10 Things You Can Do to Become a Better PHP Developer

10 Things You Can Do to Become a Better PHP Developer

PHP is probably the most popular web development language right now. At least 20 million domains use PHP and it’s the language used on major sites such as Wikipedia and Facebook as well as in some of the world’s biggest open source projects like WordPress and Drupal.

In this article, I’ll share with you ten things I wish I was told when I was just getting started with PHP development, and I’m hoping you’ll be able to learn a thing or two if you’re just taking your first steps into this awesome web development language.

1. Use PHP Core Functions and Classes

If you’re trying to do something that seems fairly common, chances are, there’s already a PHP function or class that you can take advantage of. Always check out the PHP manual before creating your own functions. There’s no need to create a function to remove the white space at the beginning and at the end of a string when you can just use the trim() function. Why build an XML parser for RSS feeds when you can take advantage of PHP’s XML Parser functions (such as xml_parse_into_struct)?

2. Create a Configuration File

Instead of having your database connection settings scattered everywhere, why not just create one master file that contains its settings, and then include it in your PHP scripts? If you need to change details later on, you can do it in one file instead of several files. This is also very useful when you need to use other constants and functions throughout multiple scripts.

Using a config file is a popular web application pattern that makes your code more modular and easier to maintain.

3. Always Sanitize Data That Will Go into Your Database

SQL injections are more common that you may think, and unless you want a big headache later on, sanitizing your database inputs is the only way to get rid of the problem. The first thing you should do is learn about popular ways your app can be compromised and get a good understanding of what SQL injections are; read about examples of SQL injection attacks and check out this SQL injection cheat sheet.

Luckily, there’s a PHP function that can help make a big heap of the problem go away: mysql_real_escape_string. mysql_real_escape_string will take a regular string (learn about data types through this PHP variables guide) and sanitize it for you. If you use the function together with htmlspecialchars, which converts reserved HTML characters (like <script> becomes &lt;script&gt;), not only will your database be protected, but you’ll also safeguard your app against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks when rendering user-submitted HTML (such as those posted in comments or forum threads).

4. Leave Error Reporting Turned On in Development Stage

Looking at the PHP White Screen of Death is never helpful except for knowing something is definitely wrong. When building your application, leave error_reporting and display_errors turned on to see run-time errors that will help you quickly identify where errors are coming from.

You can set up these run-time configurations in your server’s php.ini file or, if you don’t have access to override the directives in this file, set them on top of your PHP scripts (using the ini_set() function to set display_errors to 1, but it has its limitations when done this way).

The reason behind turning on error reporting is quite simple — the sooner you know about your errors, the faster you can fix them. You might not care about the warning messages that PHP might give you, but even those usually signal towards a memory-related issue that you can take care of. When you’re done building out your application, turn error_reporting and display_errors off or set their values to a production-ready level.

5. Don’t Over-Comment Your Code

Proper documentation of your code through comments in your scripts is definitely a good practice, but is it really necessary to comment every single line? Probably not. Comment the complicated parts of your source code so that when you revisit it later you’ll quickly remember what’s going, but don’t comment simple things such as your MySQL connection code. Good code is self-explanatory most of the time.

Good Example of Commenting

	$hostname = "localhost";
	$username = "";
	$password = "";
	$dbname = "";
	$connectionStatus = mysql_connect($hostname, $username, $password) or die(mysql_error());
	$selectionStatus = mysql_select_db($dbname) or die(mysql_error());


Bad Example of Commenting

	$hostname = "localhost"; // Hostname
	$username = ""; // Username 
	$password = ""; // Password
	$dbname = ""; // Database name
	// Connect to the database or display an error
	$connectionStatus = mysql_connect($hostname, $username, $password) or die(mysql_error());
    // Select our database here	
    $selectionStatus = mysql_select_db($dbname) or die(mysql_error());


6. Keep Favorite Code Snippets Handy

You’ll be coding a lot of the same things throughout your PHP development career, and keeping code snippets always available will help you save a lot of time. There are several apps that can keep and sync your code snippet collection for you, so no matter where you are, you can always have your snippets available. Some apps you can use to corral your code snippets are Snippet, snippely, Code Collector, and Snipplr (web-based).

Most integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Eclipse (which can store code templates) and Dreamweaver (via the Snippets Panel) may have built-in features for storing code snippets.

