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KillerPHP.com:
Why PHP should be the first language you learn
February 13, 2014 @ 10:43:46

On the KillerPHP.com site there's a new post from Stefan Mischook where he suggests that PHP is the first language you should learn if you're new to development.

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 and it is fast to program with.

He shares these thoughts and a few more in a short video (or here on YouTube).

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Link: http://www.killerphp.com/articles/why-php-should-be-the-first-language-you-learn

QaFoo:
Learn OOD - to unlearn it again
February 11, 2014 @ 12:52:10

In this latest post to the QaFoo blog Tobias Schlitt recommends learning proper object-oriented design first before trying to worry about the interactions between the objects.

One topic we regularly teach in workshops for our customers is object oriented design (ODD), i.e. the art of crafting classes/interfaces in a way that the result is an easy-to-understand, maintainable and flexible code base. With the agile focus on shipping working software, some might consider the skill of OOD less important. One popular argument is that quick reaction to change is more important than designing objects and their interaction carefully. I personally look at it the exact other way around. This blog post summarizes why you need to learn OOD first, in order to avoid it to some degree again.

He's broken up the rest of the post into a few different topics reinforcing this idea:

  • Learning OOD the classical way
  • OOD in fast pace and agile
  • Refactoring is the key
  • Learning OOD to unlearn it

Finally, he makes the recommendation that all developers should learn about effective refactoring and automated testing to help create well-structured OOP applications.

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Link: http://qafoo.com/blog/064_learn_ood_to_unlearn_it.html

SitePoint Programming Blog:
What is the Best Programming Language to Learn in 2014?
February 07, 2014 @ 10:44:59

On the SitePoint Programming blog today Craig Buckler has published a new post with some suggestions as to which programming language is the best to learn in 2014. The results come from a compilation of job postings and popularity, but it's interesting none the less.

It's been a year since I revealed the best languages to learn in 2013. Once again, I've examined the data produced by Jobs Tractor who analyzed more than 45,000 developer jobs advertised on Twitter during the past twelve months. [...] Take this survey with a large pinch of salt. Then add pepper, ketchup and numerous other condiments. I'm not convinced Twitter is a reliable source of job-related data and regional differences can skew results.

The results of surveys from other outside sources are also included, showing slight variations compared to Craig's numbers. Most of the languages are the same but their orders are pretty different depending on who you ask. Of course, he does make one major recommendation about all of these results: "Never use statistics as the sole basis for learning a language."

If you've mastered a language or two, the choice is far simpler: pick something that interests you (intellectually or financially). Programming skills are transferable and the learning curve will be shallower when learning a new language compared to when you first started.
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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/best-programming-language-learn-2014/

Mashable.com:
10 Programming Languages You Should Learn in 2014
January 23, 2014 @ 12:09:46

According to this new post over on the Mashable site, PHP is one of the "languages to learn" for 2014. Others in the list include Java, C and relatives, Python and Ruby.

The tech sector is booming. If you've used a smartphone or logged on to a computer at least once in the last few years, you've probably noticed this. As a result, coding skills are in high demand, with programming jobs paying significantly more than the average position. Even beyond the tech world, an understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any resumé.

They point out that PHP powers more than 200 million websites all around the internet and shares a few links of places to learn more about the language (including Udemy and Codeacademy).

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Link: http://mashable.com/2014/01/21/learn-programming-languages

Stefan Koopmanschap:
How to Get the Most Out of a Conference
November 01, 2013 @ 12:49:51

Stefan Koopmanschap recently posted a great new article about how you can get the most out of conferences and what they have to offer besides just the sessions.

At the most excellent PHPNW conference, Kat convinced me to deliver the first unconference talk of the day. It took me a while to get the right topic. I ended up with a topic I felt everyone at the conference could use for the rest of the two days that they were there: How to get the most out of a conference. For those that were not there, I want to try and put my unconference talk into a blogpost, so that everyone can use this information for their next conference.

He's broken it down into a few different major topics including the obvious "learn from the best" as well as:

  • Learn and meet the best
  • Find your new colleagues (or new friends)
  • The backchannels
  • Hack away! (at hackathons)

He also makes a great recommendation about providing feedback - not only is it important to the conference to let them know they've done a good job, but also to the speakers to help improve their skills.

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Link: http://leftontheweb.com/blog/2013/10/25/How_to_get_the_most_out_of_a_conference/

Antonin Januska:
Cool Stuff I Learned About Laravel 4
August 20, 2013 @ 12:41:34

In this new post to his site Antonin Januska shares some of the "cool stuff" he learned about Laravel 4 while he was working on a project using this recently released version.

I started using Laravel 4 for testing, hobby projects, and actual work (ha!) a couple of months back and was genuinely excited about the upgrades as well as features I wasn't aware of from previous versions as well. So here goes...

On his list are things like: Composer and its easy-to-implement autoloading structure, overriding default fields, using "remember" to cache data from queries and database seeding. There's a few others in the list, each with some example code (though sometimes just one line) that shows it in action. If you'd like to find out more about the Laravel framework, check out the project's main site.

