A Gentle Introduction to PHP

June 22nd, 2014

For web designers coming to PHP for the first time, programming can seem pretty complex. The main reason it feels that way, is because many PHP tutorials are not created by teachers … they are created by young programmers who have never taught before.

… Believe it or not, there is a skill and a method to teaching.

Learning PHP made easy

My beginners course on PHP has a proven track record of being ultra-simple – anyone can learn PHP with Beginners PHP. Not the most exciting name for a course but nonetheless, I can guarantee you will learn PHP after doing it.

If you have any questions, feel free to write me.

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

My new site swiftplayground.org

June 18th, 2014

swift

Hi,

It took us a week but my site on Apple’s Swift programming language has officially launched!

swiftplayground.org

I decided that (once again) I had to walk my talk and explore a new programming language. Swift is a good one to learn for several reasons:

  1. Swift is an ultra modern language. It’s always good to be clued into the cutting edge.
  2. Swift will open up the doors to speedy iOS programming. There’s good money in them Apples!
  3. It looks like a lot of fun!

So there you have it PHP nerds. If you are looking to stimulate your programmatic brain or maybe expand the type of (programming) work you can do, Swift is something worth learning.

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

Upgrading to Apache 2.4.9, Laravel and Dumping CodeIgniter

June 10th, 2014

Hi,

We just upgraded our servers to Apache 2.4.9 (and PHP 5.4.29) so that we could use the Laravel PHP framework.

The upgrade was pretty flawless, save two minor issues: one with a WordPress plugin and the other was with a PHP.ini setting that was no longer supported in Apache 2.4.9.

… This caused CodeIgniter to show a 500 internal sever error. CodeIgniter error handling stinks. That alone is reason enough to dump CodeIgniter.

Apache 2.4.9 is fast!

As an added bonus, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Apache 2.4.9 is significantly faster than what we had been running – Apache 2.2.27.

It’s best to keep your server software up-to-date to take advantage of performance improvements and security fixes. If you let your software get too out of date, the eventual upgrade could be a nightmare as radical changes to software, is more likely to break things than minor upgrades.

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

Apple’s new programming language Swift just Killed Objective C

June 3rd, 2014

swift

Hi,

I just watched the presentation on Apple’s new programming language: Swift. This means the end for Objective C and it fundamentally changes the world of iOS programming.

Why?

It is much easier to learn and much easier to work with and so we will see it used by a lot more programmers.

About the Swift Language itself:

It looks like a modern scripting language that shares similarities to Python and other modern nimble languages. I just took a quick look at some Swift code and it is indeed much easier to learn than Objective C.

Take a look at this:

let label = "The width is "
let width = 94

For the constant (created with the keyword ‘let’) you don’t necessarily need to declare the type of data that your constant is holding (if you will) Swift is smart enough (many times) to detect the data type automatically. For example:
let width = 94

… It seems pretty clear the ’94′ above is an int and not a string.

When there are situations where the initial value of your constant does not provide enough information with regards to its’ type, then you can specify it’s value like so:

let explicitDouble: Double = 70

Casting Types with Swift:

Since it seems Swift is NOT loosely typed like PHP and JavaScript, you need to explicitly convert data types. So for example:

let label = "The width is "
let width = 94
let widthLabel = label + String(width)

In the above code, I had to convert my ‘width’ constant from an integer (I’m sure Swift set ‘width’ to int when we declared the constant) .. to a string using: String(width)

Anyway, I just started looking at this language 20 minutes ago and I have a lot to learn! But, from what I’ve seen so far, and from what I’ve seen with the new Xcode tools and Swift Playground (which gives you live feedback of your code) I think this could be a great language to learn and teach with.

More to come I think.

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

How to Become a Web Developer – the Video!!

May 7th, 2014

Hi,

Based on my previous blog post, in this video I talk about what you need to do to become a web developer:

Thanks!

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

How to Become a Web Developer

April 30th, 2014

light bulb

 

The following details the steps you need to take to become a web developer – this is a question I get all the time by the way … you are not alone!

#1. Learn to code. You need the skills before you can sell them! Today (2014-2015) you need to learn the following technologies in this order:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • HTML5 & CSS3
  • JQuery
  • Twitter Bootstrap
  • PHP
  • SQL & MySQL
  • Object Oriented PHP (OOP in PHP)

To be clear, you don’t need to master all these before you get to step #2, #3 and so on … But you do need to see these as the ultimate goal.

