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Best Practices: PHP Coding Style

by: Tim Perdue
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January 3, 2001

One of PHP's greatest strengths can also be a great weakness in the wrong hands. I'm talking about its forgiving nature. One of the reasons why PHP has become so wildly popular is because it lets very inexperienced web developers build powerful applications without much planning, consistency, or documentation.
Unfortunately, that means an awful lot of PHP code out there is sloppy, hard to read and impossible to maintain. I know because I've written a lot of it ;-).
To address this and a lot of other issues, a number of the core PHP developers and community members got together and started the PEAR Project, which stands for PHP Extension and Add-on Repository. To date, the docs and other fruit from the PEAR project have been pretty sparse and difficult to follow, so this article is an attempt to shed some light on what they're doing.
A pretty huge part of maintainability of code is how it is formatted and commented. All code throughout a given project should be formatted the same way. I'm a pretty big stickler about this in the SourceForge codebase and you should be too.

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