Learning PHP (for beginners)


During the summer, I’ve been involved in a programme to train Computer Science A levels teachers – and I have developped some content for a module on web technologies.

Starting from september, I have been working on updating that content to teach on “IM2801 – Web Applications Development” at UEL.

One of the main problems in teaching PHP is that it’s a language that more often than not, people decide to self-teach themselves.

Developers approaching PHP will often have experience in many other languages – hence the books available are rarelly targetting readers walking their first steps in programming. Amazon.co.uk is listing a very large number of different books on PHP – 5,765 today and I have to say that since I started writing PHP I have been throuh (been through – not read) many, many, many of them.

The PHP online documention is still a very good reference – but not good enough for learning. So far, the best PHP book that I’ve read is “PHP and MySQL Web Development” by Welling & Thomson – but all my concerns on PHP books do apply to this one book. Larry Ullman has been writing a series of books targetting PHP beginners; they lead the learner step by step – but IMHO they do not give enough challenges in terms of activities, problems to solve etc. (I still recommend it to all beginners).

While we wait for someone to write something like Perkovich’s “Introduction to Computing Using Python” for PHP, we can also fish into the large amount of tutorials available on line.

And you can also have a go at my slides – free to use, modify and redistribute. Have fun, and share your changes!

If you do know any good books for beginners – share your own thoughts.

About Andres

Andres Baravalle currently (since September 2018) works at Akamai (UK) as an Engagement Manager. Before he has been working as a Senior Lecturer in the University of East London (2009-2018), as Lecturer in the Open University (2006-2009) and as Research Associate, in the University of Sheffield (2004-2006). He has finished his ph.D. in Computer Science, at Turin University in February 2004. As consultant, he has been working for several firms, in the in the area of web applications development, system administration, security and data analysis.