The most popular language for web development, PHP is currently being used in more than 20 million domains and major sites like Facebook, Wikipedia, Drupal and WordPress. Though an easy to learn language, there are just a few PHP developers/programmers who make a cut above the rest.
Successful professionals are made by experience. People who have worked in live projects, deployed self-designed commercial applications and are conversant with the various databases are highly demanded in the industry. It’s a long ride for PHP developers looking to make it to this ‘elite’ class. Here are some tips to help them out:
1. Using OOP
Object Oriented Programming (OOP) always puts you at an advantage. OOP uses classes that help tie things together and minimize the need for code repetition. In simple terms, OOP makes it a lot easier to wrap functions into error free and executable programs. Acquaint yourself with OOP and you will have to deal with less coding and more logic.
2. Don’t end anything with ‘_once’()
Every PHP programmer knows ‘include()’ gives warning when it fails and ‘require()’ kills the script if it comes across any error. However, include_once() and require_once() are very heavy on server resources. If you are working on a huge framework especially, these things are better not included.
3. Keep ‘error reporting’ on
Whenever staring a new project, it is best to first turn on the error reporting to E_ALL. Also, make sure you turn it off ten seconds before the script goes into the production mode. It couldn’t be better if you can have a completely error free production mode. Besides, error reporting picks up all those minor discrepancies that even professional programmers seem to make.
4. Use frameworks when you need them
Many experts, including the likes of Rasmus Lerdorf would say that frameworks make a code much slower than the normal. However, firstly remember that you aren’t a Rasmus Lerdorf as of yet and secondly, you need not write the “Hello World” application every time you are seated at your desk. Frameworks make things really simpler and you reduce the risk of wasting your time in writing bad codes. Why not use resources you have?
5. Exploit inbuilt functions
Why loop an array and simply incrementing value of every iteration when counting the number of keys? The built in PHP functions like count() can replace all the lines you would have written and give you the same result. Like count(), PHP integrates several other functions that make the many basic tasks a matter of just a command insertion.
6. Protect the database
The safest and most recommended way is using mysql_real_escape_string() with all databases before they are added. This function will make the string safe in term of functions that can harm with malicious codes and in terms of quotes.
7. POST instead of GET
Though this will not be always possible, POST is always safer than GET especially when using form submissions.
It is always better to draw your projects before getting to the task, even if it means scribbling a few lines and drawing a schematic. The basic idea is to get behind the mechanics of the application before starting to code.
As with anything else, practice makes a great programmer. Code something that draws your interests and you will eventually love to go deeper.