View Full Version : How did you learn PHP

Jon W
01-11-2008, 12:54 AM
Yup, the title says it all. How did you learn PHP?

Was it by studying or did you just go to school for it? Or if you haven't learned it and still learning it, how are you going about in doing it? This is to help me to go about taking a better approach an learning it. So far I'm having a pretty hard time learning it by viewing website, and I think thats because I'm more of a hands on type person, so if you have any suggestions that would be wonderful.

Jon W

01-11-2008, 01:00 AM
The majority of my learning for years was hands on, after work, pulling apart others' applications. Same way i learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript... Learning on your own is the best way to go. If you screw something up, it'll stick that much better.

I can remember my elation the first time I successfully saved a form submission to a text file, one field per line, and then was able to recall the info and edit it. What a day that was...

In fact, I can still remember when PHP3 came out because everyone thought it was clever to start naming their files with a .php3 extension to indicate the newer functionality.

Jon W
01-11-2008, 01:10 AM
Thanks for your post. It was truely helpful. But I'm still in a 'Where do I start' mind set. I mean learning HTML and CSS was pretty easy by far. No more then common sense was all you need, but now when I got into PHP it was a whole new world of coding. So many things to learn, where can and should I start. And I mean as far as starting, should I first start making logins for a website, or should I start making submissions to a database, or what.

Jon W

A.F.K for abit, I will read when I get back. (Going to get cleaned up).

01-11-2008, 01:33 AM
If PHP is your first programming language, then you'll probably want to take a class. Community colleges usually offer night classes to the public for not very much money, and the class doesn't have to be specific to PHP, just a general "programming" class. When learning entirely new concepts, it's very valuable to have a teacher standing in front of you answering your questions, helping you set the ideas into concrete.

Jon W
01-11-2008, 02:13 AM
Well, if HTML and CSS is not considered a programing language, then yes this would be my first programing language. But I'm pretty sure HTML and CSS is a programing language. Really right now my only options to learning PHP is learning off the internet. We have a IVY Tech here in town, but they don't offer programing classes here in town. And with me only being 19 with no car or job its kinda hard for me to go out of town. I learnt coding HTML by a friend, he was very help and once I got the idea of it, I just picked up from there. CSS was kind of a side script that I learnt while coding HTML. PHP was the next script I wanted to learn because then I can make database driven sites. I just need the basic understanding of the script really to get me started. Then its just all about getting my hands dirty and messing around with it before I'm good and knowledge in it. Though I have a feeling that PHP is going to be much more difficult to learn. The point of this post is that I want to hear from other programmers how they got their start with coding PHP. That way I have a few option on how I want to start programming and what is best for me. Like I said I'm more of a hands on type person, so telling me to go to a website isn't going to really help. Give me ideas of what I can start making with PHP....

Thanks Jon W

01-11-2008, 03:38 AM
I should probably add that I did Perl for about 5-6 months before discovering PHP... at which point I dropped Perl like a hot potato.

Jon W
01-11-2008, 03:47 AM
Ahh... I've never messed around with Perl. What is it for?

Also I was wondering if there was someone that I could add possible you (kbluhm) on Yahoo! that would be willing to help me out as far as answering some of the sample question that I have.

Its always nice to have someone that knows what their doing to help ya out.

Thanks Jon W

01-11-2008, 04:04 AM
I learned by reading some books. I find it hard to learn things off the interent. I'd much rather read from a book then a screen :)

When I first started, I knew the basic concepts (like what if/else, while, functions were etc - from learning Javascript beforehand) but I had the same problem as you, I didn't know where to start. So I bought a book showing how some common applications were made. I found it REALLY helpful. I picked them apart until I fully understood how everything was done and with that I was able to figure out how to apply or use a new strategy with a different script.

I also bought a book that is really close to the PHP manual, but offers very good descriptions and examples, that also helped me out a great deal too :)

Here are the 2 books I've purchased if you're interested.
PHP and MySQL Every Day Apps for Dummies - Janet Valade (http://books.google.ca/books?id=ArvCAAAACAAJ&dq=Janet+Valade&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.ca/search?q=Janet+Valade&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&sa=X&oi=print&ct=result&cd=3&cad=author-navigational)
PHP 5 & MySQL - Jason W.Gilmore (http://books.google.ca/books?id=ArvCAAAACAAJ&dq=Janet+Valade&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.ca/search?q=Janet+Valade&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&sa=X&oi=print&ct=result&cd=3&cad=author-navigational)

If you look around you can probably find a good deal. I got the second book for $35 with tax & shipping.

And if you'd like you could add me to help you out. In fact, it'd probably help me out too. I'm far from the best but I'd say I'm pretty decent with PHP. If you're interested I'll PM you my email.

Hope this helped :)

01-11-2008, 04:13 AM
I learnt coding HTML by a friend, he was very help and once I got the idea of it, I just picked up from there.

Learning language from friend is different thing , someone who know to display a name in html , thinks as he knows html
But instead When we start building professional application for small HTML tag sometime we have to search in google. Similar with CSS

Actually HTML is not alone

HTML , DHTML , CSS , PHP ,Javascript , DOM , SQL ---

ALl these come together

Also I was wondering if there was someone that I could add possible you (kbluhm) on Yahoo! that would be willing to help me out as far as answering some of the sample question that I have.

