What are getters and setters and why are they important?
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
$userName variable by hand you could end up with results as such:
"", etc. With a setter you can not only adjust the value, for example,
ucfirst($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.