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I am trying to get into programming for web development and PHP seems like a good language to use for that. I want to make complex sites with videos and member logins like a YouTube.

I didn't know whether I should learn another language before I learn PHP or if I should just start with PHP. I have been trying to learn PHP from this book and have been having a difficult time starting. I just don't know what to do with the info in the book.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 20 '11 at 23:49

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It seems too easy to write giant security flaws in PHP. I wouldn't recommend starting there. Ruby on Rails or Sinatra might be a better starting place for web development work, but I have to think that focusing on web development isn't going to make you an excellent programmer -- I suggest starting with generic language tutorials and learn the fundamentals of one or two languages before jumping into web programming. –  sarnold May 20 '11 at 23:49
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+1 to sarnold's comment. The type of site you're describing calls for a good deal of programming. Start by learning a common object-oriented programming language, such as Java, and understand the basics of the language. Learn how to deal with different data types, loop structures, methods and classes, recursion, etc. Once you get proficient with programming in general, you can start to look for advanced tools like Ruby on Rails to help take some of the work off of your shoulders. It's possible to write a complex webapp entirely in PHP, but use existing tools rather than reinventing the wheel. –  RMorrisey May 21 '11 at 0:08
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2 Answers 2

PHP is as good starting point as any other and it's extremely popular. I would not start learning any frameworks without learning the language itself first. However I'd recommend really nailing down HTML/CSS and basic Javascript before getting to PHP/Ruby or C#. You also need some database knowledge - I would start with MysQL for sure, as Oracle is more complex.

You can't really just learn a programming language on its own and build complex websites without good front-end and database knowledge.

I'd recommend this book for starting with PHP/Mysql: http://www.amazon.com/PHP-MySQL-Dynamic-Web-Sites/dp/032152599X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305936373&sr=8-1

And this one for javascript (it focuses on JQuery, but that's what you really need: http://www.amazon.com/JavaScript-Missing-David-Sawyer-McFarland/dp/0596515898/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305936491&sr=1-1

You might find books cheaper on websites that have student discounts though.

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"I'd recommend this book for starting with PHP/Mysql: amazon.com/PHP-MySQL-Dynamic-Web-Sites/dp/032152599X/…; Its funny you mention this AR1 as I have this book right now from the library –  user7705 May 21 '11 at 0:45
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Pick something specific that you want to build, and get going. I'll be bold and say Ruby on Rails is a great starting place. Check out their "get started" video here: http://rubyonrails.org/

Don't get overwhelmed by all the things you'll need to know at some point. Just pick something cool, and do it. You'll naturally learn what you need to know along the way.

You might also want to head over to StackOverflow.com, which is a great programming community. You'll find that some things are best asked here, and some best asked there.

Good luck!

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