May 14th 2002, 20:46 GMT

I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally gotten off my duff and started teaching myself PHP. I bought a book on it several months ago, but hadn’t actually started using it until last night.

I think I just needed some motivation, in the form of a good starter project. Something more complex than spitting out “Hello World” or regurgitaing form input back at the user.

A friend of mine has this idea for her website which appears to be perfectly suited for PHP. It also has the added advantage of not being too terribly difficult to code, (I think,) and has room for some enhancements down the road.

I also have some ideas for more extensive PHP based projects for work – but those are a bit ambitious for me to tackle just yet. I need to learn what I’m doing first.

Anyway – I have a question for you other web developer types: Are there any PHP books you’d recommend? Also, since I plan to segue into more complex database driven web applictions at some point, (for the projects at work,) are there any MySQL books or resources I should look into?

(Gah. Has it really been a month since I wrote anything?)

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Robert Belknap has been writing online sporadically since 2001. See the colophon for more details.

10 thoughts on “May 14th 2002, 20:46 GMT”

  1. A good starter project is critical… I’m still looking for one that’ll get me to mess with C++ some more. Hooloovoo, I hope Gossip responds to your question about books or other resources – he’s a PHP guru and I’m interested in his answer, too.

  2. Gossip is definitely the guru. he helped me a lot when i was trying to learn the basics.

    I’ve got a book at home that i like, but i can’t recall the name. I’ll post it later.

    g’luck, and most of all, have fun with it 🙂

  3. Books are dead. Screw the books. Grab a few scripts off and analyze them line by line using the official annotated PHP manual. Also, you might want to look at the entry-level tutorials @ and

    Oh, and be nice to, it might become a very good friend of yours. 😉 There are A LOT of tutorials indexed there as well, so this is and remains my #1 recommendation.

    As for mySQL… naturally you grab a lot of knowledge from PHP scripts, because many PHP projects use mySQL, so my first recommendation (“line by line”) will help you here as well. If not, wade thru’s mySQL tutorials, good stuff in there as well. I also recommend the DevShed BBS since it’s one of the most active and friendly dev boards around IMHO.

    Anything else? Probably, but I’m too tired to think of anything else at the moment. 🙂

    Good luck, and welcome aboard the PHP Happy Train.

  4. [Quote] Books are dead. Screw the books. [Quote]

    Well, don’t hold back, Carlo. Make sure we understand your opinion clearly. 😉

    I can’t speak at all for PHP, but I got a lot of useful material on Perl out of the classic O’Reilly publications.

    I’m sure there’s plenty of good online material for whatever language, though. I’m starting to realize you can find bloody near anything on the web. Last week I was bored to tears at work and thinking for obscure reasons I won’t go into about a caption in a history text I remembered from college about a pagan Slavic god called Svantovit. So I did a general search on Yahoo for [ +Slavic +preChristian ] and found a couple hours’ worth of reading material vaguely or directly related to what I wanted to know. Very interesting.

  5. Thanks everyone, I knew you’d be able to point me in the right direction(s). 🙂

    I know there is a lot of good information out there on the web, but frankly there is a lot of crap out there too. Gossip, thanks for the links – I’ll definatley be using those.

    I still like having some form of printed reference material. Some times its easier to have a book open on my desk while I’m working than to be managing multiple browser windows and slogging thru crap online looking for quick answers.

  6. I have found that sometimes it’s best to jump into something that is already written and have a reference book handy to look up stuff. The PHP site is great for looking up functions but a book is handy for looking up some of the basics. My first PHP project was a huge one that I agreed to do without ever using PHP. However I had extensive experience with MySQL, C, C++, Perl, ASP, ect.. and I knew PHP was along the same lines. I bought two books but only looked at the first few chapters of one of them.

    I think OReily has a book on MySQL. is a great site and there are ton of open-source PHP projects on there which you can try out and learn from.

    [Quote]’s mySQL tutorials [Quote]

    That is a great site with a ton of good tutorials and information. I dont hang out on the bbs but I have been a fan of the site since I ran across it. They cover Zope a lot which I always wanted to try.

    As far as a starter project I hear the JG community is looking for a new PHP, database driven site 😉

  7. [Quote] Books are dead. Buy more monitors. [Quote]

    Hmm – books are cheaper and more portable, they also provide a relaxing break from the CRT for my eyes.

    Don’t worry Gossip, I’ll be using both online and offline resources.

    [Quote] As far as a starter project I hear the JG community is looking for a new PHP, database driven site 😉 [Quote]

    Heh – that they are. Not ready to try and tackle that one yet, but I will be looking through the legacy archive content.

    Besides, I’ve already got my starter project. 🙂

  8. yea, I haven’t touched a PHP book, just, and I’ve come along reasonably well. like the Guru Gossip said, books are dead. no interaction between them. the web ones(htmlized ones anyway), have nifty links and cross references so you can get lost for hours and discover some obfuscated things that come in handy.

  9. Yeah, I am very thankful for the annotated PHP manual, not only are there a lot of real-life examples in the comments, but there’s also a high number of pointers (“if you want to do XYZ, then better look at this function…”), which came in very handy so far.

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