PHP frameworks such as CakePHP, Zend, CodeIgniter and many more (List of PHP Frameworks) have made lives considerably easier. Regardless if you are a PHP developer or one of the highly skilled PHP developers or even a part of a PHP development company, the tools you use have direct impact on productivity.
Below are some of the highly effective tools that help speed up the development process and improve the overall code quality significantly:
- Framework – is the most important tool that a PHP developer, PHP developers of a PHP development company could have in their tool box nowadays. The first kind of framework is Content Management System. PHP has plenty of good CMS projects that could be used. The second kind of framework that programmers of the platform should have in their toolbox is the more generic programming framework. These frameworks include CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Zend and Symfony.
- Version Control System – including SVN, CVS and Git and other options help keep the code in PHP development safe. The system that you choose will depend greatly on how you or the team works. You must make a research of the available options and work with a team to make choices such as central vs. distributed. Whatever your choice, you have to know a single framework well enough so when a project comes, you don’t waste a lot of time but could get a project up and running fast.
- ERD Tool – keeps everything straight. Tools such as MySQL Workbench help in visualizing the database structure. More costly tools such as ERWin provides you a lot of options for exporting and importing models and keeping the database model in synchronization with the actual database.
- Debugger – allows you to step through the code, stop the execution and check out the environment at any point. Debuggers are the best friend of developers and each developer must have one installed on the development server. I would a bonus point if you have a FireBug installed.
- Unit Testing tool – has proven its usefulness in the process of PHP development.As a professional developer, you must be familiar with the Unit testing concepts and the test driven development. Moreover, you should be able to identify when a testing is a good or bad idea.
Regardless if you are working on a personal project or working on a corporate database, the tools mentioned above could help you manage the development process. There are also open-source PHP optimizer, accelerator and dynamic content cache. It boosts the performance of the PHP scripts through caching them in a compiled state so the compiling overhead could almost be completely eliminated. One can make use of PHP for building dynamic sites and apps.