Even a simple and well-organized directory called snippets that contain text files (or PHP scripts) — and possibly synced in the cloud using an app like Dropbox if you use multiple computers — can do the trick.

7. Use a Good Source Editor to Save You Time

Your editor is where you’ll spend the majority of your time, so you want to use something that helps you save time. Syntax highlighting is a must and definitely something you should be looking for as a software feature. Other bonuses include code hinting, code navigation and built-in debugging tools. All of these features can end up saving you massive amounts of time. An example of a source code editor/IDE for PHP is phpDesigner.

Use a Good Source Editor to Save You Time

Take the time to get familiar with your source code editor’s features by reading the documentation and reading tutorials online. A bit of time investment in this arena can really streamline your coding workflow.

Check out this list of source code editors for developers as well as this list of free text editors for coders to discover popular code-editing applications.

8. Use a MySQL Administration Tool (Like phpMyAdmin)

I know some crazy hard-core developers who like working with MySQL (the popular Database Management System pairing for PHP) via command line, which, to me, is inefficient and just, well, crazy. It’s a good thing to know how to administer your MySQL database using mysqladmin, but afterwards, you should use a graphical user interface like phpMyAdmin to speed up database development and administration.

Use a Good Source Editor to Save You Time

phpMyAdmin, in particular, is an excellent open source database viewer/manager that allows you to view your MySQL databases graphically so that you don’t have to waste time doing things via the command line. You can quickly build databases and their tables, export your databases into SQL files, run SQL queries, optimize tables, check for issues, create MySQL database users and set up their privileges quickly, and much more. There is a good chance your web host already has phpMyAdmin installed, and if not, it only takes minutes to install.

Check out this list of the best MySQL database management tools and this list of MySQL apps for alternatives to phpMyAdmin.

9. Use a PHP Framework

It took me a really long time to accept the fact that using a web application development/rapid application development framework would help me out. You have a small learning curve in the beginning, and there will be a lot of reading to do to learn how the API of the framework works, but you get amazing productivity and efficiency benefits later. Using a framework forces you to use better web development patterns that you might not be using right now.

Using a PHP framework pays off big time when you have to share your code with others later on or when you have to work together with someone; it gives you a standardized platform for building web applications. I learned the importance of this the hard way when I had to start hiring other developers.


Some popular PHP frameworks are CakePHP, CodeIgniter, symfony, and Zend.

10. Connect with Other PHP Developers

You don’t know it all. And even if you think you do, there are thousands of others out there that know how to do something better than you do. Join a PHP community like PHPDeveloper and interact with others. By connecting with other developers, you’ll learn better ways of doing the things you’re currently doing.

Related Content

About the Author

Raphael Caixeta is a PHP and iOS developer and co-founder of Grip’d. He likes to blog about web and iOS development at If you’d like to connect with him, you can follow him on Twitter @raphaelcaixeta and add him on Facebook (raphaelcaixeta).

This was published on Jan 14, 2011


Daniel H Pavey Jan 14 2011

Nice list of tips for beginners.

You were lucky to be told these, I had to work most of them out myself!!

Mukesh Jan 14 2011

Great Info. Happy PHPing! :)

Fix The Sky Jan 14 2011

Very useful article. – I know a lot of front end designers are reluctant to take a step into developing, but I’ve found PHP to be a lot less daunting than it seems.

Tomasz Kowalczyk Jan 14 2011

Great article! I think that #10 is most important – no one will keep you updated better than your friends doing the same. Everyone reads some RSS channels, and inform everyone else what he has found interesting. ;]

Vivek Parmar Jan 14 2011

Thanks for such a informative post. I’m new to PHP and this post help me to become a better PHP developer

Jacob Gube Jan 14 2011

I love this, so spot on; I wish I knew these when I first started out as well.

