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?!
I did buy a book called “WordPress 3 Plugin Development Essentials” which went something like this….
“Here is how the wordpress plugin structure works… add all your PHP here…”
For someone learning PHP this didn’t help too much.
I’d love to have a go at some plugin development tutorials that are actually explained well and are in depth, and go into depth about the PHP not just how wordpress integrates with it.
I am exactly the same! And theory I read from books is often never practiced so I forget it or what I learnt actually becomes dated!
I also don’t think I’ll apply the learn as and when technique in the middle of a clients build as building a plugin for the first time could drag the process out quite a lot lol
Do you know any good plugin books or online resources doc?
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)
I would learn the basics first, variables, loops, statements, classes, functions etc.
Try building an app in raw PHP first, then after a few months of doing that try learning a framework.
The app in raw PHP can also be anything you want, you do not have to build a calculator etc.
You got to learn the basics and see what you can create out of those basics, not just copy from a book or create things the “books way”.
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
I learned php from [this book.](http://www.larryullman.com/books/php-and-mysql-for-dynamic-web-sites-visual-quickpro-guide-4th-edition/ “”) which you can do at your own pace. It starts with the basics of the language syntax and using common programming techniques such as variables, conditions and loops. It is thorough and offers practical examples as well as good tips specific to programming, security, debugging and the language.
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.
One of the ways I practised was to create a database of CDs I own and then created web pages to display the data.
The first step would be to build a CMS using php to insert items into the database, update or delete them. If you make it so you have to be logged in to access the CMS pages then you’ll get practice with sessions or cookies and creating passwords.
You can then build web pages with queries / links to retrieve this info by differing criteria like band, genre etc. [This one](http://www.gbvdb.com/) inspired me, though it’s far more wide reaching than my own practices.
I used an earlier edition of the book margaux links to and found it easy to follow and adapt to my own uses.
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