Jani Hartikainen's Blog: The "do X or die()" pattern must die
Jani Hartikainen has a suggestion for all PHP developers out there - stop using die() for handling errors!
What's the most common pattern for error handling you see in beginner's PHP code? - That's right, do_X() or die('do_X failed);. That's nice and all, as at least you have some sort of error handling, but I think this way of handling errors must go. There is no place for it in modern PHP code - it's the worst way to handle errors, not much better than not handling them at all.
He talks about why die() is so bad and some alternatives to it - trigger_error (with a custom error handler) and exceptions. When used correctly, these two can help your script correctly catch and handle errors without the mess of a die().