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By Mark Niemann-Ross | Saturday, July 11, 2015

Take Back Your Summer! Learn to Code

learn to code this summer

OK, kids. You thought you had two precious months of freedom. Nobody to tell you what to do. Sleep until noon, hang out with friends, no schedule.

But you’re finding everyone else has plans for you—right? #takeoutthegarbage #mowthelawn #cleanyourroom #loadthedishwasher #readagoodbook #getajob #takecareofyourlittlebrother #nomorescreentime

Don’t panic! We have a plan that’s going to make you cooler, get your parents off your back, and earn you more screen time. Are you ready?

By David Powers | Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Painless Transition to PHP Objects


PHP’s gentle learning curve makes it an extremely popular choice for adding dynamic features to websites, such as sending email or retrieving content from a database.

Sure, it’s not the most perfect of languages—but neither is English. What makes them both relatively easy to learn is that you don’t have to wade through loads of theory before you can accomplish even the simplest of tasks.

But as you gain in confidence, PHP scripts become longer and longer, making them difficult to adapt to different projects. That’s when it’s time to bite the bullet and embrace PHP objects.

By David Powers | Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Working with PHP Date and Time

php date classes

It was at the end of my first year at university that I realized just how complicated dates and time could be. I flew from London to New York on my way to a summer job as a camp counselor looking after 10-year olds.

It was an eight-hour flight, but the time difference meant I arrived only three hours after taking off. My first taste of jet lag! As if that weren’t disorienting enough, it took ages to get my head around the fact that Americans write dates back to front—at least from a European perspective. To an American, 4/12 is April 12. To a European, it’s the fourth of December.

Later, I spent much of my professional career working in Japan, where 4/12 also means April 12. But Japan handles the year differently. Whereas an American puts the year at the end of the date, a Japanese puts it at the beginning. So, April 12 this year can be expressed as 4/12/2015, 12/4/2015, or 2015/4/12 depending on whether you’re in the USA, Britain, or Japan.

Although humans can handle this sort of complexity, computers and most programming languages insist on uniformity. Fortunately, PHP has a powerful set of tools that make working with dates and time relatively straightforward.

Let me show you how to use PHP date and time functions.

By David Powers | Wednesday, April 22, 2015

5 Handy PHP Tips You Need to Know

PHP tips

PHP powers more than four out of every five websites that use a server-side language—yet it has attracted a huge amount of criticism as being “badly designed.”

Certainly PHP has frustrating inconsistencies, but it owes its enduring popularity to the fact that it’s easy to learn and it lets you get the job done without needing a degree in computer science. I would also argue that PHP is constantly improving.

Here are five underused features that make PHP a really useful language.

By David Powers | Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to Become a Web Developer: Where to Start


Building a static website is relatively easy. But to build a rich, interactive web experience today takes much more code behind the scenes than you may have expected.

And while becoming a web developer may seem daunting, there’s a lot you can do to learn the ropes quickly and efficiently.

Here’s advice on how to become a web developer. I specialize in PHP for back-end development, but these tips are relevant no matter which aspect you’re interested in.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Code Clinic 6: Building Dynamic Websites

code clinic 6

When the Internet first made an appearance, it was nothing more than a collection of fixed web pages. Back then, web pages didn’t use external data to build the dynamic sites we now expect as a daily experience. Incorporating real-time data such as finance, weather, updates from friends or the status of a thermostat changed the Internet from a static library of reference materials into a busy highway of information.

Code Clinic Six challenges our authors to use their language of choice to merge data with a web page template.

We’re starting with files created by James Williamson for chapter nine of his Dreamweaver CC Essential Training course, but instead of manually inserting the data into the page, we’re using code to bring the data and the HTML together.

By Starshine Roshell | Friday, December 05, 2014

Professor Gives Students 'Bang for Buck': Swaps Books for lynda.com

John Drake adopts flipped classroom to give students more value

“I’m doing it. Next semester, I’m going all in with lynda.com.”

So begins a recent blog post by John Drake, a web development professor at East Carolina University.

“I plan on chucking my existing textbook and instead requiring students to use the training videos to learn HTML, CSS, and PHP. … I am done lecturing in the classroom for this course.”

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Code Clinic: Program a Musical Instrument


If you want to learn to program, you can’t do better than watching an expert coder at work.

Code Clinic is a series of courses from lynda.com that gives you a front-row seat to watch a panel of expert authors solve computer challenges—and this fourth Code Clinic challenge is deceptively simple:

Create a musical instrument using the mouse.

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