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Essential Resources And Techniques For PHP Beginners

PHP is an essential tool for web developers because it was designed for producing dynamic web pages. Without knowing it, I believe a web developer is useless. Sure, PHP alone is not enough but if you combine it with jQuery, MySQL and HTML, you will have the world on your feet.

This article is divided in 3 sections:

– In the first section you will find some IDE examples starting from free editions and all the way to expensive programming environments.

– In the second section you will find a collection of tutorials about PHP. If you are new to this, then you should read them because you need to understand at least the basics.

– In the third section you will find some beautiful tutorials that are more focused to blogs or social websites.

Ok enough chatting, let’s start:

Section 1- php IDE examples

First of all, let’s start with PHP Tools. In this section you will find some of my favorite development editors.

Aptana Studio 3  (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Why are Web developers world-wide choosing Aptana Studio? They’ve discovered that Aptana Studio offers unprecedented support for web app development combined with today’s popular Web platforms. Download Studio as standalone tool or plug it into Eclipse to see for yourself. It’s your choice.

Zend Studio (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Zend Studio is the leading professional-grade PHP development environment, designed to maximize developer productivity by enabling you to develop and maintain code faster, solve application problems quickly and improve team collaboration.

NetBeans (Mac, Windows, Linux)

The NetBeans project offers a version of the IDE tailor-made for developing PHP web sites that comprise a variety of scripting and mark-up languages. The PHP editor is dynamically integrated with HTML, JavaScript and CSS editing features.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5(Mac, Windows)

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 software empowers designers and developers to build standards-based websites with confidence. Design visually or directly in code, develop pages with content management systems, and accurately test browser compatibility thanks to integration with Adobe BrowserLab.

My favorite IDE is Aptana because it is free, light, fast and very simple to use. I know that Adobe Dreamweaver is the best tool for web developers but the price will always be a problem for some of the newcomers. Ok, let’s go to the next section. Here you will find some good resources to learn the basics of PHP. I said the “basics” because mastering this programming language needs time and practical work.

Section 2 – essential php tutorials

The first place that you should check if you want to learn PHP is Here you will learn the basics like understanding the syntax, how to work with variables, php operators, cookies in php, the relation between PHP and DB, XML or AJAX. Everything is very nice structured and very easy to understand. At the end you have a quiz test to see how well you know php.

After you are done reading everything from W3Schools, you should check out the next tutorials:

1. Classes and PHP PHP Builder’s Rod Kreisler provides a good tutorial explaining classes.

2. The Difference between PHP-CGI and PHP as an Apache ModuleShort tutorial on the benefits of running PHP-CGI vs. the drawbacks.

3. PHP Coding Guidelines – Helpful tips cover editor settings, naming conventions, code layout, and general guidelines. Good insight and tips

4. Programming: PHP – Very clear, easy to follow introductory tutorial series on learning PHP by University of Texas, Austin for its users. Covers environment variables, conditionals, reading form data, writing form data to a file, reading from a file, sending email, and resources to more on PHP.

5. Top 21 PHP programming mistakes – Part 1: Seven Textbook Mistakes This tutorial reviews the  top mistakes typically made using PHP and how to avoid them.

6. Creating Dynamic Images with PHP – Simple instructions for creating images dynamically with a TTF font file and PHP.

7. Easy-peasy PHP: Includes, Switching and Compression – This introductory tutorial takes you through the steps of creating a very basic Web page with some dynamic content using PHP includes and switch conditionals for customized content and navigation, and then adding compression to reduce the file size on the server.


Section 3 – Various tutorials

After you are done reading the tutorials above (or if you already know how to work with php), you should check out the next section because you will find some cool techniques for web development.

How To Implement A Launching Soon Page With PHP And jQuery

Making A Slick Content Slider

AJAX-enabled Sticky Notes With PHP & jQuery

How to Set Up a Local PHP/MySQL Development Sandbox for Windows and OS X

PHP components: Auto-suggest

“Who Is Online” Widget With PHP, MySQL & jQuery

Building Your First Simple CMS

Latest Post Blogroll Slider With jQuery And PHP

Create a shoutbox using PHP and AJAX (with jQuery)

Feature Suggest App With PHP, MySQL & jQuery

Making A Donation Center With PHP, MySQL And PayPal’s APIs

Simple Bookmarking App With PHP, JS & MySQL


That’s it, I hope you find this article useful and if you are new to PHP, then good luck! :)


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.