Tonight I watched two videos on YouTube: “PHP Programming Part 1: Introduction to PHP Programming” and “PHP Programming Part 2: PHP Syntax and Errors.” There’s a total of 11 parts in this series, and I will watch all of them.
Eli the Computer Guy told me that I needed a text editor to create PHP scripts, an FTP client to upload the scripts, and a web server with PHP installed to run the scripts. He uses Notepad++ which has an FTP client built in and GoDaddy for his web server. I’m using Brackets for a text editor, Filezilla as an FTP client, and BlueHost as my web server. All of these programs are unnecessarily complicated and the reason why I’ve given up on learning to program in the past. But I’m on a mission now. I’ll watch all of the YouTube videos on PHP in existence until I figure this out. I watched no less than 3 videos just to setup Filezilla, and I’m still not sure that I’m using it correctly. I also read several articles about text editors and downloaded Brackets, became frustrated, downloaded TextWrangler, became frustrated, then went back to Brackets. Again, I’m still not positive that I’m using it correctly.
Eli explains in the videos that he will be intentionally repetitive and slow. He wants to teach you to program. He said a lot of people try to learn programming too fast and skip over the boring parts. Then when they need that information later, they don’t understand anything. Take your time.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Type very carefully. One typo can ruin everything.
- You have to know exactly what you want to write and create. Really think about what you’re trying to build.
- PHP is going to pay the bills. It is a useful programming language for almost anybody.
- Remember semicolons! Every time you give php a command, you have to type a semicolon. If you don’t include a semicolon, nothing works.
WordPress has an online manual called the Codex. It’s quite a maze of confusing information. I just did a Google search to see if anyone shared my experience. I found a post called “Not the WordPress Codex!” by Tom McFarlin pretty high in the results. That’s unfortunate.
But I’m on a mission to master WordPress, where do I go? Tom also wrote a post on mastering WordPress. He suggests accepting that it will take years, reading blogs, understanding that plugins and themes differ significantly, and working on small projects or small pieces of your projects before graduating to larger projects. Find comfort in the large community out there to help you when you’re stuck. Remember, 19% of the web runs on WordPress.
I started multiple blogs throughout the years and tested different hosting providers, themes, and plugins. Everything has a different setup and best practices change ALL THE TIME. There’s still a ton that I don’t understand in this slideshare presentation called “Getting Started with WordPress Development.” The learning never ends.
Here are some blogs to check out if you’re just getting started:
The VaultPress Lite plan costs $5/month. This post will cost me $5 to write. Five dollars does not sounds like a lot of money, but I’m currently unemployed. Correction – I’m a part owner in a Delaware C Corporation that makes zero dollars. Creating web apps can either be extremely lucrative or extremely unprofitable. Somehow I keep choosing roads that lead to no cash. Knowledge is power though, right?
Luckily, WPExplorer already wrote a review about installing VaultPress on your site. The only new thing I had to learn was how to enter FTP credentials for one-click restores. I was able to figure this out using BlueHost, but it took a little guesswork on my part. It seems that web development takes a lot of guesswork and finger-crossing.
Now I’m waiting for an email to say that my site is backed up. Even after I receive the email though, I will have to either test VaultPress to make sure the one-click restore works as intended or just hope it will work in the future when my site inevitably breaks.
The other thing to mention about the Lite version is that it only backs up your site once a day. So you could lose nearly 24 hours worth of work potentially – assuming you’re updating your site daily. Also, VaultPress would like to be able to connect to your site in every way possible. I set up FTP access, but you can also grant SSH access (I’m not entirely sure how to do that) and it suggests connecting VaultPress directly to your MySQL database. I only recently learned that the WordPress database is entirely separate from the files, but a better explanation about that will have to wait until I really know what I’m talking about.
Still no email 30 minutes later…
I’ve been using WordPress on and off since 2007. Now I want to become an expert. There are some amazing themes popping up lately like Writr, GeoCraft, Fudge, and JobEngine. But if you want to customize a theme for your exact purposes, you have to learn HTML, CSS, and PHP. So here I am. Becoming a developer. I’m slightly frightened to go down the developer rabbit hole.
I worked on 3HourLocal for about 6 months from October 2012 – March 2013 to write about and curate a calendar of events in Pittsburgh. The site broke in April 2013 when I tried to update all of the plugins at once. I didn’t have a reliable backup plan in place, and I had no idea how to restore the site. Buying domains, hosting, WordPress themes, and backups cost money! I paid for everything except the backups. I’m trying again slightly wiser this time.
I’ve spent a lot of time going to developer meetups in Pittsburgh, PA and working with developers at an AlphaLab accelerator program with a company I co-founded called Spacefinity. Web development changes rapidly each day as developers, designers, and content creators share their knowledge. There aren’t any right answers, just more and more and more questions. I love the open source WordPress community though, and I think that it is the best platform to experiment quickly and put your ideas into the world.
I use BlueHost to host all of my WordPress websites. If you need a website, we can talk prices. I’m slightly new to this, but if you want to take a chance on a newish web developer, perhaps we can work together. Contact me. Thanks for reading!