View Full Version : Advice Please

06-10-2004, 12:39 AM
Hi guys, I haven't posted here before so "hello" to everyone.

I am based in Nottingham in the UK and I really would like to learn php, but here is my problem:

1. There are no courses for php, indeed I am struggling to find one even on perl or C.

2. I have read a couple of php books ("Sams" and "Dummies Guide"), and i'm picking bits and pieces up but not really getting to grips with it.

The main problem is, i'm not a programmer and i don't know how to apply the logic as a programmer would.

I'm not too hot on books with no practical application...I'm more of a class kinda person...lol.

I'm doing my best and reading all I can but progress is very slow.

Could anyone suggest a good book to start with?

Does anyone know of any courses near my area?

If there a right and wrong way to learn php?

Do I need to be learning another programming language first?

Thanks for listening guys and keep up the good work.

Kind regards,


06-10-2004, 01:15 AM
The only thing you need to start learning is to pick something you would like to do with PHP.

Check your mail
build a guestbook
build a todo list


Then just start asking questions here or take a look at some of the stickies direct at newcomers.

06-10-2004, 01:19 AM
Well, first of all, PHP is a web based language.You really cannot create a PHP website without having a strong base. That base is called HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language. You may want to work for a while with HTML, and then move onto XHTML. Learn CSS and how to apply it in HTML. This will get you a great base for the basic design of a webpage. Another thing you may want to do is get started in graphic design. Half of your day, work on code, the other half, do graphic design. This way, you can get wonderful looking webpages. Then it is time to start with PHP and server side scripts. After that, I would recommend learning Flash to get stunning webpages. By then, your will have probably spent about 3-4 years learning this languages :D

Good luck! :thumbsup:

BTW, when you get to PHP, you will need to check out PHP.net. It is better than any book you can get. Another thing, with HTML, when you begin learning it, learn how to code to the W3C standards, which you can find at www.w3.org
This will make everything a LOT easier later on ;)

06-10-2004, 02:10 AM
You can safely ignore most of the posting above - learning XHTML won't help you learning PHP, and neither will the w3c specs.

And you don't need to learn another programming language before delving into PHP, it's fine to start with PHP, though if your aim was just to learn any programming language, I wouldn't exactly recommend PHP. Too much hassle to set up the environment (server, module, database etc.).

Which leads me to the question how you would describe your current skill level? What concepts do you know, and with which do you struggle right now? If you could give us a short list of "I understand A, B, C, and my brain is on strike with D, E, F" it would enable us to give you more specific advice.

Regarding books, I learnt PHP from a book whose publisher has gone bancrupt long time ago, and the content would be severely outdated by now. At the time it was helpful though. Observe two things before buying a book: Only buy recent material. PHP is a fast-changing language. And personally, I can't stand those cheap "dummies" books. Often they leave out important infos for the sake of perceived simplicity, but if you get stuck in a particular problem, you will be thankful for any detailed example your book will give you. I'd rather look for books of publishers like O'Reilly, Addison-Wesley, New Riders... usually they are more expensive, but much more worth the money.

Learning to program can be a slow and painful process, but don't fear to walk slowly. Start with simple things and ask questions (no matter how stupid they may seem to you - you might have found a buggy concept in PHP!) on this forum if you get stuck. If you want, you can check these links to articles on how to be a programmer in a more general way, probably useful sometime later, or maybe now to get a little inspiration/motivation:


Good luck!

06-10-2004, 02:14 AM
The book I used to learn is "PHP By Example" by Toby Butzon....really helped me a lot. Then, codingforums :) and www.php.net helped me the most.

06-12-2004, 10:25 AM
Hi Guys....thanks for the replies.

Let's see, my current skill level....

Well, I'am, actually a graphic designer, infact I manage a graphics studio
I am fully skilled in all aspects of graphic deisgn and have created my own large website from scratch using dreamweaver so html isn't a problem.

The site which I own (and I haven't mentioned by name because I don't want to appear like i'm promoting my site here) was php scripted by another guy and there some pretty complicated scripts such as "searches", "validations", "chatrooms" and "forums" plus many more...

The problem is, I don't have total control over my site and the guy helping has family commitments which he has to attend to.

To be honest as time has gone by I've become more and more interested in the programming of my site....which is why i'm desperate to learn php for myself. Having total control to create new and dynamic pages is very fulfilling.

BUT, of course I believe i'm "programming iliterate"...lol. Saying that I have learnt alot, but i'm hoping with some help and guidance I will of course become better to become a complete alrounder.

In some people's eyes such as colleges, php is still relatively young which means that good course are still quite difficult to come by.

So thanks for listening...and any sound advice would be sooooo appreciated.

Kind regards,


06-12-2004, 03:06 PM
I'm in the USA, so I'm not sure what kind of advice I can give you regarding local things.

Not to plug, but you could go like here (http://www.the-pit.net/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi) and ask your question as well. From my experience there aren't a lot of courses ANYWHERE on PHP, and that board has a lot of Englanders, so you might be able to get some 1 on 1 instruction?

As mentioned previously, the very best way to learn PHP is to start writing it! I have at least a half dozen PHP books, but I've consistently relied upon php.net (http://www.php.net), google (http://www.google.com), and PHPBuilder (http://www.phpbuilder.net). I come to this forum when I get a REALLY REALLY hard php question :D

Start by writing a few, very small scripts. Build up the fundamentals. Write 5 or 10 scripts that JUST do some kinda silly loops. Then write another 5 or 10 that just do conditional statements. This way you build your knowledge/application of some of the fundamentals of programming logic.

Some ideas. Write a script that:

Plays "Guess the Number ... pick one from 1 to 100"
gets the number of characters in a sentence, and then prints out that number, that many times. (if the number were 17, it would print "17" to the screen 17 times)
Plays tic-tac-toe (this might be a hard one)
Write a guestbook. (I wrote a basic textbook in under 70 lines of code...that is pretty. *hint* use a simple text file!)
Modify guess the number so you can "Do you want to play again?" Use a Do-While loop


06-12-2004, 03:21 PM
Just to update on the pit url, the upto date version is here http://thepit.php-host.co.uk/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi

06-12-2004, 03:27 PM
Thanks Celtboy...I guess everyone has to start somewhere, and i think you're right...i need to start writing some simple scripts instead of just reading.

I'll let you know how it goes.

By the way, if anyone does have any info on some good books to start, please let me know.

Happy coding guys! :thumbsup:

06-12-2004, 03:32 PM
Just one other thing...

I don't put my site up because I don't believe in advertising in a help forum, so I hope the admin folks don't mind, but I am pretty proud of my site as it's come on such a long way so here goes.

http://www.soul-2-soul.com please feel free to take a look and any commnets are always appreciated.

I'm not touting for business - just thought some of you might be interested...Remember though, i haven't done any of the php.

Kind regards,


06-12-2004, 04:02 PM
Sorry, that really wasn't self promotion...my appologies...won't happen again