How To Build Great PHP Applications

PHP is one of the most commonly used programming languages in website and web application development. That holds no dispute, whatsoever.

Building a great application is always what developers look forward to. If you are aware of the basics of the language and OOP (Object Oriented Programming), then it is easy, but yes, you do have to cover a lot of ground to cover.

For starting every project you need to have a goal in hand. Before diving into creating codes for the project, you have to create a road map. This would give you useful insights on where you are going, and where you will end up in. Suppose you are creating a basic PHP web application with user registration where they can log in and log out, with facility to update their settings, you need to create a map specifying all the details, including the process of doing it.

Next, you have to follow a Files and Folders structure to perform the operations your web application requires. User class, User Tools and the database class (where you do the coding), files your users will be navigating around must all be created. This will all be done within a “directory structure”.

To continue with your project, you must have a MySQL installed on the server. After you build the backend, and the front end, you need to test your application for its performance, reliability and scalability.

Once you are aware of the basics of PHP, you can work towards making great applications. Perhaps, you can write your own script, or make use of widely available scripts. Here are some incredible ways in which you can use the language to build great applications.

1) Choosing the right framework

The success to a great application lies in the framework you choose. Of course, it also depends on your experience level. For example, if you are an intermediate to advanced PHP coder, you can use either CodeIgniter or CakePHP. Both these frameworks are perfect for e-commerce applications.

They can be integrated with payment gateways like Paypal through ready-made scripts. They also have extensive documentation to help you build great apps from scratch.

2) An amazing array of graphs before you

The programming language comes equipped with a feature called Image_Graph wherein you can create 14 different types of charts for disseminating information in your website.

You have options in pie charts, bar graphs, impulse, dot/scatter, step, candlestick, box & whisker, radar and many more. If yours is an ecommerce website, this feature would let you present graphical data in an accurate and concise manner.

3) It comes with an amazing GD library

This language comes equipped with a very good GD library that lets you output images in so many different file types. You can include a number of image related features in your website including resizing and cropping images, creating a photo gallery, thumbnail pictures and even add watermarks.

4) Security

How can an app be great without it being secure? One of the benefits of using this programming language is the security feature provided along with it. You can also make use of the various PHP features so you can plug the security holes before releasing the app.

There are a number of ways and ideas through which you can increase the security of the app, and be aware of areas where the threat could be serious, like Cross-site scripting, for instance.

5) Keeping in touch with your clients

Clients like to be pampered, though they pretend not to be. This is why every good website has mailing lists. PHP online documentation contains complete information on how to create mailing lists. You can download the scripts for your website and just use them.

6) Access to various cloud applications

PHP operates on the common LAMP stack, and you can deploy your app on several cloud server platforms like Heroku, Google Cloud, IBM BlueMix, Laravel Forge, Envoyer, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. All these platforms are excellent solutions when you need to scale your app quickly.

7) Parsing XML files

PHP5 is a remarkable version of PHP because it lets you parse XML files. An important feature, because this is something not all the browsers will be able to do, especially in spewing out the contents of an XML file.

XML plays an important role in RSS feeds, for rendering data on different devices and for data storage as well. The steps for parsing XML files in PHP would be similar to opening, closing and reading of a file – create an XML parser, write the functions to open and close files, open the file, handle it, and finally, close it.

8) When there is an online community

App users would like to get connected through forums. This enables them to discuss any doubts they might be facing while using your product. These forums can also be used for clearing technical hitches users face.

These communities are almost like an after sales support, but definitely offers plenty more. Having a good and active community can reduce your workload greatly. Of course, you can choose from among several PHP-driven online community or you can build your own forms scratch.

9) Facebook makes it special

Facebook integration is a must when you have a website, because that’s one of the sure fire ways to win people for life.

If you already have a Facebook application developed with another language, and you have decided to shift to PHP, you can always convert. Just learn the steps on how to install Facebook PHP client library, and the files to be included.

10) Downloading PDF files

A great application makes everything possible to the user. If you have to share something, say marketing material in PDF format, an HTML generated invoice also in PDF format or an e-book through PDF file download, then you need to configure it. Developers use PDFLiB to generate PDF files with PHP.

Conclusion

You can create amazing web applications using the above mentioned methods. The language has been around for more than 2 decades, and over the years it has evolved greatly, become the most trusted, tested and proven method for creating successful apps.

Being platform independent, and its feature of supporting all servers, and using its own memory your apps will be opened anywhere, possess fast processing speed and reduces web development time, especially in eCommerce or CRM web apps.

Interesting Articles:
How to become a better PHP Developer
10 tips for building PHP solutions

Flickr.com / Felix / Photostream


About the author: Reema works as Thought Leader at PHPBabu.

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