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Learning PHP

February, 03, 2015 | Articles,The Curve

I haven’t been on a job interview in years and that is a great thing. However, this subject brings me back to an earlier time, a period where I would cringe, whenever I was asked if know PHP. I tend to have a very low self-opinion of my PHP knowledge, mostly because I can’t roll my own CMS (content management system) from scratch. This isn’t because I haven’t tried; something about programming simply escapes me.

Learning front-end development was not difficult; I started off with a WYSIWYG editor first, but felt restricted and decided to take the plunge. Going off the subject for a brief moment: I recall going to WP Meetup several years back and was shock to learn that my esteemed host couldn’t write a lick of CSS or HTML. He bought a fancy drag and drop program and began building WP sites for a living. That was the last Meetup of that kind I ever attended. Had to get that off my chest. I have some reservations about that sort of thing.

I came from a graphic and illustration background. Being able to see my creation come to life as I am cultivating it is an essential part of my creative process.  I was able to continue that process with CSS and HTML, which has worked well for me over the years. Beyond that, you have Javascript, which is also a necessity and has a lower learning curve than Php. I took online classes, bought books and video lessons from multiple sources. Some how, only bits and pieces of those lessons stuck.

Being well versed in a scripting language, even if you are using a CMS is a win – win situation. For the up-teenth (if that is even a word), I will take a stab at it. CMSs tend to get in the way of the creative process. Many of them inject or append a multitude of classes and IDs in your markup. To be honest, I have considered other programming languages. I’ve done some light reading on Ruby, and it seems to be an easier language to learn. However, I am heavily invested in PHP. Every CMS I have ever use is written in PHP and from time to time I will build static sites for client using PHP (because it saves time and leaves less room for error). Truth is, I have to get this out of the way before I can even focus completely on learning something else. In any event, wish me luck…