PSR-2 or how to be a better developer
In the PHP world the entire community was not so compact in the early days when it comes to the coding standards. The idea of having a coding standard is so hard to adopt to some of us and it is causing more trouble in the thinking process.
This is so evident when doing code reviews for example and can cause different useless talks inside the development team.
PHP Standard Requirements (PSR) is the the go to point for any kind of PHP developer. From my experience I can say that adopting a code standard like PSR-2 comes with multiple benefits. I will try to list them here:
- software maintenance; this is the main point and the most important one. If you do a search you can find that from the cost perspective between 40 and 80 percent of the lifetime cost of a software goes into maintenance and also the fact the hardly any software is maintained its whole life by the author.
- code quality; software development work involves reading a lot of code. Either writing code or code review involves reading the code and this should not be perceived as something difficult to do or more beautifully said, as something annoying.
- keep it simple; the complexity of a code structure is fighting against security in most cases. If you try to minimize the amount of code written during the project development you will also write less (hidden) bugs
- refactoring; when renaming a variable, renaming a method or breaking code in smaller parts it is called refactoring. When the code looks clean and ordered then the refactoring process goes easy and well.
- code language; every developer should know English. All the documentations regarding parts of some software are in English. The guy coding after you knows also English so for all of the reasons above the code language is connected with the software maintenance process and is bringing a plus to the readability of the code.
The PSR-2 conventions make a lot of sense for me at least in overall code improvement.
I read a lot of articles with talks about what is better, tab or spaces. For PSR-2 things are simple in my perspective: “Code MUST use an indent of 4 spaces, and MUST NOT use tabs for indenting.”.
Developers know that naming variables is the hardest thing to do so thinks like “Property names SHOULD NOT be prefixed with a single underscore to indicate protected or private visibility.” or like “Visibility MUST be declared on all properties.” are here to help.
“Closures MUST be declared with a space after the function keyword, and a space before and after the use keyword.” To check out all the conventions for the PSR-2 standard please visit this link
A great tool to have some automation in checking the code standards is PHP CodeSniffer. To install it you can do something like
apt install php-codesniffer
or if you have PEAR installed
pear install PHP_CodeSniffer
After installation you can use it from the console for example like this
phpcs --standard=PSR2 src/
Or you can set up your IDE to automatically check the coding standard using the phpcs.
Go ahead and be a better PHP developer
A good developer should follow a code standard. I am standing up for PSR-2 here but what code standard you should use it is up to you. The important thing is to have one and follow it strictly.
If you are a business owner or project owner talk with your developers about coding standards.
If you are a developer adopt a coding standard.