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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 David Powers | Saturday, July 19, 2014

Send Email from a Web Form with PHP

Use PHP to send the contents of a web form via email

Sending the contents of an online form to an email address is one of the most useful applications of PHP. It’s not difficult; but it’s easy to make a mistake. In this article, I’ll show you how to avoid common pitfalls that arise when sending the contents of a form with PHP.

By David Powers | Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Do I Learn PHP?

How do I learn PHP?

One piece of advice sticks in my mind from the days when I started learning PHP: “Just read the PHP online documentation. You don’t need anything else.” PHP’s online manual is excellent, and contains lots of practical examples. But it was like throwing me a Chinese dictionary and telling me it contained all I needed to learn the language. I had no idea where to start.

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