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I've just landed myself in it. I offered to help out with a programming club at our school. Doh! The school is lumbered with VB6. I refuse to dirty my hands with it - the last time was about a 1000 years ago. I proposed to do a starter on php/mysql. I just need some insights into how you'd go about it. Here's my list so far. If you disagree - please say so. BTW these kids are 14/15 year olds without any prior experience of programming.

1) Install php/mysql/apache/ftp client/ide onto home machine (I'm suggesting xampp and filezilla client and Notepad++).
2) Basics - php tags, 'echo' and quotes, simple variables (Variables I) and operators (+,.,-).
3) Control Structures I: if..elseif..else.
4) Variables II: arrays - associative and lists
5) Control Structures II: switch.
6) Loops: while.
7) Functions I: built-in. (some will have been met already in 2-6)
8) Functions II: custom.
9) Files: creating/moving/copying/deleting and writing/reading.

I'll be giving tips on security and 'tidy' code practices as we go along. Does this seem OK as a starting point? Thinking of introducing MySQL after all that.

Looks like a nice starter. Good luck with this.


My suggestion is to start out with an overview of HTML first before you go into PHP since the whole purpose of PHP is Pre Hypertext Processing. This will form the base on which they can build.

Also include the for and foreach loop rather than only the while.

You might also want to show them the POST, GET url variable transfer although I think it would be a little early at this stage and might be better when you move to sql.

All the very best.

commented: good spot - I missed post and get +7
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Oops! I'll have to shoehorn forms and querystrings with respective superglobals in somewhere - cheers sudeepjd!

As for html, yes good point. I'll be 'teaching' this as and when it's required. The students will be given the html 'cheat sheet' to produce simple pages. That's probably how I missed 'forms' in my plan.

My brief has been to give the students a good idea of the basics of programming. To my ultimate despair, they will be commencing VB6 in their regular classes in about a year. It's enough to make a grown man cry... Well, if they're any good, perhaps they'll convince the teacher to allow them to do their project in php/mysql. This may be wishful thinking though, from what I gather the examination officers only 'do' VB6. Progress.

Thanks both.


VB6 is not that bad. I've used it quite a bit, as a stand alone language and mainly as a backend (VBA) to create reports using Excel.

For what I've seen, most people are more comfortable working with Excel so right now I'm in the process of trying to combine Excel using the VBA backend with the PHP/MySql system. This will enable data processing using the Excel sheet as well as a standard constantly available database online.

So VB6 is not that bad.... Cheers!!!

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Aw shucks sudeepjd. VB6 - I was using that crock about 10 years ago. DLLs and gridenvironments that don't actually work and bind well with the adodc object. Pah! OOP not properly implemented. It's not for me. As far as VBA is concerned, for me, it's VB6's runt of a little brother. No arrays! I help some of the students with detangling their spaghetti VB6 code. Sends cold shivers down my spine. Due to the nightmare of using DB backends with the adodc, some of our 'enlightened' staff have gone back to teaching data stores regarding random access files. *Shakes head*

I have the same opinion of VB6 as I have of IE6. Time it died a dignified death.

Ahh well, to each his own... Each language has its uses. VB6 was where I learnt my programming about 10 years ago and so I have a soft corner for it.

VBA is required in the Indian Industry since it is difficult to get a server set up within an organisation (too much red tape). That coupled with the fact that people are used to copy pasting data into and out of Excel makes it the ideal data processing tool. PHP unfortunately does not give me the flexibility in copy pasting a large amount of data and processing it. It is ultimate for data storage and retrieval but not that great when it comes to on the fly data processing required by an Analytics Industry.

Each has its uses.

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