Earlier this week I attended a course run by Netskills, entitled PHP: Primed and Ready. I had never used PHP before – I have been happy enough with ASP for creating web applications up to now. However, a colleague is using PHP, and I wanted to be able to support her, and this course came along at the right time. I also thought it would be a good idea to get some kind of training in programming, as I’ve never had any before.
The course was a mixture of presentation, and hands on exercises, which I thought was quite a good way of doing it. However the time given for the exercises was quite long considering the content of some of the exercises (some of which just involved opening a file, saving it onto the test server, and opening it again in a browser!), and I did find myself getting a little bored waiting for the next bit to start.
It was interesting to see the differences between PHP and ASP, and to see where PHP has built in functions for things I spent time creating from scratch in ASP. I am probably going to stick with ASP (or maybe move onto ASP.NET), over PHP, though I can see its advantages, and will keep it in mind for future projects. One thing I particularly liked was the Heredoc syntax for multi-line output of text, and the ability to dynamically generate graphics (which I believe you can do in ASP, but I have never investigated).
Overall, I thought the course was a bit basic for my needs. It covered programming concepts such as loops, conditionals etc, which I felt was done a little quickly for people who hadn’t come across them before, but was a bit boring for those of us already quite familiar with them. A lot of time was spent covering the basics, and much less on the more interesting bits, like manipulating databases. It was nice, though, to find out that I do know what I’m doing when it comes to this sort of thing, and I did learn how to write PHP, so the course was a success. I feel that it has given me more confidence in my own skills.