(Source: idernets)

Keith Monaghan: PHP Basics (and why I'm re-starting here)


I’ve been learning to build websites and write code using HTML, CSS, PHP and bits of jQuery. My education was sparked at Treehouse in November 2011 and they have an amazing education program that I’m happy to pay for (really). However, they have limited resources and a lot of large projects…

I started with PHP too. I really like Larry Ullman’s books.  But since PHP isn’t a cool-kids’ language, there aren’t many Codecademy or Khan style online learning options. 

If a journalist had to choose only one type of programming to learn, what should they choose?  My answer?  Scraping.  

I gave a talk at TedxPoynter about the fact that many of the kinds of programming that are useful for journalism are simple.  REALLY, REALLY SIMPLE.  (I go over the types of programming I think you should learn if you had the luxury of choosing three types instead of one.  12 minutes, funny).  

Good news!  Michael Schrenk updated his book Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers, a step-by-step guide to writing programs to automatically check web pages, extract information from websites and documents, and much more.  Highly recommended.  

See also: The Journalist’s Learn To Code Resource Guide

140+: Visualizing changes in popularity rankings of programming languages


Drew Conway ranked programming language by popularity on GitHub and Stackoverflow in 2010, and many people like it. I wrote this post after Stephen O’Grady’s Ranking made a new ranking September 2012. He compares new data to the original data from 2010, but I am not impressed and doubt his…

50+ PHP Tricks and Tips for Beginners & Developers

O Yay!  I could use these. 



PHP is most useful language in making blogs and website, it have a lot of functions which can be used to derive even more custom functions. We have gathered most useful PHP Tricks and Tips for beginners and even Developers.These PHP Tricks makes your coding productive and more effective.

"What is an Array?"  

I’ve been focusing on posting short videos on basic programming concepts.  Most of you know what a variable is, like: 

$firstname = Lisa  

So if I wrote a little script like: 

echo ‘Hello, $firstname!’;

What would print in the browser is: 

Hello, Lisa!  

But one step beyond that are array variables. 

Array variables are like a box with multiple compartments.  So you could have an array variable that stores a list of books, like this:  

$books = array(“Jane Eyre”,”The Plague”,”Oliver Twist”,”Rebecca”,”Stranger in a Strange Land”);

Now, each item in the array gets assigned a number.  Since computers like to start counting at zero, that means that 

$books[0] equals “Jane Eyre.”  

If Your Programming Language Was a Boat

My favorite, in comments:  

 Erlang: The Mary Celeste of programming ships, it appeared out of nowhere, nobody really knows what it does or what it’s good for, and nobody knows whats happening to it, or where it is going.


COBOL: the papyrus boats of the Egyptians. Ancient, but Thor Heyerdahl managed to reach America in one 

CornerJams: so it begins...


I’ve spent a lot of time these past few days remarking to myself how simple PHP is. It’s a really easy switch from C++ and everything I’d want to do with it (i.e. MySQL) is SO simple! I love it. And sessions?! Are you kidding me?

I know it’s nerdy but I’m in love… PHP you are the bomb. It’s the…

"Recently I saw somebody asked a question in a forum, the question is “Which programming language should I learn first?”. Then someone answered this question. His answer:
To program in an expressive and powerful language: Python
To get a website up quickly: PHP
To mingle with programmers who call themselves “rockstars”: Ruby.
To really learn to program: C.
To achieve enlightenment: Scheme.
To feel depressed: SQL
To drop a chromosome: Microsoft Visual Basic
To get a guaranteed, mediocre, but well paying job writing financial applications in a cubicle under fluorescent lights: Java.
To do the same thing with certifications and letters after your name: C#
To achieve a magical sense of childlike wonder that you have a hard time differentiating from megalomania: Objective C
I could go on… but I’m not feeling hateful enough today.
I don’t know whether you agree with him or not. According to his logic, I can add one to this
If you want to say fxxk everyday—JavaScript
To be a god which can do everything—Assembly

arums: Which programming language should I learn first? 


