I know that some of my last blog entries were a bit too technical for the web designers who are just starting out and curious about using PHP for their website. I thought I'd do a blog post with links for the newbies who are just starting out and making their first steps in PHP.
I just found a cool website that has FREE videos you can watch that will start with the very basic stuff. New videos are also being added so the list of topics covered is growing. There's already quite a few videos posted. Another cool thing is that most if not all of the videos are less than 15 minutes. So you can watch them on your lunch break. Check out the website and add it to your favorites: http://www.killerphp.com/
Some other great resources that you should be using even if you are already coding in PHP are:
1. PHP Documentation (http://www.php.net/docs.php) - this is a MUST. I have the CHM file saved on my desktop and tend to check it out quite often. What I love about the CHM documentation is an Index and Chapter list and not having to google on the web for things.
2. PEAR php code repository (http://pear.php.net) - PEAR is a standard library of packages that's being distributed as part of PHP. It's a collection of code written in PHP to make your coding life easier. A couple of points about PEAR:
- PEAR covers a lot of categories and has a ton of packages available and ready to use.
- It's also THE php code repository of the PHP community.
- Stop reinventing the wheel. I see this a lot where people invent their own libraries when PEAR already has a package to do that and in many cases is much more powerful and tested.
- This is the confusing part: PEAR has two types of documentation: manual and api. Manual version is available from the "documentation" link on the top of the navigation bar. It contains tutorials and usage examples. The documentation links for a package cover api and have links to various versions of the package. This way if you are a bit behind you can find the proper api documentation for the version of the package that you are using.
Oh almost forgot, PEAR also has CHM version of the manual which I also have saved on my desktop.
3. PECL extension repository (http://pecl.php.net) - this is also a must use resource. This is where all the great PHP extensions go if they are not part of the core PHP. Some of the core PHP extensions also live in PECL. PEAR and PECL work together and are usually installed as one package. They use the same back-end code and allow you to download and install PHP extension from PECL in a matter of minutes. Some of the PHP extensions can be installed with one command pecl install <packagename>
. Some require a bit more tweaks (which is like 4 commands): phpize, configure, make, sudo make install. Why do people try to rebuild ALL of PHP sources just to get 1 PHP extension going still puzzles me. I guess I should do a separate blog entry on the topic.