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Tuesday 26th November 2013 Great PHP Books Every Developer Should Own

Becoming a developer is a never-ending process. No matter how long you work at it, there are always things to learn, always new iterations of PHP to keep up on, and always a more elegant solution to a particular problem. One of the best ways to hone your skills, of course, is to get your fingers dirty doing actual coding in the trenches, but it's not the only way to expand your capabilities. Sometimes the only way to move forwards is by picking up some new knowledge from a new source, so we've put together a list of books that every PHP developer should own.
 
First on the list is from the venerable and respected O'Reilly series. Unimaginatively titled 'PHP Cookbook: Solutions and Examples for PHP Programmers', the content itself is nevertheless extremely elegant and well-put together. Aimed at both novice developers and more advanced pros, there's something for everyone here. Organized from the perspective of problem solving instead of a more traditionally structured approach, even advanced developers may find more elegant solutions to common programming problems. Make sure you grab the edition that's been updated for PHP5!
 
Next on the list is the also unimaginatively titled (noticing a trend here yet?) 'PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Ed.) by Luke Welling and Laura Thomson. This book offers a more traditionally structured approach, covering everything from the basics of how PHP and MySQL interact conceptually to more concrete examples on how to deal with session management, email, and even PDFs and images. Famed for its clarity of writing and down-to-earth style, the 5th edition is slated for release in Spring of 2014 complete with updates for PHP 5.5.
 
Finally, for those of you who are already quite familiar with PHP, we reach 'PHP Objects, Patterns and Practice' by Matt Zandstra. It covers some of the additions from PHP 5.3, but doesn't seem to have an updated version. Regardless, it teaches best PHP practices from project design to build and implementation solutions, making it far more useful for the large-scale enterprise developer.
 
The trend in unimaginative names probably stems from the logical nature of the typical programming mind, but there is a certain charm in something that 'does what it says on the tin', as the saying goes. If these books still seem to daunting to you, you can test the PHP programming waters with some of the online tutorials we mentioned in our previous post. Enjoy!

Posted on November 26th 2013 at 06:25am
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Labels: books, learning, php

Friday 22nd November 2013 Great Sites for Learning PHP

learningLearning a new programming language can be tough - especially when you're trying to learn it in the abstract. Once you've got the essentials down, the best way to keep learning - and to keep the learning interesting - is by getting your hands dirty with some simple projects. As your projects grow more and more complex, sometimes you'll find yourself grasping at straws while trying to figure out a portion of your project. Enter the great tutorial website, always ready to help you out with some of the trickier aspects of project development. With that in mind, we've put together a list of great sites that offer some of the best tutorials online. It's by no means an exhaustive list, but they're all great starting places.
 
The grandfather of them all is the venerable W3Schools site. You may remember it from the hazy bygone days of learning HTML and CSS, but it's got great resources for many languages, and PHP is right up there with the rest of them. While its tutorials aren't as indepth as most of the other sites we'll look at, it has some great tutorials and sandboxes for experimenting with different PHP functions, which makes it great for beginners.
 
One of the newer - and better designed - sites for learning PHP can be found at the Code Academy. It offers a set of 11 unique  courses to take you from the very  beginnings of PHP with a very hands-on approach, similar to the sandboxes offered by W3Schools but far more advanced. They don't delve as deeply as some of the other sites, but they're great for the basics.
 
Once you've shaken off the fear of unfamiliar new code and you're ready for something more advanced and intriguing, swing by PHPAcademy. Their tutorial collection is comprised entirely of free videos which are nicely put together. The only downside is that they're relatively new, and are still building up a large repository of content. Regardless, they're definitely worth visiting to start getting your feet wet with some more interesting PHP projects.

Finally, if you've got a bit of money to throw at the learning process, it's worth checking out the resources offered by the ubiquitous
Lynda
. They've got literally thousands of tutorials under their belts, and while they only offer a few for PHP, they cover all the major aspects of what you need to know to get comfortable with PHP, from working with MySQL to building basic Facebook applications. Their experience with teaching is obvious in every tutorial they host, and once you get hooked you'll want to start learning even more!

Posted on November 22nd 2013 at 11:05pm
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