I am a PHP developer and I have always thought that micro-optimizations are not worth the time. If you really need that extra performance, you would either write your software so that it's architecturally faster, or you write a C++ extension to handle slow tasks (or better yet, compile the code using HipHop). However, today a work mate told me that there is a big difference in
$array === (array) $array
and I was like "eh, that's a pointless comparison really", but he wouldn't agree with me.. and he is the best developer in our company and is taking charge of a website that does about 50 million SQL queries per day -- for instance. So, I am wondering here: could he be wrong or is micro-optimization really worth the time and when?
Micro-optimisation is worth it when you have evidence that you're optimising a bottleneck.
Usually it's not worth it - write the most readable code you can, and use realistic benchmarks to check the performance. If and when you find you've got a bottleneck, micro-optimise just that bit of code (measuring as you go). Sometimes a small amount of micro-optimisation can make a huge difference.
But don't micro-optimise all your code... it will end up being far harder to maintain, and you'll quite possibly find you've either missed the real bottleneck, or that your micro-optimisations are harming performance instead of helping.