PHP is one of the most widely utilized programming languages currently in use today. An estimated 240 million websites have PHP installed. In 2014, work began on developing a formal specification for the language, which it had lacked since its creation in 1995. It is used by over 80% of the websites and has been installed on quarter billion websites. One of the reasons for this is that PHP relatively has an easy learning curve and its widespread availability has long made it an early favorite of newbie programmers. It is also popular because it has it has been adopted by successive waves of CMS systems such as Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla – which have contributed substantially to its overall uniqueness.
The time when JSP and ASP were at their peak stage, it was at that time that PHP came up as a challenge in the industry. PHP has been on the scene for nearly 20 years and has been dominating the web development landscape. Developers are always looking for ways to improve their skills, and taking advantage of PHP’s versatility is a great way to create more robust and efficient code. There are many things that you can do to make your next project more readable and maintainable.
Tips for Enhancing PHP Development Skills
Below are 10 tips to help you become a neater and more dedicated PHP programmer.
- Frequently Use Comments It can be frustrating when you look back at old code and cannot remember what it was for. Using comments effectively will give your code a clearly defined purpose and help you to recall things that would otherwise be forgotten. Comments can also help others that read your code to quickly ascertain what it is designed to accomplish. By writing clear comments and technical specs, it increases the readability of the code.
- Name, Variables Meaningfully Your variable names should always be meaningful to you. If you are using a variable as an integer try beginning its name with an ‘i’. This will make the purpose of the variable obvious at first glance. Name variable such that, other PHP developers can understand your code better.
- Use Constants It is counter-productive to repeatedly re-write the same thing over and over again. Constants can be used to store data that is needed frequently throughout your code. Error messages, directory paths, and other recurring information could be called upon quickly and easily in this way.
- Replace Functions with Objects Functions that have lots of parameters can make a project unnecessarily complex. When functions get unwieldy, requiring you to change all of your calls, then it’s time to use an object instead. In PHP object-oriented programming use objects and classes to skip the repetition of code and perform the code in a much simpler way. With PHP’s OOPs programming the code runs faster, is easy to debug, and utilizes less server resources. PHP follows OOPS concepts and so as a developer one should know the OOPS Concepts and how to use them.
- Don’t Repeat Code Any code that has to be repeated throughout your project should be contained in an object or function. It may seem like extra work at first, but when your project gets more complex you will save yourself some headaches. PHP developer should learn multiple programming paradigms such as object-oriented programming, functional programming etc, to avoid repeating code.
- Use <?php and ?> Avoid using <? ?> in your scripts to ensure compatibility across all servers and PHP versions. This will make your code portable in case you decide to run it somewhere else.
- Use Separate Configuration Files Configuration settings should not be placed in your script file. Always use a separate configuration document that is then included in the beginning of the script. You will avoid having to edit every page due to a small configuration change.
- Use Indentation and Spacing You can dramatically improve the readability of your code by utilizing indentation and spacing effectively. This will allow you to quickly identify the ends of loops in your code and will gain you respect as a PHP developer.
- Initialize Variables: PHP web development automatically creates a variable when a value is assigned to it. Leaving things up to PHP like this is a bad idea. Always initialize your variables prior to using them. It is a good practice to initialize your variables, as it would avoid a potential headache in future.
- Framework Understanding The last few years has seen PHP getting back in the game with a new generation of frameworks which implement the best features in PHP. Though there are many frameworks in the market, the PHP developer should have a good grip on the frameworks.
PHP Development and it Future
Using these tips will help you write cleaner, more organized scripts. These very simple examples will go a long way in providing a basis for making your code more readable and efficient, in addition to helping you become a better PHP developer. Having a deep knowledge of the PHP language will help the PHP developers to code in a clean and clear way.