Errors are a GOOD Thing When Learning a Programming Language

This may sound counter productive, but encountering errors when learning a language is a good thing.  It helps you to understand how the language works and how to debug the code.  All code has errors, whether it is syntax or logical.  Logical errors are usually the hardest to find because the program is still working, it’s just not doing what it should be doing.  It could be as simple as something like setting a database column to Tiny Int, but then trying to store a Integer size value in there.  It will store the value, it just won’t be the value you started out with. You may not even know something is wrong until you go to view the value and you notice that it is obviously incorrect.

Syntax errors however are generally mistypes.  An upper case letter in a class name, versus a lower case letter, missing semi-colon, undeclared class, etc. All of a sudden the system is complaining that it can’t find a class and you have to figure out why.  Even though in general syntax errors should be easier to find, especially if you develop in a module format, constantly testing the modules as you go along, it can be very difficult when just learning.Continue reading

Getting Multiple Computer Books to Learn a Programming Language

I’m not sure how everyone else learns a new programming language, but I will share my years of knowledge with anyone who is wanting to get into computer programming.

As you can see from reading the posts, although I haven’t posted in a while, is that I am currently trying to conquer Zend Framework and AJAX, using JQuery, DOJO, Prototype, YUI or other toolkit. I find I have to immerse myself in the language, reading the chapters ahead, highlighting, doing the samples, trying to apply it to my own project. The more resources I have, the better.Continue reading

Installation of PHPUnit on a Dreamhost Account

I know it’s been awhile since I posted here.  I needed to get some other web work complete, such as the Trenton 1784 website, which took me away from the Zend Framework for a bit.  Now I am back at it.

Since I have the Zend Framework in Action book, in order to fill out my knowledge of Zend, I wanted to get my server fully set up for the applications in this book and this required the downloading of PHPUnit in order to do the Unit Testing.  Now it doesn’t seem like this would be a requirement to actually go through the book,  but I had always done unit testing when I was a consultant developing desktop apps for Fortune 500 companies.  Since Zend Framework in Action also explains how to use PHPUnit, I might as well take advantage of it.Continue reading

Trenton 1784

I’m currently working on a new website for a client –  A lot of what I would like to do requires JQuery.  I would like to make it much more “interactive”.  For instance, on the main page there is the vignette.  Each day a photo with description will be displayed on the main page.  There could be about 55 vignettes total. Continue reading

Zend Framework in Action

Well I got my Zend Framework in Action book in today.  I figure it will help me to understand more fully what I am learning in the Practical Web 2.0 Applications with PHP.  Since this is the first time using Zend Framework, I am trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible – so the more information I have at my disposal to cross reference, the better.  This is generally how I have always learned – it was how I taught myself PowerBuilder.  I would use five books at one time sometimes – using each to supplement the information I was looking for. One book may not explain something in a easily understood manner, or may leave something out, but by combining the books, it helped in understanding the complex concepts.Continue reading

Practical Web 2.0 Applications with PHP – Chapter 3

Chapter 3 is basically setting up the user tables in the database and the functionality for loading, inserting and deleting the records.  There are two custom built classes that the author developed that will need to be downloaded from the source code – DatabaseObject.php and Profile.php. I’m wondering if these are watered down versions of the classes the author actually uses because there are limited comments in the code and he stresses in the beginning of the book the importance of commenting.Continue reading

Practical Web 2.0 Applications with PHP – Chapter 2

Okay – I’ve pretty much made it through Chapter 2.  I won’t go over Chapter 1, because that chapter was basically just an introduction.  Chapter 2 covers developing the base classes and functionality that application will be built upon.    One of the hardest things was making sure that Zend and Smarty were installed properly and that my custom PHP.ini file was correct.  I’m using a live server on the web, so I had make absolutely sure that everything was working properly.

I did run into a few issues going through Chapter 2, but overall the chapter walked through everything really well and explained everything.  So what issues did I run into?Continue reading

Practical Web 2.0 Applications with PHP – a Chapter a Day

I got the Practical Web 2.0 Applications with PHP.  The book seems very detailed  which is unusual for a computer book.  Most computer books have disjointed examples, however this one walks through the development of an entire Blog application from start to finish.

It does use the Zend Framework, the Smarty Template Engine and Scriptaculous.  MY goal is to work through this book within a month from start to finish.  With 14 chapters, if I do a half chapter or a chapter a day  I should be able to reach this goal.  I’ve skimmed through the book for the last two weeks, just looking casually at the concepts – such as how the author handles creating search engine friendly URLs.  I’ve created search friendly URLs for, but I would like to see how others do it.

After each chapter – I will include a summary and notes about various things I learned.  This will not only help me- but those who may be also using the book.

Well I guess I better get to work instead of writing about it!

Web User Interfaces – YUI, DIJIT, JQuery, Ext JS, Scriptaculous

The web technologies have caught up to what my actual skills are – application development.  I’ve loved the web – but up until now it much more of a graphic designer’s world.  Today with Web 2.0 and the tools to create true interactive web applications, I can concentrate more on my true skills – database  driven – interactive applications.Continue reading