Installing a local PHP/MySQL development environment on your computer

This tutorial shows you how to setup a local PHP/MySQL web development environment on your personal computer so that you can develop websites quicker. I also show you how to install Wordpress onto the installation after its been set up.

aliukani asked: Hi Lisa! Why'd you pick up PHP over Ruby or Python?


I started in PHP for two reasons:

  1. I did and do run a lot of sites based on the Drupal open-source content management system, which is written in PHP.  I wanted to be able to look under the hood. 
  2. There is a very active PHP Meetup group in Boston where I live, and the group has a program where experienced coders mentor novice coders.  There are regular read-alongs where members work their way through a book, a chapter a week, and help each other when they get stuck.  It’s awesome!  I’d tried to work my way through books on my own (including Chris Pine’s highly regarded book on Ruby) but working on my own, I’d just get stuck and I had no one around to ask.  (Sure, I could have asked the Interwebz, but it was way better when there was a group of people all working their way through the same book who I could have coffee with on weekends besides). 

Certainly PHP is not a cool-kids’ language these days, and I think once I get a little more proficient I might take a look into beginner books/tutorials/classes in either Python or Ruby.  


Watch the entire course here:

In addition to a general introduction to PHP frameworks it has sections for CodeIgniter, Zend Framework, Symfony, CakePHP - comparing the lot.

All Fuzzy: 3 Things I hate about "beginner" programming books


1. Too long

If your book claims to be a beginner’s book on a programming language, and is 800 pages, you are doing it wrong. Go back to your editor. Halve the book. I understand that by making the book large, you can justify the expensive price tag, but it certainly doesn’t help a beginner…

Want to find a really GOOD beginner’s programming book?  I’m sure there’s more than one, but I review one I went through step by step here:  Review: Larry Ullman’s PHP for the Web: A Beginner’s Beginner Guide

Review: Larry Ullman’s PHP for the Web: A Beginner’s Beginner Guide

Want to find a beginner’s guide to programming that really works for beginners?  I know there’s more than one — but here’s one that I know from firsthand experience really works. 

Review: Larry Ullman’s PHP for the Web

It can be difficult for novices to find the right starting point when they want to learn to code.   Many “beginner” books are in fact “for people who are beginners at THIS programming language” not for “people who are beginners at ANY programming language.”  

It can be pretty discouraging to pick up a “beginner” book only to realize you don’t understand a word of it, no?

Before this book, I pushed my way through a number of others, and about half the time I was typing on blind faith — I didn’t always understand what I was typing; I just typed in the hopes that it would eventually become clear.  

Sometimes it did.  Sometimes it didn’t.  I learned some stuff from those books, but I wouldn’t describe it as an ideal pedagogical experience. 

I can say without reservation that Larry Ullman’s PHP for the Web is a beginner’s beginner book — it goes through basic programming concepts cleanly and simply, chapters build upon one another, and it doesn’t depend on the reader to already have experiences with concepts like “object oriented programming” or Model-View-Controller.  It’s simple, straight-ahead code that demonstrates the basics, like loops, putting stuff in a database and getting it back out, pattern matching with regular expressions, and more.  

As another measure of the book’s quality, all the example code actually worked (you’d be surprised how often the example code you can download with many books doesn’t actually work.  If you’re a beginner, you’re likely to think the problem is between chair and keyboard even on the rare occasions that it isn’t). 

Another problem with beginner books is this: if they’re not baffling you with decidedly un-beginner material, they drop you off far short of where you’d like to be, namely, making cool stuff and putting it on the interwebs.  At the end of this book, I could actually put simple useful stuff on the web with the things I learned in this book. Nonetheless, I don’t really want to stop there.  The good news is that this book is part of a series of three books of graduating levels of difficulty.  I already own the next book in the series, PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Websites, and I’ll be moving on to that next.  

About Me

Lisa Williams

Founder of | Winner of Knight News Challenge | Center for Civic Media, MIT Media Lab | Cambridge, MA | @lisawilliams on Twitter | lisawilliams on Github