Many elements contribute to the overall look and usability of your website. Some of these elements are visible to everyone and others are a result of work done behind the scenes of the website. Programming languages like PHP is a good example.

As one of the most versatile programing languages, PHP is ideal for creating exciting websites and interacting with information on the Internet. In fact, PHP (a recursive acronym standing for Hypertext Preprocessor) has a variety of features that have endeared it to web developers. Some of these features are:

  • PHP creates a webpage based on input requests.
  • It is a mediator between users and databases.
  • It helps allow a user to address a database through their browser and get a comprehensible answer back.
  • Custom PHP is compatible with nearly any Internet server.
  • It is an open source solution, so it is free to use and widely available on the Web.
  • PHP has a simple syntax that is similar to C or Java.
  • It has led to sub-disciplines like PHP web programming, PHP database programming, PHP object oriented programming and advanced PHP programming.
  • There is a strong community of PHP users, so should you have any questions during part of the web development process you are able to get help online.
  • PHP is not only free, but it is also secure.

Because of these features, and various others, many web developers are using PHP to create easily navigated, user-friendly websites. However, like any programming language, the functionality is only as good as the coding. So, if you have begun to experiment with PHP, or perhaps are merely considering it, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Development style –  Keeping the development style consistent by using one development style (e.g. tabbing, double spacing, etc.) throughout the entire project will keep the programming on track and make it easier to correct or make changes when necessary.
  2. Variables and function naming – This should be based on what the value of the variable is and what is accomplished by the function.
  3. Commenting your code – This goes a long way toward organized, readable code and enhances usability. Comments can describe actions and functions; however, they should be brief rather than verbose.
  4. Beware of copy and paste– While copy/past coding may save a few minutes initially, it is not always error-proof. Consequently, you can end up spending time later on correcting or trouble shooting your code-especially if you discover that something is not working correctly!
  5. Recognize language limits– PHP can do many things, but there are still limits on its usability. Have a good understanding of PHP and what it can do.
  6. Test your code often!–  Don’t assume that your scripts are error-free! Test coding frequently to catch any errors that may have occurred.
  7. Built-ins versus building your own-Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel! Rather than re-designing a built-in function just to do so, let it be. This will increase performance and keep scripts clean from unnecessary code.
  8. Don’t overdo it when splitting files– Yes, splitting code into several files aids organization, but if taken too far this can actually affect performance. Try to find a happy medium, perhaps by creating function fill versus splitting individual functions into individual files.

The more you explore PHP, the more you will recognize its versatility. Here at Page Progressive, we use PHP for a long list of website functions and designs. If you want to bypass learning the language on your own, but still want to see it used on your website, talk to one of web design pros today. We would love to hear from you.