5 Things I wish they had told me before I started programming in PHP 

For our March meeting, Cal Evans will present on “5 Things I wish they had told me before I started programming in PHP.” It will be excellent for all audiences! We’re going to do things special for this one meeting: our presenter isn’t going to be with us live. We are still going to be meeting at Bill Good Marketing as usual (and afterhours party as usual), but will be presenting to us via GotoWebinar.

5 Things I wish they had told me before I started programming in PHP is a raucous romp through PHP, covering not only mistakes that programmers make, but skills they need to make sure they master.

  1. Learn a framework. I don’t care if you didn’t write it, you’re not (insert demigod programmer here) so quit thinking you’ve got it figured out. Frameworks exist for a reason and that reason it to give you the tools you need to do your job. If you are a carpenter, you don’t go out and build your own circular saw before you start a project, you use one already built. We will review the 5 most popular PHP frameworks.
  2. Learn that PHP is not (insert the language you last worked in). More importantly, we don’t want it to be either. PHP is what it is, the best solution for web project. The faster you learn that, the faster you will get things done. PHP is unique and proud of it.
  3. Learn where to get help. Help sites for PHP abound on the web. Anyone with a copy of WordPress can start sharing the things that they’ve learned. Unfortunately, not all sites are created equally. If you are new to PHP, look to sites like phpdeveloper.org and DevZone as pointers to other good content. If you are an old hand, here are a few sites you may not know about that will help you get going.
  4. Learn your stack. LAMP, WAMP, SAMP MAMP, or WIMP know the stack you are using inside and out. We’ll cover the basics you have to know, from setting up a virtual domain, directory structure stratigies to url re-writing and logging. We will look at a few offerings including Zend Server.
  5. Get Involved! Getting involved in the community is not somethng you do because you are bored on a friday night. it’s something you do because you want to know more than the guy sitting in the cube next to you. You can either spend every night reading and memorizing the PHP manual, or you can get involved in the community and start talking with the people white the language. Theya re out there, they don’t usually bite and they will help you as long as you don’t expect them to do your job for you. The next time you boss asks you about the new Date() features in PHP 5.3, you can reply “Let me ask Derick real quick.”

For the past 8 years Cal has worked with PHP and MySQL on Linux OSX, and when necessary, Windows. He has built a variety of projects ranging in size from simple web pages to multi-million dollar web applications. When not banging his head on his monitor, attempting a blood sacrifice to get a particular piece of code working, he enjoys building and managing development teams using his widely imitated but never patented management style of “management by wandering around”. These days, when not working with PHP, Cal can be found working on a variety of projects, most of which require a higher security clearance than you have so they can’t be listed here. Cal is currently based in Nashville TN where he is currently gainfully unemployed and seeking a job in IT so he doesn’t have to go out and get a real job. Cal is happily married to wife 1.25, the lovely and talented Kathy. Together they have 2 wonderful kids who were both smart enough not to pursue a job in IT.

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