A Great Way to Learn PHP Coding at Lunch

Learn to Code in Your Free Time
Now all you need for lunch is a book.


I am a lunch reader.  Always have been.   Give me a half-hour to forty-five minutes and I will break out a newspaper and start catching up on yesterday’s happenings.  I recently decided to make my lunchtime habit a bit more productive,  though, by reading a chapter a day (give or take, sometimes I do like a lunchtime nap) from PHP & MySQL : The Missing Manual.

The Missing Manual

Published by the good people at O’Reilly, PHP & MySQL : The Missing Manual aims to teach the average user (they wrote for an Advanced Beginner or Intermediate level of techy-ness) how to begin creating applications in PHP.   By the end of the book, the reader will have created a website where users can securely login, create a profile, and log out.  Not necessarily the most exciting application ever put to code, but one that runs a user through a heap of useful PHP & MySQL functions: writing SQL commands, creating tables, getting information from users, retrieving that information from a database, and authenticating and authorizing users.

Learn PHP to Improve Your WordPress Skills
Now all you need for lunch is a sandwich.

More Importantly…

But that is only half of the value of a foundation-forming book like this.  What it really ought to do is to teach the reader how to think and act like a real, honest-to-goodness programmer.  And that it does:

  • Before each task, the author clearly lays out what the code intends to accomplish and what will need to be done to accomplish that task.
  • You code, test, code, and test again, even when the application is not quite ready, if only to understand what an aspiring programmer should always be doing.
  • Error logging and management is not relegated to an appendix, but is discussed throughout and even occupies a substantial chapter right in the middle (I’ll admit that that did induce one of the lunchtime naps).
  • Commenting and refactoring to make your code easier to follow is discussed frequently and thoroughly.


If  you are a WordPress user who is looking to learn a little bit more about how it all works (or someone who is looking to deepen their knowledge of server-side scripting),  I dare you to read this book and not feel pushed to rush off and start poking around your WordPress database (just be careful!).