– Definitely study the PHP manual, you’d be surprised at how many functions and classes come with core. You don’t have to memorize the manual; but whenever you think of writing something to solve a task that you know a lot of sites must have already gone through before, your first instinct should be to Google and see if there’s already a function or native extension for it. Core has most of the things you’ll need to solve common web development tasks.
– Don’t over-comment code: instead, write expressive code and use a good code formatting standards (and if you don’t want to develop one of your own, use something like PEAR’s coding standards). But it’s easy to get caught up with the semantics of coding standards, so function over form, whether it’s web design or PHP development.
– Config file keeps your work tidy and easily maintainable.
– Keep code snippets for sure. But today, my code snippets are PHP classes; if it’s something I reuse more than once (like MySQL db connection), I’ll write a class for it.
– If you don’t have error reporting set up while you’re in development, you are wasting your time, especially if you’re a beginner. You will learn a lot about how PHP works by learning about the errors you make.
– A good source editor will make your life easier.
– Use phpMyAdmin (after you learn how to administer MySQL through the CL). Personally, I’m a visual person, so it’s hard to envision a table structure without actually seeing the tables and columns. And the CL is prone to mistakes if you haven’t had enough caffeine in your system yet. But using mysqladmin through the command line is good, fundamental knowledge.

My other tips outside of the ones Raphael listed:
– Use PHP classes; it can take a bit of time to really grok how they work, but once you learn it, it makes creating reusable and flexible code easier.
– If you have to write it more than once, use include() and write that block in a PHP script. Don’t overdo it though, it’s good to have a functions.php file where you put collections of small utility functions into.
– Develop locally using a server package like XAMMP (here’s my tutorial for that) or WampServer (here’s the tutorial for that). It’s faster than FTPing your files to the server, it’s safer, and it’s best practice to develop offline. Plus, if you have multiple apps or domains on the same server, you won’t have to worry about taking them all down due to some bad script.
– Learn about PHP patterns.

Jogi Silalahi Jan 14 2011

thanks for the article. trying to be a good php developer. \m/

Keir Davis Jan 14 2011

This is a great list. I think you should have added Code Barrel ( to the list of snippet managers in #6. It has an Eclipse plugin that works with Eclipse-based IDE’s, like Zend Studio, which is a great PHP IDE.

Prasad Prabhu Jan 14 2011

very nice article and very apt for me since I am in my early of learning and developing web apps. Thanks. :)
Please do share you PHP experiences in more blog posts, will be waiting for that.

Jacob Gube Jan 14 2011

@Prasad Prabhu: We could possibly do a follow-up on this, with more tips. I mean, these are probably 10 things out of hundreds that Raphael could’ve to shared! :)

And not to put Raphael on the spot, but I’m also interested in reading about his iOS experience!

And to others: If you have other tips you had to learn the hard way and wished you knew someone told you when you were first starting out, please share here in the comments!

One more tip: I find print_r(), echo and var_dump() to be very rudimentary, but very helpful, tools for debugging your scripts. They are the equivalent of alert() in JS, before you discover debugging tools like Firebug.

DaveD Jan 14 2011

I’m not a huge PHP guy. I did some stuff back in the day and my most recent work was a WordPress blog, but I gotta ask: Is mysql_real_escape_string really the best way? It’s easy to forget to get something quoted and lots of people will not do it on a field they “know” is just an integer. Most of the problems I’ve seen are of that nature.

Though I’ve not used it, isn’t the mysqli extension a better way? It supports placeholders as I understand it and that always seems a better thing to me. That way you never forget to quote something.

I agree with most parts of your article, but sanitizing data only via: mysql_real_escape_string() does not protect you from sql-injection! It only adds a backslash before special characters like: ” or ‘
But for numeric values you don’t need these characters, so you can write stuff like:
…&id=1 UNION … and so on and inject your own code into the query…
if you’re not going to use a framework, i suggest you use Prepared Statements, then you’re safe. =)


Jacob Gube Jan 14 2011

mysql_escape_string() isn’t the only thing you should do to sanitize data, but, as the author states, it does protect you from a lot of the potential security vulnerabilities. So is it the best way? No, the best way is to learn about SQL injections and use a combination of methods (or use a pre-built security class if you’re not comfortable with this).

keithics Jan 14 2011

PHP Designer is an unrated PHP Editor, I just want every PHP developer to try it for a couple of days and see how good the product is.

Lasix Jan 14 2011

always check your input data on type matching. for example, you need “int”-type – ‘intval()’ function is your best choice!

Young Jan 14 2011

Very nice list! If you’re a budding PHP developer, everything on this list is something you’re going to google sooner or later. I’m with Jacob that my snippets are now classes – I’ve coded some large sites procedurally and smacked myself in the head later when I discovered the beauty of encapsulated OOP.

