Five Great Resources for Beginning PHP Programmers

Build Your Own Database Driven Web Site Using PHP & MySQL

Author Kevin Yank is a seasoned writer, who delivers a masterful explanation of how to program with PHP, in a tutorial-style format. The book is easy to follow and is specifically written for beginners. Sitepoint books are known in the community for their paramount quality of books on web technologies. This book will help you grasp core fundamentals of the PHP language and MySQL. Check out Kevin Yank’s article related to the newest edition of the book, with four tutorials.

PHP Solutions: Dynamic Web Design Made Easy

PHP solutions is a wonderful resource for beginners, and I personally find the PHP installation section invaluable for beginners. If you’re on Windows, this book walks through the process of setting up the PHP environment from source and configuring Apache.

David focuses on PHP as a language without introducing database logic until later in the book – which helps the reader focus on PHP without even worrying about MySQL. Readers will also gain important insight on how forms are processed, manipulating images, creating a dynamic photo gallery, and a number of core concepts beginners need to learn on the way to mastering PHP.

Zend – The PHP Company

Zend is the keystone to the PHP community in many regards. The PHP 101 articles are great beginner tutorials cover the most essential parts of learning PHP. Become familiar with the Zend developer zone.

PHP Manual

This resources is an obvious one, but keep the PHP manual handy. Firefox has a search engine plugin for the PHP manual which makes it really easy to search, and in Google Chrome you can type “php.net” + space + function and Chrome will automatically take you to search results.

Be cautious of the user examples on php.net; some are useful, but don’t copy code blindly from commenters without learning exactly what the code is doing. There are code examples which are part of the official documentation – these are separate from user comments.

Online Forums

Online forums are not the fastest way to find what you are looking for if you need help; but if you don’t personally know anyone familiar with PHP, forums are a great way to ask questions to experienced developers. I particularly like Sitepoint’s PHP forum and devshed.

Next Steps

Once you’ve mastered the essentials of PHP, you need to learn about Object Oriented Programming. David Power’s PHP Object Oriented Solutions is a perfect companion to the aforementioned PHP Solutions.

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