Searching the code for related posts I found two almost identical code snippets, the only difference being that one uses echo:
echo '<li><a href="' . get_permalink() . '" title="' . the_title_attribute() . '">' . the_title() . '</a></li>';
and the other does not:
<li> <a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" title="<?php the_title_attribute() ?>"> <h4><?php the_title() ?></h4></a> </li>
Personally, I understand the second version (which mixes html with php) better, but I suspect, WP being what it is (always preferring php over html), that the first version may be the official way of doing things.
Is there are any preferred way of doing things in this case? And if yes why?