@Alex: I agree with you in that if you are going to talk about SQL injections, you should mention prepared statements and not just mysql_escape_string(). I read somewhere that even then you’re not completely safe…

@DaveD: I think PDO statements are the way to go to protect against injections. I’ve found that MySQLi extension is rarely supported on shared hosting.

Proficiency in MVC and its patterns is probably my next hurdle. For someone who started with front-end languages, the idea of view controllers is really counterintuitive… Teaching myself some iOS development has been helping me a lot to understand, since you’re forced to use the MVC architecture for it.

Good basic advice. I love the part about over-commenting code. Finding any comments are hard enough, getting to the point where you’re in danger of over-commenting must mean you’re close to reaching the mountain top.

mario Jan 14 2011

That’s definitely one of the few good recommendation lists. I’m still divided on the frameworks though, as getting to know it doesn’t often offset the time savings.

@DaveD: Indeed. Parameterized queries are the way to go. While proper escaping works, the problem is that it’s too easy to overlook or forget. There’s however a usability problem with bound parameters and some query types, and due to lack of nice wrapper APIs (for PDO or mysqli) many PHP developers clinch to the outdated escaping methodology.

Richard Smaizys Jan 14 2011

In addition, you need to not only over comment your code, but also to keep up with rules that help you maintain and write better code. I think that usually bad code writing habits make programmers worse than programmers who just creates bad structured website and etc. By the way, you can find a blog entry about how to improve your code style writing at my blog –

By the way there are filter_input() functions in PHP core which you might be interested.

Breklin Jan 14 2011

For the money, Navicat is hands-down the ultimate MySQL GUI. Saves tons of time. Automates backups and makes building a relational database a breeze. All for about a $100. Not bad.

Jeremy Hutchings Jan 14 2011

I thought of 10 in response to the sitepoints post that seem to of kicked a lot of it off :

As well as 10 things you can do to support PHP itself, give back to a language that has given us so much :

Thomas Jan 14 2011

1. use codeigniter (covers steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9).
2. use codeigniter documentation, stack overflow, and google (covers steps: 6, 10).
3. use eclipse ide
4. use a mysql admin (heidisql [win], sequel pro [mac])

you forgot to mention:
5. use a personal web server for local development (MAMP [mac], wamp [win])

WebTecker Jan 14 2011

I’m looking for a new IDE, how do you like phpDesigner?

Useful Tips! Thx!
To work with mysql I use “Toad for MySQL”. Its freeware tool from

appukuttan Jan 15 2011

Awesome post.. worth reading.. I alwyas thought it kinda hard. but this explains a lot :)

Daquan Wright Jan 15 2011

One thing I’ve recently realized with phpmyadmin is that you get the best of BOTH worlds. You have a gui that lets you be efficient and productive…but you can still write raw SQL code in the Query window if you prefer (I am for the purpose of learning SQL). To me that just makes phpmyadmin even better.

Glumbo Jan 15 2011

Great list, I learned a few new things. Glad that you mentioned Drupal, for such a great system it doesn’t have much exposure.

John Swaringen Jan 16 2011

If you’re a Windows programmer like me then a REALLY good code snippets manager is CodeBank:

Has syntax highlighting, a tree-view, and search-ability.

with prepared statements you should be safe, because the queries are precompiled.
here a guy asks at the end how he hacks prepared statements, answer: prepared statements are not vulnerable to sql injection:


ps.: if you’re not using prepared statements i agree with Jacob Gube to use a ready-to-use class such as the filter-class from zend for instance.

Andy Walpole Jan 16 2011

“Don’t Over-Comment Your Code”

I disagree. I’d rather see too many comments than too few. A lack of comments is more of a problem than an over-abundance.

Craig Jan 16 2011

I’d add another to the list – version your code.
You’ll need to do it in the future anyway.

Working regular, structured commits in to my work flow made me a much more disciplined coder.

Eric Bieller Jan 16 2011

Some pretty good, although basic tips. I also strongly suggest using a framework like CakePHP. It cuts down development time immensely and is well worth the taking time to learn how to use it.

I would also add that learning the ins and outs of class functions and OOP can really help. Check out pretty much everything you’ll need to know.

Don’t sanitize content before you put it into the database. Sanitize it on the way out.

Escape it on the way in.
Sanitize at runtime.