… In fact, you could quickly move into step #2 once you have a good understanding of CSS and HTML under your belt. As you learn more though, you will be able to take on more jobs (simply because of the greater variety of skills you will have) and raise your pay/salary as you become more valuable and more experienced.

If you want to read the rest, download the pdf.

I hope you find this useful.

Stefan
killervideostore.com
Phone: 1-855-932-8091

Top 10 Web Programming Teaching Tips!

April 24th, 2014

studioweb logo

Hi!

This blog post is for teachers teaching web programming and design … but if you are learning PHP (or any other language) many of these tips will be helpful to you too.

Let’s start with a teaser:

1. Start with an Easy Language:


Don’t use hard to understand languages like Java, C#, C++ to teach beginners programming! Stick to simpler languages like PHP, Ruby, Python or JavaScript. Once your students have a grasp of basic programming concepts, then you can move into the more complex languages … if you need to!

2. Don’t teach A to Z:

Teaching people to code has a lot more to do about leaving out the non essentially elements of a language. Don’t cover every nuanced aspect of the HTML link tag, don’t cover all the ways a method can be created in PHP … leave out the less often used aspects of a language and save it for later. Just expose your students to the key aspects of the language, just enough so they can move forward.

If you want the other 8 tips, follow this link.

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

The #1 Rule of Programming

April 22nd, 2014

stefans-php-rules

Hi!

There is a lot to learn when it comes to PHP programming … actually, there is a lot to learn when it comes to programming, regardless of the language. Here are my top for programming tips.

Stefan’s #1 Rule of Programming:

You will not remember everything you learn.

All the methods, functions, design patterns and other constructs found in PHP are far too many to for any human to remember. That’s why god invented Google and php.net.

… A good book can help too!

The most important thing to remember when learning PHP, are the basic concepts and practices. So I am talking about things like, function, arrays, classes, recursion, MVC et cetera. Again, it is not important that you remember the specific syntax – that you will forget in time. No, it is only important you understand what these things are and WHY you would use them.

Read the rest of this entry »

How important is the choice of programming language – in app creation?

April 14th, 2014

Hi,

I am a big advocate of PHP but you have to ask yourself, how important is the choice of programming language, given so many great apps are created with many different languages? Think about it:

  • Twitter – created with Ruby
  • Facebook – created with PHP
  • LinkedIn – created with Java

I get deeper into this topic in this video blog:

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

Should you use JQuery less and do more raw Javascript?

April 13th, 2014

Yo!

Not strictly PHP … actually, this is not PHP at all! But it is still relevant to any active PHP coders because you will need to use JavaScript with PHP – that is almost a certainty.

Someone put this question to me recently:

What’s your opinion on using pure JavaScript over that of Jquery and other libraries, do you think having a strong understanding of pure JavaScript is vital when using Jquery and other libraries?

My Personal opinion is that you should use pure JavaScript regularly because more likely then not you are going to be doing either edits to Jquery or making custom Jquery plugins. I ask this because i feel we are becoming dependent on Jquery and missing the point that it is just JavaScript at its core. 

My answer:

That’s a great question! My instinct is to say we need to know mechanics of things and so it makes sense to not rely too heavily on JQuery. But the reality is different!

You see, just about every language and framework we use today, builds upon some lower level base that most of us are not even aware of. So for instance, Ruby and PHP are written in C, so shouldn’t we go down to C and learn that? No!

Back to JavaScript; you need to know basic JavaScript and how to manipulate the DOM without JQuery. But in day-to-day coding work, you SHOULD use JQuery and other libraries because they’ve been debugged and handle a bunch of boilerplate tasks … things that you should not have to deal with.

If by chance you see a need to create a JQuery plugin or you need to do some highly custom JavaScript … then go deeper into then. For now though, you have too many things on your plate to worry it!

Stef

I am not sure if I should be quoting myself?

;)

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

CodeIgniter Creators are out, should you be too?

April 13th, 2014

Hi,

Someone asked me recently if I though the CodeIgniter core libraries would still be supported given that the creators of CodeIgniter have officially dropped it. I could write about it, but a quick vblog is easier … here you go:

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

Why you should NEVER use inheritence in your PHP OOP Code!

April 9th, 2014

franken-software
Hi!

First all of, I have to say that I love this guy on the right!!

:)

Anyone who knows object oriented programming is probably having kittens now! How can a nerd like Stef be dissing one of the fundamental tools in our OOP toolbox? Isn’t inheritance one of the key tools that makes code reuse possible?

