The saga continue…
I’ve been reading many tutorials and forums to learn the wonders of PHP and MySQL. While I’ve had a great time playing with PHP, MySQL and all, it seems like quite the quantum leap to progress from beginner to intermediate. My approach has been very “bottom up” – reading as much as I can, finding tutorials, writing some simple code, trying to compile it, watching it fail, debugging it, etc. I think this is a good start and will serve me well as I continue to learn more. However, the two biggest drawbacks to this trial-and-error approach are slow progress and the lack of direction with my coding. Without guidance, I am wandering around (somewhat) hopelessly in the dark.
A new approach
The words of one of my first professors still ring in my head: “motivated bottom up.” Good ‘ol Dr. Yale Patt used these words to describe his teaching approach: explain the big picture and use all the little details to fill in the gaps. How can I implement this strategy into my self-study?
WordPress as a learning tool
I can learn from existing code like WordPress to help direct my studies. WordPress was recommended by Kilbot (seriously dude, thanks!) for its rich features and ease of use. It really did take only 5 minutes to install! My plan here is to see how WordPress works in order to learn from it. I also plan to tinker with some of the innards to make it do exactly what I want it to. I should be able to see how they have it all structured, learn how they style their code, and learn what constructs best suit different applications. I can’t tell you how exciting this is.
Installing WordPress Locally
I used this link for installing WordPress. I’m still using XAMPP to “host” everything on my own computer. For my own documentation (and maybe to help you too if you’re trying this):
- Ran XAMPP and created a database using phpMyAdmin
- Copied all my WordPress files into /xampp/htdocs/wordpress
- Changed the ‘wp-config.php’ file to reflect the database name, DB username/password
- Ran ‘http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php’ to install
Presto! It was that easy. Props to WordPress for making that easy. My next steps? Read lots of .php files to see what they do and understand how WordPress is structured.
After I did it, I see that this is documented quite well elsewhere online. Go me for getting lucky!