PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages for developing dynamic websites. PHP syntax is simple to learn, and can be embedded directly into HTML code. With PHP, you can create dynamic websites with fun, interactive tools and features, such as discussion boards, photo slide shows, and local weather updates. With free tools and tutorials, you can easily build stunning, dynamic websites using HTML, CSS and PHP.
1. Learn hand-code HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) by completing the HTML tutorial linked in the Resources section. HTML is used to build the underlying structure of web pages. Hand-coding HTML will help you debug problems at the code level and allow you to learn from other websites by viewing the web page source.
2. Learn lay out and style your web page using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) by completing the CSS tutorial linked in the Resources section. With CSS, you’ll be able to change text fonts, add color and borders and control the layout of the elements on your web page. Focus on the layout of your page, and worry about fonts, colors, borders, and other stylistic enhancements later. Keeping your pages as simple as possible for now will make it easier for you to work through problems while learning PHP.
3. Learn write PHP by completing the PHP tutorial linked in the Resources section. The PHP programming language lets you take your web pages from static to dynamic by adding functionality to your web pages, such as email, database connectivity and integration of information from external websites.
4. Dress up your web pages page using CSS. Add a background, change the font, splash the page with color, and dress up boxes and menus with borders and background color.
5. Study websites that catch your eye, and learn design tricks by peeking at the HTML and CSS source. Check out advanced HTML and CSS design guides and tutorials, such as http://www.webdesignerwall.com.
6. Improve your page layout and style by studying the elements of good design and usability. Check out Usability.gov and http://www.usabilityfirst.com for great resources and ideas to make your web pages and PHP applications friendly and easy to use. The Web Design Library at http://www.webdesign.org provides beginner and advanced design guides on design principals, usability, and color theory.
7. Show your pages to friends and watch over their shoulders to see what you can learn. Are they confused by the navigation? Find ways to improve it. Do they have trouble reading the content? Change colors, increase font size, put solid backgrounds behind text, or find other ways to improve the readability. Do they struggle with trying to figure out make your PHP application work? Provide instructions, change wording and look for other ways to make your pages user friendly.