15 PHP Tricks Every Developer Should Know

15 PHP Tricks Every Developer Should Know

  • Jul, 29 2023

Helpful Hints and Unfolding the Power of PHP

Being a developer is a lot like being a parent. Whether I'm troubleshooting my son Oliver's latest Lego disaster or debugging a chunk of PHP code for my latest web project—it's all about solving puzzles. Just like with my kiddos, some days are easier than others. Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of PHP tricks and tips that can ease your coding days.

Clever Uses of PHP Functions

Before we dig into the less-known features of PHP, we need to know about the basic yet potent functions. After all, each PHP function plays a vital role - just like Madeline, my daughter, and her irreplaceable role of being the 'Chief Toy Officer'. These simple tricks can make a profound impact by significantly trimming down your coding time.

Array Functions to Enrich Your Code

PHP array functions are quite versatile. Take, for example, the in_array function. Much like my kitchen, where you never know where the cinnamon might be hiding, this function checks whether a particular item exists in the array. The count function is another lifesaver, it can count the total elements in an array, very much like how I count the toys strewn around the house.

You can quickly shuffle arrays using the shuffle function while array_reverse does exactly what the name suggests. Just like when I find my reversed to-do list and have to handle the chores from bottom to top.

Intricacies Wrapped in PHP Strings

Handling strings in PHP is something we do commonly but may not maximize. Consider the addslashes() function, which helps escape special characters in the strings. This is helpful when you need to store a string in the database that might contain quotes, just like the time Oliver insisted on naming his pet bunny, 'Fluffy \"the Destroyer\"'.

There are other handy functions like stripslashes(), that removes those pesky slashes or str_split(), which splits your strings into an array. Remember, knowing your PHP string functions is just as important as remembering your kids' food preferences—after all, you can't serve spaghetti Bolognese to a 'strictly mac and cheese' aficionado like my Madeline.

Career-Saving Exception Handling

Much like parenting, unexpected things can happen in the world of PHP development. But with detailed PHP exception handling, surprises in coding, unlike my children's surprise art attack, won’t leave you in a helpless frenzy.

When you face an exception, ensure that it doesn’t halt the entire process by wrapping the potential error-generator code inside the try block. The catch block, meanwhile, executes if an exception is thrown from the try block. And don't forget, always log your exceptions—it’s like keeping a record of your children’s growth. You know what they say about keeping an eye out for patterns, don't you?

Mastering PHP Tips and Shortcuts

Now here's a category you'll love. It's like those recipes that shave half your meal prep time or my all-time favourite, 'one-pot meals's. These are the shortcuts to leaner, cleaner and more efficient code.

Use of Shorthand Operators

Ternary operators are one such tool. They can be used for quick, simple conditions eliminating the need for full-blown if statements. It’s like deciding to serve fruits to your kids; if apples are available, great! If not, bananas it is. The Ternary operator in PHP would read like $fruit = isset($apple) ? $apple : $banana;.

Similarly, the Null Coalescing Operator (??) can replace the whole isset() function elegantly. It's like having a Plan B for those unpredictable rainy days. So, instead of $fruit = isset($apple) ? $apple : $banana; it would condense down to $fruit = $apple ?? $banana;.

Dealing with Databases and PHP

What's a chef without a well-organized pantry or a mother without her storage boxes? A PHP developer without a clean database is no better. Here are some tricks for dealing with databases in PHP.

Employing SQL Injection Safety

Much like Oliver's 'sneak-level' candy theft from the high shelf in the pantry, SQL attacks can be a sneaky and dangerous menace. SQL Injection happens when a hacker tries to input SQL commands in your code to manipulate your database. Using prepared statements with PDO or MySQLi can significantly reduce the risk.

The Decisive PHP Best Practices

Whether it's insisting on the same bedtime story night after night or the sense of comfort in knowing the dinner will be served at seven—consistency matters. Consistent coding practices in PHP make code maintenance easier and allow better collaboration among developers.

Stick to the coding standards, comment your code duly, sanitize and validate your inputs, keep up with the PHP updates—a lot of these practices are much like cleaning up after a meal, a chore often overlooked but undeniably crucial.

Adhere to OOP Principles

Object-Oriented Programming in PHP is a game-changer. It's like switching from hand washing to using a dishwasher (Oh, the liberation!). Understanding classes, objects, properties, methods, inheritance, and other OOP features can boost your PHP coding skills tremendously. OOP principles allow for clear, scalable, and manageable code. Kind of like color-coordinating my children's wardrobes, it simply makes life easier.

After all, mastering PHP and parenting have more in common than you'd think. They both involve a lot of learning, patience, and coffee, but there’s always a trick to make things a tad bit easier. So keep exploring PHP tricks and turns, and let’s wrangle the codes together—one PHP function at a time.