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#1 User is offline   HelixNebula 

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:21 AM

Hello everyone.
It's a bit daunting in here for a complete newb, I can't help wondering if I'm the only one... and would a forum section help those of us on the foothills of the learning curve?

Me, I've been gainfully employed for years on the client apps end of things, and web apps is a whole new ballgame for me. So far I've managed to install Wampserver and knock up a test.php that queries the MS SQL server here to show a query results table in raw PHP HTML, so I'm not convinced I'm a complete idiot :)

However, these frameworks seem to require a whole load of 'just knowing a ton of vocabulary' which has always been the worst part of the job for me. I'm fine picking up new languages, but finding my way around someone else's massive design makes my heart sink.

So far I've looked at Ruby/Rails, I read half of the surreal and bizarre 'poignant guide' to Ruby which is like a programming lecture from Eddie Izzard on some abused substance - entertaining but too much like hard work too wade through. Bits of Ruby seem neat, and I prefer the syntax to Python and its meaningful whitespace, but it's a little too 'magic' and different for my liking. And I got lost trying to find my way around the tutorials, felt that Ruby was falling out of favour and could be a career dead-end, so I moved on.

BTW I'm looking for a completely free and Open Source solution that avoids MS tech (apart from using Windows here, and the SQL server currently available and in use with the VB.net app I'm working on). Likewise Java leaves a sour taste in my mouth for security reasons (vulns) and dependence on a Big Corporate. So Groovy Grails, Scala and all the rest of the Java ecosystem are pushed to the side in my quest for My Big Saviour.

I looked at Python, thinking it could be useful to know my way around a trendy popular scripting language, but the Django tutorial left me floundering, likewise web2py. And all the Python frameworks seem to use types of communuity support that I don't fancy. It's all IRC chat or mail lists. I'm too embarrassed to link my stoopid newb questions to one of my main email accounts, don't fancy setting up a new disposable one, and in any case emails link to IP addresses which I Just Don't Want. So thank you Yii for having a proper web forum! (You'd think that other WEB framework guys would use WEB tech, wouldn't you?!)

So here I am. PHP looks like riot of ad-hoc evolution, and I can't say I'm struck on the -> and :: business instead of simple dots, but I have faith that it's a workable language and the flexible arrays look neat. So I'm willing to give it a go. Yii looks like a good contender, so.....

Now, I can follow most of Larry Ullman's 8 page newb tutorial, and I like the MVC classes arrangement these frameworks follow, and the way I can set up a database in advance, then get a whole admin scaffoldy kind of web app for free. Wonderful, in theory - because let's face it the average programmer isn't a great stylish designer and I couldn't hope to compete with the nifty HTML/CSS stuff that Yii (and others) provide straight 'out of the box' from those with an eye for pizazz.

But then I run into a brick wall. It's all very well having The Big Overview understood, but the next level of detail expands a millionfold into a nest of complexity that makes my head spin.

Imagine, if you will for one paragraph, that Earth finally makes Alien contact. You're told that if you approach an alien and say "Froog nitch argle wamza" then he'll give you a cool refreshing glass of beer. And "Wizzamalooga" will get you a small but valuable lump of gold. Great. But it doesn't help you to actually understand the grammar of their language, how their civilisation works, the right way to avoid offending them and starting a nasty interplanetry war.

This is what the framework tutorials seem like, to me - albeit without the ramifications of leaving our dear Blue Planet a smouldering lump of rock. "Do this" they say, "and this will happen". But it doesn't say WHY, HOW, why you'd want to, what other ways you can do it, what the knock-on effects are, and all the other behind-the-scenes mechanisms going on.

How on Earth do you experienced web devs cope? How do you suddenly go from 'a little clue' to 'I know my way around'? I'm utterly lost here - any pointers on what to try next? When I reach part of a tutorial or book that suddenly becomes "Do this and I won't really explain why" another little part of me dies. Sure, I can skip forwards, see if something later makes sense and perhaps I can come back and slot the missing piece of the puzzle into place. But that doesn't seem to work with frameworks. It's like an impenetrable ball of confusion. Like trying to learn Italian without any translations.

