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Want to learn PHP

I'd like to learn something about PHP.  I am a retired network administrator (I worked on small systems, not giant installations) .  I have programmed some systems using Access and SQL SERVER 2000 so I am familiar with database and table constructs (third normal form, etc).

I thought I'd learn PHP by developing a simple recipe database.  I could do it by using Access and SQL SERVER but my server is old and dying, I have SQL SERVER 2000 and that is out of date.  I don't want to buy a new server and I don't want to spend money on buying software licenses.

I have some questions :

1.)  Is PHP free? If not, what is the cost ?

2.) What is required to install PHP  on a Windows 7 Pro pc?
     (perhaps you know of web sites which will answer this question)

3.)  My pc is an HP z210 , i3 processor with 8 gigs of memory.  I assume this is sufficient to run PHP?

4.)  My understanding is Mysql is no longer free.  What is needed to get PHP to work with postgreSQL?

Thank you for your help
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6 Solutions
Loganathan NatarajanLAMP DeveloperCommented:
PHP is free and it is open source . ref.

also you can easily install in Win 7.. by installing this suite.
Loganathan NatarajanLAMP DeveloperCommented:
My understanding is Mysql is no longer free.  What is needed to get PHP to work with postgreSQL?

yes, as long as it is private app, you need not worry as to use free. but for commercial selling or usage, you need to buy licese (Buy the commercial version of MySQL)
Mark BradyPrincipal Data EngineerCommented:
PHP comes in a package when you install any one of the packages like wamp (for windows) xamp (also for windows or mac) or lamp (for linux).

simply download one of the windows versions (wamp is easiest to setup) and you will have the following services installed and up and running without almost any configuration

Apache2 server

Once you set it up which only takes a few minutes you will be able to open a browser and type something like 'http://localhost'  and you should see a message saying it worked or something similar. That means php is running.

In any case, as you get into your learning, keep in mind that mysql is depreciated so try and learn mysqli instead which is almost the same to use but it is the future. One day they will stop supporting mysql.

There are millions of php tutorials out there so I would google "php for beginners tutorial" or something like that.

Buying a good book is even better than reading online but whatever you prefer. I could recommend a good book if you are interested.

The best way to learn is to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. You can see your progress as you go and don't forget, we are always here to answer any questions you have.
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LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) remains very popular as an architecture for "web apps" of various sorts.

Don't worry too much about the L (Linux): Apache, MySQL, PHP are all available (free) on Windows - but if you intended to make an application that will be used widely it should be workable in a LAMP environment. There are even open source starter kits (e.g. wampserver) to get you going easily.

Could I suggest you visit It provides access to numerous existing PHP applications (mostly "content management systems " hence the cms) - looking at these may give you a head start - and because they are open source you can then download those to see how they are constructed. You may even find that offering an "add-in" to some existing product is a good way to get going.

You might also look for "frameworks" that will allow you to concentrate on high level design and coding - leaving nitty gritty to the framework code.
Loganathan NatarajanLAMP DeveloperCommented:
What is needed to get PHP to work with postgreSQL?

You need to configured with postgresql libraries while you do on PHP installation. make sure it supports in it.


The basic usage is here,
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
MySQL Community Edition is a freely downloadable version of the world's most popular open source database that is supported by an active community of open source developers and enthusiasts.  You only need a license if you are going to redistribute it or if you want the 'Enterprise' version with support.

MySQL is freely available on almost All web hosting as is PHP.  WAMP and XAMPP are two free downloads that include Apache, PHP, and MySQL and install as a working platform so you don't have to learn to install and make them work together before you get anything done.  Note that you need the web server to run PHP for web pages.  There are some programs that let you run PHP without a full web server but none that I can recommend.

A book that several of us have been recommending is PHP & MySQL Novice to Ninja .
btw: I just did a search for "php framework" here at EE and there are plenty of answers to choose from

e.g. (submitted question 2010-09-29) there may be more recent traffic of this sort.
Mark BradyPrincipal Data EngineerCommented:
Personally I avoid frameworks like the plague. IMO so should anyone learning a new language. If you jump into frameworks and start using them (although they can be powerful and easy to use) you will not get to learn the fundamentals of programming.

If you wanted to learn Javascript but you immediately started using jquery, it's the same thing. Learn the language first then look at other packages to enhance your programming.
Mohamed AbowardaSoftware EngineerCommented:
Although some experts answered part of the question, I will try to clarify more:

1. Already answered.

2. Go on and download and install XAMPP or AppServ, once you install any of them, you computer should be running Apache/PHP/MySQL, which all you need to learn PHP.

3.  That's more than enough! you don't even need a high performance computer to run Apache/PHP, of course the higher performance, the better when handling client requests (I assume you will install PHP on Windows 7 for learning purpose only which is more than enough).

4. MySQL is FREE, when you install XAMPP or AppServ, you should have MySQL installed as well.

Forget about SQL Server for now, when you start learning PHP, use MySQL in the beginning.
donpickAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your answers.  I am a paying customer so I  appreciate the prompt replies.

Thank you, PortletPaul for the reference to existing code.  I learn lots from reading existing code used in real applications.

I have tried to allocate points as fairly as I can.

I see I have a lot to learn.
a pleasure to have been of assistance - have fun. Thanks for the shared points.
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