For so long, Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) has continued to dominate the world of web development, with many developers using it as their main scripting language.
Currently, over 20 million domains use PHP as their open-source scripting language and it is the main language used on numerous popular sites, such as Facebook, Wikipedia, and applications such as Slack and Mailchimp.
As the most popular open-source scripting language, PHP is a prerequisite for anyone planning to succeed in web development. Therefore, if you are planning to pursue a career in web development, be familiar with PHP. But what does PHP entail? What knowledge do you need to succeed as a PHP developer? In this article, we will let you know what a senior PHP developer should know.
What is PHP Development?
PHP is a server-side scripting language that is rooted in HTML. It is usually integrated with several standard databases, such as MySQL, Oracle, Informix, Microsoft SQL Server, and PostgreSQL, among others. The primary purpose of PHP development is to manage different types of content and databases. It also helps to track sessions and can be used to build complete e-commerce sites. There are many fundamental aspects of PHP that every professional web developer must be familiar with. Although you don’t have to be a professional PHP developer right from the start, there are certain essential facets of the scripting language that you need to understand as you progress.
Important Things a Senior PHP Developer Must Know
Understand PHP Language
As a senior PHP developer, you should understand the language well enough to comfortably read source files and know how and where to find documentation without a hassle. An experienced PHP developer should be able to tell the difference between a good and a bad source of information. And when you are not sure about the source, you should be able to use the official manual. You should also be proficient in writing code in PHP quickly.
Use PHP Core Functions
Since PHP features several core functions, you should be able to use each function comfortably to accomplish the intended purpose. The good thing about PHP is that it’s open-source and therefore it allows you to create your own functions if necessary. However, you’ll need to become familiar with the PHP manual before you create your own functions. Instead of wasting time creating your own function, you should find a PHP function that serves the same purpose. For instance, you shouldn’t bother building an XML parser for RSS feeds because there are several PHP XML parser functions that serve this purpose, including xml_parse_into_struct.
Create Configuration Files
When you know how to create a configuration file, you will never have to worry about your database connections being scattered all over. This master file contains its settings and can easily be included in the PHP scripts. A senior PHP developer should know how to create this file and change its settings in the future so that they do not have to create multiple files. This knowledge is also important when you want to apply other constants and functions in multiple scripts. A configuration file also makes your PHP code more integrated and easier to manage.
As you progress in your PHP development career, you’ll need to understand the various ways in which you can sanitize your data as it enters your database. With so many SQL injections nowadays, it is important to learn different ways of sanitizing your data other than just sanitizing database inputs. That way, you will be able to protect your application against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, especially when you are rendering user-submitted HTML.
Avoid Over-Commenting Your Code
While proper documentation of your PHP code through comments in the scripts is important, you should not comment on every line. A senior PHP developer knows that good code should always be self-explanatory. Therefore, you should only comment on the most complicated parts of your source code to help you jog your memory when you revisit it. While this mistake can be overlooked when you are starting out, it can put a huge dent in your professional growth in the long term, especially if you have been in the industry for several years.
Keep Your Preferred Code Snippets Ready
As a senior PHP developer, you will be required to code the same things regularly throughout your career. Therefore, remember to have your favorite code snippets ready. They will help you to save time for years to come. Fortunately, there are many applications that can help you to sync your code snippets and have them ready for use whenever you need them.
Choosing the Right Source Editor
As a senior PHP developer, you should be able to find the best source editor for your work. This is important because your editor is where you will spend most of your time. It should also enable you to highlight the syntax and navigate a code. A good source editor must also have built-in debugging tools. Beyond that, the choice is yours as to what kind of editor you want to work with.
Using a PHP Framework
A PHP framework enables you to use better web development patterns that will make your work look more professional. This might take you a long time to learn, but it will improve your productivity and efficiency when you master it.
As a senior PHP developer, you need to understand the most important aspects of PHP. Although you don’t have to know everything about this scripting language off the top of your head, you should have a strong grasp of the fundamental concepts that make up working in PHP. The good thing is that most of these concepts are used by many large companies and can be learned on the job through the continuous use of the language.