Gen. Jose Hernandez (from The Commons)
Well, somehow I managed to let more than a month slip by without getting this post up. Between being quite busy for a lot of the time, and a bit of procrastination it was easy to fall behind. I've been making progress off and on through PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites, but with the extremely hot weather in Toronto lately, it has been difficult to get any reading done on the subway sometimes.
Variables are the subject of this long delayed post. Variables are used in PHP in much the same way that they are in virtually any other major scripting or programming language. Variables use in PHP is fairly informal. A variable's name must start with a dollar sign and be followed with a letter or underscore (e.g. $variable); beyond that it can be called more or less whatever you want. Unlike in some other languages, variables can be created on the fly, and don't have to be declared or initialized beforehand.
A papier-mache cow on Mrs Mellor’s car, 1944 (from The Commons)
Jumping into PHP hasn't been too hard for me. The book is aimed at people with a bit of programming/scripting experience, or at least a familiarity with the concepts. That worked just fine for me, since I have previously worked with VB a bunch when I was a teenager, and have had to hack bits of code here and there in the intervening years. So, the basics are more about learning the syntax and what sort of things you can and can't do.
I recently decided to pick up learning the coding side of web development again. Back in high school I learned HTML in the mid-level courses, but the higher level courses focused on Visual Basic. I also learned some PBasic for the FIRST robotics competitions (I dont think there was a seperate Canadian one at the time) my school competed in, but these are something of a foggy memory more than 10 years later.
That's where this blog comes in. I've been working in online marketing since the end of college. I've learned a lot about analytics (Google's and Clicktracks among others), SEO, SEM, PPC, usability and a variety of other things. However, I've been feeling more and more like coding is what I would really prefer to be doing. I've always enjoyed that side of things, while link building and social media strategy has never really excited me that much. So I have decided to pick up where I left off a decade ago, and document my learning experiences. For now I'm sticking with this shared blog, but I'm going to setup a new site for this soon enough if I don't end up losing interest for some reason.
I'm going to aim to update this blog regularly with posts detailing what I have learned, what I found interesting or challenging, and other insights into the more technical side of web development. I'm planning to work in some posts regarding my current profession as well, and will certainly have some crossover between the two here and there. I'd like this blog to be a useful resource to others attempting to learn the same things as both a useful (if informal) technical reference as well as providing some moral support.
Here is my basic plan so far:
- Review HTML, making sure to pick up on the post-CSS changes.
- Fill in the missing gaps in my knowledge of CSS.
- Learn PHP from scratch.
- Learn SQL from scratch.
- Figure out what I need to know about HTML5.
- Then figure out where I want to go from there. I'm not really sure, but I'd like to know more about AJAX, DHTML, jQuery and XML. I figure I'll probably also take a look at VBScript.