Learn PHP

Take this step-by-step approach to learn PHP coding

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PHP is a programming language used to enhance websites built with HTML. It is server-side code that can add a log-in screen, CAPTCHA code or survey to your website, redirect visitors to other pages or construct a calendar.

The Essentials for Learning PHP

Learning a new language—programming or otherwise—can be a bit overwhelming. Many people don't know where to start and give up before they begin. Learning PHP is not as overwhelming as it might seem.

Just take it one step at a time, and before you know it, you'll be off and running.

Basic Knowledge

Before you start learning PHP you need a basic understanding of HTML. If you already have it, great. If not there are plenty of HTML articles and tutorials to help you. When you know both languages, you can switch between PHP and HTML right in the same document. You can even run PHP from an HTML file.

Tools

When creating PHP pages, you can use the same software you use to create your HTML pages. Any plain text editor will do. You also need an FTP client to transfer files from your computer to your web host. If you already have an HTML website, you most likely already use an FTP program.

The Basics

The basic skills you need to master first include:

  • How to begin and end PHP code using <?php and ?> respectively.
  • How to leave comments that don't execute in the code; they just inform programmers who work on your code in the future (or remind you of your thinking). 
  • How to use the echo and print statements. 
  • How to set a variable.
  • How to use an array.
  • How to use operators and operands.
  • How to use conditional statements and nested statements.

Start with this PHP Basics tutorial to learn about all these basic skills. 

Learning Loops

After you master the basic skills, it is time to learn about loops.

A loop evaluates a statement as true or false. When it is true, it executes code and then alters the original statement and starts over again by re-evaluating it. It continues to loop through the code like this until the statement becomes false. There are several different types of loops including while and for loops. They are explained in this Learning Loops tutorial.

PHP Functions

A function performs a specific task. Programmers write functions when they plan to do the same task repeatedly. You only have to write the function once, which saves time and space. PHP comes with a set of predefined functions, but you can learn to write your own custom functions. From here, the sky is the limit. With a solid knowledge of the PHP basics, adding PHP functions to your arsenal when you need them is easy.

Now What?

Where can you go from here? Check out 10 Cool Things to Do With PHP for ideas you can use to enhance your website.