Cassiano Surek Jan 17 2011

Frameworks are pivotal for productivity and standardisation. We use and we love it. Choose one and stick to it until you know it very well.

Eclipse IDE (with any supporting PHP module) can also help you maintain your snippets.

Right after you address these 10 points, look into Test Driven Development (phpUnit et al) as it will perhaps be the natural evolution for a developer.

Kuboslav Jan 17 2011

Instead of phpMyAdmin try use

Jon Peterson Jan 17 2011

I would like to suggest an appendix to number 4.

Specifically, even in Live sites it is possible to access errors without confusing visitors, by using FirePHP (an extension/plugin for FireBug). You should check into it. You may find it worth adding to the article.

Reference link (scroll to “Error, Exception & Assertion Handling”):

Jacob Gube Jan 17 2011

@Jon Peterson: We were one of the first (and few) sites to cover FirePHP. Here’s our tutorial on FirePHP:

Chris Jokinen Jan 17 2011

I have to disagree with #9. Frameworks add a lot of bloat and are not the ideal solution in many cases. You may save yourself time but it come with a performance hit.

Anurup Jan 17 2011

The article is just amazing . Thank you so much

Petr Kropotkin Jan 17 2011

Excellent article. Might help me get more clients ;)

svbksocola Jan 17 2011

Thanks, good job. I can see many thing for myself from your article. ^^

Thomas Jan 17 2011

Nice article however I agree with alex. Use prepared statements and NOT mysql_real_escape_string if your database supports them.

Izzmo Jan 17 2011

Some of these are good, but the XML one is total crap. Anyone who has ever tried to use the XML Parser built-in to PHP knows that it sucks and you are just better off either building your own or only using bits and pieces of the XML parser.

Richard Smaizys Jan 17 2011

I suggest to understand and try simple plain PHP at first and not use a framework. Then you would have more knowledge about language itself and frameworks are made for productivity and simplicity, but I think that you must also understand how it’s written and what patterns or solutions are used for some functions or classes. So it’s very important to understand the basic PHP too – do not fully rely on one framework.

11. Do yourself a favor and switch to ASP.NET

Josema Jan 17 2011

That’s brilliant. Thanks for this article, it’s very useful for beginners in PHP

Haydar Jan 18 2011

One thing very important to me wasn’t listed here: Get know your environment! If you develop PHP applications and publish them to a Linux server, then learn how Linux works. If you use MySQL, then learn what the differences between the storage types are. etc..

I’ve seen so much times people having no idea about databases or the server system they’re using and solving, for example, permission problems with a chmod 777.

Gabriel Jan 18 2011

I agree that avoiding SQL injection is very important and would also recommend prepared statements for that task. Use PDO or an ORM like Doctrine.

I disagree with escaping using htmlspecialchars before putting content into that database. What if you want to output the contents as JSON or Email or CSV? Always escape for the specific format! When using SQL, escape with PDO, when printing HTMl, use htmlspecialchars, etc.

Ahonmisi Moses Jan 18 2011

Thanks so much for the article it is very helpful. thanks i want more it helps us to know it the easy way.

phazei Jan 18 2011

YiiFramework ( is also a really awesome framework, but has a higher learning curve so it’s less for the beginner.

Marcell Purham Jan 18 2011

Great advice! I am currently intermediate with php so these helped out alot.

Jahangir Hussain Jan 19 2011

There is application I use when doing coding, Coda, Snippely, and MySQL Admin. Very useful tips, thank you.

Hi Raphael!

Thanks for this article! Though I’m not a PHP developer, I think most of the points will generalise to other languages. Just a quick note though, I think your example of good commenting could be improved a bit. I agree with your statement to not over-comment. Usually working out WHAT is done is pretty easy, but working out WHY it was done is much harder. Something like the following might help (sorry if the formatting doesn’t come out right!!):


$hostname = “localhost”; // In the future this will be configurable, but for now it’s hard coded to save time.
$username = “”; // Set blank because we’re assuming no security.
$password = “”; // Same as for username, assuming no security.
$dbname = “”; // Set blank to use the master database.

For me, even though I don’t know much PHP I can still work out that it’s connecting to a database because of the names used. I just can’t see why all the parameters are set to blank/default values first. Hope that makes sense! :-)

nucreativa Jan 19 2011

thanks for the tips. very helpful. for point #8, I highly recommend SQLYog than PHPMyAdmin. and i use the Yii Framework, so far i thinks that Yii is the best php framework right now (for point #9)

Carlos Jan 19 2011

Great list, and the correct comented lines so much programmers or no comment anything or comment all!! thank you for your tips!

