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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Please assure me that PHP is for me...

    Hello there.

    I've been learning PHP for a while and I enjoy the language alot. I've already made pretty much a fully working CMS and other such stuff. Thing is, I hear so much of .NET technologies, C#, ASP.NET etc. etc.

    What I want to know is, is PHP worth my time in the long run? Is it a dying language? Does it have an important future in the web world?

    I've been hearing stuff about Web 2.0 too... what's this about? Does PHP, CSS, MySQL (and the other bits and bobs I've been learning) fit into this picture?

    I ask all this because I want to try and start up my own web design business, but want to make sure that all the time (and money spent on books and mags) learning PHP is worth my time overall?

    Any reassurance of this would be much appriciated!
    Thank you (from a slighty worried junior web developer )

    James

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlejim84
    Hello there.

    I've been learning PHP for a while and I enjoy the language alot. I've already made pretty much a fully working CMS and other such stuff. Thing is, I hear so much of .NET technologies, C#, ASP.NET etc. etc.

    What I want to know is, is PHP worth my time in the long run? Is it a dying language? Does it have an important future in the web world?

    I've been hearing stuff about Web 2.0 too... what's this about? Does PHP, CSS, MySQL (and the other bits and bobs I've been learning) fit into this picture?

    I ask all this because I want to try and start up my own web design business, but want to make sure that all the time (and money spent on books and mags) learning PHP is worth my time overall?

    Any reassurance of this would be much appriciated!
    Thank you (from a slighty worried junior web developer )

    James
    I would say with the release of 5.1.1 and the emerging framework, that PHP is only starting to pick up steam. Major players such as IBM and Oracle are helping to drive the success. PHP is taking off my friend!

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Got two hours?

    Try this: http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2.../20/rails.html

    See if it makes sense to you.
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  4. #4
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    LOL;

    Man, PHP+MySQL+Apache and all that OpenSource stuff have more future than Micro$oft .NET platform. Just... open Google and search 'php': 904.000.000 results, 'asp': 850.000.000.

    Even Google says that! So, I would tell you, learn PHP a lot lot lot... learn SQL, learn a bit of JavaScript and start your business with that. You will remember this text that I am writing to you in a soon future.

    There is more people developing in PHP than ASP. More people use MySQL than MSSQL, even PostgreSQL is better than MSSQL. So... dont be afraid. PHP will remain being the leader in web development, unless some 10 years old genius made other dev language.

    Good luck!
    Takitei
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  5. #5
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    I've heard of Ruby before. It seems pretty cool.

    Do you have experience of the language though? Have you used it in projects (like CMS or others with file handling, for example)?

    Is it something I should start to know now or should I continue to learn PHP and maybe go down the Ruby road once it's more established? Do you (or anyone) know if most web hosting companies have the facilities to run it on their servers?

    Any experience or info on this subject would be very helpful to me.

    Cheers for your replies. Thanks for anymore help.
    James

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takitei
    LOL;

    Even Google says that! So, I would tell you, learn PHP a lot lot lot... learn SQL, learn a bit of JavaScript and start your business with that. You will remember this text that I am writing to you in a soon future.


    Good luck!
    Hello there. I was always trying to shy away from javascript because some people could turn it off and stop the whole working of a site. But should i learn javascript and incorporate it into my CMS and other projects? Is it worth my time to learn the DOM stuff and all that?

    Cheers for replies.
    James

  7. #7
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    JavaScript is a complement for your web developments. You should use it just for little things that doesnt compromise your web security. When you are using JS, you must test your website with JS disabled, to see if it still secure.

