The hardest skill I have ever had to learn is PHP.
Reason being I have no where to practise it… I can use wordpress very well, understand the PHP needed for wordpress but I can never go all out and program because I never have a reason to.
Can any experienced PHP developers help me out here and tell me how I might practise this skill and not just read about it in books, as it never sinks in until I put it into practise.
When I learnt web design my sites we’re not great but I could put one together… I don’t want to spend the next 2 years programming calculator scripts and drop down menus link to a mySQL database. Is there any other more exciting way?!
No, but generally you can find things that you want to do. Like, “Oh wouldn’t it be cool if my theme did _____”. Then, instead of just trying to find a plugin that has done all the work for you, try doing it yourself!
Just do what you want! A couple of years ago I had an internship as a back end developer (and I knew nothing about it). The first day they gave me a book and told me learn: “Ruby and the Rails framework”. So I started creating my own projects. Initially I created a blog from scratch, then a blog with comments, then one with comments and authentication, and so on.. After a couple of months I moved onto trying to “clone” existing web apps (google calendar or bit.ly) and adding my own features.
So my advice is: think of something you’d like to code and do it! with google you don’t even need a book (it’s better to have one, though)
Another idea is to use [StackOverflow](http://stackoverflow.com/). You can look for questions that look interesting to you. Then try and answer the question without looking at the answers. After you figure out how you would do it, look at the answers, you’ll be surprised at how others approach the problem. Not only will this help you practice, it will improve your skills by learning from others.
Of course this idea can be applied to any programming language :P
You’ll probably be able to dive in and out of some of the chapters but for anyone looking to learn php, this book will give you a good platform to get you up and running. The last few chapters work through real life examples including building a forum and user registration. I think there might even be an ecommerce example. The supporting forum is good and I would recommend the author’s more advanced books as well.