PHP key features that makes web app development smoother, faster & easier

PHP means PHP Hypertext Preprocessor and is HTML’s embedded scripting language like JSP or ASP, combining elements of Java, Perl and C. Many programmers and companies use this language as daily coding ritual; the code snippets as well as the open source frameworks help the developers. However, understanding the base PHP classes, functions and methods is a huge advantage. Here’s taking a close look at some of the key features of the language which will make web application development easier, smoother as well as faster.

php application developmentjson_decode and json_encode- PHP has two extreme functions by using JSON or JavaScript Object Notation strings which is a standard that is text based and normally functions for sending and receiving of data with simple, easily legible structure. There are two functions which can help you manipulate the data from and to JSON. When utilizing json_encode the first argument is set as the data and then this converted data string will be returned by PHP, then used for output on API or even included in HTML template so that the JavaScript code can read it. json_decode is its opposite.

PDO Class- PHP Data Object or PDO is exclusively used for connection with MySQL databases by providing a good layer of abstraction around database driver sets. This essentially means that no matter what database is being used, with PDO support the same functions can be used for the performing of the same database actions. The code becomes more portable for using the web application on a variety of databases without any additional development time. Several standardized functions are provided by PDO Class like creation prepared statements, creating transactions and allowing escape variables if the need so arises.

Glob () for file-finding- Glob() may be referred to as scandir() function’s more capable version. This allows you to search files with the use of patterns. Multiple types of files can be fetched by using this as well. In fact the files can be actually returned with path according to the query generated. For full path of each, the realpath() function can be called on returned values.

Generating unique IDs- Sometimes there arise certain situations which might warrant the generation of unique strings. To achieve that people often use the function md5() which is not really meant for that. Instead of that a PHP function called uniqid() may be used for that. Several characters at first may seem to be similar despite the strings being unique; this is attributed to the relation with server time and generated string. A good side effect to this is that each newly generated id comes in alphabetical order which aids in the sorting. Chances of duplicacy can be reduced by passing second parameter or prefix so that entropy can be increased. Nevertheless the strings generated by the function will be much shorter than md5(), saving a lot of space for you.

Unit testing- Automated code testing within the app is enabled through this. For all major projects some unit testing may be added. All reviewed PHP frameworks either use PHPUnit that is like the de facto testing suite for PHP or have their very own methods for unit testing.

Templating- This is the way codes can be organized within views. It attempts to find out the best way for code organization within the view. Before MVC frameworks a good solution was Smarty Template.

The features given are just the tip of the iceberg. PHP results in endless possibilities which may be best harnessed only if the features can be grasped fully. The learning curve may be steep and long but truly worthwhile. PHP can form a good foundation for ecommerce systems, bespoke platforms, content management systems, etc. Being armed with PHP and its features, will help you tackle the new challenges that the web development world brings to you everyday.

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