    Ruby isn't stable at all by now, maybe in a future it becomes more and more popular to create web appz. But, in the mean time, what we have is PHP and SQL. So, lets work on it.
    Takitei
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot musher's Avatar
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    As far as web development goes, PHP is gonna be around for a long while. ASP.net doesn't interest me, I'd bad mouth it but I don't know enough about it.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlejim84
    Is it something I should start to know now or should I continue to learn PHP and maybe go down the Ruby road once it's more established? Do you (or anyone) know if most web hosting companies have the facilities to run it on their servers?
    I differ from many people when I say that you should immediately start developing within a framework. The easiest, most documented one available and beginner-ready is Rails. Pay attention to yourself though, if you get halfway through that tutorial I posted earlier and it feels all awkward, abort!

    Rails hosts: http://wiki.rubyonrails.com/rails/pages/RailsWebHosts
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  10. #10
    throw me a bone ... now bonefry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takitei
    Man, PHP+MySQL+Apache and all that OpenSource stuff have more future than Micro$oft .NET platform. Just... open Google and search 'php': 904.000.000 results, 'asp': 850.000.000.
    There is more people developing in PHP than ASP.
    That's funny, because if you go to any jobs website, your statements don't hold water.

    On http://hotjobs.yahoo.com search for -
    ASP.NET - gives 2,531 jobs
    PHP - gives 1,310 jobs

    On http://jobs.careerbuilder.com -
    ASP.NET - 1,294 jobs
    PHP - 552 jobs

    Quote Originally Posted by Takitei
    More people use MySQL than MSSQL, even PostgreSQL is better than MSSQL. So... dont be afraid. PHP will remain being the leader in web development, unless some 10 years old genius made other dev language.
    First of all, the popularity of a product says nothing about its quality.
    MSSQL is a wonderful product and you are ignorant if you cannot see that.
    MySQL does not have industrial strength (only in ver.5, which will take a while to be adopted, we now have triggers, stored procs, views, and stuff like that) and frankly I am getting quite sick of it.
    PostgreSQL is a wonderful product, but it does have its own problems (only the latest version supports windows for instance and commercial support is not that briliant).

    Of course, lets fill the Internet with Microsoft bashing.
    I hate Microsoft's strategy myself. And a start-up should start with anything but Microsoft's sollutions. But our oppinions should be based on real data, not midless FUD.

    Quote Originally Posted by littlejim84
    Thing is, I hear so much of .NET technologies, C#, ASP.NET etc. etc.
    ...
    I ask all this because I want to try and start up my own web design business, but want to make sure that all the time (and money spent on books and mags) learning PHP is worth my time overall?
    You hear about ASP.NET and C# often because Microsoft has the best marketing campaigns in all history.

    You basicaly have 3 choices:

    #1 The LAMP stack (Linux+Apache+MySQL+PHP/Python/Perl) - the official open-source sollution for web development. You should not be afraid to go with this, because companies are warming up to open-source and it gained wide acceptance.
    #2 Java, which is currently the prefered platform for backends. But it does have success for web-development in big companies. I don't know what success you can have with it as a start-up, but if you want to get hired, it's easier to find jobs with Java. The only problem is that you have a lot to learn before you can become efficient with it.
    #3 ASP.NET of course. Microsoft is a winner. Problem is that you will have to play by their rules, and even if you play nicely, one day M$ might take over your business (it happened lots of times).

    I personaly prefered #1 and #2. But it doesn't matter what you choose, all these options are viable in the following years, and one day all 3 will be deprecated, and you will switch to the next big thing. But even then, past experiences will help alot, and nothing will be lost.

    So don't be afraid to pick PHP if you like it.
    The secret of being a good programmer is to like what you do.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, obviously in jobs... you will be able to get more jobs on ASP and JAVA than PHP. Thats because ASP and JAVA are more commercial, so, the big companies rather to use them instead open source. But that is changing so fast, and some companies are starting to pick up open source instead propietary software.

    About the MSSQL think, maybe you are right about the fact of MSSQL being more powerful than PGSQL and MySQL, I just tested the three products and the best, at least for me, is MySQL. You will find anything on the web for MySQL, tutos, faqs, codes, xamples, a lot. Just for that big support, its better for me. But, by the way, SQL is SQL, no mather what you pick, its always almost the same code (if we are talking about codding and complexity).

