So far, more than 90 people have signed up to join a self-study group organized by Boston PHP to learn PHP with the help of my book, PHP Solutions: Dynamic Web Design Made Easy, 2nd Edition. This is the third time that Boston PHP has run this scheme known as PHP Percolate, which begins again . I understand that nearly 200 have taken part in the previous two seasons. The fact that they’re running it again—and that so many have signed up—indicates that it must be a pretty successful way of learning PHP.
There’s no charge to participate. The only cost is buying a copy of my book. Although I have Amazon affiliate links on my website, I encourage you to buy it through the Boston PHP Store. That way, the organizers get a small commission that helps support the activities of Boston PHP.
The way it works is that you commit to reading one chapter of the book (there are 17) and completing the exercises each week. There’s no classroom instruction, but you can get online support through a dedicated forum for each chapter. Also, if you live in the Boston area (the one in Massachusetts, not the one in Lincolnshire or more than a dozen other places), you can get hands-on help at the PHP Percolate Coffee Club, which is usually held every Saturday morning at a Starbucks. Boston PHP also runs occasional all-day events known as Developer Dorm Room in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where you can get help with PHP problems or just bounce ideas about projects off each other.
Although PHP Percolate is based on my book, this isn’t a wacky marketing idea that has been dreamed up by me or my publisher. It’s an idea that Boston PHP came up with independently. In fact, I didn’t learn about it until quite recently. According to the President of Boston PHP, Michael Bourque, Boston PHP is the largest and most active PHP tech community in the world, with more than 1,900 members. It has a focus on education and adoption of open source technology like PHP. Last year, they were looking for the best possible book to learn PHP, and mine was the one they chose. Naturally, I’m delighted, and I have agreed to help in whatever way I can.
Unfortunately, there’s a small matter of the Atlantic Ocean lying between me and Boston, so I won’t be able to attend the PHP Percolate Coffee Club or Developer Dorm Room in person. But that’s one of the joys of the internet. You don’t need to be there in person to share ideas and cooperate with others. From what I understand, PHP Percolate has also attracted people from other countries to join in. A book and an internet connection is all you need.
Committing to working through 17 chapters in as many weeks is a lot to ask. Work, family, and other obligations get in the way. So, not everybody manages to last the whole course. But since there’s no cost (apart from the book), there’s little to lose. In fact, I see that some of the people who dropped out part of the way through season 2 have signed up again for season 3. As one of them said, “It’s fun!”
So, if you’re looking for a little bit of moral support in your efforts to learn PHP, check out PHP Percolate Season 3 with Boston PHP.