Best way to start learning...?

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Alright, I need to learn PHP, but honestly I'm having trouble with some
of the online tutorials for two reasons:

1. They're incredibly dry and tend to just say what things do instead
of going in-depth into examples.
2. They don't provide me with excercises and projects in which to test
out what I've learned.  The best books I've ever read on any form of
scripting, coding, programming, etc. give me tasks in which to use what
I've been taught.  I only learn well by doing, not simply by being
presented with facts.

So... is there a site and/or a book (I'm willing to buy one if
necessary) that you would recommend for someone like me?

As a side note, a lot of them seem to put a lot of time and effort into
instructions on setting up PHP, Apache, and MySQL.  I have a web host
that's already fully configured (and runs PHP as CGI, although Apache
is an available method that goes against their recommendation), so my
real needs are how to apply my work to that environment.

Thanks in advance,


Re: Best way to start learning...?

I really like the Visual Quickpro and Quickstart guides by Larry Ulman.  
    I have been using PHP and MySQL for quite a while and I still refer  
to these books sometimes.  You can check it out at amazon.

( product link shortened)

TurboFool wrote:
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Re: Best way to start learning...?

TurboFool contained the following:

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I have some course notes here for the first five lessons of an
introduction to PHP course I run. They contain examples and exercises.

I'd welcome any feedback.

The editor I recommend is
Geoff Berrow (put thecat out to email)
It's only Usenet, no one dies.
My opinions, not the committee's, mine.
Simple RFDs

Re: Best way to start learning...?

Following on from TurboFool's message. . .

Bookshops and libraries have plenty.

Select one that suits you.

Once you've got the feel of PHP then look at some more - you'll find  
some major differences in programming style.

You will also find version 4 to 5 issues - Minor really but assume  
you'll be 5-ing and think objects.

PETER FOX Not the same since the porcelain business went down the pan
2 Tees Close, Witham, Essex.
Gravity beer in Essex  <

Re: Best way to start learning...?

I learned PHP by just getting out there and writing some program.  I
remember I wrote a message board system out of PHP, which was a great
exercise: It utilized key topics in MySQL, loops, and many other
topics.  You should try this out.  Of course, it probably won't be a
message board that you'll want to use, but that's besides the
point--you want to learn PHP.

After each project that you do, try to utilize different methods until
you eventually get to OOP and beyond.

Re: Best way to start learning...?

Just get a contract :)

Re: Best way to start learning...?

TurboFool wrote:
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I know one place with many tutes :
(i hope its not the one troubling you :-) )
then there is

You may not want it but, for scripts there is

I got PHP5 Unleashed by John Coggeshall and others from SAMS, but
again, it has no exercises, which is what you want.

You may try this: write at least a couple of scripts for every topic( I
know it is most difficult to imagine good examples when you are new to
the language - try doing in PHP something you have done in other web
development languages, if you have)

Then write common small applications - guest book, mail form, message
board etc.

Then make an e-store or a photo gallery or a copy of your favorite site
in PHP

I suggest you keep a plan ready - first two weeks one-two page scripts
, next few weeks five-ten page applications, next few weeks - real
world applications - if you get a book or a site that takes you along
that path, nothing like it.

Finally, make sure that you read the online PHP manual at and not only the one bundled with the software - because
the online manual has user contributed notes which are often quite good
and informative.


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