    So, as bonefry said, if you like PHP, pick PHP, if you want to get money fast working for companies, and so on, just pick JAVA.
    Takitei
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  12. #12
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    Thank you very much for the feedback. It's been very useful and interesting.

    I'm prepared to learn a new language and I reckon Java could be good to me. If I'm prepared to put the time in, people on the whole recommend Java to me as a decent backend programming language?

    If I continue to learn all these: HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, MySQL, Apache, Java, Flash and Photoshop... Would people say that is pretty much covering all basis to be a decent web designer/developer, capable of creating powerful internet apps and sites, and be 'attractive' to an employer if the self-employed route don't work out?

    Cheers for your continued feedback. It's just an important decision for me and I want to know I'm going down the right route. Without having fellow web designers/developers around me (I just don't know any where I live), these forums provide me with help from experienced people in this field

    Thanks again, James

  13. #13
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    ...Also, I'm investing in a PC. I have a Mac Powerbook, which I have started to develop sites on (which was made easy by using MAMP). But I want to get a PC, to develop the sites on, because I want to just use the Mac for my music making stuff.

    I don't have any experience with Linux, but if I used that to develop sites on then I wouldn't be able to run Photoshop or Flash or anything like that on it at the same time? Does it matter if I choose to program my sites (PHP, MySQL, Java...) on the Windows platform?

    I don't really like Mircosoft products, I do try to avoid them as much as possible (reason for the Mac in the first place), but no one can deny that the majority of software works on a Windows XP PC.

    Is my solution to get two PCs and have one with Linux, for the programming, and one with Windows, for the graphics and other media stuff? I wouldn't mind this, but money is an issue with that...

    Can anyone shed light on this issue too? (I know, I ask for alot!)

    Thanks again, James.

  14. #14
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    Linux is not strictly necessary for web development. If you have Windows installed in just one PC, you can do everything on it. Also, you can use the graphic design programs on it, without problems.

    Linux, will be better if you were an high end developer, maybe in a future when you become an expert, but.. in my opinion, learning Linux (which is not easy to learn) just for starting, is not necessary.

    If you can afford the Bill Gates software to start a PC with Windows, just do it, I think is easier.
    Takitei
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Macs are actually very popular for development these days, for precisely the reasons you bring up. The graphic applications are available, and you can run just about all of the *nix applications.
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  16. #16
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    Good then, I think I won't bother with the Linux for now!

    Macs are fine to develop on. I do like it... It's just I first got my Mac to do my music and video stuff on and I would like to keep it like that. One computer for fun and one for business, ya know?

    Anyhow, thanks for the replies. Very informative.

    Another quesion to ask you lot, just so I can see how other people do things... How do you lot actually code your sites?

    Do you do your sites by hand (like in Note Pad for example) or do you use a visual HTML editor (like Dreamweaver for example)?

    Does anyone use Dreamweaver? Do you prefer it to coding by hand? Is it worth me to learn Dreamweaver (or the other visual editors)? Will it improve my work flow?

    Or, seeing that I've been doing things in a text editor for a while now, should I stay on this path? I personally get a sense of getting my hands 'more dirty' when using a text editor. I feel like I'm cutting out the middle man, if you get me. Or is this all just mumble-jumble rubbish and I should get on the bandwagon and just use Dreamweaver?

    Just wondering Thanks again.
    James

  17. #17
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    Using Notepad instead of Dreamweaver doesn't mean that you are getting your hands more dirty. It doesn't mean anything. Dreamweaver just help you coloring the code, because with some colors it is easy to develop, you can identify which are the variables, iterations, functions, and so on.

    You should know that Dreamweaver wont help you developing in PHP, because Dreamweaver is just an WYSIWYG editor for HTML, XHTML, CSS and all the graphic stuff.