Thanks for this great packed of advices. I’m quite developing a project now, (for me to graduate) and i found it pretty much hard because of extreme coding (from structuring down to server side scripting). I’m familiar with framework too but decided not to use it for this time since i need to have a workaround with myself and fully familiarize the raw components of PHP. But i admit it’s really so tiring without framework. Maybe if chance to develop a web app for my prospect client later on, i would like to seek the help of framework. Thanks again.

ahkeno Jan 21 2011

Great Post!! Start join on PHP developer ..

JONxBLAZE Jan 21 2011

Great list!

I love the color scheme of the top picture (the editor black with colored text). What application is that a screen shot of?

Superub sharing.

stunt! Jan 28 2011

Nice job!

ossama Jan 28 2011

As a beginner php developer, i find this list helpful. But i don’t know which framework start learning, and it’s necessary to know about php oop first?

purencool Feb 04 2011

This article was a great check-list. One thing I would add is make sure that you keep up with new innovations an example is PDO connection layer.

tasarhane Feb 08 2011

great post.. thanks

laerte Feb 09 2011

compliments, great article.

Ritwik Feb 11 2011

Thanks. Your tips are very useful. But end of the day practice is the only thing which can help you to improve. Another thing which helps is to look at the codes of other experienced users.

abelbrain Feb 16 2011

its really great tutorials

For development with frameworks i suggest to use free PHP IDE – Codelobster PHP Edition (

Juan Mendes Mar 16 2011

Good pointers. Two things I would like to mention:

– I would never encourage people to put less comments. Some people may put in silly comments, but I prefer silly comments to a lack of documentation. I say always document every function, every parameter (maybe 95% of them). Inline comments usually get sprinkled every 8 to 10 lines of code as you suggested

– Like others have said. Don’t try to escape the SQL yourself, just use prepared statements.

David Ramirez Mar 30 2011

Thanks for posting – refreshing PHP makes me feel as a beginner, and there are some new tricks to learn always.

Jatin Apr 22 2011

I agree with Juan Mendes, use Prepared statements.
Use PDO (, it supports Prepared statements and stored procedures.

Brian Jun 03 2011

Good article, very informative.. Look at your image above – Over commenting :)

JSequeiros Jun 21 2011

Excelente articulo, lo tomare en cuenta

temon Jul 07 2011

great! I will try it… some of them is never for me :D

Rajeev Aug 08 2011

this is best method for became a good php developer


Milder Sep 08 2011

Excellent article for BOTH beginners and pros.

mukesh Sep 15 2011

which better .Net or PHP devloper please reply

traxex Sep 15 2011

How much is the salary of php programmer?

Great review. I recommend to use also good PHP IDE :)
I use Codelobster PHP Edition –
that have many plug-ins for all popular frameworks.

I can definitely recommend CakePHP as well – I’ve been using it for 3 years now and haven’t looked back.

samir Oct 21 2011

nice article for beginner.

sarmenhb Oct 27 2011

regarding #3 i recommend learning PDO for database santization. mysql_real_escape_string or any other function is not good enough. PDO is your solution.

i dont agree with #9 i guess its only ok if your going to be employed with an employer but other than that i think that using a php framework and having to learn it is a huge waste of time. I dont really see how much faster it can make my life. All i have to do is write a simple framework such as my most used classes , js scripts , stylesheets , and authentication page and group it all into one and use that everytime i build a site. So anyone when someone wants to customise something i dont have to go research through pages and pages of a frameworks documentation to see how something is done all i have to do is use core php to make something. Unless you know a php framework by heart as in second nature its a complete waste of time.

Agbitor Cosman Nov 25 2011

Thanks for this great article. I agree with sarmenhb on #9.

Tim Stamp Dec 07 2013

Thanks for the nice article, although like other readers I have to disagree with your recommendation to use mysql_* functions, which are deprecated in favour of mysqli and PDO.

@sarmenhb – the reason I use frameworks to build applications is so when other programmers come to work on my code, they already understand structurally how large parts of the application work, they don’t have to spend time reading through code to figure out what it does.

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