When do you have too much code?
I was integrating a symfony project with Paypal’s Express checkout system last week. Having not messed with this API in several years, I went to Paypal’s site and downloaded their SOAP PHP SDK for integrating with their API. Their scripts work marginally out of the box albeit with terrible documentation. Many classes and functions have zero documentation. Some features of their API have no documentation at all. Anyway, with a little work most people can get a basic working integration with Paypal using their SDK.
In trying to implement several advanced features and callbacks, sifting through hundreds of classes and files in their SDK, I decided that I needed to write my own class. Starting from scratch, I came up with a bare-bones class integrating with the Express checkout API. I completely dumped Paypal’s SOAP implementation in favor of the much simpler NVP (name-value-pair) integration. I don’t see any reason to stick with SOAP on such a simple API. I did include the more advanced features like adding products and shipping (this was probably in Paypal’s, but I couldn’t find it), and shipping and tax callbacks, through the express checkout API. After about 8 hours of coding and testing, I had a working integration that consisted of a handful of files, and about 400 overly spaced lines of code.
I went back and parsed out Paypal’s SDK to see just how large this monster was, and it is over 190,000 lines of code, and just under 1000 individual files.
So the point of this is, don’t trust some plugin or package, or script from me, from Paypal, from Symfony, or any provider unless you know it is the best or at least a reasonable way to accomplish your task. Even if the code is cached, the overhead on running 190,000 lines of code every time a customer checks out of your website is simply ridiculous when you can accomplish the same thing with a few hundred. Additionally if you take into account the potential for errors, memory leaks, and security problems with 190,000 lines of code vs. 400, there’s really no comparison.
Now there are times when a huge SOAP integration would be appropriate, but I can’t see how this could possibly be one of those. I also think that if a good programmer started from scratch rather than using Paypal’s bloated code, they could significantly reduce the size of their integration. It’s absolutely baffling trying to debug or get information on a PHP class or method, when there’s 1000 files that you need to hop through to find the piece of code you’re looking for.
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