Find Web Developers
Find Web Developers

How to Become a Valuable Web Developer

If you are new to web development and want to ‘break into’ the field then PHP is the programming language you should learn. There are many approaches to learning how to be a web developer, however, I believe the following approach makes the most sense.

Firstly, you need to learn how to code in HTML. It is very straightforward and there are many sites on the net that will help you learn the essentials. My advice is to learn on notepad first before you use the coding environments such as Dreamweaver. Notepad coding forces you to actually learn the language as the essential level. Anyone can use a WYSIWYG application.

Secondly, you should set up your development environment. Most PHP development now is done in conjunction with the Apache Web Server and the database known as MySQL. Fortunately, there is a great programming book entitled “Beginning PHP5, Apache, MySQL Web Development” that is very user friendly. To be honest, setting up your development environment is probably the most difficult task about developing.

As with all things in programming, there is a very helpful ‘trick’. Use a free application called XAMPP that has bundled PHP, Apache and MySQL together so that you can install them all at once and they can actually find each other on your machine. In my opinion, this makes the creation of your developing environment much easier. There is even an included application phpMyAdmin that gives you an intuitive interface to create and manage you MySQL database. If you don’t know anything about creating a database I can refer you back to our Beginning PHP5 book, chapters 3 and 4 which will take you through the first steps of understanding syntax and table structure.

Once the environment is setup and you have the Apache web server running, MySQL running and PHP is on your system you are ready to start learning PHP. I have found the tutorials at the W3Schools site very helpful, here is the link http://www.w3schools.com/php/default.asp Again, our Beginning PHP5 book provides some very helpful introductory chapters on learning PHP pages and using PHP with MySQL. PHP is very powerful if you couple the strength of the language with the strength of a database for storing a website’s data. If you go to Dice.com or Monster.com and check out the web development jobs you will see that PHP is in great demand. It is the language of choice for development now. It is flexible, open source and has a great community of devoted user around the world. If you don’t know what open source is, then you should Google it. It is a marvelous concept that has benefited many.

Personally, I have used the open source online store Prestashop to develop some online stores, see http://richardburkejones.com/prestashop/ Well, I hope this article has help you get started in web development and particularly in the valuable world of PHP development.

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