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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member strong_design's Avatar
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    Beginner programmer (using PHP) needs guidance

    Hi All, I am taking my very first programming class, and it is a PHP class (we will be working with a MySQL database as well). I feel like I am getting overwhelmed pretty quickly because, although it is a beginner class, other students have prior programming experience and kind-of "get" the basic concepts more than I do. This leads me to my question:

    Do you know of a good book for a super beginner at PHP?

    I tend to need real-world examples to really understand something.

    I have read the Sitepoint Beginner HTML website book and liked the way it taught, but there are two different PHP books, so I am not sure of one of those would be good for me, or if there is a different book out there that someone can recommend?

    Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. I'm hoping to find a good resource before I find myself getting TOO far behind in class.

    Thanks again in advance!
    Strong Design Studios
    Building a strong face for your business.
    http://www.strongdesignstudios.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot Kayarc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strong_design View Post
    Do you know of a good book for a super beginner at PHP?
    Go to Borders, grab a stack of PHP books, sit down at the cafe and skim through them until you find the one that works for you. The best, easiest one is the one written in the style that you gravitate toward.
    Phoenix Arizona Web Design | info *at* kayarc.com | 602.633.2676

  3. #3
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    "Learning PHP 5" is a good one from O'Reilly Books. It has lots of examples.

    Good luck!

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    I'm a huge fan of Lynda. There are 2 really good courses on PHP right now. One is an intro to PHP, and you create a small CMS from scratch, and the other deals more with advanced topics, such as OOP.

    Base prices are about $25 a month, but worth it if you're serious about learning
    ~ Nate L ~

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot sdavis2702's Avatar
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    This is the fourth time I've seen the 'Lynda" stuff suggested. Time for me to jump on it. I played with PHP just a little having many WP blogs in the past. Then I bought Kevin Yank's Build A Database Driven Website using PHP & MySQL and it did exactly what I needed as far as understanding its capabilities. I don't know how well I would have understood had I not already been using HTML, CSS and doing some computer programming though.
    I build WordPress with the Volatyl Framework.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member strong_design's Avatar
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    thanks everyone! Hopefully this will help me get going on the right track.
    Strong Design Studios
    Building a strong face for your business.
    http://www.strongdesignstudios.com

  7. #7
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    Hello strong_design,

    I'm not going to recommend a book, as many
    have already pointed you towards some good
    sources.

    Focus on one PHP project at a time.
    I understand the class wants to throw
    the book at you and everything included.

    Your goal should be what helps
    you to understand programming (PHP).

    Take ONE project that you
    want to build and the code
    needed for that project to work.
    Use the manual (books)
    as a reference.

    You'll only need to know
    that 'chunk of code' to
    write one application,
    that 'chunk of code' which will
    make it functional
    and some simple error handling.

    This should take away the
    "getting overwhelmed pretty quickly" feeling.

    You don't have to memorize the manual
    just yet

    Then, move on to the next project.

    Only by writing code will
    you begin to understand function.

    The principle of simplicity.
    ~ Occam's razor

    Learning is fun...

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot sdavis2702's Avatar
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    ^^^ I like that post. I'll adjust my PHP learning to that... I think it might work. The book I am reading is great but I'm so anxious to move forward that I sometimes move on without fully understanding.
    I build WordPress with the Volatyl Framework.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot Kayarc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdavis2702 View Post
    ^^^ I like that post. I'll adjust my PHP learning to that... I think it might work. The book I am reading is great but I'm so anxious to move forward that I sometimes move on without fully understanding.
    That advice is good. I bought a PHP book and found myself bored and overwhelmed all at once. It was only when I began to write my first little application that I got the most use of out of the book - looking up relevant sections.

    Now I have fallen in love with the documentation at PHP.net (and frameworks!)
    Phoenix Arizona Web Design | info *at* kayarc.com | 602.633.2676

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    glad that works for you sdavis2702,

    One other thing that you could do...

    As you progress, reading the book and
    hacking out code examples, save the
    code in organized folders.

    Later that code might be useful in
    a live project.

    This will become a 'Toolbox' of code
    for whatever projects at a later time.

    I still have code examples from 1998 from
    a book on CGI and Perl programming burned
    onto a CD.


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