Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

PHP tutorial vastly improved

Jerry Stratton, August 17, 2012

Fire Wizard: Fire Wizard on The ancient wizard

Light your pages on fire with PHP!

I have finally gotten around to updating my PHP tutorial. Our PHP class came up again in the rotation this week, and I decided I needed to take this as an opportunity to rewrite the tutorial. I wrote the old one so long ago I don’t remember1.

It occurred to me a couple of years ago that it might be easier to teach newcomers how to program using classes rather than a mess of functions and variables. For one thing, it would make it much easier to duplicate the same functionality for a different purpose, such as making the poll be about presidents rather than about imaginary characters.2

When I first wrote the tutorial, PHP was either still using or had just stopped using register_globals on by default, and if classes existed they were rudimentary. Today, it is by far easier to develop PHP code using classes than without them. We also have a much better concept of what it means to write code around HTML. We make our HTML pages templates that include functionality from elsewhere; any complex code is in include files (or in template engines) and only easy-to-read flow control goes directly in HTML pages.

The new tutorial shows how to handle simple forms, progressing through a favorite color to a simple poll system that can be customized to any list of items. It also shows how to extend the poll system to store data in a SQLite database instead of in a flat file.

  1. The Wayback Machine has archives of this version on my web site as far back as 2003, but I don’t think I put it on the web site immediately, so I probably wrote it in the late nineties or 2000. The wayback machine version still has me using .phtml as an extension. I used that as the PHP extension because our users were still used to using .shtml for dynamic pages.

  2. Which is not to say that most presidents aren’t perfectly fine imaginary characters.

  1. <- Baseball in the rain
  2. Enable AirPrint on USB ->