Using __call() for Automatic Method Logging

PHP

I have found that time and time again, having good logging can be one of the most essential tools for developing and/or debugging something. It gives you a better insight into what is actually happening in your program. It lets you keep a history of how your program has been performing. It can give valuable debugging data in live environments where editing the code is generally a bad idea. Because of all of this, I try to log as much as I can.

One of the easiest things to do for logging is to simply log every function and/or method call. I’ll leave the details of creating an actual logging system for another time, but this often means going into each and every one of your method calls and adding something like Debug::log(); at the very least. Obviously, this can get very tedious and makes it very easy to simply forget to add in your logging call.

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Making A Collection With Magic Methods in PHP

PHP

A lot of PHP frameworks have something called “collections” (though, I’m sure some of them use a different term). Basically, these are special classes whose sole purpose is to hold a bunch of the same type of objects within it. They usually provide some extra functions for working with those objects and also a bit of data protection by making the contained objects themselves private or otherwise unavailable. A lot of this intrinsic functionality is provided by using magic methods.

I’m not going to cover every single bit of functionality that one might include in a respectable object collection class, but I would like to go over some neat tricks that you can pull off using magic methods.

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What the Shit are PHP Traits? An Introduction

PHP

With version 5.4.0 of PHP, came along something called traits. Granted, this is a fairly new version of PHP so there’s a good chance most developers won’t be using it on a live server for at least another 25 years, but it’s still good to learn about these kinds of things.

Similarly to extending classes with child classes, traits allow you to share code, functionality, and variables between objects. The difference here is that sharing code via classes only allows you to share vertically. That is, you have to create and use a strict hierarchy of classes if you want to share code with all of them. This often creates “pyramids” of classes where every class is based on some highly basic originating class. This structure can be fine, but it’s not always appropriate from a taxonomical perspective. Traits, on the other hand, allow you to share code horizontally, meaning that there doesn’t need to be any explicit relationship between the objects.

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