Shawn Stratton has a new post to his blog talking about a topic he calls "flame bait" - the use of accessors in PHP applications (getters and setters) to access class properties.
Objects have properties which sometimes need special logic on how they are retrieved and set. There are several solutions to this and everybody has a different view point about which is correct, none are pretty and all have drawbacks which range from writing extra code, creating something that has poor extensibility, or has issues with consistency. These don't even breach the issues with IDE code completion and analysis. Lets look at some of these solutions.
The solutions are the direct access to the class properties (which can cause some painful inconsistencies when things get complicated) and the alternative of setting up getters/setters for everything. Shawn's alternative makes use of the __get and __set magic methods to catch the property values being set and handle them correctly, developers being none the wiser.