Advanced Tips to Help PHP Programmers Improve Their Program Code

Ever since it made humble beginnings around two decades ago, PHP programming has witnessed a rapid climb, going on to become the most popular programming language for all Web applications. Numerous websites are powered by PHP programming code while an overwhelming majority of Web projects and scripts rely on this popular language for their development.

Owing to the huge popularity of this development language, it is seemingly impossible any PHP programmer to say that he lacks even the basic working knowledge of PHP. In this tutorial we aim to help those at the learning stage of this programming language, willing to roll up their sleeves and let their hands get dirty with this language. These simple programming tips will aid in speeding up the proficiency of the development process while making the code cleaner, responsive and offering optimum levels of performance.

Implement a cheat sheet for SQL Injection: SQL Injection can prove to be a really nasty thing. This is a security exploit wherein a hacker can dive into your database by making the most of a vulnerability in the programming code. MySQL database is commonly implemented in PHP programming code so being aware of the things that you should avoid can prove to be really handy if you are planning to write a secure code.

Be able to differentiate between your comparison operators: An integral part of PHP programming is comparison operators. However, some programmers are not as adept at sorting out the difference between them as they ought to be. In fact, many documentations lay claim to the fact that most programmers are incapable of telling the difference between the comparison operators at first glance! Failure to identify the difference between “==” and “===” is a big blot on the reputation of any programmer.

Favour the use of str_replace() over preg_replace() and ereg_replace(): As far as the overall efficiency is concerned, str_replace() proves to be much more efficient as opposed to some of the regular string replace expressions. In fact, statistics show that str_replace() improves the efficiency of code by as much as 61% compared to some of the regular expressions such as preg_replace() and ereg_replace(). However, if your program code comprises of nothing but regular expressions, then preg_replace() and ereg_replace() will prove to be much faster and efficient that the str_replace() function.

The use of ternary operators: Rather than use an if/else statement altogether in your PHP programming code, consider the use of a ternary operator. They are effective in terms of freeing up a lot of line space for better readability of your programs. The code looks less clustered and it is easier to scan it in the future for any unexpected errors. However, be careful that you do not have more than one ternary operator in a single statement. Very often, PHP gets confused regarding its course of action in such situations.

Use a PHP Framework: Use of a PHP Framework is seemingly impossible for every project that you create. However, the use of such frameworks as CodeIgniter, Symfony, Zend and CakePHP helps in greatly reducing the time required for developing a website. A Web framework is typically a software that bundles itself along with functionalities that are commonly needed, aiding to speed up the development process. By letting a framework handle all of the repetitive tasks required for website programming, you can work on the development process at a much faster rate. Less coding you have to take care of, lesser will be the testing and debugging requirements thus letting you speed up with the overall process.

Make correct use of the suppression operator: The @ symbol is typically the error suppression operator. Place it in front of a PHP expression and it will simply instruct all errors in that particular statement to show themselves. This is a very handy variable if you have doubts over a value but would not want them to show up when the script is run. Many PHP programmers, though, very often use this error suppression operator in an incorrect manner. The @ operator is unusually slow and can be rather costly if you are planning to write a code keeping its reultant performance in mind. While alternate methods exist to sidestep the errors brought about by the use of the @ operator they may result in accidental side-effects and should only be used in areas from where they cannot further affect other areas of the code.

Rather than use strlen, opt for isset: If you are planning to implement a function that checks the length of a string, opt for the use of isset rather than strlen. Isset allows your function call to work as much as five times faster than the other functions. Also note that by the use of isset you can have a valid function call even if there is a non-existent variable.

While this is a small change to make, it nevertheless adds up to a leaner and quicker code, akin to all of the aforementioned tips that we have presented in this article.

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