Need help to understand how to change look of dated PHP site

Hi, I hope this is the right area to ask this question, my apologies if it is not.

I’m a tech, and feel safer talking to other techs rather than a salesman who will possibly/probably just tell me whatever they need to say, just to get the sale!!!

My question is about an older PHP site that looks very dated … but still functions perfectly well.

What is involved in ‘modernising’ the look … without changing any of the functionality of the site.

It’s a business directory, with ability for people to sign up and create/modify their own business listing, and also to purchase and pay for monthly adverts within the site.

I’m not in any great hurry to do it … but would like to understand what might be involved before I go looking for a programmer.

My biggest concern is to not break what already works. :slight_smile:


In theory you should be able to just change the theme of the site. This can be just changing the base template (with html head, css, scripts etc) and all the output that generate html so you use the right layout and ids/classes to match your new template.

Really though older sites often have little to no separation of code and view so the template (view) parts are scattered all over the code. You also lack a lot of what is expected today in what data shows, how data is fetched (javascript without site reload) which will all have to be done again. And this is just the visual/ui, there are probably a lot of changes to best practices when it comes to the rest of the code as well, security, etc.

It’s kinda hard to know without seeing the actual code, but there’s a reason you often get pitched a new site if you ask for a redesign.

Hi Jim, Thanks very much for your reply, it makes a lot of sense.

Not what I was hoping to hear of course :slight_smile: … but it is what it is I guess.

Can I pm you the address so you can have a look … or do you need more than that to see what the structure is like?

Because the site works well in its function, I don’t really care too much about changing the look of much … other than the home page … but I can imagine if it is all interconnected, that may make no difference.

Thanks again for your help.

The actual code is needed

Depending on how old the php code is, it may not even run on the latest php version (you should almost always use the latest version) and if it is dependent on things like register_globals, the mysql_ database extension, magic_quotes, and a few other removed extensions, it would need a complete rewrite.

Thanks for the extra replies. This is very depressing.

It was already rewritten about 5 years ago … and the hosting site is using ~V5.4 I think.

I changed over to V7.1 recently but the site wouldn’t work so I switched it back … so full marks there :slight_smile:

How would I go about finding someone to update it all … aesthetics … and latest version … and what sort of money should I expect to pay?

And then, how long before it would need to be rewritten again for a later version of php?

Mmm … looks like I might be stuck with my old clunker for a while yet.

That would be some good news, as register_globals and magic_quotes were removed in php5.4, assuming that the security lost from magic_quotes was added back into the database code. The major changes since then that would likely affect the php code are the removal of the mysql_ database extension and the ereg extension. These would produce fatal runtime errors about undefined function calls.

Unfortunately, the replacements for these were introduced into php a long time ago, causing the originals to become deprecated, so, all php coders/programmers should have been put on notice about using up to date practices. There are migration sections in the documentation that list the major changes that have occurred in php.

As @JimL has stated, it would take seeing the server-side code to tell you anything specific toward what it would take to change the look of the site and what might be needed in the underlying server-side code.

Thanks for that phdr, I’ll take all the good news I can get. :slight_smile:

What is involved in having someone look … gain access ??? to the server-side code?

Happy to pay of course … just need to find someone willing and able to do that.

Thank you again.

PM me a download link of everything needed to run it and I will take a look at it.

1 Like

Thanks benanamen for your generous offer. I searched all over for a means to PM you but can find no links anywhere … maybe coz I’m a very new member perhaps?

When I do a backup of the site I save a ‘filesbackup.tgz’ file and a ‘dbbackup.sql.gz’ file. Are they what you need access to … or something else?

As you can see, I have very little knowledge of the nuts and bolts aspect. :slight_smile:

Thanks again.

I bumped your membership level. You should be able to PM now. Just click my name and you will see “Message”.

Thank you, I’ve sent a PM

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