Basics

Getting started

If you want to follow along by writing code, start by downloading a code editor. I recommend Visual Studio Code or Sublime Text. Next, create a new file in your editor called basics.php and save it anywhere on your computer, like a folder in your documents called phpapprentice. Now, we can write some PHP.

All PHP files must start with a <?php tag unless it is for a html template. (We will learn about html templates later.)

<?php

echo "Hello World!\n";

There is a lot going on in the above code so let's work through it.

First, the echo keyword tells PHP to output some text.

echo "I am some text\n";

Second, PHP stores text in strings. To write a string, you surround letters with single or double quotes. Double quoted strings can hold special characters like \n which tells PHP to start a new line.

echo "I am a string on a new line\n";

Third, all lines of code in PHP must end in a semi-colon.

echo "No semi-colon is a no-no\n";

Using semi-colons means we can write multiple statements on one line.

echo "PHP"; echo " Apprentice\n";

To execute the code you have written, make sure you have PHP installed. Then, open a terminal app, either Terminal on MacOS or Powershell on Windows. In the terminal, open the folder where you created the basics.php file using cd. For example, on Windows run cd C:\%userprofile%\Documents\phpapprentice and on Mac run cd ~/Documents/phpapprentice. Finally, you can execute the file by running php basics.php.

In your terminal, you should see:

Hello World!
I am some text
I am a string on a new line.
No semi-colon is a no-no
PHP Apprentice

With any code in future chapters, I recommend writing a PHP file for it. It is a great way to get some practice with the language.