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Ramasax
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: PA, US
Insane since: Feb 2002

posted posted 11-26-2003 06:08

Ok, after much deliberation and stalling, I feel it is time to scrap ASP as my programming language and move to something more widely supported, I am ready to learn PHP. I see almost everyone here using it, and I've never been given any bad advice by asylum members, so there must be something to it. I mean, it was reading posts here that made me see the light about CSS layout, and that to me that was the best thing since putting my first site up in 94.

I know there are many sites out there on the subject, but I am the type of person who likes to take a good book and work through it before diving into the web sites. It is also nice, for me at least, to have actual paper reference beside me. Can any of you recommend a good one to start with? I really hate to watse $60 on junk, and I have done it many times.


Cameron
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Brisbane
Insane since: Jan 2003

posted posted 11-26-2003 08:39

I haven't looked at any of the new books that are out, but a year or so back I picked up a copy of "PHP & MySQL Web Development" and it's served me very well since.

It's one of the few books I found that was prepared to go tooth and nail against both subjects in a very practical way whilst using examples that were broad enough to apply what you’re learning to just about any web application.

Although, recently I've taken to a different approach of building web apps with PHP -- removing any of the mark-up code from the Application code itself so that my applications can be used for a number of different front ends be it XHTML/CSS or Flash. Which is something that book didn't really deal although I'm not aware of any book that does, but the book mentioned above was what got me started and I've not had any need to look for another.

That said, I no longer use it as a reference as the PHP documentation is more than enough for most of what I want to do nowadays. And if you have pervious programming experience and want to do it all on the cheap the online tutorials and the documentation should be enough to see you on your way. PHP has a massive community following; much bigger than what it was when I was first learning, so you could probably get by on the community support alone. But it is nice to have a well written hard copy to read on the train and stuff. I also still use my pocket SQL reference all the time.

My advice would be to shop around. I'd say that nowadays it would be hard finding a book that justify’s its price tag compared to the huge community support and excellent documentation. Yet if you want it mainly for the handiness of having a hard copy/reference I'd steer clear of any "Beginner" books as the community has millions of PHP beginners stuff. Maybe you should start out using the community tutorials and grab a book once you know a little about the language and you know where your problem areas are likely to be.

Edit:

There are also a lot of other threads about similar to this (and prolly a FAQ ot two as well) with other book recomendations and what not which would be well worth a read though.



[This message has been edited by Cameron (edited 11-26-2003).]

Perfect Thunder
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Milwaukee
Insane since: Oct 2001

posted posted 11-26-2003 12:31

The man is completely right that the PHP online documentation is like seven fat books in itself -- it's not just dry API documentation like you get with any language, it has both copious examples AND very informative user comments on virtually every function giving lots of really meaty real-life examples, tests, workarounds, and advice. I learned PHP by doing one online tutorial (DevShed's "two-day CMS", if you're curious) and then just reading the PHP docs and user comments voraciously.

quote:
removing any of the mark-up code from the Application code itself so that my applications can be used for a number of different front ends be it XHTML/CSS or Flash. Which is something that book didn't really deal although I'm not aware of any book that does



There's probably no PHP book that focuses on this, but if you study the larger programming picture, you'll find out about MVC (model-view-controller) architecture, which is one common way of implementing what Drac mentioned. You can do it with PHP, in fact I'm doing it right now -- I have (abstract examples) inputview.php, which sends form data to controller.php, and when controller.php decides to output something, it does this:

code:
exit(include("outputview.php"));



This calls all the code in outputview.php, runs it with full access to the variables and objects available at that point in controller.php, then exits the program (assuming outputview.php gives the user the tools he needs to keep using the application, probably by sending another request to controller.php).

Cell 1250 :: alanmacdougall.com :: Illustrator tips

CPrompt
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: there...no..there.....
Insane since: May 2001

posted posted 11-27-2003 01:53

I can understand what you mean Ramasax about having the paper in front of you thing. I sometimes just print the web pages off and keep them as reference. It was nice when i worked for a copier company and it didn't cost me jack shit

But, I LOVE computer books. The WROX books are really good as well as the O'Reily. I recently flipped through the Core PHP book and it was really nice.

If you check it out from the link you can get it for around $40 USD brand new and some of the used ones are like $4.00! Might have to buy one of those myself

Later,

C:\


~Binary is best~

Cameron
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Brisbane
Insane since: Jan 2003

posted posted 11-28-2003 01:28

Additionally, if you're using Windows and are still stuck with a dial-up connection like myself, the following tools are *Must Have* items:

PHP Dev: http://www.firepages.com.au/ -- Windows installer package for Apache, PHP, MySQL and a couple of other things. Simple and easy solution for offline PHP development.

Extended CHM Manual: http://weblabor.hu/php-doc-chm/ -- The PHP manual in a windows help file along with all of the user comments from the online documentation!

Oh and a text editor with PHP syntax highlighting -- Max't HTML bueaty does a nice job of this.

