So, you’re about to build an entire web application in PHP. You’ve worked out how you’re going to do it, you’ve got a general idea what it’ll look like, maybe you’ve even chosen a framework (if you don’t have any to choose from, find some). Before you go any further, take a step back and run through this checklist.
- Plan. Do some design mockups, work out what functionality will go in what classes. You can never plan enough, and good planning can save you days of code rewriting later.
- Research. This is probably one of the most-forgotten areas of project planning. Chances are what you’re building has been done before, so do a bit of research on existing applications similar to yours. Consider any problems you may encounter and see how other applications handled these challenges. SourceForge is a great place to start.
- Future proof. Depending on your application, this might not be terribly important, but consider what technologies are being used at the moment and may start being used. This article has a few suggestions. For example, maybe in future you’ll add a microformat-export function, and your code needs to be structured differently to support that?
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Most developers I’ve seen simply don’t practice this enough. Sure, you’re using your framework for some common tasks, but many people assume they’ll need to write a lot of their own code for complex routines. Before you start, check out PEAR and PHP Classes.
- Set some timeframes and get into it! Now that you have a good idea of what you’re going to build, and how you’ll make it happen, set some goals and get coding!