Question:

What are getters and setters and why are they important?

Answer:

Getters and setters are methods used to declare or obtain the values of variables, usually private ones. They are important because it allows for a central location that is able to handle data prior to declaring it or returning it to the developer. Within a getter or setter you are able to consistently handle data that will eventually be passed into a variable or additional functions. An example of this would be a user’s name. If you are not using a setter and just declaring the $userName variable by hand you could end up with results as such: "kevin""KEVIN""KeViN""", etc. With a setter you can not only adjust the value, for example, ucfirst($userName), but you can also handle situations where the data is not valid such as the example where "" is passed. The same applies to a getter – when the data is being returned, you can modify the results to include strtoupper($userName) for proper formatting further up the chain.

This is important for any developer who is looking to enter a team-based / application development job to know. Getters and setters are often used when dealing with objects, especially ones that will end up in a database or other storage medium. Because PHP is commonly used to build web applications you will run across getters and setters in more advanced environments, even as a junior developer. They are extremely powerful yet not talked about very much. You can really impress an interviewer by knowing what they are and how to use them early on.


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