Learning New approaches

Furthered my professional development today, by getting some nice chunky web programming books. This was made possible by work who pay out for such things 🙂

Beginning XML from Wrox Press & PHP 5 Unleashed from Sams Publishing.

This is carrying on from the two courses I did last week. Databases on the web, which covered PHP & ASP, and Exploring XML.

Databases on the web covered pretty familiar territory in the afternoon (the PHP half) but the morning was usefully since it covered ASP which I’ve only really cut and pasted before and I need to do for work soon (The Clinical Index for the placements office). It also re fired my interest in web programming in a major way.

Exploring XML was very interesting. I covered XML on my masters course, but only as far as what is it, how to write fully formed XML and validate it against DTDs. None of the useful and fun stuff that this course covered, i.e. how to do searches on XML documents, how to out put XML into nice formatted web pages. When I first looked at XML in 2001 it was very much an emerging technology. Now it has come of age.

PHP5 is the new version of PHP. Looks like the world and his dog are still running PHP4, but I thought it would be nice to beat the pack and get ahead with the new version, which is 80% backwards compatible. I pretty much pushed the language to the limit when I did my masters dissertation, when PHP 5 was merely a features list in Zend’s eye. Now its here, so I’ll be curling up with my book reading up on the new features (proper Object Orientated Programming, native XML functions & its own inbuilt database called SQLite) and then writing the dynamic parts of my home page in PHP5. This makes me feel rather giddy. I like learning things but I ran out of ground with PHP4 quickly. Having a new release of PHP gives me something fun to do.

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