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Things that every PHP developer should know

Saturday, August 5th, 2017 by Servage

phpThe PHP ecosystem is relatively simple to keep up-to-date on once you know your way around it. The ecosystem has not changed as significantly as let’s say JavaScript over the past few years. However, there are some concepts every developer should be familiar with, as well as some tools that have become standards in PHP. Let’s have a look at these things you should be familiar with as a PHP developer.


Composer is the first thing that comes to the mind of developers when they have to name one great thing about PHP. Composer is a package and dependency manager tool for PHP, and it makes working with external libraries much easier and faster. Many libraries and frameworks even depend on Composer.

These days, there is so much open-source code available that you don’t have to write everything from scratch. For example, if you want to send emails using SparkPost, you can grab an open-source package that makes it easy for you using Composer. Composer can also update your dependencies to the latest version with a single command.


Packagist is the official user interface for Composer. You can use it to search for open-source libraries. You can see how popular each library is, when they have been updated for the last time and how to install them using Composer.

At Least One Framework

Understanding code written by others is essential. Frameworks are the foundations for building modern web applications, and they are usually maintained by a group of experienced developers. Therefore, they are a good source of modern programming practices and commonly used design patterns.

Understanding at least one framework is essential, since they are used in almost every project. Once you are familiar with one, you have a good starting point for learning other frameworks.

Object-Oriented Programming

OOP programming is a strong trend in PHP development. Many libraries and frameworks utilize the concept and there is a good reason for that: it helps you write less repetitive code. There are many other programming paradigms and design patterns used in PHP, but the first and most important one is object-oriented programming.

Core PHP Functions

PHP has surprisingly many built-in functions that you can take advantage of. Before starting to implement something new, make sure you check if there is a function to make the task easier. Even experienced developers are not aware of all the functions PHP has and sometimes implement the same functionality from scratch and notice it afterwards.

Whenever you have some extra time, you should check the PHP documentation and go through at least the names of the functions. When you are working on something new, see if you remember a function that might help you in that task. You can also make this easier with the auto-suggest feature of your IDE, but spending some time reading documentation is always a plus.

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Categories: Tips & Tricks


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