Saturday, April 17th, 2010||by Romans|2 Comments

Agile Toolkit is a PHP5 toolkit developed by Agile Technologies. Toolkit includes a solid MVC framework, large number of ready-to-use widgets and controllers and is specifically designed to Web Software development in a rapid and agile way. It is also called AModules3 and is influenced by MI2. Official homepage: http://www.agiletech.ie/work/agile_toolkit/

Another framework?

ATK4 is not exactly framework. Framework is a bare-bones flexible implementation which is to direct developer and help maintaining a single pattern throughout the code. ATK4 is that but it is also a set of ready-to-use solutions for common web applications and software as a service projects.

While you might find Zend and Ruby similar to Java and ExtJS, ATK4 concept is very similar to jQuery. The motto “Write Less, Do More” perfectly applies to ATK4.

ATK4 pursues a difficult target – to be efficient in a short-term web software projects, where low cost and high speed is very important. At the same time, it provides ability to scale up software development. It also helps to tackle problems other frameworks choose to ignore such as:

  • Intellectual property versus shared code.
  • Resolve conflicts between multiple developers on a project – roles: business code developer, ui element developer, masher, designer.
  • Enforces secure-by-default approach.
  • Employee training routines are designed to boost efficiency of new developers while still producing consistent code.
  • Deep integration with JS, while at the same time – JS is optional.
  • A very simple but very robust AJAX approach

Another very significant difference – Since first design of ATK3 (AModules3) it relied on features of PHP5. It’s not backward compatible. ATK4 is going to be PHP 5.3+.

The ideology of a toolkit

  • All the components to be usable out-of-the-box. Take default form, default API and mash them.
  • Components are written in a simple way. They also use several levels of inheritance. You should also have sufficient OOP skills to develop efficiently.
  • We avoid some features of PHP5 (static, namespaces, pear) and we focus to be very lightweight.
  • We value results. Often we need to tick the checkboxes in project system requirements, and add enhancements after. Minimum refactoring.
  • Centered development while still on an open-source license.
  • Based on the successes and failures of amodules-1 and amodules2.
  • And most importantly – designed to be used with Agile Development Methodology: start small, release often.

Can I start using toolkit?

Agile Toolkit is used by a few web development companies and some freelancers. Learning framework efficiently requires some serious effort but allows to achieve great results. There have been few 3rd party projects running in the wild.

If you are considering trying the framework, you should have a good experience in PHP and good experience with OOP. And I really mean a textbook and practical knowledge of development paradigms. ATK4 does not attempt to create sterile and foul-proof environment – you will have to understand it over time.

Development of versions 2 and 3 were sponsored by Agile Technologies (formerly ADevel.com).


AModules1 was a private code without licensing since 1999. AModules2 was started in 2002 and was used in many projects until PHP5 was released. AModules3 started it’s life right after announcement of Zend2 engine. It’s being developed rapidly until today. ATK4 is in a collaborative assembly step. Many of the ideas and modules for ATK4 are being incubated on a current version. We are not going to release a theoretical framework. This is stuff which works and it have been tested by hundreds and hundreds of commercial web apps throughout last 10 years.

ATK4 plans and concepts are sketched on atk4.pbworks.com. Currently it’s undecided whether it will be released under open-source license.

Agile Toolkit in Action

See this page