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Better way to learn?

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#1 tleisher

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:49 PM

What is the better way to learn:

A) Buy a book, read it cover to cover.
B) Start a project, Read the Documentation when you get stuck on something
C) Read tutorials
D) Buy a book, start a project, refer to the book when you get stuck
E) Join an open source project and work with a team

I know a decent amount about php and programming syntax in general, but when it comes to things like regex, register_globals, $_FILES, and more advanced things in php/mysql Im dumbfounded on where to look.

#2 AndyB

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:53 PM

F) Register in a really good forum and read LOTS of relevant posted questions and answers, and even ask and answer a few.

One big downside to reading/referring to a book is that so many books are out of date by the time they're published. On-line references are much more likely to be current, especially reputable sites.
Legend has it that reading the manual never killed anyone.
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#3 Wintergreen

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:55 PM

I'm in the same position, but what I've found is it's best to look for tutorials that are close to doing what it is you'd like to learn, and then give it time to sink in.  It's maybe a bit slower this way, but using tutorials and php.net for explanations works pretty well and is cheap.  The big drawback to this is that many times the php.net function explanations aren't overly easy to understand. 

#4 Nhoj

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 02:07 AM

I did and liked doing what Wintergreen suggested.

Just create a project that you've always wanted to make or experiement with, something very small. Mess around with $_GET and $_POSt variables, test some loops, make a few smiple functions.

If you get stuck or cant figure out how to do something, ask someone on a forum like this. If you don't understand what a function does, such as addslashes() for example, just go to php.net and type addslashes in the search.

The discription isn't always helpful, but, usually the user comments at the bottom explain it. Google is also a VERY good tool for helping, you can easily find what you're looking for, usually in tutorial form.

Another great thing that I learned from is, say for example you want to make a guestbook, open an already made guestbook script in a program such as Dreamweaver, wordpad and notepad also work. Go through some of the files and pick out things you DO understand in the code and try connecting the dots, lookup the things you don't know in a place like PHP.net. This was probably my favorite thing to do, tinker with already made scripts to figure out how it works.
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#5 SharkBait

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 03:01 AM

I started with two books:

PHP for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide: Visual QuickStart Guide - ISBN: 0321245652
Php And Mysql For Dynamic Web Sites: Visual Quickpro Guide - ISBN: 032133657

Both helped me learn the basics.  I then found phpfreaks (yea this place) looked over the tutorials, registered on the forums.

I actually started out by Converting an excel application at work to an MS Access project, and then wanting to get back into web design and the more dynamic side of it, I converted the MS Access project into a in-house website application with PHP and MySQL.  Any questions I had about what I needed to do I just asked here.

This place has been by far the most helpful out of all the resouces I have found on the net.

But don't forget PHP.net.  <--- 2nd Best Friend next to PHPFreaks.com ;)

#6 redarrow

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:09 AM

what i did and it helped but was exspencive.

i got a collection of the best php refrence as money could buy i began to read all the books the whole 14 of then and keep them all for refernces but they dont and will never beat the manual from php.net.

i then got all the mysql books i could afford and use them for refrences.

i then sign up on here and realise as advised form others to get a copy of the php manual what is free and can be downloaded for php.net.

i have used all the tutorals on this website and others on the net.

i then wanted more out of php so i got a few php dvd videos what were relly good and relly good fun .

then i did a course online and pass 87%

then i done the php exam online for php programmers and got 99%

but i am still learning i found that php programming is a real big learning process and as much as i no, it still continues.

relly take your time in learning as much as you can for example, i study the $_post and $_get for around 3 months so i never have to do it agin and i also do this with many php commands and statements.

the problam is that the brain is like a sponge you can only obsolve so much before an exsplosion lol

good luck.
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#7 extrovertive

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:30 AM

PHP is like a "function" language. So many damn built-in functions. Try to find your own wrapper function based on built-in ones. For instance, rewrite the algorithm for the in_array() function, if you're learning array. Rewrite the str_replace() function if you're learning string and so on.

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