PHP is one of the most popular programming languages for building web applications. It is a great programming language and it is easy to learn. Here are some tips for your next PHP project.
1. Use PHP Core functions and classes
PHP has come a long way. In the years many new functions have been added to PHP to make life easier for programmers. You should always check if a function is not already been added to PHP before writing one of you own. Many time I have planned to write a function which turned out to be included as a core function.
2. Object Oriented Programming
PHP is easy to use as it is very forgiving, but at the same time it is very easy to make a great mess of an application. By using Object Oriented Programming or OOP you collect all functions for a specific object and put them together in their own classes. If you are going to work with a certain object, you then have all the functions you need in the same place. You only have to initiate the object and you can call the functions you need.
3. Use a PHP framework
Of course you can build an PHP application from scratch or build your own framework, but using a ready to use PHP framework can save you a lot of time. It is a great way to kickstart your next PHP project and at the same time it gives a good structure to your PHP project. There are many PHP frameworks out there, you can find a comparison in our article “The 6 Best PHP Frameworks For Developers“.
4. Sanitize data
Every GET, POST or other input should be sanitized. This will protect you against SQL injections and against Cross-site Scripting attacks. To be sure, we always recommend to also sanitize any output. If possible to not use GET, but instead use POST. as this is more difficult to emulate. You can do search queries and pagination using GET, but that should be it.
5. Design before coding
Before you start to write your first line of code make sure you can fully designed your project. This included the interface, but also the database structure and all screens of your project should be clear. All first create a technical design of your project.
6. Use a design pattern
Like already mentioned, it is very easy to create a mess of a PHP project because it is very forgiving. Use design pattern is really a must for any PHP Project. Personally I would recommend to go for MVC (Model-View-Controller). This design pattern is used in nearly all PHP frameworks and is a great way to split the interface from the objects and controller code.
7. Try an ORM
An ORM or Object Relational Mapper will help you maintaining a relational database when using Object Oriented Porgramming. It will cost you some time setting up, but once it is running it will help you avoid a lot of headaches and save a lot of time. Also a ORM can help you sanitize by using prepared statements that are as easy as calling a method.
8. Start caching your pages
When a page requires heavy database calls. Caching your pages can really help you speed up your website.
9. Comment your code
Your code may look familiar now, but in 6 months time it is like another person has written it. That is how easy it is to forget what you have coded. That is why you should always comment your code, so that you, but also anybody else working on the project can understand what happens in the code.