10 websites to learn PHP for free or cheap
January 11, 2013 by Guest Contributor
Part of its attractiveness lies in widgets, which are created with PHP. That makes it a pretty important programming language to learn (On a side note, companies like Facebook and Zynga are built on PHP too).
With that in mind, here are 10 sites where you can learn PHP for free or cheap. You do not need to try everything; just pick the ones that suit your learning style best.
These resources won’t make you a super programmer overnight of course, but they are enough to get you started on a simple web app or widget.
The ten websites:
1. PHP manual: This is the official manual for PHP and it’s filled with detailed explanations of different concepts. What I liked most about this resource is that users can contribute their notes.
2 and 3. PHP tutorial – Learn PHP by Tizag and PHP Tutorial by w3schools: These two resources are pretty similar in writing style and presentation. They focus a lot on definition and methods, so I think you may struggle to put everything together into an application. They’re probably better as reference in case you forget anything.
4. PHP 101: PHP For the Absolute Beginner: This is a series of informal, entertaining tutorials written by Vikram Vaswani, founder and CEO of Melonfire. It has a clear flow and is easy to understand. At the end of the tutorial, you will be building a simple RSS news aggregator. My only qualm is that I wished it showed more screenshots so you know how your codes look like on the browser.
5. Practical PHP Programming: This guide probably has the best flow amongst all. Each chapter explores different sections of PHP, starting with an overview and ending with some exercises and resources for further reading.
6. Killer PHP: This hands-on tutorial promises to teach you “usable PHP skills as quickly as possible”. There are also videos supplementing the tutorial. I found the videos not very engaging though.
7. Learn PHP Tutorial: This is a list of downloadable video tutorials teaching the basics of PHP. It shows you what you can do with PHP using examples and best practices.
8. Surviving The Deep End: The Zend Framework is the predominant PHP web application framework. This book explores the basics of PHP and how to use the Zend Framework.
9. PHP with MySQL Essential Training: This is an 11-hour course on Lynda.com. You can sign up for a 7-day free trial. I found these videos easy to understand and follow. What I liked most is that the teacher explains why we do what we do without using programming jargon.
10. Getting Started with PHP (USD25): This series of videos teach you how to code through the process of building an online T-shirt store. You will need a little HTML and CSS skills to finish the project.
Learning online is fine but…
When I was learning how to code myself, I used free resources extensively. But the biggest problem was not the lack of good resources, but that I sometimes couldn’t find the solutions I need to the problems I have.
Stackoverflow is a great Q&A platform, but I faced another challenge when I tried to ask questions there – I had no idea how to adequately express my problem.
I ended up hiring a programmer to tutor me.
So I would definitely recommend learning from a person face-to-face, using online resources as a supplement, because a person can dive down deep to troubleshoot my codes. And explain stuff to me in a language I can understand.
If you’re in Singapore and are keen to take up an offline course on PHP, I am organizing an Intro to PHP class starting on 23 January 2013.
It will be taught by Michael Cheng, a Senior Software Engineer at mig33, who has more than 10 years of experience of building dynamic websites with PHP. He is also a Zend Certified Engineer/Trainer in PHP development. Visit Learnemy to find out more.
About the author
Elisha Tan is the founder of Learnemy, an online marketplace that allows users to take private or group classes for recreation. It is target at adults looking for alternative things to do in Singapore. She believes that people should be able to make a living by doing what they like to do. Hence, she hopes to provide a platform for people to monetize their skill sets by teaching.
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