PHP is still the most popular programming language for web development. Its main advantages boils down to the language’s simplicity, well documented, fast, doesn’t enforce certain programming paradigms, the easy deployment across platforms, being widely packaged by many OSes, the built-in web server, it easily allows for sharing code for CLI programs and web processes, etc. Facebook’s HHVM also makes its future even more exciting with improvements to the language itself while being delivered at faster speeds, etc.
On the negative notes, many out there points out that PHP disadvantages is insecure, enforces bad habits, its built-in functions lack standardization, has the most bizarrest of language constructs from a language standpoint, arising into prominence only because at the time, embedding code into HTML was a new thing, etc. Websites like PHP WTF, PHP Sadness lists lots of deficiencies in PHP.
Development Environment Setup
To get started with PHP development the most popular way is using software stack like Bitnami stacks. By using stacks you can skip the complicated setup and jump right into the developing stuff. The stack include most all the needed tools for PHP studying, development, deployment. Some most popular PHP web framework – Zend Framework, Symfony, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Smarty, Laravel – also included in this stack (which is a nice touch I thing). Simply download and install it.
Linux: LAMP stack
Mac: MAMP stack
Windows: WAMPP stack
There are other stacks like XAMPP, WampServer , or MAMP but so far I’ve found that software stacks from Bitnami is the most stable of them all.
Read the Fine Manual
Read Real World PHP code
Get Familiar with Best Practices and the Tools
PHP developers need to read PHP The Right Way and needs to follow the PHP-FIG PSR style guides and conventions. Also familiar with tools like Composer. Checkout Awesome-PHP for a giant curated list of awesome PHP libraries, resources and shiny stuff.
– 4 things that happened at PHP while you aren’t looking | O’Reilly Radar
– PHP as a next-generation programming language | Phoronix
– Want to have your server pwned? Easy: Run PHP | The Register
– What I like about PHP | Simon Geek