My first “scratch built” web form

It has been a long and bumpy road for my web development career.  I have had many starts and stops over the years.  Every time I get things rolling in my brain the technology landscape has shifted a bit.  Every time I change jobs the technology landscape is different.

The way that I learn is like this.  I set up a personal development server for myself. I read books on Safari Online Books
so that I can improve my web development skills. Currently I am focusing on using PHP, MariaDB (MySQL), HTML 5 and CSS3.
The web site  linked in this blog post is a place for me to test my code. I run these applications on a CentOS 7 server from my
home in Albany, GA.  I am not using any fancy development environments or GUI
applications. I am reading books and web pages and writing the code
into the VI text editor from a remote SSH session on my little Linux server. I
find that this is the best way for me to learn. I read the text and I
try all of the examples to see
how they work. Then I start to change the code to suite my needs and to
see if I can break it and fix it. This process of breaking the code
and fixing it helps me to
understand how the code works.

My First CSS3 drop down menu

This blog posting is number three in my series about my experiences learning about web development using the  Linux Apache MySQL PHP (LAMP) stack. You can read about Part 1 and Pat 2 by clicking on the links provided.

The big deal in this posting is that the development form that I have been working on now has the function of accepting data and placing it in a database.  I have also redefined the menu bar and added drop down menus.  The drop down sub menus even have icons.  I can remember my first experience in creating a drop down menu and it involved using Java Script and did not work in all browsers.  Now with CSS3 it is so easy to create a simple menu and add colors to it and not have a bunch of extra code to maintain.

I even went to the WC3 HTML5 validator and checked my HTML5 code.  I have not added a WC3 icon on a web page for a long time.  Some of my CSS3 code will not completely validate because the CSS3 standard has not been fully standardized.  I am happy with the fact that this web site does work in all of the major browsers like IE, Fire Fox and Chrome.

My PHP Include

One thing that I discovered with PHP is that I can use Includes easier that with Apache Server Side Includes.  I have a menu file that I am including on my HTML files.  When it came time for me to add the menu on my PHP form I could not get it to work.  I did some research using Google and found that I could use this code to include content from an external file in my PHP file:

<?php include ‘includes/menu.php’;?>

I copied my existing menu.shtml file and changed it to a PHP file and then I had a menu that I can include on all of my PHP pages. All I had to do was add this at the beginning of the file:

<?php echo ‘

And put this at the end of the file:

‘ ?>

I am really happy about making these simple projects and learning new things.  One of the ways that I find most relaxing is working on projects like this.