Friday, December 5, 2008

Five good programming habits in PHP

Just like any language, developers can write code in PHP that ranges in quality from truly awful to very good. Learn good programming habits that can help you bridge the productivity gap.

Depending on whom you ask, the difference between a good developer and an excellent developer, in terms of productivity, is a factor of 10 to 20. An excellent developer is more productive because of his experience and good habits. When poor programming habits sneak into your code, they're a drain on productivity. This article demonstrates some good programming habits that can make you a better programmer.

In addition to enabling you to build code more productively, these habits can help you build code sustainable for an application's lifetime. Any code you write is likely to spend most of its lifetime in maintenance; application maintenance is a large expense. Establishing good coding habits will enhance design factors like modularity, and your code will be easier to understand and, thus, easier and cheaper to maintain.

Bad coding habits seem to accompany defects in code and can cause code to be difficult to change without introducing new defects. The following five good habits, when applied to your PHP code, will help you avoid these pitfalls:

1. Use good naming.
2. Take smaller bites.
3. Document your code.
4. Handle error conditions.
5. Never, ever, copy and paste.


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