This post is more geared towards newbs in the field like myself, and will go over both advantages I’ve found and disadvantages. First off lets start by saying that my progress in the website development world has been VERY slow and everything has been self taught. I started out in 7th grade on NeoPets.com where I learned about “NeoHTML” which wasn’t actually HTML at all it was CSS that you used so that you could format your page. Then I actually started to use HTML when I got Archmaille.com which originally was where I tried selling my sterling silver jewelry (if you don’t believe me check out Way Back Machine) I hand coded the site at first, later on some webmaster forums I learned how to combine my knowledge of CSS and HTML to create prettier pages. I finally started to dable in PHP when I got kclanparty.org where I first had PHPNuke installed. Didn’t do much more than the template, and a few custom add ons… but it helped me to learn the interaction of PHP and HTML. Later on I learned of the beauties that come with Wordpress soon abandoning PHPNuke. I mean the only feature of Nuke I really used was the blog so why bother with all that clutter, and growing insecurities?
At this point not only my knowledge of the difference between good code, and the interactions of the different foundational languages was growing, but so was my portfolio of websites. Moving into the upper 20’s the list of domains I owned seemed to be growing month by month. Now with several Wordpress websites, the experience with PHPNuke, (also some PHPBB), and ArchmailleDesigns.com where my jewelry store moved with a custom PHP shopping cart… it was about time that I actually learned how to code a website in PHP from the ground up.
I went out and purchased several books on PHP and MySQL because what I wanted to do you really can’t have one without the other. After several chapters of these books I wasn’t really getting to anything terribly interesting to me. I was learning names of things that I’ve been using for a long time, which is helpful to a point, but not as much as you might think. I could now search for solutions when I had problems which was nice, but I wasn’t having many problems with the few things I knew.
Later when I was working on the security team with MTV protecting their websites I learned of the great world of PHP frameworks. Or rather MVC frameworks in general. I tried many of them but really attached myself to CakePHP since the others were basically worthless as you still had to write 100% of the code how is that quicker? With cake you’ve got the beautiful Bake function where you can bake up a simple CRUD (Create Read Update Delete) website in a matter of minutes (assuming you already have the database ready) What CakePHP really taught me was the importance of good Database Structure, hell it taught me database structure all together, but since it was writing 90% of the code for me and I was once again editing it… needless to say I’ve still not learned any sort of real code.
Which brings me to the downsides of PHP frameworks I still don’t know what I’m doing! I built PetitionsForChange.com in less than 2 weeks! It really is amazing how quickly you can build a website with a framework… but now I am starting to build websites more and more complex, each new project has new complexities that come with it. Now that I’ve become more comfortable with CakePHP it is once again time to move out on my own and start to learn just PHP by itself. I’ve actually learned MySQL very well which I didn’t know before, so I feel more confident to go out and take on the task of building a website in straight out PHP.