I am considering learning PHP...

15 replies
Ok, title pretty much says it all I am considering learning PHP but I do have some question about it. Mainly about how hard things are to develop and is it as hard as it seems :p.

1) Is it easy to pick up PHP or is it frustrating as hell?
2) How hard is it to develop membership sites, WP templates, not insanely advance but so they are able to run pretty well?
3) What is the best place to start? Resources etc...
4) If I learn PHP to a good level, is it easier to pick up other programming languages like ajax and java
5) Will it make my life easier when it comes to online marketing ?
6) Are coders under paid when it comes to out sourcing? something I would consider to fund university.

I am sure I'll come up with more questions later , thanks in advance for any help you can give.
#learning #php
  • Profile picture of the author osegoly
    Hi Butters,

    PHP is quite easy to pick up and there are plenty of resources out there. I would suggest getting your hands on a PHP for Beginners book/eBook. Go through that, follow all the instructions and examples, try out different things on your own, and you should find yourself at a pretty good level. It will be a little frustrating at first but with enough patience and determination you will get through it. Mastering PHP will indeed help you with WP and membership sites. It will also help you pick up other languages as they all use similar concepts (conditional statements, loops, etc.). Not too sure if it will make your life easier when it comes to Online Marketing however.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author iTunes
    Hey butters,

    PHP is a great language, it is easy to learn and very similar to other OOP (Object Oriented Programing) languages. After you learn PHP most languages will come fairly naturally to you, it will get to the point that you can read any language like it was English.

    1) After you get the general idea, everything will start to flow.
    2) It is a challenge, but it can be fun, you won't get to a point where you just want to quit.
    3) I started with this website - hxxp://devzone.zend.com/article/627 - It's a pretty in depth beginner's guide to PHP. You DO NOT need to spend money on this.
    4) The syntax will be like comparing British English to american English. It will be really easy to pick up these other languages.
    5) It depends, if you have a brilliant idea and what to automate doing something, yes it will make your life so much easier. It will also be very useful for editing things in Wordpress or other programs.
    6) I think so, but you can still make a decent amount. There are some things that people vastly over-pay for, and others that people under-pay.
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    • Profile picture of the author Hamnkapell
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      • Profile picture of the author casius
        Yep Good luck with learning PHP. It really awesome programming languages. I gues and the most popular. I even do not imagine any of my website what regards PHP.
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  • Profile picture of the author Luke Graham
    Hey butters,

    Originally Posted by butters View Post

    1) Is it easy to pick up PHP or is it frustrating as hell?
    Its one of the more simpler languages you can learn. It is very forgiving and it doesnt take much to get the job done, usually. This is why there are a lot more 'hobbyist' people doing it today. It is similar, in some regards to C and perl which also means if you want to branch out then its wont be completely foreign to you.

    2) How hard is it to develop membership sites, WP templates, not insanely advance but so they are able to run pretty well?
    Impossible to say since it will depend on what it is you are trying to achieve. Of course, as with all things, there are right ways and wrong ways to do things. It is more important to apply good programming practices.

    WP templates are very simple and you can start by taking one of the free ones and modifying it for your needs. Find out what parts control each aspect, make a note, then go and create your own - "learn by example" is much more powerful, IMO, then someone showing you how to do it, since you may not actually learn anything.

    3) What is the best place to start? Resources etc...
    Welcome to the internet There are many good free resources for free online; you dont usually need more than php.net and the wordpress codex pages once you have a grasp of the basic language.

    4) If I learn PHP to a good level, is it easier to pick up other programming languages like ajax and java
    In some regards yes. If you learn programming basics rather than PHP it will, in most cases, apply to any language. Conditional statements, Loops/iteration, data types, data validation, etc

    5) Will it make my life easier when it comes to online marketing ?
    Sometimes, yes. It means you can add functionality to a new or existing site easily, modify themes to suit your needs, automate some of the more tedious tasks etc

    6) Are coders under paid when it comes to out sourcing? something I would consider to fund university.
    You can get paid fair rates a lot of the time, as long as you "do things the right way". I come across for too many bodge jobs that have been done by someone with no clue at all and im left to pick up the pieces for the client. Some people like to get in a 'bidding war' so they get the cheapest person - set yourself limit of what your time is worth and stick with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author AndyBlackSEO
    Congratulations!! That is possibly the best decision you have ever made. It was certainly the best thing I ever did. Although I used to mess around with basic when I was a kid and done a little Pascal when I was at college, I used to always think that coding functional websites and apps would be ou of my depth. I know everybody is different, but the truth is... it isn't as hard as what you might think.