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Link: http://antjanus.com/blog/web-development-tutorials/cool-stuff-i-learned-about-laravel-4

Reddit.com:
I want a job as a developer. Here's my situation, can you help?
June 20, 2013 @ 11:17:48

On Reddit.com there's a recent post asking what kinds of things someone can do to gain the skills they need to get a job as a web developer. Disregard the comment at the top and get straight to the good stuff - there's lots of great recommendations here including:

  • "take the time to take algorithm classes , UML classes and db modelling classes and , very important , read other people's code"
  • "Work on stuff that interests you." and "Work on stuff that doesn't interest you but solves a problem for someone else"
  • "Pick a major CMS (doesn't matter which one) and tear it apart."
  • "Go through the PHP tracks on codeacademy.com"
  • "Go to MIT Open Courseware and start reading up data structures and algorithms."
  • "Just keep programming. You'll do stupid things, but having to do those things should become annoying."

Unfortunately, the poster started things out with a "don't tell me to read a book" mentality, so there's some responses in there about that. Don't let that disuade you from some of the other answers, especially if you're new to PHP, though.

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Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1gpmr5/i_want_a_job_as_a_developer_heres_my_situation

NetTuts.com:
10 Tips for Learning a New Technology
May 10, 2013 @ 10:54:10

On NetTuts.com today they've posted a list of tips they think will help you learn a new technology faster. They've broken it up into ten different steps, some which could be done at any time but some have a bit more of an order.

We live in a very exciting time. Never before has education been so cheaply available to the masses (if not free). The medium, itself, has made tectonic shifts from a classroom setting, to blogs, screencasts and complete university classes, as a set of videos and interactive forums. Given these resources, there's absolutely no excuse not to dive in and learn. However, with such a wealth of resources, filtering through the options can often become overwhelming. In this article, I will outline a simple process to kick-start your education.

Among the items in their list there's things like:

  • "Let the Information Flow Begin"
  • "Listen and Watch"
  • "Blogging"
  • "Feel the Pulse"
  • "Meetups and Conferences"

Each tip comes with a bit of description and some links to other resources and tools that can help you along your way.

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Link: http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/general/10-tips-for-learning-a-new-technology

Reddit.com:
How to progress my PHP skills?
April 29, 2013 @ 10:22:47

On Reddit.com a reader has asked the community what they think he needs to do to progress his PHP skills past the "little bit" he's learned so far.

Last summer I started learning a little bit of PHP, knowing HTML and CSS drove me towards wanting to learn some PHP for fun. I went through a pretty simple book, and made some simple websites (registration and message system, user submitted data, file uploads) using mostly tutorials which I tweaked a little bit. Since last summer I haven't learned anything new, but now that summer is coming along again I might be a bit bored, so I have been thinking of attempting to learn even more.

Suggestions included in the comments are things like:

  • Learn about software architecture.
  • Understand your environment.
  • I very highly suggest learning a PHP framework.
  • http://www.phptherightway.com
  • Start learning industry tools for PHP. It will all influence your coding style, and illustrate why some styles are considered best practices.
  • To add to the other suggestions, I recommend becoming a regular contributor to one or more open source projects.
  • What helped me a lot was to write my own micro framework using OOP that I can now use for future websites and web applications.
  • Come up with a 'complex' web site/application idea and get to it. Bonus points if you can launch it and make money off it (half kidding).

You can read the full set of comments for more good suggestions here.

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Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1d32dr/how_to_progress_my_php_skills

Engine Yard Blog:
Learning Rails (and Ruby)
April 11, 2013 @ 10:33:31

Davey Shafik, a long-time PHP developer and community member/speaker, recently had to learn Ruby on Rails for a project at work. He's shared some of the experience (from the perspective of a PHP developer) in a recent post on the Engine Yard blog.

I know PHP. I mean, I really know PHP. Not just the syntax, or the idioms and idiosyncrasies, but why. I can tell you why something works the way it does, under the hood; and I was probably around when the decision was made to do it that way. Thirteen years with any language is a long time. [...] Ultimately, it comes down to: Is it the right tool for the task? Because of this, ultimately when I come to write a web site, PHP is my tool of choice. Know thy tool well, and it shall treat you well. Then along came Engine Yard, and I was exposed to just a ton of fantastic engineers who happen to choose Ruby as their tool of choice.

His project was the site for the Distill conference Engine Yard is putting on in August. He lists a few "WTF" moments he came across when learning and creating the site with Ruby including issues with parentheses on metod calls, method naming rules, implicit returns and variations on control structures. He also talks about some of the other technologies used to power the site like OAuth and S3 for image uploads (via paperclip). He finishes out the post by wrapping up the experience and talking some about the benefits of getting outside your comfort zone and learning something wildly new (language or other technology) to give you perspective.

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Link: https://blog.engineyard.com/2013/learning-rails-and-ruby


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