Where is the best place to learn php, javascript or any programming language that isn't outdated?

I see a lot of websites that offer online courses for web development like PHP, Javascript, Ruby and etc. But I fear that some lessons being taught are outdated and cannot be applied as best practice or current standards. Are there any ebooks or websites that can teach me to learn back-end development that is updated.

Javascript isn’t back-end (server-side). But I would say learn it from their actual websites. For php, it’s php.net. For javascript, it’s javascript.com. For ruby, it’s ruby-lang.org.

Best way to learn something is reading the documents that the developer teams have setup. That way, you will understand how each property works.

SitePoint Premium has multiple books and courses on multiple subjects, including JS, PHP and Ruby. They each show how long ago they were added, so you can easily find the most recent.

I think one thing about web dev to keep in mind is where in the progreesion you want to get onboard.

It seems that often by the time something is mature, it’s already been suprceded by by something else.

I like to experiment with “bleediing edge” stuff when I can. I figure by the time I learn it enough to be able to use it, it will have gained broader support.

For example, when I first learned of HTML5 and CSS3 it was interesting, but to get it to work at that time all kinds of “tricks” like shims and vendor prefixes were needed. I couldn’t be bothered with all that so I waited, and nowadys it’s a lot easier.

Of course, things have advanced elsewhere, so it’s a never ending process.

But I understand your concern. Most of the stuff one finds online is dated. So it is more difficult to know when “old” is “too old” than it is to know when “new” is “too new”.

Anyway, as a very rough broad generalized guess-timate I’d say anything around two to three years old from reputable websites should be a safe bet to learn. The chance that you will be learning something you need to unlearn, or learning minutia that will soon become useless reduced that way.

Sadly, that doesn’t only apply to online.

My first steps in HTML were “HTML4 for Dummies” and a distance learning course via the local college. The course was teaching stuff that I knew from the book to be deprecated, and when I used the recommended method (e.g. CSS for font sizing, rather than HTML attributes) I was told to go back and do it according to the course. (When I queried this, I was told I had to demonstrate I could use the method taught. I got no response to the question “Why?”)

Yes, I’ve heard it said that by the time a book is published it’s already out-of-date.

And it very often is. eg.

A book says “to follow the tutorial install MySQL ver. ## and PHP ver ## and Apache ver ##” and to do so you need to dowld from the archived versions. Else install the current versions and be prepared to do some extra debugging.

Off-topic hint about school
It’s OK to debate with the instructor during class lectures, but when it comes to quizes and exams, answer like they want you to It takes a little more intelligence to know what’s right and the right way to anwer when they’re not the same…

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javascript.com is not the official JS website (I don’t think there is one), it’s a resource site created by the company Code School. Two good, up-to-date sites for learning JS are:


Ahem… ;-)

I fully agree agree with @fretburner that the MDN is a very good place to go, both for a learning resource and reference. I wouldn’t know a site which is more up-to-date other than the ECMA specification itself; also there’s always a useful table regarding the most current browser support.


Sure it is. It’s 2016, NodeJS hasn’t been an obscure tech in a quite a few years. As a matter of fact, you pretty much can’t write any modern frontend JS withoout it. ES6/2015, React, and Angular2 all requite a NodeJS compilation step.

If you’re really serious about learning NodeJS front and back, then check out FreeCodeCamp. But, it’s going to be a time sink.


I’ve always thought anything that is sever side is back-end since it’s dealing with the actual processing of data (*) and such while front-end merely is a UI for someone to mess around with. That’s why anything client related can be modified without the original author’s permissions while anything from PHP, ASP.NET, Ruby, Python, and the such cannot and has to be exploited using such methods.

I’ve always thought; HTML, CSS, Javascript, images, and anything “asset” related are front-end while server-side like the above and Scala are back-ends?

If you guys ever read the e-book Sitepoint has given (Javascript: Novice to Ninja), it gives an analogy in the beginning of the first few chapters about the 3-layered pizza. 1st layer is HTML and it’s the base of the pizza. 2nd layer is CSS and that’s basically the sauce and cheese on top. 3rd and last layer is Javascript which is your toppings and whatever you want on the pizza.

Or how I’ve always thought of it like a human body.

1st part is the skeleton which is your HTML, it basically holds the body together. Without this, the body cannot move or function like it should or we would all be wobbly creatures. 2nd part is your skin and the shape of your body and what not, it makes you how you look which is what CSS basically does. It makes your web page look beautiful and what not. And lastly, your nerves and body functionality. It makes your body work like it does. Without this, you can’t tell your arms to move left when you want it to or move right when it should. That’s basically how Javascript works. Without Javascript, you can’t make a button submit the form without refreshing the page.

I’ve always though those are the 3 main building blocks of a “front-end”.

The education system (in U.S.?) should contain 4+ year universities dedicated to digital technologies from math, to electronics, to communications, to being able to work on or initiate a project at NASA. Things are not getting less complex - and the edu system is not producing the understanding required for gate to gate innovation. PHP, Javascript et al should not even exist given what we know to be true in the digital world. Our efforts need rethinking. We should be teaching computers - not the other way around.

Really, why is that - what do “we” (speaking for all of use apparently) know.

Each and every brain on the planet contains what – 10 trillion neurons. Essentially, we are walking, talking Cray computers, or baby Googles. Given that current practice in any endeavor tells us to take the best from the existing and make it better. That should tell us right off the bat that silicon is not the way to go - just as a preliminary example. I think, our culture on the whole is being strangled by 13th century ideas that have become the norm and status quo for the sake of ‘tradition.’ So we are left to waller in our pathetic pig shit of an existence, and those who ride high on the hog enforce that paradigm. That is part of what we know - just as an example.

ok, sounds good.

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