Completely Befuddled

Problems with the Windows version of XAMPP, questions, comments, and anything related.

Completely Befuddled

Postby creacon » 21. August 2009 19:33

I'm brand new to web programming (although I've been a programmer for 50 years), and am trying to learn PHP & MySQL. As a result of some of my research, I came upon XAMPP, have downloaded and installed it. I started XAMPP in my browser (127.0.0.1) and read most of the information. I followed the PHP tutorial, and pretty much understood the code. NOW WHAT DO I DO? I can find nothing in the XAMPP pages that tells me how/where to; begin coding web pages, code php or set up MySQL tables.

Can someone PUHLEEEZZE help me get started?
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby OrcaSoul » 25. August 2009 00:14

I'm almost in the same boat - I do know HTML/CSS/JScritp/Python, but am new to PHP...

I'm sure there will be better answers from the experts, but a couple of places I've found that might get you started:

http://www.freewebmasterhelp.com/tutorials/php - starts pretty basic, and goes from there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWRB-maT ... ature=fvwp - several videos on youtube. They are a bit techy but not too bad for getting some hints.

What took me the longest was understanding that all the files need to be in the htdocs folder under your xampp install folder.

Hope that helps.

Edit to add: http://www.php.net/ is THE PHP page, look for the documentation link.
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby Ron Newman » 25. August 2009 13:37

I just finished taking this class at Harvard Summer School. Perhaps the recorded lectures (from a previous year) will be useful:

http://cs75.tv
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby OrcaSoul » 25. August 2009 17:48

I just took a quick look at the Flash version - looks like it may be worth spending some time in class!
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby Ron Newman » 25. August 2009 18:09

That class is the reason I installed XAMPP, which I'd never heard of two months ago.

If you're really ambitious, you can try working your way through the assigned projects:

Project 0: Setup
Project 1: PizzaML
Project2: C$75 Finance
Project 3: Google Newsworthy Mashup
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby creacon » 26. August 2009 21:27

I've gone through all the tutorials, and have three PHP/MySQL how to books, so I know more or less HOW to start, but I was looking for some kind of an IDE within XAMPP. When I go to "http://localhost", I can't find any kind of a "context editor" or other IDE, so I don't know WHERE to start. To use notepad presumes typing HTML code raw, in addition to the PHP code, and I'm not that familiar with it. I was hoping there was some kind of IDE that would allow inserting templates for the HTML part, and then just have to code the PHP part. Isn't there such a thing?
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby Izzy » 27. August 2009 01:39

There is absolutely nothing like an IDE built-in to XAMPP, which really only acts as a binding agent for the several components that make up a web server.

There is a excellent freeware multilingual, multiple code editor that will do the job you want that also has it's own forum and a very good following by some very intelligent user/programmers:
RJ TextEd - The Unicode source editor

Failing that, there are lots of excellent commercial IDE programs and even, perhaps, more freeware IDE type programs available, by searching the Internet.
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby OrcaSoul » 28. August 2009 19:10

If you really want to understand what the code is doing, the best way is to write it yourself. I've found having to write code myself to be the only way to really understand what the heck is going wrong when something unexpected happens.

But instead of notepad I'd look ate something like Crimson Editor (cedit) that allows multiple screens and the code is colored coded. Much easier on the sanity scale... :roll:
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby dmphotography » 29. August 2009 11:47

I'm just beginning on PHP myself (been toying with HTML for years and tweaking various other aspects of existing scripts) and as far as a "visual" editor goes, I don't know if such even exists for PHP/MySQL. It's by far best to learn to read/write the code yourself to learn and understand what's happening and how the functions work together, etc.

I use NotePad++, which has syntax highlighting in it. Beyond that, I work in the htdocs folder of XAMPP and once I've modified/written my script, I'll just go to http://localhost/ to test the script and make sure it parses correctly. Between using a web browser and a text editor, there's really no need for anything else when it comes to writing PHP. PHP isn't a visual language like HTML or some of the others. It's a functioning language so the only way to test it is to let it run and see what happens.

For anyone interested in learning PHP, I can't recommend Head First - PHP & MySQL by OReilly enough.
I've purchased books on it in the past such as the PHP for Dummies and other books that promised to make it easy and they simply left me confused and not one bit closer to actually learning PHP.

The Head First book won't appeal much to a seasoned coder, but the fact they really explain stuff and not just throw it at you and expect you to just understand it has helped me tremendously. As a matter of fact, by Chapter 3 it was making enough sense I took a break from the book and coded my own user hack for WordPress, which is just a simple admin username changer/password changer and add new user script with a pretty interface. It makes recovering your WordPress blog simple and quick.

Anywho, yeah, that's all you really need. XAMPP gives you a PHP-enabled environment with a MySQL server to use and that's it. It's known as a development application because it's all self-contained and can easily be discarded/reinstalled if you mess it up or don't need it anymore.
For great video and written tutorials and guides on creating your own web server and installing things such as forums, blogs, etc., visit http://myownhomeserver.com
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby creacon » 31. August 2009 21:07

Thanks a million, everyone. I really appreciate your help, and I think I have a better idea now about how to use XAMPP to develop and test. :D
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Re: Completely Befuddled

Postby Izzy » 03. September 2009 03:35

Just to add for those searchers who found this topic interesting, I found an excellent
Comparison of text editors
that no doubt will help those stuck on what is the best text/code editor to use.

It is fairly comprehensive but still has some way to go before all the available editors are included, for example the excellent color coding RJ Texted I mentioned above seems not to be included.
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