Nowadays, PHP has become the most popular language for web development. Some famous websites like Facebook use PHP in their developing tasks as well as plenty of developing tools like WordPress use PHP in their projects.
If you are one of the enthusiasts trying to enter into web programming field, this post is just for you.
In this blog, I’d like to share 8 essential tips you should understand to become a proficient PHP developer.
Learning these tips can ensure you have a good beginning when you step into the web developing industry using PHP.
1. Familiar with OOP
Object-Oriented programming, which is different from Procedural-Oriented programming, has been the most commonly used concepts in programs. When you enter the developing industry, you should at least know the terms like class, methods and so on in order to understand how it works. Otherwise, you’ll be struggling in the developing tasks.
Compared with Procedural-Oriented programming, OOP is faster, simpler as it collects functions like a class, which can be used by other classes and be instantiated to include more functions while POP can’t. In addition, OOP uses less code and has an easy programming logic to work. So try to learn and figure out the concepts and terms in OOP. It’s really useful. To get a base line of how PHP works, you can also refer to various online portals like – w3schools and tutorials point.
2.Focus on coding your program
For beginners, it’s quite common that when they have a new question, they hope to find the source code, templates to solve that question.To be honest, I don’t suggest you doing this in programming. The source code and templates can solve the problem in a short term, but in long term developing, this action will not have advantages for improving your skills. Writing the codes independently can make you more clearly about how some sentences like loops, if-function works to strengthen the understanding of the programming concepts as well as how classes work in your program. Using the source code and template will just solve a question but for a new problem, if you don’t know how to programming, you will find hard to solve it. On the other hand, I don’t mean you should never use source codes, for beginners, you will meet some difficult problems that can’t solve yourself, searching source code on the internet can solve it. But please remember that when you solve that problem, you should code it again without the source code. In this way, you can check if you have been able to solve that kind of problems completely.
3. Imagine and draw the structure before code
When you have some ideas and want to make it come true, you should draw it structures on the paper before you coding it in a computer. By drawing it, you could know the difficult part of working with, & how different parts collaborate. Therefore, when you code the project, you will have a principle of how the data transferred, which is the most important part of programming.
3. Learn how to use existed PHP core class and functions
As mentioned above, an OOP program will use classes to decrease the coding task. There are core PHP classes for you to apply. You can read the PHP manual to learn the existed class and use them in your own projects, which will save plenty of time that you don’t need to consider and write that code for those common functions. So learning the PHP manual and having a concept of what you need and need not do in the project. It is important to save your time and make your project simple and professional.
5. Write a configuration file
Writing your database connection properties in the content of your project? I don’t think it’s a good choice. Doing this will increase the difficulty of maintenance as you need to find where the code is in your project but it may exist in everywhere. Changing one figure may also affect other parts of your project and then the project may not work well. So the effective way is, creating a configuration file or class, which include parameters to access the database. In other files, you just need to call the call the file to transfer those parameters. In this way, the modification and maintenance task will be easy that you just need to change the data in the configuration file.
Creating a configuration file is the common sense for developers as it is modular in order to update and maintenance in your project.
6. Turn on Error reporting functions when developing
When you start to develop a new project, the first thing is turning on the Error reporting function. This function will help you identify what errors will occur in the run-time environment, which can make you easily fix them without checking the code over and over to find what the problems with your project.
The function is very helpful. It can help you find the problems as soon as possible rather than you run the whole project and problems occur. In that situation, you will be in trouble of finding issues all of the projects---it will take a long time and you may even not know the exact issue. Solving the problems at the coding phase and in running the project phase, turning off it and seeing it run without any problems is a wonderful experience.
7. Work with IDE
The Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a kind of software to help you develop your projects. For a PHP IDE, the most widely used one is phpDesigner.
The IDE can boost your programming task by providing help such as Syntax highlighting, code hinting, code navigating and debugging. These features will save you a lot of time in coding as you never need to input everything in your project. When first using it, try to use every function it provides and then for all of the projects in this IDE, you’ll be quick of starting and completing them.
8. Use tools to administrate MySql
It is a bit like working with IDE but not the same. For MySql administration, you could use the command line to control it. But in my opinion, it takes more time as you need to input everything to administrate the database. Then I suggest you using a MySql administration tool to control the database maintenance task. The tool I used is phpMyAdmin.
As you can see, it is a visible user interface to administrate the database. Users can use the mouse and click to add a new database, set security features and assign different rights for different users. In this way, you’ll not struggle with the command line to find what the result, or problems in your command to control the database.
For a web developer, the basic tips for improving is practice coding and coding. Only doing this you can actually make a progress. These tips above are main to help you have a better experience in practicing PHP development. Try to use them and share you feedback with others then you can find you will be professional in PHP development.