Ok I just installed the software that came with my book, (php mysql and apache all in one)

The apache stuff, the mySQL stuff and the php stuff.

Everything went smoothy apart from the php bit. I had to alter a few dlls or something to make it work? However, I got it to work. Yay.

Can anyone give me some hints on where to start, what this is useful for, and how do I get a server or summat - or can I just use this from my home computer.

This is all new to me :sad:

Apache is the server, if you have installed it on your home pc then you can access it through your browser. Entering http://localhost should get you the Apache welcome page.

As for what to do next - if you have a book then work through that. If not, then visit some of the many PHP tutorial sites and run through some of their tutorials. Also bookmark php.net - the manual for PHP - full of code samples, usage guidelines, etc.

If you really want to jump in and get your hands dirty - try replicating the functionallity of an existing site.

I see you're familiar with C++. That makes learning PHP easier. Perhaps you may want to translate a small C++ program (fibbonacci non-recursive, palindrome?) to PHP to get an idea of the structure and variables.

As you progress, you'll want to look in to forms and database and cookies. It's quite easy in PHP.