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Tuesday, October 8th 2013, 6:03pm

Useful resources for learning PHP, Javascript, SQL, CSS, Joomla, etc.

Hi all current or future devs!

This thread is an attempt to make it much easier for anyone who wants to start learning some development/programming skills.

Today, there is no shortage of information. The question is where exactly to go to, what to read, what to watch. Usually, if you have a friend who has knowledge in a certain field, and you want to dive into that field, you ask him/her where to start from, how to approach the whole thing, etc. Because you are looking to save yourself some time. So that's what we'll try to do here.

Let's use this thread to share resources that have helped us in learning certain development skills. We'll keep it organized and clean so that it's useful to anyone who wants to learn such skills in order to be useful to humanity.

Let us first start with methodology. Namely, how do you approach the learning of these things? In what way to use the tutorials? Well, here are some points that I think are critical to really benefiting from the resources shared here. If you don't follow these points, I think there is a large chance that you will not be able to do stuff on your own even after going through the tutorials. So here they are:

  • Do any task that a tutorial says you're supposed to do. If they say that you should create your own document, write code in it, experiment, etc. - do it. Don't just watch how they do it. Real learning happens when you do it yourself.
  • Do not copy and paste code. Instead, when a tutorial goes through some code, type it manually in your own documents. This will go a long way to making you think about what is actually happening in the code. You will understand it much better if you write it instead of just looking at it.
  • Try very hard to understand what is happening at every single line of the code that is being analyzed in the tutorial. Take your time and really think it through. What is actually happening in the code and why is it done this way? Sometimes you may just need to give yourself some time and think about it, other times you may need to research it. If you need to research it, it is likely that you would need to read the documentation about the elements of the language that are involved in the thing you don't understand. (As an example, if I have 1 !== "1" , I would need to read the documentation on numbers (like 1), on strings (like "1") and on the !== operator. Then I would be at least prepared to understand what is going on in the code.)
  • As soon as you start feeling comfortable with the basics of some language, maybe after completing a tutorial, try and do at least one project all alone, by yourself. Try and come up with a project that is more or less at your level (when you go through another tutorial, pick a project that matches your increased knowledge). Then go and do it with passion, even if it's something really simple. It's one thing to follow a tutorial, but it's a whole different thing to have to come up with a plan for how to do the whole job, completely on your own. Right? But the sooner you start doing projects by yourself from scratch, the better. And doing them will force you to read the documentation of some of the language's elements that you'd need to use, so your knowledge will become much deeper this way.

So here are the actual resources. If you are looking to get involved in web development (which means creating programs and websites that are available on the Internet, not just on your computer), the place to start with is HTML. Then continue with CSS. After that you may continue with either Javascript or PHP, or another programming language, depending on your preferences.



This is an introduction to the basics of HTML. Only the beginner section should be enough to get you started. I recommend going to the W3Schools HTML tutorial after that since it will give you deeper knowledge. But the HTML Dog tutorial is a very nice introduction.


This is a much more comprehensive tutorial of HTML. Don't try to memorize everything here (you won't be able to, unless you have incredible memory). Rather, try to understand the concepts behind things. Then, whenever you need to remind yourself of what exactly some HTML tag does what kind of attributes there are for it, you will know where exactly to go and look up that information.


Note: keep in mind that you should first have some basic knowledge of HTML before diving into CSS.


This tutorial gives you all the basic theoretical knowledge you need in order to understand what CSS is about and what you can do with it.

2. HTML5 and CSS3 beginner tutorial

This is a pretty good video tutorial that goes through many basics. The guy explains things pretty well and you can take a look at some practical, real-world coding in action.


The CSS validator can discover bugs in your code, even in your entire website, so it can be invaluable.


Some inspiration. :love:


Note: before going into Javascript, you should have knowledge of HTML and CSS.


W3Schools' tutorial is again a good starting point.


I thought that Codecademy's Javascript tutorial was pretty good, maybe especially the parts towards the end (like Objects I and Objects II). Obviously, there will be a lot of overlapping with W3Schools' tutorial above if you choose to start from the beginning of Codecademy's one.


Javascript Essential Training. You will be building a lot more complex things that are closer to the real world. Yay!


In my view, the Practical and Effective Javascript tutorial, among other things, gives some very important and useful information about various aspects of Javascript.


When I started with Javascript, I was going to the W3Schools reference whenever I needed to read up on some function, or the DOM, or whatever. But after some time I found myself going to the MDN site for this. MDN's documentation is much more technical and more detailed.


Note: jQuery is a Javascript library. You should first learn Javascript before learning jQuery.


W3Schools' tutorial again offers nice and simple explanations.


Essential training. 'Nuff said.


Note: before starting to learn PHP, you should have an understanding of HTML and preferably CSS.


I hesitate whether to recommend this book as a start because it was my introduction not only to PHP but also to programming, and it was hard. The examples in there required a lot of thought. But, on the other hand, I'm sure that I got a much deeper understanding of how PHP works. So... take it or leave it. :) (As an alternative, someone recommended to me the W3Schools PHP tutorial as a starting point.)


A really awesome tutorial. I so wish it was more than 13 days. Jeffrey Way is quite a good presenter, although he speaks pretty fast.


Now we dive deeply and start building a real website. Again, awesome stuff. Make sure you do the assignments!


A next level continuation of the above tutorial. Really great for getting into OOP.


Pro PHP Security covers a wide variety of security essentials. Before you make any applications live on the Internet, read this book. It'll get you acquainted with many security concerns that you really need to know.



A basic introduction to SQL.


SQL: A Beginner's Guide, Third Edition covers SQL in-depth and in a really accessible way. Easy to read and has practical exercises.


1. Joomla 3.0 Made Easy

A quick read that will help you wrap your mind around Joomla's structure. Categories, articles, menus, menu items, etc.

2. - Joomla 3 Essential Training

Lynda's tutorial is a comprehensive walk around the backend of Joomla, all the options and configurations there. But not only that - it shows the building of an entire website in action, which is very valuable as experience.


What resources have helped you? Please share!

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Wednesday, October 9th 2013, 2:43am

The URLs & descriptions above have been added to the upcoming member portal's resource sharing feature.

Please keep 'em coming, folks.
Existing categories in need of great learning reference URLs include learning html (4.01 & 5), css, less/bootstrap, php, apache server, MySQL database, Joomla, python, javascript, jquery, ajax, etc..
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Friday, February 7th 2014, 2:39pm


I wanted to share a tutorial that I made few weeks ago... it's a simple step by step guide on how to set up a Joomla site after the installation process.

Feel free to check it out: How to Build a Website with Joomla -

Also, feedback is much appreciated!


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Saturday, February 8th 2014, 12:20pm

I wanted to share a tutorial that I made few weeks ago... it's a simple step by step guide on how to set up a Joomla site after the installation process.

Hi Robert! The portuguese TZM chapter site has a very old joomla version but no fellows with technical knowledge to update it. I wonder if ou can help there?
@WurmD: is the guy with access to it and needing help.
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Tuesday, February 11th 2014, 12:48am

Robert, that's a nice tutorial, my friend!

Rod, can you provide a link to the PT site?
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