KillerPHP Blog


Teaching PHP in Schools

September 23, 2016



Some of you know that StudioWeb, my app that many schools use to make teaching PHP easy, takes up most of my time these days.

… Ahh, the life of an innovative nerd!

In my continued attempts at getting the word out, I recently appeared on TV. You can check out my appearance on Canadian TV.

If you are interested in easily teaching PHP and SQL to your school or district, feel free to check out

If on the other hand, you are an individual who wants to take advantage of StudioWeb’s powerful training platform, check out my new Interactive Web Developer course.



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SQL and Database Basics – Part 1

August 25, 2016

So you wanna learn SQL and databases? Sit back and relax, grab a beer and some cheese flavored chips, and begin to learn from a crusty middle aged nerd!

Watch in full HD for total clarity:

If you think this freebie video is good, then you’ll love my powerful Interactive Web Developer course package … it’s amazingly easy!

Stefan Mischook

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What Pokémon Go can teach coders

July 24, 2016


In this video, I use the fantabulous example of Pokémon Go, to illustrate key app development principles. Here you go:


Stefan Mischook

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Careers in Code video series

July 10, 2016


I’ve recorded a series of videos I call ‘Careers in Code’, and it is about many things related to coding professionally. The series of videos is less about code, and more about all the things professional coders have to understand.

Drawn from my 20+ experience in the coding arena, there is a lot of good information in there I learned the hard way … you can learn it more easily watching these videos.

Stefan Mischook

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Using a Microservice to extend the lifespan of old apps

March 10, 2016


If you have an old app that works, but it has some problem spots, it might make sense to use microservices to fix these issues.

Sometimes rewriting core modules or classes in an old app, is just not feasible. In these cases, using a microservice to bypass the old code is the way to go. This strategy can work wonders in breathing new life into an app, saving you the cost and headaches of writing a brand new app from scratch.

Bypassing the Apps old ORM with a much quicker ORM

As an example, we recently fixed a huge speed issue (with an old app) that was using an old slow ORM. An ORM is a layer of code, used to interact with a relational database. ORM is short for Object Relational Mapping … just in case you don’t know.

So we used the micro-service pattern (strategy,) to leverage a new faster ORM.The end result: records that took minutes to load, now loaded in 1-2 seconds!

Sometimes you have to break the nerd-rules

We had to duplicate some fields in the database (typically a big no-no,) to make this work. But by using database transactions and database triggers (to keep up the data integrity,) it made sense to break these rules in this situation.

… Besides, these were fields whose value rarely, if ever change.

We deployed Sunday night (as usual) just in case something went wrong on the live server. I am happy to report, all went well.

Stefan Mischook

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What are Microservices?

February 16, 2016


A microservice is basically just a mini app that has these characteristics:

  1. They do only one thing – they are mini apps.
  2. They standalone – they are NOT part of a larger app.
  3. They are language neutral. That means you can write a microservice in Python, and have a PHP Laravel app use it.

I could write a few more paragraphs about microservices or I could just post my recent video on them:

Thanks for watching!

Stefan Mischook

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Building your First Web App

February 11, 2016

Learn PHP by Building Web Applications

So you’ve done a few online tutorial projects and you know you basics (HTML5, CSS3, PHP, JavaScript) but you don’t know how to do things off the top of your head … should you be worried?


Even the most experienced developers will be referring to videos, support forums and books to keep refreshing and building their skills. Yes, once you’ve done certain things a few times (ex: setting up an MVC framework like Laravel, designing databases) you will be able to do them without any help. But I can guarantee that other aspects of the project will send you researching!

… It’s the nature of development.

Experience makes you quicker

That said, as you continue to build more and more apps, you will be doing less research and more coding. You will also be able to build apps much more quickly, and even be able to research new things much more quickly.

… That’s why most of the time, it is cheaper (in the end) to pay an experienced developer a lot more than a junior. So you noobs just starting out, don’t be offended if you are making 1/4 of the what the top nerds are getting paid – they are worth it. But in time, you will be too.

Coding in the dark

I remember back in the day when I first starting coding, many times I would be writing code that I wasn’t exactly sure how it worked. My advice: just write the code and move on.

Eventually you will have the AHA! moment, and it will all make sense. Then in a few years, you will forget the basic syntax! 🙂

… But no worries, the principles of the code will stay with you.

In the end, what separates the good coders from the bad: a good understanding of the basic principles and techniques.

Hope that helps,

Stefan Mischook

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What JS framework should you learn?

January 30, 2016


PHP developers have to learn some JavaScript. There is no debate there, given that JS is the most important programming language in the world, and since when it comes to browser scripting, there is no other option.

JavaScript, like PHP, has several frameworks/libraries to choose from: jQuery, AngularJS, ReactJS … etc. With that in mind, I had someone put this question to me recently: “Is there JS framework you would recommend or to think about ?”

My answer:

Whatever you do, learn jQuery … although, you don’t have to learn everything about it. Just get an overview and understand the basics. jQuery is big and trying to learn everything might be a waste of time.

… It’s good to know WHAT a framework can do, so you can consider it for projects you are working on. But don’t use a framework for the sake of using it. People often think that they should be looking for a way to use a framework. No … use a framework only if you need to.

So much, and too much to learn!

The thing about learning tech skills, is that you have to learn to filter – there is so much to learn, you can never keep up. You have to pick and choose.

My advice is to first learn the basic concepts and techniques that are universal. Things like OOP, MVC design pattern (and others), separation of concerns etc … then get into more advanced programming concepts. Once you have that, you can poke around some frameworks, keep your eye on what is out there, but keep in mind that it is not possible to learn all things.

I lost 10% of my hair in the 1990’s, trying to learn too much!

Back in the 1990’s when I first cut my coding teeth, I used to drive myself bat shit crazy trying to keep up with all the ‘hot’ amazing nerd-tech hitting the Web. Most of the time, the new amazing thing wasn’t really much better than what was already there, and many a times, you would sacrifice some advantage in one library, framework or language … for another.

Again, know the basics well, learn the key libraries/frameworks so you at least know what they can do. But don’t go nuts. Personally, in the JS world, I would learn jQuery first and foremost. But not all of it.

Thanks for reading.

Stefan Mischook

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