    Start out with the very basics.... then work outwards. Play around with outputting data to the screen, (always containing your php code in <php php tags ?>

    <?php
    echo "Hello World!";
    ?>

    ** The above would display the following in your browser....

    Hello World!

    Then maybe learn about variables.... ie - storing a value within a variable.... ie -

    <?php
    $phrase = "Hello World!";
    echo $phrase;
    ?>

    That would also output Hello World! to your browser......

    The value "Hello World!" is stored into a 'variable' which I called $phrase. When I echo (print) the $phrase variable, it outputs the value contained in it.

    There you go... your first lesson in PHP!

    Just look at a small tutorial and write the code. See what it does and 'understand' it. Then move onto another function... then another... .. Before long you'll get a grasp of it and you'll be writing scripts that will perform useful tasks. You'll be writing code that will connect and work with a mySQL database.

    You WILL have a few headaches at first. This is 'usually' with small things like forgetting to add a ; at the end of each functioning line. (delimiter), or some other simple mistake.

    Learning to code sites / apps was the best move I made. I love doing it and it's very addictive. Well it is for me anyway.

    If you're serious about learning it, feel free to pm me if you have any questions.

    Also, there are some great sites such as php.net which offer loads of info and examples. w3schools too.

    I'd also recommend buying a couple of books on PHP and mySQL. I bought about 4 when I started and they come in very handy for refencing every once in a while.

    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author senderbot
    Hi,

    I'm currently learning and yes it does seem reasonably straighforward.

    I've looked at many books and online resources and I have a couple of books that I really like -

    PHP Solutions by David Powers - Was well recommended on Amazon and so far seems pretty easy. He shows how to use PHP to create interactive websites.

    PHP6 and MySQL5 Visual Quickstart Guide by Larry Ulman - Again this is a pretty comprehensive book but starts off slow. I havent got far through the book yet but by the end he aims to teach you how to create your own blogging software

    From what I have researched so far there are also books that teach PHP, Java and Ajax so I'm assuming they all work together pretty well. I also would recommend that you learn CSS and HTML thoroughly before starting down the PHP path. You'll need the HTML for page and form formatting etc.

    As for Wordpress template development. You could probably do that without needing to learn PHP. There are some good books such as - Wodpress Theme Design by Tessa Blakely Silver (packt publishing). Wordpress for Dummies covers some good theme building techniques too. Yes it would be good to know some PHP but I dont think its necessary to learn before you tackle theme development.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers

    Max
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  • Profile picture of the author imarketstuff
    PHP soooooooooooooo sucks!!!! [5 second pause] just kiddddddddddin

    PHP is probably the #1 server-side language used on the net today, and i have been using it for years.

    i remember back when i would get 8M core dumps.

    here's a simple principle that i think is soooo simple, K.I.S.S., yet most folks don't remember it when it comes to programming:

    INPUT DATA ----> PROCESS DATA ----> OUTPUT DATA
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Morgan
      I'm not sure how much I can add that other's haven't but I definitely second the opinion that it's a VERY smart decision to learn it. Being able to develop your own custom things is invaluable as a marketer. You'll save lots of money paying other people and can create completely unique things. So any programming language you learn is a good investment of time, but PHP especially is good.

      I came it from a very strong development background (C,C++,Delphi,Java,Perl,etc) and have about 15 years experience with the web so if I say PHP is easy, it doesn't mean much. But having said that, with all my experience in other languages I can also say that PHP really shines in comparison. It's powerful yet not too verbose, and very forgiving (which can be good and bad) and stable as they come.

