On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 5:12 PM, Jim Giner <jim.gi...@albanyhandball.com> wrote:
> On 10/10/2012 10:07 AM, Floyd Resler wrote:
>> On Oct 10, 2012, at 9:12 AM, Andy McKenzie <amckenz...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> <snip>
>>>>> Have you read a book on php and perhaps one on CSS to help
>>>>> with your "hiding" problem?  (BTW - that last was a hint.)
>>>> I've read plenty of PHP books I own at least 5 and ALL of them I've read
>>>> hardly ever explain anything at all. They just throw some code in there
>>>> and
>>>> say "this is what it does" and gives a picture of the finished product.
>>>> Total
>>>> waste of my money! Also, how am I going to learn PHP if I've got to mix
>>>> it all
>>>> up with CSS. It's just going to make things harder and more confusing on
>>>> me. I
>>>> only threw lightbox in there because I knew I didn't have to do or learn
>>>> anything special and to put a smile on my face if it worked. After all,
>>>> if it
>>>> can't be fun, why do it?
>>> </snip>
>>> I rarely post anything to this list, because almost everything asked
>>> is above my level of understanding.  But, speaking as a relative
>>> beginner, I have a few comments here.
>>> 1) Books.  I, too, have read a lot of PHP books.  In the end, the ones
>>> I've found most useful were by WROX press.  Their "Beginning PHP4" by
>>> Choi, Kent, Lea, Prasad, and Ullman was one of the best "intro to
>>> programming" type books I've found for the way I learn.  It's now
>>> obsolete, but the core information is still good.  I haven't read
>>> through the Beginning PHP 5.3 version as thoroughly, but it also seems
>>> to be pretty good.  You might also want to check with local community
>>> colleges to see if someone offers a basic course -- PHP, C, C++,
>>> something like that.  The language may be different, but the concepts
>>> remain the same.
>>> 2)  "They just throw some code in there and say "this is what it does"
>>> and gives a picture of the finished product. Total waste of my money!
>>> Also, how am I going to learn PHP if I've got to mix it all up with
>>> CSS."
>>>   This one's harder.  These days CSS is part of the web, and you're
>>> stuck with it if you want to do anything complex.  So here's my
>>> advice:  Find something simple to experiment with.  Don't start with a
>>> complex project, start with something that doesn't actually do
>>> anything useful.  When I start trying to understand a function I
>>> haven't used before, I build a new page called something like
>>> "foo_test", where foo is the name of the function.  These days it
>>> might be ip2long_test, or something like that, but I still have some
>>> in my test folder with names like "echo_test.php" where I was trying
>>> to figure out how that function worked.  Start there.  Do something
>>> simple.  Lightbox may be too complex.  Maybe build a fortune cookie
>>> webpage, where every time you click a button it reloads with a new
>>> fortune.  Learn to pull fortunes out of a file and out of a database.
>>> Once you've got the hang of that, start using CSS to change how it
>>> looks.  Once THAT's working right, figure out how to use JavaScript
>>> (you're going to need it sooner or later!) and AJAX to make it reload
>>> the fortune without reloading the whole page.
>>>   Yeah, it's a boring project.  But it's a stepping stone to doing
>>> what you really want to do.  The alternative is to do what I did:
>>> start with a big project, and accept that you're going to rewrite it
>>> dramatically later.  I started with a book inventory system.  First I
>>> built a login and authentication system -- that builds a form, and
>>> queries the database to see if the userid and password are correct.
>>> Then I built a system to list what was in the book table for the
>>> database.  Around the time I finished that, I realized I needed more
>>> granularity in user logins, so I went back and rebuilt the login tool.
>>> Then I realized I didn't actually have a way to add stuff to the DB,
>>> so I built that tool.... and so on.  It ended up taking me something
>>> like a year, because I'd never looked at PHP before, and I've now
>>> scrapped the entire project and rebuilt it.  Why?  Because I did just
>>> about everything wrong.  It just plain wasn't practical to try to fix
>>> it.  I'd never learned the basics, I just threw myself at a big
>>> project to see what would happen.
>>>   Good luck!
>>> -Andy McKenzie
>> Excellent advise!  When learning any language, those small steps you
>> suggest is how I've always learned the language.  A few years ago I ran
>> across someone who didn't know a thing about programming but wanted to
>> learn.  The first project he wanted to tackle was to write his own online
>> role playing game.  You know, like World of Warcraft!  Uh, yeah.  I steered
>> him away from that!
>> Take care,
>> Floyd
> All great advice but alas, I fear that my long-winded response that began
> all these succeeding advice columns has steered our OP away from this list.
> He thinks we're above his level (we are) and that he needs to start
> somewhere else, which means he'll probably repeat the mistakes that have
> been mentioned here.  Oh, well....  you can only help those who ask for it,
> and only if they know what to do with it.

I doubt he's gone for good. Looking at the archives[1], he shows up
once in a few months with some random question (making same mistakes
over again).
So if he's gone now, he'll probably show up in a few months.

[1] http://marc.info/?a=125667564200003&r=1&w=2

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