The PHP programming language allows us to provide server-side customization of web pages with very little (relatively speaking) effort. Syntax-wise, it’s very much like most programming languages, with variables, conditional statements, looping statements, arrays, and strings. However, structurally it’s very loose and flexible, as befits its purpose as a scripting language interspersed with HTML commands and actual
content on web pages.
By using PHP to build web pages, you can isolate common page components shared across all pages on a site in their own separate files, simply including the files at the correct point in your web page. That is how most of the pages on this site are built — with each common page element in its own file, and the actual HTML code for the page built by running a PHP script.
PHP also gives you the ability to create web page interactions with a database by composing and running MySQL commands. This is how many e-commerce sites function.
PHP readings and tutorials
- PHP.net — you don’t really need anything but this!
- PHP.net Getting Started tutorial. Work through this tutorial first.
- Daily Bits PHP Tutorial Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.
Once you’ve worked through the Getting Started tutorial, work through these four tutorials.
- Beginning PHP Video Tutorials. You won’t need to go through all of these, since you already have PHP installed and you’ve been through the previous tutorials. But if you learn best through video, skip the first two groups and watch the last four.
Further PHP Tips and Tricks
- PHP Tutorial for WordPress Users — specifically written for the needs of those who customize WordPress, but still very helpful for others.
Work through the indicated tutorials. You don’t need to submit anything right now, but be designing your web site so that common elements across all pages on the site are in their own separate files and are included in each page’s specific file.