      It will be tough at first, but once you're over the hump you'll find learning PHP to be really fast and easy.

      My best advice to you is take the time to really truly learn it. What I mean by that is, don't learn it piecemeal and learn just enough to create what you want, take the time to learn it strong, get the basics down really good.

      When starting, learn this stuff really well:

      Variables
      Operators
      control statements
      functions
      classes
      variable scope
      statics and constants (and why and when to use them)
      Objects
      Object oriented programming

      Spend a lot of time on PHP net just looking up functions and try them out.

      This could take a month or more. And yes, you could sit down for a few hours and do some tutorials and be off and running. I suggest doing that to build your own interest, but do not neglect the basics.

      The reason I say that is because I have many people learn "just enough" and start really getting into it and building more, then later down the road they run into a huge problem that is difficult to get out of. Had they learned the basics they would flow right through it.

      When you reach a certain point of proficiency in PHP you will be able to sling code quick and easy. At that point (as silly as this sounds) you can start using frameworks so you don't have to sling that code anymore. But you can't skip straight from newbie to frameworks. Once you have a solid foundation you'll be able to make those frameworks sing and you'll be able to build anything you put your mind to.

      Good luck, and I hope you can stick with it and make it work. It will help you in ways you haven't imagined yet.
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  • Profile picture of the author robrave
    PHP is pretty much C language for web server.

    Since I know C language, I can pick up PHP and Javascript easily. I love doing things on my own. Whenever I want some functionality, I don't depend on existing code on the Internet. You know the feeling that you can do whatever you want in a way you really want it?

    PHP is a good programming language to learn. You'll enjoy the challenge of it, I pretty damn sure about that
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  • Profile picture of the author woodsja
    OK, PHP is definitely worth picking up as it will definitely help in your marketing career. It's pretty easy to learn if you put the time in and do more than just read. However, if you're ambition is to make a full time income as an internet marketer then I wouldn't spend all my time learning PHP and trying to become a great coder. There are plenty of guys out there that can code plugins, scripts, etc. for you. Your most valuable time is learning to research, launch, and test new campaigns and turn them profitable. Knowing PHP can and will make life easier but it's not going to make you a better marketer. Good luck and I hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author goliathseo
    Hey Butters,

    I am not going to rehash all of the questions above except for this one oppinion.
    I do think that coders are generally under paid... I had been doing that forat least 3+ years with limited success until I turned to web development, outsourcing, and IM. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you need help with things as you move along.
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    • Profile picture of the author gerdonhanry
      The new and exciting features in PHP is its version V5.3. Which has total 4 parts, Part 1 looks at the changes made to the object-oriented programming and object handling, Part 2 looks at lambda functions and closures. Then In Part 3, will look at namespaces, which is one of the most anticipated and the most debated feature in this release of PHP. In Part 4, take a close look at Phar, which is an archive format that can be used within PHP. In this final part of the series, learn about things to consider when upgrading from PHP V5.2.
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  • Profile picture of the author tulsasurgeon
    The website w3schools is a good place to start learning. It teaches you php in simple steps
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  • Profile picture of the author TrueStory
    Your level of success will GREATLY depend on amount of time you will commit to language and your understanding of computers.

    Many Programmers in this community will give you "GO AHEAD! YEAH! ITS EASY" speech, but very few gave you the (some might say negative) aspect of this:

    I've been a PHP Developer for several years, I've written many websites, many were database driven websites. I have modified, re-written and written from scratch various applications such as blogs, shopping carts, guest books, forums, etc.

    Here is what you absolutely MUST to consider:

    #1: PHP or any Server Side languages DO NOT come alone. You will most likely need to learn MySQL, which isn't hard, if you want to write something more than just contact forms, opt-in pages, and "hello world" pages. Sever side scripts are complimented by JavaScript. You do not HAVE TO learn JavaScript but occasionally you will need to use it. AJAX is one step above PHP. I Am currently dabbing with AJAX. It's a world in its own universe with different rules. LEARN PHP FIRST. This all nicely wraps into HTML and CSS languages, that come with their own price (let's get started on browser compatibility issues, guys!). Languages are easy to learn, but time consuming. So, my point is PHP alone will not teach you how to make dynamic websites. Even if you just modify WP Template you still need to understand how data is being represented.