Well, only in the case of foundation code. Very few of use write that kind code. Most of us are writing business objects and business objects should be using interfaces and object composition.

What is foundation code?

Think the core of web servers, the core engines in database servers. All the stuff that is pretty much written.

Share object code as complete objects, leave the code alone!

Code Reuse doesn’t come so much from reusing code found in one class and using inheritance to bring it into another. No, it’s more about reusing objects across projects and reusing COMPLETE objects within the same project.

Composition over Inheritance

Favor combining objects (this is called composition) rather than creating new objects that inherent functionality from parent classes. Why?

Because inheritance creates fragile dependencies – if some nerd comes a long and decides to rewrite some of your base classes – you will be screwed! I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s not a pretty site: nerds screaming and yelling, app functionality breaking in 10 different places … nerds throwing wussy punches with the intent to do damage.

.. But since they are nerds, no one really gets hurt.

With composition, your objects are loosely bound. That means it’s easy to swap objects in an out of your code base, since your objects are not dependent on the INTERNALS of another object – something you get (unfortunately) with inheritance.

Keep your objects small, highly focused and dumb.

Objects should have very specific task and they should be dumb to what’s going on around them.

Objects should take in an input and spit out a generic output. You don’t want the behavior of your objects to be easily influenced by outside forces. If you want to modify what an object does for you, just grab the output from said object and modify the OUTPUT with another objects methods.

… Keeps the objects dumb I says!

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

Creating a PHP Survey Form

April 4th, 2014

Learn PHP by Building Web Applications

Hi,

We recently had a question on the PHP forums where a guy was trying to create a PHP survey form and though he had bought the Complete Web Programmer package, he did not know which way to go.

All he had to do was do the video course: “PHP and Javascript Form Validation”. Whether you are doing a survey form or a contact form (as we cover in the above course) … it doesn’t matter because it is all the same at the basic level.

The conversation in the forum (PHP forms) fills in more details.

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

PHP Discussion with Stefan Mischook

March 31st, 2014

microphone-podcast-icon

Hi!

I did a guest podcast for DCRadio about a month ago on PHP, programming languages and choosing a PHP framework. I think David summarised it well:

For anyone reading this, scratching your head wondering which language or framework to use… this is a good discussion on the factors that you should consider…

If the audio player doesn’t show up, here is the direct link:

Podcast: (31:02 min) PHP Frameworks in 2014

The length of this podcast demonstrates my ability to speak non-stop, for extended periods of time. Something that is painfully clear to the ears of those around me.

Thanks!

Stefan Mischook
killerphp.com

KillerSites University vs. StudioWeb.

March 23rd, 2014

studioweb logo
Yo!

I recently got an email from a single mom asking two questions:

  1. Should I take StudioWeb or KillerSites University?
  2. Making money with PHP.

My response:

Hi Samatha,

You asked:

“… StudioWeb vs. KillerSites University?”

KillerSites University was/is basically StudioWeb in an earlier form … that means you want to go with Studioweb. In fact, KillerSites University is pretty much shut down; I just kept it up for old subscribers.

… Studioweb is now being used by public schools, community colleges and tutoring centers – the courses and the Studioweb system are much more refined vs. KillerSites University. Makes for a much better learning experience.

Why did we change the name from KillerSites University to Studioweb?

We actually changed the name, because school boards did not like the word ‘killer’ in software they were using at the school.

Fortunatly, I was lucky enough to have kept studioweb.com – I created this domain in 1998 for my web design studio.

… Time flies!!

PHP and making money:

Yep! Not only will you be able to raise your price, you will find many, many more jobs open to you.

Studioweb’s cost:

It cost me a small fortune (!) to build and refine Studioweb over the last two years – but it will cost you practically nothing to use it!

We kept the price low – $119 for year. Or three payments of $39.99. This comes with the option to go for certification with us – same one being used by public schools.

If you are interested, feel free to contact me.

Stefan
Studioweb.com

Becoming a Web Developer – tips from an old pro.

March 2nd, 2014

light bulb

Hi!

I’ve been teaching web design and programming for over a decade and I’ve been active building websites and web apps since 1994 – I’ve been around the block … and back again.

Web Developer as a Career

I have a few tips for you if you are thinking of becoming a web designer or programmer/developer:

First thing, becoming a web developer is a great career move – this is a growing field that will have plenty of demand for many years. In fact, there will be many more jobs than there are people for at least a decade … it’s a major problem in the US and other western nations.

