WEB & TECH / JUN. 12, 2014
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How To Hone Your PHP Skills And Build Stunning Websites

You may have heard about PHP.

It’s one of the programming languages that has withstood the test of time. Numerous web developers use it and millions of websites need it to stay online. In other words, you can't go wrong learning the essential code.

PHP is a useful skill to learn for novice programmers and professionals. Below elaborates more about the extremely popular programming language and how to hone the skill to your advantage.

What Is PHP?

PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is an open source, interpretive, HTML centric, server side scripting language. PHP is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML pages.

It is important to know that PHP is one of the most utilized scripting languages online. Some of its many uses include the following: enhancing web pages, creation of username and password login pages, creation of forums or surveys, and picture galleries. The goal of the language is to allow web developers to write dynamically generated pages quickly.

PHP Basics

The first thing you need, before you start learning PHP, is a basic understanding of HTML. You can switch between PHP and HTML right in the same document. You can even run PHP from an HTML file.

When creating PHP pages, you can use the same program you use to create your HTML pages. Any plain text editor will do. You will also need an FTP client to transfer files from your computer to your web hosting. If you already have an HTML website you most likely already use an FTP program.

Web developers use PHP to customize websites for their clients. The demand of today’s online businesses has led to the following developments in PHP:

  • Reduce the time to create large websites.
  • Create a customized user experience for visitors based on information that you have gathered.
  • Open up thousands of possibilities for online tools.
  • Allow creation of shopping carts for e-commerce websites.

Top 3 PHP References and Tutorials

Like other programming languages, guides are needed to minimize errors during the coding process. It is impossible to memorize all the codes and combinations out there. Because of this, it is essential to have a tutorial or guide handy at all times.

1. PHP Functions Essential Reference: This is an oldie but goodie. The book is simple and is an authoritative reference that clarifies PHP’s existing documentation. The authors have spent time evaluating all of the PHP functions and have selected around 900 for the printed book.

2. The Definitive Guide To Symfony: This book introduces you to Symfony, the leading framework for PHP developers, showing you how to wield its many features to develop web applications faster and more efficiently, even if you only know a bit of PHP. You will learn about the Model-View-Controller architecture and the crucial role it plays in making frameworks like Symfony possible.

3. PHP Essentials: This e-book covers all aspects of PHP programming. It begins with a brief history of PHP, then gives an overview of PHP, and why it is so useful to web programmers. It then covers all areas of PHP in detail: the basics of the language, file and filesystem handling, object oriented programming, MySQL and SQLite database access, handling of HTML forms, using cookies and PHP sessions.

To conclude, PHP is considered to be a foundational programming language. Due to its easy learning curve, honing the skill can pave the way for other complex programming languages. When learning PHP, don’t forget to use your references wisely. This can help keep your progress on the right track. Good luck!

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