Lynda’s PHP with MySQL Beyond the Basics – Full Review
Once you learn the basics of PHP, you need to progress further to incorporate more advanced techniques. Advanced techniques in PHP help you solve problems, and learn how to work the various kinds of web technologies. It also prepares you for when you need to create your own PHP website project, or if you decide to work in the programming industry.
Lynda is an online educational site that has tons of videos that help you learn the advanced features of PHP, so you can take your programming to another level. You need to know advanced PHP programming to create projects on-spec for clients or an employer. Lynda has a full class of advanced programming features called “PHP with MySQL Beyond the Basics,” which goes beyond the first level of PHP program understanding.
Lynda has several videos for more advanced PHP features. The ones that stand out the most for developers learning a bit more advanced features are:
- Defining classes
- Instantiating a class
- Understanding class inheritance
- File system basics
- Sending emails
- Installing PHP with configurations
There are several more videos, but these are the most useful for learning real-world PHP programming, especially if you plan to code as a career.
Arrays are an advanced feature all programmers will run into. Arrays are a variable that contains several values within the one variable. The Lynda videos help with arrays in teaching you how to initialize an array, which is the first step. You can set an array statically using your own values, or you can set an array from a database. Typically, you set arrays from a database, but there are some other scenarios that might call for a statically defined array.
The next step in the Lynda videos is to teach you to loop through the arrays. Arrays can contain hundreds of values, and the programmer needs to know how to loop through the array to grab and work with each individual item. The array items could be strings, integers or other types. You loop through the arrays, perform some kind of calculation and use the result in the web pages.
Classes are the base understanding for object oriented programming (OOP). PHP is new to the OOP world, but it’s still a fundamental way to create great web projects in PHP. Lynda has a video in the advanced techniques classes that help you understand OOP and how it relates to PHP.
Lynda’s PHP with MySQL Beyond the Basics takes you through the steps of understanding classes, which are difficult to understand sometimes for a new programmer. Classes represent a part of the program. For instance, if you have an ecommerce store, you need a class for customers, orders and products. These are represented in classes to make programming easier. In other words, you don’t need to reprogram the same code over and over. Lynda’s PHP class videos help you understand how to create a class and where it is appropriate to create a new class.
Instantiating a Class
Once you’ve gone through Lynda’s tutorial on creating a class, you need to instantiate it. Instantiating a class basically means you “start” the class and assign it to a variable. Instantiating a class is always required unless the class is set up with the “static” keyword. Although instantiating a class is not a difficult part of learning PHP, it can be confusing when you want to work with several classes and inheritance. Lynda’s tutorial helps you understand when a class should be instantiated and when you should inherit from another class.
There are also some predefined classes in certain frameworks, so you can inherit and instantiate classes from other PHP developers and the external framework imported into your project.
Class inheritance is the concept of using other classes to inherit those class methods and properties. Lynda’s PHP with MySQL Beyond the Basics course helps you understand the relationship between a class and its inherited properties. Inheritance is also difficult for new programmers to understand, because it builds on the foundation of classes and how they are properly implemented. Lynda’s course helps you build a relationship between classes, inheritance and the actual PHP application.
File System Basics
You will probably need to work with PHP’s file systems and handling files on a server. Although it’s not always worked into a project, it’s common to create some kind of function on a website that exports to different formats such as a spreadsheet or PDF file. To do this, you must know how to work with PHP’s file system handlers.
Lynda’s courses teach you how to handle files in your project as well as directories. You can create, edit and delete files provided the server’s PHP user account has permission to edit files on the server. Lynda’s courses show you about file permissions, so you know how to edit files on the server, but still maintain some kind of security that disallows other users to edit files. If you don’t set up user permissions properly, you can allow hackers to access files unknowingly to you.
If you’ve ever ordered from an ecommerce store, you usually get an email confirming your order. These are automated emails set up in the program. You will likely need to send emails from PHP web projects, and Lynda’s courses show you how to email. Lynda’s courses include using headers, configuring PHP for email and sending email using the “send” function. Sending emails is easy in PHP, but it’s in the advanced courses to ensure that you configure PHP properly before deploying the web project.
Finally, you must be able to configure PHP properly if you want to work with the language. New programmers can get away with shared hosting and no configurations, but advanced programmers need to be able to set up a PHP project from scratch.
Lynda’s PHP with MySQL Beyond the Basics course helps you configure PHP for your server, which includes editing the PHP.INI file and installing it on non-native platforms such as Windows and Macintosh. Configuring PHP is usually done on a VPS, so you won’t be able to edit on shared hosting. For this reason, it’s a more advanced concept for PHP developers.
Lynda has several more videos for enhancing PHP skills, but these are the main videos that help with main topics you need to know in the field. If you want to enhance your skills, give Lynda’s videos a try and keep practicing.