Heal Your Church WebSite

Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

PHP Beginner.com

I’m in the process of redesigining RedlandBaptist.org. Currently, its hard to maintain because so much of it is hard-coded via DreamWeaver – and not everyone at RBC owns that product – or know what to do with it even if they had.

So I’ve been toying with the idea of data-driven pages via content manglement on some level. This way we could use a variety of methods to post changes to the data without having to deal with formatting. More on this later.

Of course my inner-strugle is PHP or Perl. I like both. I use both. What I believe will happen is that the pages themselves will be in PHP, but the much of underlying engine will be in Perl. Yes I know, more complexity, but the CPAN is just too useful to pass up. That and the fact that I’m going to be the only guy fixing the engine anyway.

What this means is that I need to find a PHP tutorial. Not that I want to compel any of those helping me to become hard-core programmers, rather I want them familiar with the tool for two reasons. Mostly, so those assisting me won’t freak out at what they see between the <?php ?> tags. But also so that they know what is available to them programatically – and what they can code if they so dare.

This means finding a tutorial that doesn’t necessarily assume those helping me are programmers. After a bit of a search, I think I found one: <?PHP Beginner.com // Where PHP Begins ?>.

PHPBeginner.com is a community portal, where members contribute useful articles that aren’t written entirely in ancient geek. Put another way, it is aimed at beginners (read newbies) in PHP programming – as opposed to grizzled (read grumpy) old salts like yours truly.

For me, I found it rather refreshing to find articles that aren’t showing-off.


  1. Hi Dean –

    I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now, and really appreciate your work.

    I’m leading a redesign of http://www.ridgepoint.com. We’ve been blessed with a small budget to work with.

    Because our church (like just about any church) runs on so much volunteer labor, one of my requirements was that the site be editable by multiple people, and editable over the web (so they can do the work at home and not need to be in the church offices).

    I understand your non-techhie concerns, I have the same concerns, even to the point of not wanting to rely upon the volunteers to know the basic file structure behind the site.

    The product we’re looking at is ektron’s CMS100 – which seems to satisfy our requirements (but is as yet untested…).

    The basic idea is that we’ll put the site structure together in Dreamweaver, and insert the Ektron tool where content needs to be editable.

    From a user perspective, the interface to edit the site will be the site. They’ll find the page to edit, click an edit button somewhere on the page, log in, and make their changes.

    It runs on either .asp or Cold Fusion – which might be outside the infrastructure you have. We’re investigtating their hosting partners as there’s just no way we can do the setup inhouse for what some of the hosts charge.

    Anyway, no affiilation with any of these products, no proven solutions yet, just some input from someone in roughly the same shoes….

    Best Regards,
    Mike Boyink

  2. Dean,

    I am the founder of PHPBeginner (I found your site from our logs).

    I must say THANKS for your sweet words about our site, we always appreciate them.

    Trust PHP, you do not need any Pearl behind. First because it would be harder to implement and follow up in the future (I predict you would still end up with one language only anyway) and second because PHP is seriousely powerful language, it can do all you need it to. Do not forget, Perl was the first ever language created, and its creation was commented as “dirty scripting for getting the web interactive”. PHP changed all that, it is free and it is better. Also, it is way easier to learn and chaper time-wise.

    I work for the Italian Government – we (team of 70 programmers) use PHP for a 1/5 year long progect, and the results are simply magic.


    Maxim Maletsky

    Founder, Chief Developer
    http://www.PHPBeginner.com // where PHP Begins