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Top 10 PHP Tips Every Developer Should Know

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Being a good PHP developer means that you apply many good practices that show that you know what you are doing and that reflects in the quality of the PHP projects that you work on.

You may give more importance to some practices than others because your criteria may be different from other developers.

Read this article to learn and see an infographic about what are the top 10 good practices that every PHP developer should know (IMHO of course).

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By Josh United States

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Spend enough time around with other developers, and you will inevitably find that they are a knowledgeable bunch who typically enjoy solving problems and sharing opinions.

After hanging around with the PHP developers on reddit's r/php, the user called Mygaming came up with a list of things he learned from his peers. Which got us thinking, what are some of the things that every PHP Developer should know?

With Mygaming's list as inspiration, we set out to illustrate his ideas and round out the topic with a few essential insights of our own.

As a bonus, if you find yourself in a room of PHP developers and want to kick off the conversation, items 37 are usually good for a lively debate. Take a stance and let the good times roll!

At the end of this article you can find an infographic that you embed in other pages or even print it if you like.

1. There is no such thing as plain text

Do not assume that all strings are ASCII. PHP will make this assumption. You are the programmer and you must know better. Be proactive about handling Unicode (UTF-8) strings or be prepared to suffer the consequences.

2. All things are not created equal

Know the difference between = and ==. Use = to assign constants. Use == for conditional statements.

Editor Note: if you want to make sure values are of the exact same type, use ===, as == will accept "1" and 1 as the same thing.

3. (Your || My) code stinks

To some extent, whether code is bad or good, that is subjective. Study the best practices for PHP, choose an established coding standard and judge not lest ye be judged. 

4. Everyone makes either 6 figures or minimum wage

If you believe the hype, PHP developers fall into two categories: the Jet Set and those "just getting by." Or, in other words, devs who follow rule #5 and everyone else. 

5. Everyone charges at least 3x what they're worth

Is it crazy or capitalism? Like everyone else, PHP developers charge what the market will pay.

6. (CakePHP || Zend || CodeIgniter || Laravel) is the (Best || Worst)) ever

Lots of PHP developers have their favorite framework. Don't turn it into a religious experience. 

7. (PHPStorm || Sublime Text || Zend Studio || Netbeans) is the (Best || Worst)) ever.

You need an IDE. PHP is unforgiving - even the smallest type will result in a syntax error that stops your code from running. That being said, and IDE choice is not an identity. To each their own (see #frameworks).

8. It's probably been done before

Before rushing out to write a function that re-invents the wheel, read the manual. A PHP function or class probably already exists to accomplish most common tasks. As a programmer, you don't need to memorize the syntax of every function but you should know where to look for the information. 

9. Comment the intent of the code, not the solution

10. Don't confuse beautiful code with quality code

Following trends, whether in fashions or functions, is rarely practical. PHP is the normcore of the interwebs. It's not sexy enough to turn heads, but it's comfortable and appropriate for most situations. 


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3. Nice - Lingaraju Purushotham (2015-11-18 16:45)
Adding one more for best practice... - 0 replies
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2. Nice read - Stephan (2015-08-04 15:17)
Nice morning read.... - 0 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

1. A tip for #2 - Filip Komar (2015-08-04 15:16)
Yoda style can be useful sometimes... - 0 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

  Blog PHP Classes blog   RSS 1.0 feed RSS 2.0 feed   Blog Top 10 PHP Tips Every...   Post a comment Post a comment   See comments See comments (3)   Trackbacks (0)