You can use forums to ask question , every one has its own point of view , you can learn beter in forum.

Best option to learn PHP is to get a good Book and finish it
Then you can have the touch of evey command and then start building ur own sites

Intenet is good to find solution to a problem if u want to start , then either good teacher or a good book

01-11-2008, 05:29 AM
Well, if HTML and CSS is not considered a programing language, then yes this would be my first programing language. But I'm pretty sure HTML and CSS is a programing language. Really right now my only options to learning PHP is learning off the internet.

HTML is not a programming language is a murkup language, because you can;t say that you programming when you put title or format paragraphs to a document, :)
CSS is a stylling language, same reason.

Back to the question:

I'm programmer and I don't start with php, so how to learn php if is your first language is hard to say from my point of view.
To learn easy you must know how is better for you to learn?
1. you learn by your self
2. somebody must teach you
You can't learn somthing if you don't have to do something with what you learn. When I want php learn php, I start to build a site no matter that is only for my own.

Also your skill could be closer to other languages, perl, ruby, python or else, you must test, is better to be a good programmer in x then a bad programer in y just because a lot of people follow each other, :).

I learn php because I was forced to rework a lot of sites written in php, so, you don't want to know my opinion about it, :).
I love perl, but I also try ruby and python and any time a problem could be solved in x language faster, easy, simple and I understand x, I use it.

PS: forums is not a place to learn, is a place to improve what you learn, because you must have a specific question when you start a thread.

best regards

01-11-2008, 02:40 PM
For me it didn't start with learning PHP, i tried programming in qBasic long time ago. But then there was no internet around like it's now, so it was hard to understand more complex things. After i got broadband, immediately i started googleing for "what's new in this web design business" There was not many new things but there were many new tutorials on old things, especially PHP.

But, again i didn't start with PHP asap couse i followed w3schools advice which stated, required knowledge "HTML/XHTML" and some scripting language. Learning HTML is not really learning, it's just realizing how web works. You have text, and tags that add some meaning to that text, and you have forms which you can use to communicate with user.

After a short period of time, and beeing a forum newbie i realized it's time to move to PHP- BUT again, i didn't know how, so i followed other people steps by installing PHP on my computer.

Apache was server recommended by other people so i installed it and setup PHP. Now I had my working enviroment, and it was cool...

Second step was learning and reading about PHP. And that part i done wrong. All i did was read, and read, and even more read tutorials, articles, PHP history, PHP manual and other. For half an year of reading i was wondering WHY i didn't learn anything, then it came to me! You stupid matak, why do you just read and ask about it, why don't you start and write that PHP.

HELLO WORLD, was the best code i ever wrote. Reading about PHP wasn't that useless couse i found The Best Programmers tool, Notepad++, and finaly i wrote

echo "Hello world";

i saved my text file to apache htdocs folder as test.php, and pointed my browser to localhost/test.php!

result was just fascinating! it was awesome, and i felt great. from that time i fell in love, and still am in love in PHP :) although sometimes it breaks my heart and my script, but WRITING PHP is KEY to learning it. i belive it's the same in any other programming language.

01-11-2008, 04:43 PM
I learned PHP by simply using some basic tutorials and by modifying them to work completely different really gave me an understanding as to what was going on. I think one thing as a n00b you'll have to learn is that there are a lot of different basic techniques that will you use over and over again to suite your needs. Such as using loops and arrays together.

It really started to come together once I purchased a book (Rasmus Lerdorf's Learning PHP 4) and I learned a few more different techniques.

I stumbled upon this link a few days ago and thought it would be good for someone new to programming but haven't had anyone new to confirm this for me.

01-11-2008, 04:59 PM
i learned it at home on my computer.. i never been to a school for that lol

01-11-2008, 06:56 PM
The problem with learning from a book and/or class is that you don't learn the necessary creative skills (a book less so, but still some). Many people that learn it that way can only write what they have been instructed to write. And it is easy for them to get stuck in this mindset.

Learning things on your own, while slow at first, teaches you a lot more about the language.

It's easy to buy a book. Read through it and do a few of the exercises and say, "I know PHP". But then once you sit down and start making your own site, you suddenly have all these questions. And the book is not answering them, because it is just telling you what the class would've told you.

Of course, we all have to start somewhere. And if you know no programming at all, it's hard to begin on your own. So in that case a book can be helpful. But it should not be used as instructions, but more of a starting point.

01-12-2008, 03:54 AM
There is a fantastic tutorial covering very thoroughly almost all the PHP you will ever use here: http://hudzilla.org/phpwiki/. It's great even if you've never programmed in your life. Plus is has a nice personal feel to it, like the author's voice as a person comes through in the writing, so it's more enjoyable to read anyway.

01-13-2008, 09:29 PM
I used Video Tutorials to learn, then moved on to text tutorials then books. It gave me more of an understanding of it, watching someone do it. For video tutorials http://www.phpvideotutorials.com/ is a good one, and http://php.about.com/ is ok for picking up some basic syntax and snippets.

Hope that helps.

~ Christian

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