Ramasax
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: PA, US
Insane since: Feb 2002

posted posted 11-28-2003 03:57

I still have yet to make my way to the bookstore. For now I just downloaded the manual and started on that. Too bad there isn't an indexed PDF version, I'd consider printing it out and throwing it in a binder. But, no index, no use. "PHP & MySQL Web Development" sounds right up my alley, so I will probably check that out. Beginning PHP also looks like a good book for me, I've never been disappointed with a Wrox book.

Only thing I am having a hard time with is extending PHP under windowsXP and IIS. Oh well, got a lot of learning to do, maybe I will set up an old box with Linux and work in the native environment.

EDIT: Or would it just be easier to install Apache on windows?

Thanks for your tips guys



[This message has been edited by Ramasax (edited 11-28-2003).]

DmS
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Sthlm, Sweden
Insane since: Oct 2000

posted posted 11-28-2003 09:16

NO IIS!
Unstable w PHP
Opens tons of holes in your comp
It's MS...

Go with Apache/PHP/MySQL from firepages or a similar package.
I've had that setup for a couple of years on 9x, W2K & XP and never had any problems with local developing in Winblows for use on a *nix enviroment.
Just keep case sensitivity and paths in the filesystem in mind and everything will be fine and dandy

Latley I also installed the Maguma PHP IDE free version (which comes with Apache/PHP/MySQL if you want), this supports a pretty good debugging, integrated (chm-style) help for PHP, MySQL, CSS, HTML, function insight, supports Javadoc style commenting which includes showing your own documentation for your functions as well as php-native documentation, project management and more.

A screenshot here: http://www.dmsproject.com/admin/archives/images/20030618223737_maguma.jpg

Personally I'm so satisfied that I'm actually considering upgrading to a commercial version of it instead of the free one. http://www.maguma.com/

Also see the FAQ http://faq.ozoneasylum.com/82/rating/ and http://faq.ozoneasylum.com/25/rating/ and last http://faq.ozoneasylum.com/60/rating/ for more info on setting up and so on.
/Dan

{cell 260}
-{ a vibration is a movement that doesn't know which way to go }-

Cameron
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Brisbane
Insane since: Jan 2003

posted posted 11-29-2003 17:38

Yes, definatly steer away from IIS with PHP. Apache will save you lots of headaches.

Indexed PDF? Who needs that when you have a searchable help file?... Besides, printing 100's of pages would likely cost more than buying a book in the first place.

Ramasax
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: PA, US
Insane since: Feb 2002

posted posted 11-30-2003 01:32

It became apparent very shortly after my previous post that IIS wan't going to cut it

Are there any issues with running both IIS and Apache simultaneously? I do a lot of ASP debugging for which I need IIS. I just changed the port to 8080 for apache and it all seems to work fine. localhost takes me to IIS, localhost:8080 takes me to apache.

quote:
Indexed PDF? Who needs that when you have a searchable help file?... Besides, printing 100's of pages would likely cost more than buying a book in the first place.


Would be pretty expensive, but I have an old Canon printer and a ton of black cartridges I picked up at a computer show for real cheap. So all it would cost is the paper and binder. Searchable help file is good, but I already explained my archaic affinity for hard copies.

Tyberius Prime
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist with Finglongers

From: Germany
Insane since: Sep 2001

posted posted 11-30-2003 11:11

well, if you got your own network with a dns on the windows machine, you could possibly tie iis and apache to different ips, same port. that way project1.intranet could lead to an iis hosted page, and project2.intranet to a apache hosted one...
Is there any reason that this won't work? (I know there's trouble in linux because it's a 'weak end host' (week end host')...)

DmS
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Sthlm, Sweden
Insane since: Oct 2000

posted posted 11-30-2003 21:16

I used to have both IIS and Apache installed when I had to do some ASP. I never installed them as automatic services though, partly because I don't want a server running all the time, but mostly to avoid fights over "localhost".

Install 'em both, take IIS of "automatic" and start the one you need when you need it, or is it likely that you will code ASP with your left hand and PHP with the right?
Besides you said you was going to scrap ASP as your language...'cmon, step of the edge for real
/Dan

{cell 260}
-{ a vibration is a movement that doesn't know which way to go }-

Ramasax
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: PA, US
Insane since: Feb 2002

posted posted 12-02-2003 05:45
quote:
Besides you said you was going to scrap ASP as your language...'cmon, step of the edge for real



hehe, I'd rather inch my way off the ledge. I do have a project coming up that is going to need some simple server-side coding(includes, mailform, cookies, querystrings, and a small events DB), so I plan on using that as my learning experience. I have found that I learn much faster when I have something 'real' to apply it to. Otherwise I move at sloth speed.

I picked up a copy of "PHP & MySQL Web Development" and am reading it now. So far I like it, and it doesn't seem hard at all to pick up the basics. Thanks for the recommendations, not a bad book and definately a good staring point.

I now have IIS and Apache loading manually. It did seem stupid to have them going together, because I cannot code in 2 languages with either hand simultaneously. That would give me a headache anyways.

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