The PHP Manual has everything about PHP, very organised and very clear. The only trouble is, since it has everything, it's pretty overwhelming! After one look at it, you may decide to go to bed and pull the covers over your head.
So – after you get up and have a tea and a deep breath ... how to know where to start, and what to leave for later? That's what this page is for.
Here are the two best ways to look at the PHP Manual:
Here we will explore the manual in chm format. Probably you'll get the best use out of this, if you open up your own manual and follow along!
Your CHM Viewer has four useful Views for using your PHP Manual. You will see them as tabs across the top of the Viewer:
The main view! Here you find everything. You can expand and collapse the different sections of the manual.
Very useful for finding something, if you know the first few letters.
This gives the headers of manual pages that have your search string in them. I haven't found this super-useful, as there are so many pages found!
You can save bookmarks to sections of the manual that you refer to often.
The PHP manual has 11 sections but you only really need to look through 5 of them. There is only one section that you will be using often: the Function Reference.
This is something to read through once. It is an overview of how PHP works and what it can do. It also has a nice tutorial, which can be useful to work through and get the basics.
This section tells you about how the PHP language works, such as variables, operators, and flow (control structures). I have ticked in yellow the things to get familiar with. The orange (Classes and Objects) can come later. The other things are more advanced. You will come to them when you need them — and when that happens you will be way past me, and i hope you will teach me!
This is something to read through, and come back to it when you need it.
The most useful parts in the section are about Sessions, and File uploads. The other things you might use when more advanced, or not at all.
Here is the meat of PHP! There are hundreds of functions. We use about 10% of them most of the time. All the others are there, for special cases — most of those you will never use.
Here are the actual functions
within each category that you would use regularly.
Read their descriptions in the manual, and try them out,
to see what they do.
(The numbers aren't part of the manual ... i put them there to give us an idea how many functions there are that we need to know.)
83-94 ctype_* – All useful, depending on what you need.
96-114 is_* – All useful, depending on what you need.
About 118 very useful functions — that's all!
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