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Tutorial text for "I PHP"

This repo contains the text for the I PHP tutorial. The tutorial has been designed for beginner and improving-beginner programmers wishing to learn some good practices in PHP web development. The code example uses PDO/SQLite, and demonstrates parameterisation, HTML escaping, logic/content separation, authentication, form handling, sessions and proper password hashing. The repo is public so that experienced developers may propose improvements if they wish.

Code changes in the tutorial are shown as diffs in the text, and each modified file can be downloaded in its entirety at that point of development. To facilitate this, files and diffs are extracted from this repo by a script, rather than being copied in manually. This makes code improvements much easier to transpose to the tutorial than the traditional method of making adjustments by hand.

Here is a blog post about the tutorial that was written prior to, and at the time of, going live. Since then, some readers have made suggestions, tickets have been raised, and improvements have been committed and published.

See also the code repo here.

Page build process

The pages are held in a single file, using __NEWFILE__ as a chapter separator. Menu titles are derived from the first <h2> in each section, and small amounts of PHP are permitted. There are two main uses for PHP in this repo: to render diffs and conditionally render non-live notes. Here's how to render a tabbed (multi-file) diff block:

<?php renderDiffFromComment('The comment text') ?>

Comments are used here, as hashes will break if changes are rebased in. In the unlikely event the repo contains clashing comment texts, a simple date filter can be added.

Here's how to render a development mode note (the permitted note classes are critical, todo, in-progress and comment):

<?php if (showTodoMessages()): ?>
	<div class="todo note">
		Here's a note
	</div>
<?php endif ?>

Once merged to this repo, pages are rebuilt manually using a script. The file project-branch specifies the branch of the code repo to use for the diffs; this permits different versions of the chapter text to share a code repo, or to have their own, as the author decides.

The ability to maintain different versions of the text and code will be reflected in the tutorial, so users who are currently working through the tutorial may carry on with an old version, rather than being forced to start again.

Notes:

  • The single file format is fine for the moment, but if someone wants to see this split into separate files, that can be arranged
  • A good feedback loop for the text probably won't be initiated simply by making these repos public. I suspect good commenting tools on the site itself will also be necessary

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