[nycphp-talk] To Smarty Or Not to Smarty: That Is The Question

edward potter edwardpotter at
Tue Sep 5 22:27:54 EDT 2006

By going OO you DRAMATICALLY improve the understanding of the
underlying logic that defines the outputs from your source code.

Give OO a second look, it will greatly improve the intellectual
content of your end product.  IMHO.

No, I don't use Smarty, I have a pretty big library of class's that I
just hook together as needed, seems to do it all for me.

:-)  ed

On 9/4/06, LeeEyerman at <LeeEyerman at> wrote:
> A client of mine is debating, rather furiously, the merits of using Smarty
> in their upcoming web-applications.  Up to this point, I have not used
> Smarty - and I will admit it - I am an old school programmer who hates OOP,
> and to me, Smarty looks like another ill-conceived paradigm developed in OOP
> that creates a lot more hassle than it solves.
> We are a small organization.  We do not have more than two PHP developers
> working on a project at a time.  Our designer works closely with us to
> integrate CSS, Javascript, etc.  The web sites we create are for government
> agencies and do not change often, and if they do change, they do not change
> very much.
> I understand the concept behind smarty - separate logic and display.
> However, I do not think Smarty is an end-all solution to all web sites - as
> many people are trying to sell it.  This article, Smarty for Dummies, shares
> many of the thoughts and opinions I have about Smarty:
> - it is a good read.
> Can anyone give any guidance about when to and when not to use Smarty?  Does
> anyone agree/disagree that Smarty may just be a giant abstraction of logic
> and design, wrapped in a horrible OOP mess?  Does anyone agree/disagree that
> using Smarty in small applications, that do not change much, and do not have
> separate (or large) development teams may be more burdensome than it is
> worth?  Is anyone concerned that using Smarty as part of your systems make
> them less portable?  Am I missing something, or is Smarty just not meant to
> be used in small development environments?
> I do not like the idea of developing web apps using Smarty because of the
> additional requirements of installing smarty.  I am also concerned that
> Smarty may be built upon technologies that may be part of a current patent
> or part of a patent that is pending.  Smarty is not that old, and it could
> potentially infringe a patent by another company like MS.   I also do not
> know if Smarty is supported in the open-source community as well as PHP and
> MySQL.
> I also cannot stand the editing of multiple documents, both containing bits
> and pieces of logic - I know, one is application logic, the other is display
> logic.... is this really logical?  Bouncing between documents does not seem
> efficient, and it also seems quite possible that a web designer could still
> screw up the display logic.... hmmm...
> Whether you would still call Smarty a new paradigm is up for question.
> However, I am having a hard time understanding any benefit for small
> sites/organization who need to deliver SOLID solutions fast, on-time, and
> within budget.  Can anyone tell me how Smarty can increase productivity?
> Can it save time?  Can it save money?  Does it make your web-app any more
> secure? Doesn't it actually make your applications slower - all that code to
> process - and I know, it does the pre-processing - but still, OOP requires
> more code that procedural any day - and looking at Smarty code, it looks
> like a OOP mess.
> Like OOP, I can do everything Smarty does, faster and easier in procedural
> PHP on one page.  Why in the world would I change to Smarty?
> It is also interesting to note that very few open-source applications use
> Smarty.  PHPBB does not use it, OSCommerce does not use it, PHPMyAdmin does
> not use it, etc.  If Smarty were so good, why haven't more open-source
> projects adopted it?
> Any information that could assist my reasoning, one way or the other, would
> be greatly appreciated!
> Thank you in advance!
> Lee
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