advice on learning php

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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have been working with php here and there making small edit's but after attempting to learn the language further writing my own code and reading tutorials, i am still having trouble getting a grasp of the whole thing. I know this is a wax on wax off skill, so what i am asking is what could be something that could be suggested to start off with.

Any help would be much appreciated.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Honestly, I'd suggest starting with a newer language such as Python or Ruby.

With regards to PHP, what books and online resources have you been teaching yourself from?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

been reading the w3school web site along with similar ones, what got be started on php was TbSource. Just editing mods in and from that it was just the holy grail to start learning.

Been working with simple code but just does not mater how much i read or trail and error the code i just end up throwing my keyboard out the window and into my pool.

I have heard of python but i am not sure how much use it could be in web development as my aim for learning PHP and Mysql is for web applications.

My next option would be text book learning, as i am still having a issue learning from the tutorial sites. Thanks for a reply :)
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Do you have any prior programming experience or are you just starting out (e.g. is PHP your first language)?

Both Python and Ruby are very well suited for web development, in many cases much more so than PHP.

Two threads you might want to check out:
programming-forum/brief-comparison-server-side-scripting-langauges-t90248.html
programming-forum/php-resources-for-tutorials-books-script-archives-etc-t20713.html

Both are a bit dated so some of the links may no longer be relevant. [Note to self, should update those topics..]
  • PolishHurricane
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I would highly suggest sticking with PHP if you can, but if it's really that hard, spork is right on recommending Python or Ruby as alternative server-side languages. You may want to try creating a lot of test scripts or attempting to use the language for developing something you need. I found that helps quite a bit while learning a new language, instead of sitting there reading text books. Sadly there's a lot of PHP text books that are garbage, I've actually given some away that I stupidly purchased.

spork wrote:
Honestly, I'd suggest starting with a newer language such as Python or Ruby.


They do make good alternatives, but as for them being newer languages though... Python appeared in like the late 80's, and PHP & Ruby both around 1995ish. Too many people knock on PHP thinking Python and Ruby are these mystical new and epic languages when it comes to web development. I'll admit they have some things going for them, but while all 3 languages are general purpose languages, PHP has another thing going for it, it was originally designed for web development and while it can be used for other things, it is more specifically made just for web development. Also, PHP is improved in many ways all the time. The few things that some developers criticize PHP for, are being or have been removed/improved in the language over the past few years.

While I don't hate Python or Ruby, because in my opinion adding more tools to the toolbox is a good thing, PHP is by far a much better web programming language. It's clearly also pretty high on the popularity list: http://www.tiobe.com/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The problem with PHP is its inconsistencies. PHP never had a clear direction, and so features and fixes were simply piled on top of each other as the language developed. For example, there's no consistent naming conventions in its API, and so unless you've done extensive development in it, one constantly has to look up function names, argument order, etc. It gets to be a pain.

I don't want to turn this into a PHP is good/bad thread, just thought I'd bring up the fact that there are other scripting languages out there, perfectly suited for web development, and arguably easier to pick up.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'd much rather prefear python over PHP but most servers are out of the box ready for PHP, while it might take a little more work to get them ready for Python or other languages. However, this has been changing lately. More hosts are offering python, and ruby support.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

They're both pretty ubiquitous nowadays, especially with the RoR crazy of the last few years.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Let's try not to turn this into a scripting language elitist thread now. :)

Toolbox, the only suggestion I can give you is to start a website about any topic you have even a basic understanding about. Start with a plain HTML site. Over time that website will create things for you to do. You'll find that periodic tasks begin to get repetitive leading to a desire to automate them. For instance one of the first things a lot of people end up wanting to learn how to do, is update some sort of navigation element on an entire site without needing to change every page on the site.

--

An easy way to jump start things is to start with a website template. For instance, Ozzu has CSS Website Templates for sale which are a decent starting point for someone to, well, basically create work for themselves really.

You have to start with a purpose for having a website. Once you have that purpose, you have to create a website which serves that purpose. Once you have a website which serves a purpose and generates things for you to do, you learn a scripting language to automate those things. You don't have to learn the whole language at one time, just enough to accomplish whatever task you have at the moment.

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