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PHP Server Side Scripting Forum

new to programming
therefore new to PHP

 4:21 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have relied on freely available perl scripts (open source) for use in my web pages in the past and really think its time i got a programming language under my belt.

I have heard people rave over PHP and really want to take the time to learn.

1) can someone new to programming pick this up?
2) any advice on the best books to get
3) any general advice

thanks in advance

edited to avoid confusion ;)

[edited by: jamsy at 4:35 pm (utc) on Nov. 6, 2002]


jeremy goodrich

 4:24 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

You have been using perl scripts, but you want to learn PHP? Why not stick with perl, the syntax is similar, it's more more widely available, and you are already familiar with it?

Though if you are really interested in PHP, check out php.net, it's a great place to start...as for books, you don't need one for PHP or Perl, to learn and use them.

Somebody new to programming would find it as easy or hard as they found perl :) which is to say, that it's a parsed and not compiled language, so it's relatively easy to learn.

General advice? Don't have any, see the bit above about perl instead of php :)


 4:34 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi jeremy sorry i may have misled you in the first line.

on available perl scripts

i meant to say "freely available perl scripts - open source" so therefore dont have a clue about perl :(

jeremy goodrich

 4:38 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Oh, but since you are using them - why not take the time to learn how to tweak them, and make them even better :)

This forum is for Perl and PHP - and believe me, there are lots of perl buffs in the crowd who'll jump in on any perl related concerns you have.

Here's a quick perl tip:

#!/usr/bin/perl -w

use strict;

print "Hello World\n";



that's usually the 1st program in any language that people do..it'll print 'Hello World' to STDOUT, which is the screen. (standard output, that stands for).

See how easy that is? :) The rest is just as simple...of course, if you are really stuck on PHP, we have plenty of people who know that well here too.


 5:47 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I learned PHP through a number of resources - this Board included. My first book (which I highly recommend if you're the type that likes something in print) was "PHP and MySQL Web Development" by Luke Welling and Laura Thomson (SAMS).

Jump in - the water's exquisite.


 5:48 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm mostly a PHP programmer lately myself, but if you want books, I think that there are more available for Perl. Since there are more books available, there are also more that are likely to be suitable for a new programmer. I think that the documentation on PHP.net is excellent if you are already familliar with programming and just need to know about the particulars of this new language. I'm not so sure it would be good for someone with no background in programming theory.

Books I might reccomend include O'Reilly's _Learning_Perl_ and _Programming_Perl_.


 6:09 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Jeremy does have a point, if you are already familiar with perl it may lessen your learning curve and there are a lot more books on perl than php.

There are some good books popping up in the last year for php, when I started over 2 yrs ago there was only one.

I always go for the O'Reilly ones. The sams one looks good. I haven't used any of them just php.net. I always look at them in the book store but haven't been able to fork out the cash yet.

My best advice for learning any language is finding a project. Find something that you want your website to do and then do it. Rewrite all your form mailers or rewrite some other existing scripts on your site in php/perl. It gives you something to base your understanding on and gives you practical knowledge.

You could flounder around for months with out picking up anything applicable to a real working scenario. Find a problem, dream up an answer and then use php/perl to make it happen.


 10:10 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would recommend you to download the php manual (try the .chm version if you're using Windows) at php.net. Try to choose the one that has the user comments at the bottom of the manual for they are a lot of help too.

And there are many resources online like the zend.com, you may wish to check out their articles and tutorials too.

newbie helping newbie. :)


 11:31 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Web Application Development with PHP 4.0 by Tobias Ratschiller and Till Gerken is the only PHP book I own.

From the Amazon website about this book:
Authors Ratschiller and Gerken purposely designed its content to appeal to coders who already are proficient in PHP, but in need of advanced programming techniques and high-level application-development skills. Assuming a strong programming foundation, this book can be considered a next-level PHP tutorial.

I bought this book when I knew next to nothing about PHP. Most other books I looked at covered only the basics and almost no programming concepts. They mostly repeat the info that can be found for free at php.net [php.net]. This book, however, had some nice infos in it although their chat program is a bit lame.

For Perl books I rely on O´Reilly. However, Programming Perl seems to be mostly a rewrite of the basic perl documentation as well. The cookbook is more useful.

I use books mostly as a reference. Follow Adams advice as far as finding a project is concerned. When it comes to his advice on using PHP you might as well ignore that ;) Jeremy usually has the better advice when it comes to choosing between Perl and PHP. ;)

Learning Perl has the additional benefit of learning a programming language that can be used for much more than web development. Writing your own useragent is very easy in Perl and I find it very useful for a lot of quotidian tasks of a webmaster. CPAN [cpan.org] (the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network) has far more ready to use modules than PEAR [pear.php.net] its PHP equivalent.



 11:41 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

When it comes to his advice on using PHP

I guess my bias shows ;)


 12:08 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I guess my bias shows

Not really (not in this thread), but I sure hope mine does ;)



 8:44 am on Nov 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

thanks for all the sound info and advice.

Now off to get the books and hide away in a corner for a few weeks/months learning ;)

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