Here we go again…

Week six marked the introduction to PHP, a scripting language which, on its surface, seems relatively easy to understand. But we’ve been down this road before (JavaScript, I’m looking at you), and I know better than to assume PHP will become a stress-and-error-free part of my life as it relates to web development.

In fact, while the first lessons were easy enough, I stumbled over the exercises for While Loops, Functions, and Objects. For the most part, these issues arose from syntax errors, which tells me I haven’t seen or used enough PHP to know better (do you ever just “know” this stuff?).

There was something familiar about the lesson on Objects, though: the idea of public and private functions reminded me of the local and global scope concept from Javascript. I appreciate the literal nature of this concept in PHP—you can just call something a “public function” to designate it as such, rather than relying on its placement within the code as you would have to do with JavaScript.

A note about learn-php.org: Though it’s not as pretty as Codecademy, I found the lessons easy to navigate and complete. It also serves as yet another example of the web development world’s emphasis on the free flow of information. I’ve enjoyed our little peeks into the world of web development: the importance of community in solving problems (GitHub, Stack Overflow), the “laziness” of developers (copy and paste whenever you can), the preference for simplicity. Halfway through the semester I’m now reminded of some of the takeaways from our Week 0 pre-readings. Here’s to keeping these lessons in mind as we stare down our final project in the weeks ahead.

An update on the midterm profile assignment: I found my subject, VM Vaughn, through this article on Medium. Vaughn began learning to code at the age of 56, and told me before our interview that he doesn’t consider himself to be a “real web developer.” I was anxious to talk to him about what impact his age has had on his experience learning to code, and what, exactly, a “real” web developer is, anyway. More on that later.

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