Introduction to PHP

"And you were leaning over like this..."


In my quest for total Internet domination, I've decided to launch a new section of angbox for learning PHP. It's called: Learning PHP.

Let's begin the first lesson.

PHP stands for...you know, I actually have no idea what PHP stands for. Who really cares, anyway? Certainly not me, and probably not you either. Or maybe you do care. Well, too bad. Sherlock Holmes said it best: "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it."

So we aren't going to worry about trivial matters like this.

Instead, the important thing to know is that PHP is the de-facto language of the Web, powering high-powered sites like Facebook, Digg, and - I know you won't believe this - angbox. All those blogs you read online? They're probably created with Wordpress, which means...yep, PHP.

Learning programming languages is rarely fun, unless you're a born nerd. I know this because I am not a born nerd, evidenced by the fact that I got C+'s in Physics, Calculus, and pretty much every math and science course I've taken since the seventh grade. But I'm going to make a serious effort to keep things enjoyable, unlike every other PHP site out there that is boring as hell. I plan to do this with a lot of heavy sarcasm.

So why would you want to learn PHP?

This is an important question, maybe the most important question. Well, first, PHP is, quite simply, the most accessible language I've ever dealt with. That is big. It's hard to describe how big. You know that kid who made an iPhone game when he was 9? Yeah, that's great and all, but if he had tried his hand at PHP he could've built himself a fleet of websites by 5. That's how easy it is. No, seriously, it's a really flexible language where you will never hear the words "stack", "inheritance", or "null pointer exception."

The second reason is that it's rewarding. Not personally rewarding in a, hey, I just spent 27 years building a giant robot that lights up and nods its head but doesn't actually DO anything, cool right? ...kind of way. But actually rewarding, to the tune of $50 billion dollars rewarding. That's the low end of what Facebook is worth now. And Facebook, most PHP developers will probably tell you with an exasperated sigh, isn't a difficult web site to create. Yes, you too can develop a Facebook clone with the help of these tutorials*.

For people who aren't interested in reading through my previous paragraphs, let me give you a two-sentence summary: PHP is easy. PHP can make you oodles of money*.

Now that we've covered that, let's get PHP up and running on your computer, so we can start you on the path to fame and fortune.

*results not guaranteed.

Next: Getting PHP running

Welcome to part 2 of my new high-powered series, Learning PHP, now available on DVD for only four easy installments of $19.
Introduction1 Introduction to PHP
2 Getting PHP running
3 Setting up your IDE
4 The Basics