5 Essential tips for new PHP developers

PHP is a brilliant language and probably one of my favorites. It is a relatively easy language to learn and you can do a lot with it – even if right now it doesn’t seem easy.

If you can crack the basics and get to grips with a working knowledge of the a few key functions you can soon be building your own mini web applications, and your ability will just keep on climbing upwards. But before you can do that, you need to set the foundations and get started. Here are a few tips:

1 – Installing the environment

It isn’t essential, as most standard web hosts have PHP already installed. But if you can get hold of your own server set up, or afford a dedicated server – it is well worth having a go at installing the framework for yourself. This will really help you to understand the subtle nuances of the language in more detail.

2 – Stick to simple code editors

IDE’s (Integrated Development Environments) are bits of software which aim to make your life easier when coding, by managing files and helping with pieces of code. However, learning on such a platform can teach you bad habits. When you learn, try to use a simple editor such as notepad or notepad++ (it’s free). In particular, this will help you to learn correct syntax.

Hint: You will make mistakes along the way, and spending an hour banging your head against the wall over something like a missing semi-colon is common place. But getting your syntax down from the start will help you a lot.

3 – Don’t use readymade frameworks

If you dive right in and try to edit the PHP of some open source application (eg WordPress), you will be taken back by the complexity of the coding and won’t really know where to start. At first you should just aim to build a few of your own mini applications. Only move on to editing readymade code once you are at a higher level.

4 – Choose a good hosting company

Different versions of PHP work to different levels. You want to learn on the most up to date version of PHP with all the plugins, otherwise your knowledge will be incomplete. Make sure you have access to PHP5 as well as things such as cURL. Read a Host Gator Review here to see how they stack up.

5 – OO

It stands for Object Orientation and you can code without it if you want – but you shouldn’t. When I was first learning I made the mistake of putting off learning the nuances of OO programming, but when I finally did get on board I realized what I had been missing.

OO can be a bit tricky when you first learn, but you should try to crack object oriented coding as soon as you can because quite simply, it will make your life so much easier once you have done, and you might just wonder how you did without it.

Guest article written by: Nisha Sandhu – I am 26 years old and I am an Editor at whoishostingthis.com, whom I have been working with for 2 years now. I love to write and give online business advice to new and growing businesses, visit our site to check out the latest Host Gator reviews.

17 thoughts on “5 Essential tips for new PHP developers”

  1. Pingback: Level-343 Team
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    • I love PHP and that’s one of its main advantages. No compiling needed, but you do need a server to run it.

  3. Very encouraging read, Nisha.

    I hove no formal training in PHP, but I have learned to manipulate it.

    I believe that if you stare at it long enough, it will begin to make sense and it has.

    Funny. I started off changing the coding of WordPress out of necessity.

    It is getting much easier as time passes.

    Thanks for the great tips…:)


  4. Whenever you start in a filed it is the learning process and never fear to make mistakes when you start as a fresher. The post is well explained and will be helpful not only for php developers but also applies to all. It is very much needed that you do not use a existing frame work for making the work easy because you are not going to learn from it. Very superb post for newbies in php

  5. I have been meaning to sit down and learn PHP. I have a strong development background in applications, so I’m hoping to apply much of what I understand with regards to developing applications to learning PHP.

    Thanks for the tips. I’m sure they will come in handy when I start to learn PHP.

  6. All of these tips are sound ones, however the biggest one is this; stop reading about it and get doing it! Kinetic learning is perfect for people who code.

  7. I Started learning PHP a couple of years ago. I was so eager to learn. But then I learned about a platform called wordpress, and I stopped learning beyond the basics of PHP. Hadn’t I bumped into ready-made platforms, I’d be into advanced PHP by now.

  8. PHP is quite a good programming language and learning this program is really helpful in designing a dynamic website. Next to HTML this is one program I am glad I have learned.

  9. Very nice information for a newbie like me, thanks a lot :), trying to learn PHP, which I think is great server side scripting language.

  10. In my opinion php developers should be full aware form the latest emerging trends of hacking, because mostly attackers like to find back doors through poor scripts code. Also I have seen many developers who opt nulled scripts, which is not only dangerous for website but also harmful for server security.

  11. If you want to learn PHP in a local server you can use XAMPP for windows and MAMP for mac users, I have written a post how to install XAMPP in your pc http://is.gd/4H8sAg (didn’t mean to link drop, though it will be useful for newbies)

  12. I attempted to dabble in PHP a year or so ago, but got sidetracked. I am by no means an expert in anything programming related – in fact I know very little – but I always have the interest and desire to learn at least a bit so i can tweak and make subtle changes/corrections as needed. So thanks for this post – makes me a bit more dangerous.

  13. Your point number 2 is very solid. I use vi myself whenever I’m coding in PHP. Every now and again I use Eclipse, but that isn’t on every machine I use. Luckily vi is always there and is a good fit for coding. Cheers!


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