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PHP

PHP 7.3 was released at the end of last year, but for many of us working with the latest version of PHP is not an option for a while. We are often restricted by the servers that we have to deploy to which can often be a version or two behind.

This means that for many, the new features of PHP 7.3 will remain out of reach for some time. If this describes your situation then this post is for you. We’ll look at four things you can start doing now that will help make it easier to migrate your code to PHP 7.3 when the time finally does arrive.

With the arrival of PHP 7.3 last month came some interesting changes to the existing heredoc and nowdoc syntaxes. However, not everyone I spoke to even new that this syntax existed in PHP, so now seems like a good opportunity to take a look at what they are and how to use them.

A simple little trick in PHP for when you need to make sure that a value doesn’t drop below zero. For example, you might be subtracting a discount from a basket total and not want the amount to be paid to become negative.

Earlier today I got caught out by an interesting little issue when using env() to access environment configurable values on a deployed Laravel app. Despite having read through the documentation I managed to completely miss the caveat on using this function whilst caching the app’s configuration.

Constants are named values that do not change. You’ve probably used them many times to set a value that you want to persist throughout your codebase. In this short post I’m going to look at a couple of ways we can use them to improve our code. We’ll look at how they can be used to reduce bugs and make our code more readable.

VS Code
VS Code

Visual Studio Code is hot stuff right now and is quickly becoming the editor of choice for developers worldwide. It’s available for Macs, Windows and Linux and best of all it’s free. These are what I consider the essential Visual Studio Code extensions for PHP developers to improve your productivity.

A PHP question I particularly like to ask candidates at a job interview is to explain a bit of code that includes the $$ syntax for variable variables. It’s great if the candidate is already familiar with this feature of PHP; but what’s more important to me is that once the candidate understands how this syntax works that they can describe potential issues with using it.

If your development and production environments don’t match you can easily get tripped up when the time comes to deploy to the live server. It’s not too uncommon for developers to find themselves working with one version of PHP and using another in an app or website’s final destination. If you use Composer to manage PHP packages it would be nice to be able to take this into account to avoid any nasty surprises post deployment. Thankfully Composer has this covered.