Learning web development can seem like a daunting task … so here are some learning tips:

  1. Be prepared to make mistakes and hit roadblocks. It takes a little time to develop the nerd-eyes.
  2. Concentrate on learning code and the foundations of code – don’t be tempted by tools that try to hide code from you .. because in the end, you will save more time learning to code.
  3. Don’t just sit back and watch the videos – do the code examples, even the simple ones. Repetition is the key.

If you want to learn web development, you might as well learn from the best – that us! Why not take advantage of my popular Web Developer from Scratch training package – these are the SAME courses that K12 public schools, community colleges and career centers are using today to train their students.

If you have questions, feel free to contact me.

Stefan
killerPHP.com

Why PHP should be the first language you learn.

February 13th, 2014

Yo!

Anyone who reads my stuff knows that if I am anything, I am practical. So when it comes to learning (and teaching) programming to someone new to the whole programming game, for several pragmatic reasons, I think PHP by far is the best language to begin with. Here are some of the reasons:

  • It is easy to learn.
  • It is the most popular web scripting language.
  • It is fast to program with.

Now, you can watch me yap about this in video for about 5 minutes – enjoy!

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

Speed up PHP with JSON and AJAX

January 27th, 2014

javaScriptLogo

Hi,

So we decided to work on streamlining and speeding up StudioWeb’s basic functionality. When it comes to user perceptions of a web application’s speed, the most important thing to look at is the request/response cycle. But first, the most obvious thing you can do, is to just increase your server’s speed:

  • More RAM
  • More CPU
  • Faster disk drives
  • Empty disk drives – <50% full disk always move much faster.

… New servers are coming very soon to StudioWeb. In the meantime though, there are things you can do the application’s code itself.

AJAX with JSON

StudioWeb makes heavy use of AJAX to submit answers to the server for processing. So we decided to utilize JSON to send the data – rather than posting just a raw strings of text. What we get out of this, is a much faster response time from the users point of view.

To use JSON, you Typically use JavaScript

If you are sending post request via standard post and not AJAX, you can’t take advantage of JSON, since JSON is a function of JavaScript – meaning, it is all about creating JSON objects with JavaScript and the only way to use JavaScript in the request/response cycle, is to use AJAX … or specifically, the XMLHttpRequest() object.

… But now I am getting deep into nerd territory. All you need to take away is that using JSON to pass information to and from a server can speed up things a lot.

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

CodeIgniter is out and Laravel is In!

January 22nd, 2014

Learn PHP by Building Web Applications

Yo!

I don’t how many of you are interested in PHP frameworks … if you are an intermediate level PHP programmer who understands OOP PHP, you ought start learning about PHP frameworks because they will save you a lot of time developing web applications and make them more robust.

Anyway, when you have frameworks, you will have framework battles! CodeIgniter was one of the more prominent PHP frameworks out there but it is quickly loosing favor to a much younger sexier framework called Laravel.

… The ironic thing about this, is that the Laravel developers are probably not very sexy themselves* … given that they had time to develop a new PHP framework. But this matters not, because the world needs more non-sexy nerds developing good code.

;)

So here is my video take on this subject:

1. Being a staunchly heterosexual male, I have no ability to discern whether a man is sexy or not. In this particular case, I have no inside knowledge or any information whatsoever with regards to the sexiness of the nerds in questions. For all I know, they could be master pickup-artists who have mastered ‘The Game’.

Thanks!

Stefan Mischook
killerphp.com

Building Mobile Apps – what is the best approach?

January 18th, 2014

Hey!

I am not sure why I feel like writing these days (could be because of more sunlight) but nonetheless, here I am with yet another article and video on PHP … in the same week!

This weeks nerd question:

When building mobile apps, should you use native languages (Objective C or Java typically) or should you go HTML5, CSS3 with a PHP back-end?

Personally, I think that many, many times, you will find the HTML5 route the best choice because:

1. Native iOS and Android development has a steeper learning curve and the languages themselves, are not exactly trivial – Object C is for iOS and Java is for Android and both are not the easiest to learn.

2. If you write your mobile app with HTML5, it will be universal and supported on all types of devices:

  • iOS – that’s iPhone, iTouch and iPad
  • Android devices
  • Windows Phones – not that anyone uses these. But still …

Enough with the writing, time for my video commentary!

Thanks!

Stefan Mischook
killerPHP.com

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