Coincidence: I just recently decided to pickup some basic knowledge on PHP (and some HTML, CSS, and JS). My main goal is to write a web based GUI for executing bash shell commands on my various ARM Linux boxes around the house.
One thing I noticed in programming, it’s like a real language. (Or the languages are like real languages rather.) There’s grammar (loops, conditions, declarations, objects, etc…) Then there’s the vocabulary (the functions you find in libraries). Then there’s weird crap like pointers… I’ve learned a LOT about the grammar part, but not much vocabulary. Learning the various functions in each main library is a HUGE time suck. Unless I use the functions on a regular basis, I forget they even exist. Or I’ll look through the functions and think a few are useless, but later find that they are amazing and feel stupid for overlooking them.
@anon33673328: I’ve been using a website called www.w3schools.com to learn PHP (and HTML, CSS, and JS). It’s free and very well laid out.
If anyone wants to learn Java or C++ the long way (video lectures) go to YouTube and search for Stanford programming lectures. You can also download assignments and handouts they use for their actual paid courses. Or search google for opencourseware, there are a lot of things you can learn (not just programming).