The Beginner’s Road Map to PHP Success
Although PHP is one of the easiest languages to learn out there, it is somewhat difficult to master.
There are some instances wherein there is a plenty of ways to do a PHP program but only two or three are accepted as valid answers within the PHP Community.
This may vary according to opinions and concepts of different PHP developers. For some logical programmers, learning PHP is only skin on the pig.
What do I mean?
Logical programmers who know the logic of a project usually dissects it into logical components and elements. Next, they order the operations to be used before finally coding it in a language. This gives them the ability to learn easily any language under the sun that varies often on the syntax or structure of codes.
For a complete beginner, it maybe a different process of learning. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to PHP and MySQL, but getting up and running with the basics will only take a little bit of time.
This article is intentionally made to be your road map to your PHP learning curve. We will also tackle the best resources you can check out just in case you will be stuck in certain codes or tasks. OK, enough talking. Let’s jump in.
I’ve never thought of PHP as more than a simple tool to solve problems.
–Rasmus Lerdorf, Creator of PHP
Road Map #1: Understand What PHP and MySQL Are
Although every beginner is excited to jump on the coding part and skip the definition or theory part of PHP, it is a good start to know what the language was made for. Things like “PHP scripts are executed on the web server then the result is displayed using HTML on a web browser” is a must know before diving into the syntax.
Aside from this, you also need to learn MySQL because both PHP and MySQL work together like pen and paper. It is also essential to learn how MySQL can drive the creation, editing, updating of information under the databases on your server.
Road Map #2: Get a Web Hosting Server or Install an Offline Web Server
In order to use PHP and MySQL, you will need to have a web server. PHP codes are executed on the web server so you need to have one either online or offline.
There are plenty of good but cheap server hosting providers out there like Hostgator and Bluehost that you might want use. You might want check this article as a guide before you decide which server will serve your needs.
Road Map #3: Find Good Tutorials, Resources and Start Learning
There are a variety of ways that you can learn PHP and MySQL. A lot of blogs, online courses, books and the likes are available on the Internet.
Below, I listed down the top 10 best resources you can check out to feed your brain with PHP and MySQL.
There may be are a lot of good resources on the Web, but the best site where you can see all types of variable and operator list, scripts and updates is on the PHP Official Site.
Lynda is a private online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, web design/development and business skills. It offers basic and advance tutorials for PHP and MySQL. Please take note that there is a monthly, annual or premium subscription charge.
Tutsplus is under Envato, an Australian-based company that provides both written and video courses to teach people skills in a variety of topics. There are a lot of posts you can see here about PHP and MySQL, though I prefer the video courses (premium with annual or one time payment charge) since these have an in-depth teaching about PHP and MySQL.
4. PHP Academy
PHP Academy offers hundreds of free videos to help you learn web development, with an optional premium membership to get even more out of your learning.
Udemy is a web platform for online learning. While some generate credit toward technical certification, most are taken only for self-improvement. Udemy courses also come with a price, which means the courses are not for free.
Home and Learn consists of complete and free PHP programming course for beginners. Everything you need to get started is set out in section one below.
This is an online reference that offers free online education to the people who want to learn different programming topics. Aside from PHP and MySQL, they also offer tutorials for JAVA, Python and Perl.
8. Tree House
Tree House is another great online video resource that offers variety of programming tutorials. Like other online video course providers, it comes with a price with a 14-day free trial.
Who says you can only learn thru educational sites? You bet! YouTube also has a plenty of video tutorials where you can learn different programming languages such as PHP, Perl and Python.
PHP and MySQL Book Resources
Videos can give you a good foundation but as time goes by you will feel hungry for more and more knowledge. Below I listed the books that you can check out.
On this book, Jason Lengstorf introduces PHP by building a PHP-based logging site while covering all the good practices and skills you need when you start your own projects.
On this book, Steven Holzner teaches you how build dynamic, cross-browser Web applications with PHP. It explains how to personalize the PHP workspace, define operators and variables manipulate strings, and arrays.
This cookbook has a perfect solution for problems that PHP programmers face regularly. It contains topics that range from beginner questions to advanced web programming techniques.
Road Map #4: Try creating simple applications
After learning the basics, what’s next? Yes! you need to practice! Learning how to insert, view, update, delete (also known as CRUD) on the database is a good start. Creating simple applications like simple login and registration system will boost your knowledge about PHP and MySQL.
Knowledge without application is like a book that is never read
-Christopher Crawford, Hemel Hempstead
Road Map #5: Start Using PHP Frameworks
When you are already learning a lot with PHP and MySQL, you might wonder if there is a way to improve your workflow instead of creating them from scratch repeatedly.
At this point, PHP framework will be your best friend. A framework gives you standard solutions to typical problems. For example, an online shop that can cover the functionality for a customer login, a shopping cart, placing orders and so on.
The advantages of using a framework are:
- You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; no need to create everything from scratch.
- The code is already working and was tested.
- Secured user authentication.
The disadvantages of using a framework are:
- You need to have a knowledge with OOP if you want to add or edit functionality
- Always improving so you also need to adopt to its updates
A List of Good PHP Framework to Speed up Your Development:
An open-source, rapid development framework for PHP. It’s a foundational structure for programmers to create web applications.
This is built on top of several Symfony components, giving your application a great foundation of well-tested and reliable code.
This is a PHP web application framework for MVC applications. Symfony is free software and released under the MIT license.
This is an open source, object-oriented web application framework implemented in PHP 5 and licensed under the New BSD License.
This is a proven, agile open PHP web application framework with a small footprint.
Road Map #6: Join the PHP Online Community
After learning PHP, there might be some instance which you are stuck within specific blocks of code and couldn’t make it work. Good thing, there are plenty of PHP online community (also known as forums) out there that you can be a member of. You might wanna check the following.
- Stack Overflow – a question and answer site for professional and enthusiast programmers. It’s built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of QA sites. With your help, the site is working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about programming.
- PHP Help – an online community for PHP developers. A fast growing community where developers share their thoughts for a specific topic of PHP. It is a great place to improve your PHP knowledge and help others.
- PHP Developers Network – A community of PHP developers offering assistance, advice, discussion, and friendship.
Road Map #7: Explore More and Stay Up to Date
Even if you gained a lot of experience in PHP programming and call yourself as a PHP master, you can’t just sit back and relax. Every language is progressing and updating- and so are you.
Just like other programming languages, there will always be a room to improve security, syntax, variables and so on. Of course, everything is for the benefit of the users.
The bottomline is: Always stay up to date!
There you have it! Your very own roadmap to success in your PHP learning curve!
You probably want to learn how to write web applications or software in a hurry but it doesn’t always happen that way. Learning also takes time especially if you are a complete beginner.
As a final word, I would recommend learning the official documentation of PHP like the back of your hand and the best way to do that is to start writing some small applications in PHP.
Hope you learned something from this article and if you feel I’ve missed some points here please put it on the comment section and I would love hear it. Thanks again! See you again next time!