I'd love to get some education-related PHP topics going, or at least find resources for school-specific PHP resources.

I am a tech coordinator who manages a number of PHP/MySQL applications for my district: Moodle, Joomla, phpscheduleit to name a few.

I'm struggling to learn PHP for myself so I can build custom applications for our school. (Professional development tracker, vehicle request system, etc.)

My predecessor created a lot of web front-ends for FileMaker Pro databases using Lasso. They still work fine, but I'd like to spiff them up, add enhancements, and make them MySQL databases.

So, does anyone here know of any great school-specific resources for PHP scripts, or tutorials? I do frequent hotscripts.com, and have found some nice stuff there.

I'd really like to learn it for myself, and haven't found the one perfect book yet! :-)

Anyway, I'd sure enjoy some banter and discussion with educators who are using these tools.

Tags: PHP, developer, mySQL, webapps

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Hi Jesse,

I have been developing in PHP/MySQL for about 7 years now ... the best book I have come across is "PHP and MySQL Development" by Welling and Thomson (purple cover) ..... very helpful !
Rich and others,

Thanks for the info. Is there a good GUI application for creating applications with PHP/MySQL? I know Dreamweaver is supposed to do it, but I've not really gotten it to work well.

Rich,

I desire to build an app that allows teachers to log in and submit a request for a vehicle, for field trips, athletic events, etc.

Upon submission, the appropriate administrator gets an email informing them. They log in and have admin access to approve, or deny, the request.

Upon approval, the user gets an email summary that the request was approved.

The user can log in at any time and see a history of their previous and current requests.

Does this sound like a good application for a beginner to try to tackle? I want to make my learning as applicable as possible, so as I work through some of the exercises in the book, I will do so with this goal in mind.

Is it unreachable for a beginner like me?

If I were more "seasoned", like you, how long would the development of an application like this take, would you guess?

Thanks!
its definitely doable for a new developer (the type of system you explained) ..... I know people that have used codecharge (http://www.yessoftware.com/products/product_detail.php?product_id=1) for dragging and dropping elements rather than the typical text editor (I use the Smultron text editor by the way - http://smultron.sourceforge.net) --- once you experiment with forms and sending variables from page to page .... then start experimenting with inserting the variables you are sending into a database ... it eventually starts to make sense (thats basically how I started)..... once you get the hang of it you would be able to do an app. like the one above in 3-4 days or so maybe (half of your time spent piloting - debugging etc.). Another option might be to use ColdFusion as the language (its more tag based and the concepts are a little easier to grasp for people already familiar with HTML http://www.webmonkey.com/webmonkey/99/03/index2a_page2.html?tw=prog... ).... and there is a free ColdFusion server suite called BlueDraggon here - http://www.newatlanta.com/products/bluedragon/index.cfm - we have installed it several times and have a developer that has done some pretty big projects using BlueDraggon rather than paying Macromedia for their server version.
If we are talking about other options beside PHP then I think WebObjects must be mentioned (and since Jesse has OS X Server it already has everything he needs). I love WebObjects: you will need to learn Java but the tools are excelent and basically it's almost drag and drop.
I too would like to learn php and how to work with sql, in fact I had planned to start learning this summer but then got sidetracked by all these exciting web20 apps.

Unfortunately I am really at a loss trying to understand how to set up sql databases etc, this is keeping me from trying to add moodle, wikimedia and some other applications to my server.

Does anyone know of a good online guide for SQL beginners?
Susan,

Are you a Mac user, or PC?

Since I am slightly farther down the road than you, I'd suggest you install a PHP/MySQL development environment on your computer to play around.

If you're a Mac user, MAMP is what you'd want. For Windows, look at WAMP.

MAMP stands for Macintosh / Apache / MySQL / PHP

WAMP is the same, except Windows-flavored. :-)

After installing, you basically run this one application that creates an Apache webserver right on your computer, that only you can access. Folks from the outside can't see it.

Plus, the MySQL and PHP services are built right in, and turn on automatically.

Once that's running, you can then install software like Moodle, WordPress, you name it. If it's PHP/MySQL in nature, you can install it and play with it.

I think an environment like this is an ideal way for a beginner to start to see the relationships between PHP applications and the database. And it's safer than playing around on a live server.

MAMP and WAMP come with a nice web-based MySQL management program called phpmyadmin. You use this to create the databases that your applications need. I know enough to help with something like that if you need it!
Jesse,

you don't need to install MAMP (unless you want apache 2.0 and PHP 5.0) if you are using MacOS since it comes with Apache and PHP already installed. Just download mySQL and enable PHP (something that needs to be done from the command line unless you have the Server tools).
Susan,
there's some good free graphical tools out there that helps setting things up (doing it from a command line can however be a little frightening). Just tell us what operating system you are using.
Joaquim and Jesse, thanks - I'm using windows
Susan,

I don't use windows for development but you can download MySQL Tools form the tool's section of the mySQL site. MySQL Administrator is a good GUi for mySQL. If you didn't manage to setup the server then I may help you with the commands (MySQL Cookbook I mentioned before has the steps on how to do that in Windows). If you are using SQL server then I admit I know absolutely nothing about it.
Have you thought about Ruby/RAILS? I have employed a bit of PhP and written some, but the past year RAILS has entered the picture, and it's very exciting. I'll warn you, it's not easy to figure out by yourself--save some hassle and work with someone else to learn it. Once you've mastered how its set up, though, some of the results are really beautiful.

For those using MYSQL or other databases, RAILS is a good answer. Its designed to hook up with these, build and access records, and to make maintaining and extending DB-related code much easier.

Plus, it's growing some sweet interfaces for WEB 2.0 (AJAX).

New books are coming out monthly. Agile Web Development with RAILS is the gold standard.
Ed

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