Need to add authentication to your PHP-based Web application? Getit done in a jiffy with patUser, a PHP class which makes it possible torapidly add powerful user management capabilities to your Web application.
Over the past couple of years, Web application development has matured to a point where building a Web application is not quite as random a process as it once was. Most developers are now familiar with what goes into building the fundamental skeleton of a Web application: a database to store content, page templates to simplify maintenance, sessions and cookies for temporary data storage, and an authentication and privilege system to manage users and user security levels.
While much has been said about the first few items on the list above, the last one - user management - is a topic that has received step-motherly treatment thus far. The reason is fairly simple: different applications have different requirements of their user authentication and privilege management systems, and it's hard to come up with a generic solution to the problem in such a diverse environment. Additionally, given the time constraints that are de rigeur for Web development projects, most Web developers don't have the time to take on the problem and see it through; they find it faster to simply custom-code for each requirement.
This reasoning is, however, flawed. If you think about it, a user management system must be capable of performing certain basic tasks - user identification, credential verification, privilege assignment, user tracking and auditing - which are fairly standard across different applications. It should, therefore, be possible to come up with a generic library to perform these tasks, one which provides developers with a reusable code base and eliminates the need to reinvent the wheel every time they build the user management component of a Web application. This library should be flexible enough to adapt to different needs, powerful enough to satisfy most requirements, and robust enough to meet the performance and scalability requirements of most of the current generation of Web applications.