Learning PHP

I’ve gotten a few questions on learning PHP. Why is finding a class on the most popular web scripting language so tough? Classes on PHP are often hard to find for a couple of reasons.

One, it isn’t a vendor-backed solution. What you’ll notice in most computer classes is that the software materials are provided by the vendor (less work for the training company), and the class often moves you toward certification as Uber-Geek in said software, making the class more popular for people that value certificates, placards, and other things you can nail to a wall.

The second reason is PHP is almost ridiculously easy. It takes a week of training and another month of two of cursing just to learn the Visual Studio .NET IDE, let alone write useful code. PHP is written by web developers for web developers, and it’s a piece of cake to learn. Most common tasks are build-in functions, and there are more free classes and code samples for PHP on the web than you can waggle a mouse at. Just to give you an idea, one of the most popular script sites is Hotscripts. PHP has over 12,800 sample scripts there. The nearest other language is CGI/Pearl (4,400). Asp.net has a paltry 1,190.

Still, getting off and running in a new language can be tough. There are a plethora of PHP books out there (even the ubiquitous PHP 5 for Dummies) that can get you started, but here are some free online resources that can help:

PHP Video Tutorials
If you want to simulate a teacher talking you through PHP, the videos on this site are a really good introduction to everything from installation to writing functions. It’s Google video based, so the videos run fast and smooth.

PHP Tutorial
This is a W3C PHP tutorial. It’s pretty good noob material, even though it’s written in ASP :).

PHP Tutorial
A little help from Free Webmaster Help.

PHP Tutorials
Zend supplies a big chunk of the PHP engine, and they have a great set of tutorials on many aspects of PHP.

PHP Tutorials
PHP Freaks is a great site for PHP developers. They have links to all kinds of tutorials, from planning a PHP project to OOP.

You can find lots and lots more tutorials on Google. If all else fails, shoot me an email. I’m no PHP expert, but I’ll give a hint or some code if I can. Good luck!