    #2 The THICK line that separates good from great is ....well pretty thick. You will learn how to write basic contact forms, "hello world" app, maybe even some database-driven app (like adding subscribee to database), however, if you really want to write something useful (custom blog software, shopping cart, advanced user control panel, login prompts, etc) you would need to spend considerable amount of time getting silver tan. AT LEAST six month of practice, considering you do an hour of coding a day. I've spent last 6 years coding PHP and i *STILL* use reference for cleaner code and better implementation.

    3# HOBBY vs. PRACTICAL
    If you just want to learn PHP for ****s and giggle and minor modifications, by all means, it's fun language. I LOVE IT. If you have nag for mathematics, do it.

    BUT if you expect that you will be busting out vBulletin-board clones within a year, you might come to a great disappointment and frustration. If you need something done, eCommerce shopping card, then buy already created one or go to oDesk.com to find a developer. You'll just waste time and effort writing it yourself. Technology (especially security) changes almost every month. New protocols, new implementation is always arising. You will **ck your brain keeping up with that.

    But language is FUN.


    Originally Posted by butters View Post


    1) Is it easy to pick up PHP or is it frustrating as hell?
    NOPE. It's easy to learn basic concepts and fundamentals. Advanced stuff can be challenging and will take extra effort.
    2) How hard is it to develop membership sites, WP templates, not insanely advance but so they are able to run pretty well?
    Membership site is better off written by professional programmer, unless you have 2-3 years to learn it yourself. I assume you have full time business/job/family/social life/other commitment to take away from your development time.

    WP Templates are fairly easy. You can learn that in a month. In fact there are books teaching JUST THAT.

    "run pretty well" is loose term. It either works or it's BUGGY. Buggy = bad! You can't eliminate 100% of bugs, but you can make software 99% useful You'll quickly learn "IF IT AINT BROKE DONT MESS WITH IT" rule. I promise.

    3) What is the best place to start? Resources etc...
    books above are great. BUT YOU MUST do the exercises, no matter how simple they seem.

    4) If I learn PHP to a good level, is it easier to pick up other programming languages like ajax and java
    To a good level might take you good time, but yes, in essence, other languages are just variation of fundamental logic.
    There are few basic concepts:

    VARIABLE X

    IF [condition] THEN DO [action]

    IF [condition] THEN DO [action]
    ELSE DO [action]

    START (sequential processing: language interprets each line in order)
    STEP 1
    STEP 2
    STEP n
    END


    5) Will it make my life easier when it comes to online marketing ?
    Probably! But it will take time away from it in the beginning.
    6) Are coders under paid when it comes to out sourcing? something I would consider to fund university.
    It's getting to be more like this in US.

    Unfortunately PRE Y2K Era many went into Technology and CIS Majors. So now we have overpopulation of IT Engineers. There is no need for me to explain Supply and Demand here. But IT Developer, fresh out of college, makes ~35K a year. Independent contractor, experienced one, can make upward of $200K or more a year. Depending on marketable skills. More than basic PHP; actually you get paid more for UNIQUE knowledge than general.

    Typically EXPERT IN PHP will make slightly more money than say, LOW TO MID LEVEL DEVELOPER who knows .Net, PHP and Perl. Time is money. If you can quickly do one thing, it's better than spending hours doing many.


    I am sure I'll come up with more questions later , thanks in advance for any help you can give.

    Consider if PHP is investment or hobby for you. I am looking at average bids on oDesk for PHP gigs, and my hair is moving: developer-force is getting cheaper by day.
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    • Profile picture of the author CarloD.
      Also, Join a good forum.

      www.phpfreaks.com

      But don't expect people to "do things" for you. Try, Try some more, then try some more... then ask for some help.

      I have found that forum to be very helpfull.
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