How To Get Started Learning PHP Guide

I’m always trying to learn new things. I get bored easily. One item on my list of things to learn that I can cross off is PHP.
PHP makes developing a website so easy. Much easier than using a combination of Javascript/Java/HTMl/Hibernate that I used on one project. I always thought PHP was a scripting language like Javascript, but it’s not. It’s a real programming language like C/C++ or Java. Only it’s meant for the web. It’s also installed on the server, so you don’t have to worry if the user has it enabled, like with Javascript.

Here’s what I did to go about getting my programming environment set up and the resources I used to learn PHP.

The PHP development environment I used is:

WAMP server – This installs PHP/MySQL/Apache all in one bundle. Much easier than installing and configuring each individual piece. It also installs phpMyAdmin, which is useful to view/edit/query a database. There’s also an XAMPP server that I wish I had known about before installing WAMP. XAMPP is geared more towards developing and also includes a few extra pieces, such as PERL.

PHP Eclipse – Helios – This is the tool I used for developing with PHP. The debugger is a little tricky. You can also use Netbeans, which I kind of prefer, but Eclipse has a nice searching option. Debugging in Netbeans is much easier though.

To learn PHP programming, I used these resources: – This site offers online courses that run 6 weeks and have 12 lessons each. 2 lessons are released each week with a final exam released at the end. There is a discussion board where you can communicate with the professor and other class members. Each lesson has an assignment and quiz. Each course costs around $89. If you can afford it, it’s a good way to get started. They offer 2 PHP courses: Introduction to PHP and MySQL and Intermediate PHP and MySQL. The introduction course walks you through developing a recipe website. The intermediate course walks you through developing an online store. Taking these courses was easier, quicker and less expensive than going to an actual class at a college.

PHP and MySQL Web Developmentby Luke Welling, Laura Thomson – A must have. Good reference, very thick, great book. This is the book to get if you can only get one PHP book.

Programming PHP – O’Reillyby Rasmus Lerdorf, Kevin Tatroe and Peter MacIntyre – This is a good book to actually sit down and read through to get started learning PHP. Good reference, much shorter than the Welling/Thomson book.

PHP Solutions – Dynamic Web Design Made Easyby David Powers – Good reference for “how to do something” in PHP.

A few useful links: – PHP functions, manual – tutorials, examples – tutorials, examples – beginner tutorial – example to use as a baseline in creating a single sign on server, global login/registration site.

A few miscellaneous links: – Official MySQL site
MySQL Community Server/ – a tool to make database backups/import a database, edit/view a database
DbVisualizer – A free database tool

More PHP Resources