inspiration.

That means that Slash main purpose will to create RESTful applications, and as such the main component for a framework like this will be its router.

In the next post of this series we will go through the creating of the routing and the general structure of new microframework.

Word count: 397

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