an acid test for method sanity

So, I just looked at a method call in an online tutorial and found this fairly simple code.

// Initialize the hasher without portable hashes (this is more secure)
$hasher = new PasswordHash(8, false);

What’s wrong with this? Not much maybe. Or maybe a lot. I have an acid test for method signatures: can I determine what the arguments are from the method name and parameter type(s)?

First things first, the first parameter ‘8’ may be given a name in production code, as might the ‘false’. That’s ok – I’m not interested in the quality of the calling code, just the signature of the method.

The crux of the problem – what is this method / constructor asking for? I read aloud the method with parameter types in place and try to determine the purpose of them. In this case I read out the following:

new Password Hash int boolean

What does this mean? No idea.

At first glance this seems like an ‘out there’ naive view of code, along the lines of ‘never use the String class’ but I feel this is a fundamental part of writing better code. Here I would prefer to create a ‘default hasher’ using a factory method maybe, assuming that I need an int and boolean to create a Password Hash. Now let me override the int and boolean with appropriate setters, e.g.


And there you have it, my acid test for method sanity.


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