How do I get the enlightenment of knowing how to pass data around between the classes, and a categorised listing of what I'll need to learn? In a learnable way? I challenge you experts to really genuinely explain the next level of understanding beyound The Grand Overview, in a concise summary that gives us poor bewildered an "Aha!" moment and takes us to the point where the rest of the learning curve flattens out and is a matter of simply picking up relatively shallow levels of detail. Because if you can do that, you'll be WAY ahead of any other framework I've looked at! And the masses will flock to you, or something.

Thanks!
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#2 User is offline   Maurizio Domba Cerin 

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:37 AM

Hi and welcome to the Yii world ops. forum :D

IMO (in my opinion) you are missing the big overview here... Yii framework is a PHP framework... so all the documentation here is about Yii and as it's written in PHP (OO PHP - object oriented PHP) it's a prerequisite... or better say a requirement that anybody that venture in Yii should already know PHP and OO PHP..

in short you should already know what :: or -> means
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#3 User is offline   HelixNebula 

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:32 AM

Thanks, yes I did read a PHP book and I'm up to speed on static class :: doodah and the -> ......

... but it's the Yii (or other Frameworks) side of things that has me stumped.
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#4 User is offline   Maurizio Domba Cerin 

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:36 AM

Well, don't get me wrong but to read a book is not the same as knowing and understanding PHP...

I tell you this because if you understand PHP and how the objects works in PHP than to start working with Yii all you need is the Definitive Guide to Yii - http://www.yiiframework.com/doc/guide/
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#5 User is offline   Maurizio Domba Cerin 

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:37 AM

Also there is this wiki article covering some basics - http://www.yiiframew...i-for-beginners
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#6 User is offline   HelixNebula 

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:26 AM

yii-for-beginners looks interesting, and its advice to study the demo.
Looks like a good shove in the right direction... I think I was panicking a bit that I'd never understand it.... and that advice should help a lot.

Thanks - but would a beginners subforum still be a good idea? :)
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#7 User is offline   samdark 

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:33 AM

Not really. Our community is friendly enough to help beginners at #irc or at forums. If question is PHP general one, not Yii, ask it here http://www.yiiframew...ral-php-topics/
Yii 1.1 Application Development Cookbook

Enjoying Yii? Star us at github: 1.1 and 2.0.
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#8 User is offline   HelixNebula 

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:09 AM

Fair enough, thanks.

Looking back, I think I was having a very bad day with all that rant yesterday, LOL.
I'm plodding onwards and things are slowly clicking into place.

This is worth a read too http://www.yiiframew...w-to-learn-yii/
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#9 User is offline   HelixNebula 

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:30 AM

Similarly helpful advice
http://www.ramirezco...learning-guide/
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#10 User is offline   HelixNebula 

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 05:14 AM

So to recap (and with a couple of new links) - this should be enough to get anyone started :

http://www.yiiframew...i-for-beginners
http://www.yiiframew...ow-to-learn-yii
http://www.yiiframew...e-yii-framework
http://www.yiiframew...pdate-this-list
http://www.ramirezco...learning-guide/

That makes it fairly easy to dip a toe into the waters, and to get a handle on the MVC code separation and folder layouts, and basic passing of data around between classes. The problem then becomes - what next?

Suppose I copy my existing database, convert all the tables and fields to comply with Yii-friendly naming conventions and add relations properly, then run the CRUD generator and get a simple app for free (that's the idea, right?) - what then? Do I add just to that basic app the old fashioned way in my own PHP ignoring the TONS of extra framework ways of doing things, or knuckle down and study the Yii way to do it all, which seems (at this point) to be more work than doing it myself? :)

Are there any good "Next Steps" tutorials, giving a good complete overview (without getting bogged down in details) of all the basic ways of doing all the things I need to know?
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#11 User is offline   daphsta 

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 09:27 PM

rofl, you articulated my exact sentiments about being a newb in Yii. I went through the entire Larry Ullman's tutorials and seem to understand the overview but not the details. I went ahead and purchase his book "The Yii Book" and he explains OOP in PHP in detail. I've been trying to get my hands into Django, Spring (couldn't find the right tutorial), Ruby on Rails and finally found Yii to be suitable for my understanding.
This booked helped me answer a lot of questions I had in my head about the structure of files created and how the Model, Controller and View interact with each other, almost line by line.
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