Online Learning: Three Free Intro to PHP Video Lecture Series

Learning your first programming language, or jumping in to a completely new programming language, can seem like a daunting task.  Where does one even begin?  The first step, of course, is to see what materials are freely available online.  There are a plethora of sites like Code Academy and Tutorials Point which offer text-based coding tutorials for free, but these can only take one so far, and may not provide answers to seemingly obvious questions a beginner may have.  In addition, there are many people whose learning style simply does not jive with a purely text-based format.  Fortunately, there is no lack of free online video series.  But even then the same question arises, where does one even begin, given the sheer quantity of such video lectures and tutorials?  In this post, we'll take a look at three free online video series devoted to beginning PHP programming . . . 

Harvard CS 75: Building Dynamic Websites
This course is from Harvard University's Computer Science curriculum, and provides all course materials for free online, including video of all lectures and discussion sections.  From the course description:
This course teaches students how to build dynamic websites with Ajax and with Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP), one of today's most popular frameworks. Students learn how to set up domain names with DNS, how to structure pages with XHTML and CSS, how to program in JavaScript and PHP, how to configure Apache and MySQL, how to design and query databases with SQL, how to use Ajax with both XML and JSON, and how to build mashups. The course discusses issues of security, scalability, and cross-browser support and also discusses enterprise-level deployments of websites, including third-party hosting, virtualization, colocation in data centers, firewalling, and load-balancing. 
The list of lectures can be found here.  Ironically, the course video lectures do not always load properly in Firefox or Safari, but there appear to be few problems when using Chrome.  

Carl Herold's Live Stream Programming Sessions
Carl Herold is the operator of Computer Science for Everyone, which provides programming lessons and tutorials on the C programming language with a beginner audience in mind.  On his Youtube Channel, however, Carl provides video from two different series of live programming sessions where he builds a PHP-based web app from scratch using a Model-View-Controller type framework.  These video tutorials demystify numerous aspects of the programming process that may confuse the beginner.  Afterwards, you may find yourself wondering what you found so confusing to begin with.  This is the first video from a four part series on Building a PHP MVC Web Application Framework:

See also his related video series, LiveStream Startup, in which he programs "a real-world web application from scratch" in real time.

Eli the Computer Guy's PHP Programming Video Lectures
While the Harvard course and Carl Herold's live streams mentioned above provide an overview of the web app programming process – and thus touch upon XML, MYSQL, and so on –, Eli the Computer Guy's series of videos on PHP programming is much more targeted toward the nitty gritty of beginning programming in PHP itself.  This 11 part series covers basic syntax, form handling, flow control, and redirection.  His site also offers introductory video tutorials on a variety of other tech topics, from computer repair to networking and data security.  Well worth a view. 

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