    I use Dreamweaver for creating my sites, because I like the way Dreamweaver colored my code, but... I just use the 'code view' of that program, because I like to create all the HTML and PHP code by myself. Using DW for codding its nice and easier to read than with notepad. Also, I use notepad for little scripts, and just little websites.

    You can use any visual editor to develop your sites in PHP, but remember, those editors wont input code for you, because if you want to develop in PHP all must be in your brain. So... any choice you take... you will always get your hands dirty, no matter what editor you use.
    Takitei
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  18. #18
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    Think about this; Nothing is a waste of time, and Php, and mysql together is not something easy to learn. It takes people a long time to actually be able to sit down, and write a script without any help.. And, its an amazing thing to brag about to your friends.
    :P So to answer your question (in my opinon) I believe it is not a waste of time, as you're learning something new, and something challenging, and if you can overcome learning php and become an expert you've got some skill

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AcidPunk
    Nothing is a waste of time
    Stop right here for the zen.

    Wash your dishes for the sake of washing the dishes, not for the cup of tea after.
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  20. #20
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    .NET is definetly the strongest player at the moment. .NET 2.0 is just released, and it is a very, very solid product, probably the best piece of software Microsoft has ever produced.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

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  21. #21
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    ok, here is the thing, program in a language you feel most comfortable in.. no language is dying, at least no languages you heard about is dying, and on web, no one even cares what you use, as long as you deliver software better than others..

    Though, as php works only on web (other languages, ruby, python, perl c, java, is used mainly for other purposes, web is an option), so php has more of a chance dying than others, because of it's narrow focus.. If you want to use it, however, it won't die anytime soon :P

  22. #22
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    A very important factor is - do you want to work for others or for yourself? Your answer to that question greatly impacts your choice of language.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

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    FatStatement.com

  23. #23
    SitePoint Addict Andrei P.'s Avatar
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    .NET developers are payed much better than PHP developers.

    That doesn't mean you can't start with PHP & MySQL (like I did). If you don't have any experience with programming, I even suggest that you start with something simple, such as PHP.
    But be careful to move forward to ASP.NET, SQL Server and more advanced technologies, once you've mastered PHP & MySQL.

    Also, by learning ASP.NET, you will have the basic knowledge to create Windows applications using C# or VB.NET (whatever you prefer). Basically you use the same programming language and thus syntax for developing both web applications and Windows applications in .NET.
    For example if in the code of a website you have a C# method which parses a text fragment for keywords, and you need the very same functionality in a Windows application, you can reuse it without any changes whatsoever.

    Oh, and .NET 2.0 is fantastic, not to mention the developer environment - Visual Studio 2005.

    P.S.: Don't listen to people who spell Microsoft with an $

  24. #24
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    Thank you for your replies.

    I have decided to stay with PHP for now... I'm gonna look into trying to learn OOP techniques for PHP too. (Any books/sites reccommended?) By me doing this, will surely help me move to the 'bigger' languages, like Java or something.

    I've been reading alot about languages and I was thinking that Java might be a route to go down in the future (like, in a couple of months). Because this can be used to make desktop apps and server-side scripts using the 'same' syntax and structure (that's right, right?) And, it also appeals to me, because it can be developed and run on pretty much any platform worth thinking about (that right too, yeah?) and not just restricted to Windows. (important point to me, because I like using Windows, Mac and Linux platforms - mostly Mac )

    Another reason I don't want to learn .NET 2.0, Visual Studio 2005 etc. etc. because they cost (alot of) money! I like open-source stuff and I don't like to use pirate software.

    So... I'm learning PHP... Want to learn PHP better using OOP techniques (any books/sites to recommend?)... Maybe move onto Java... Then learn about JSP etc... Get really good at all that... Take over the world... Good route?

    (Heard people get good money in a job with Java. True?)

    Thank you for your replies and any further help on the issues. Cheers
    James

  25. #25
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    Yeah, the people working on Java can get very good money.
    Takitei
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