Hi everyone! Often times people are told to look over the manual, or more bluntly RTFM (If you don't know what that is, you haven't been around long enough ). However, this strange and exotic manual is sometimes hard to work with. That said, here are a few ways to help get what you're looking for:
The PHP website has the most friendly documentation system I've seen. If you know a function name, and simply want to look up syntax, you can use the following format:
and you will be shown a list of functions that much. Each function page will give you 3 additional pieces of information. This includes:
1) The category of the function, which starts with a ^ and is in a larger font (for example, preg_match is under the PCRE [Perl Compatible Regular Expressions] category)
2) Additional functions/topics for that category, located underneat where #1 is
3) Functions that provide similiar functionality, or used in conjunction with that particular function (fopen would point to frwite and fread, as they work together to deal with files).
Once you know the category, you can also enter it in the url to give you a general overview of functions/topics in that category:
Also don't forget to read the user comments (and I mean all of them), as they will contain valuable gotchas and scripts that provide additional functionality. If you're looking for a general topic, such as php security, you can simply go to php.net, select the dropdown list that says "functions" and choose "online documentation", then enter your search item there.
Perl has a documentation system called perldoc. Perldoc has 3 different ways to get help. The first is general category. For example, to get a list of perl operators, you can type:
and it will bring up the page for it. Now how do you know to enter perlop? That information can be obtained by looking at the table of contents, which can be found by entering:
this table of contents contains essential documentation for core perl. If you're looking for function specific documentation, you can find it by doing:
perldoc -f [function_name]
for example, to see the documentation for open:
perldoc -f open
and the page for open will display. The last way to look things up is by modules. For example, to get documentation for LWP::Simple, all you have to do is:
and the documentation will come up. Alternatively, you can visit the CPAN module page and either lookup by category, or do a search.
MySQL documentation can get a bit tricky, and can be somewhat frustrating at times. The first way I recommend searching is by general usage. For example, if something is usually done in a SELECT, try searching for SELECT first, and if that fails, search by the name. If you're looking for the syntax for something, add the term "Syntax" to filter out any unwanted results. For example, to retrieve the CREATE TABLE syntax, you'd use:
CREATE TABLE Syntax
and the entry you want is the very first item. MySQL also has a similiar system to php's url based search. For example, if you enter:
It will take you to the create table syntax page. This will try and give the best possible search result. If it fails, sometimes the actual mysql search results page is given with a list of possible results.
This are a bit more straightforward imho. I recommend 2 sources for this. The first is w3schools.com, and the other is, of course, the w3.org site. Here are some recommended pages: