Can I Learn PHP Without JavaScript?

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PHP and JavaScript are widely popular programming languages in web development. With the fast-growing market for developers, it’s no wonder that many people are interested in learning these languages.

PHP and JavaScript are often mentioned side by side, although the two aren’t very similar. However, since many discussions pack these languages together, you might wonder, “can I learn PHP without JavaScript?”

In short, the answer to that the two languages don’t depend on each other, and you can learn PHP without JavaScript.

But a short answer won’t be enough for everyone. This article will explain why you don’t need JavaScript to learn PHP. We’ll also tell you what you need to start with PHP.

Why Don’t You Need JavaScript to Learn PHP?

Although both PHP and JavaScript have a purpose in web development, these languages are nothing alike. Although both are interpreted scripting languages, that’s an extensive category.

PHP is a back-end language, meaning all script interpretation will be handled on the server side. The main functionality of PHP includes data collection, cookie management, and making a website dynamic.

Furthermore, PHP can utilize many databases to achieve additional functionality.

On the other hand, JavaScript functions primarily on front-end applications. In other words, the language is interpreted mainly on the client side, i.e., in a browser.

JavaScript code is often introduced into HTML documents, either directly or by referencing an external JavaScript file. The primary task of JavaScript is to enable various website actions like partial page updates and displaying graphics or popup messages.

Since there’s little overlap in basic functions, knowing one language won’t be necessary to learn the other. In other words, here is proof to the question, “can I learn PHP without JavaScript?”

However, there might be situations where you might want to know JavaScript before tackling PHP. This will depend on why you want to learn PHP in the first place.

When Is Knowing JavaScript Useful?

While you’ll be able to learn PHP without JavaScript, both languages can come in handy. This is true, especially if:

  • You’re looking to become a PHP developer.
  • You wish to be a back-end developer, but not exclusively with PHP.

How JavaScript Can Help PHP Developers

As mentioned, JavaScript won’t be essential for back-end PHP development. Yet, knowing the basics of JavaScript, including its possibilities and limitations, might help fine-tune some of your work.

Although front and back-end development are completely different, the most optimal results can come from knowing both sides. You won’t need JavaScript as a foundation for PHP, but understanding how the front-end functions might aid your efforts.

JavaScript Use in Back-End Development

You might want to learn PHP to become a PHP developer. But the other reason you could be interested in this language could be to get proficient in back-end development in general.

In that case, JavaScript might be more beneficial than it seems. In fact, you might not need to learn PHP straight away.

JavaScript has long been reserved exclusively for front-end applications. But lately, the language has become more akin to a full-stack tool. The reason behind this change is the Node.js environment.

Node.js allows JavaScript to run on servers, effectively making the language suitable for back-end development. Naturally, programmers already familiar with JavaScript will have an easier time learning Node.js since they’ll be more familiar with the syntax.

That being said, knowing JavaScript still might not make learning Node.js easier than PHP. This is simply due to the learning curve.

Like JavaScript, Node.js has a vast number of specific features. It’s also based on JavaScript syntax, which is more complex than PHP. This will mean a steep learning curve for beginners, especially with all the new functionality they’ll need to adopt with Node.

On the other hand, PHP remains a relatively beginner-friendly language. Generally speaking, the basics of PHP are easier to learn, and novice programmers will be ready to start using the language sooner.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that knowing JavaScript will give you a slight advantage when starting with PHP, albeit only compared to beginner developers who don’t know any coding.

But if you don’t need JavaScript to learn PHP, what do you need? Read on to learn how to get started with PHP.

Can I Learn PHP Without JavaScript

How to Learn PHP

When you start your journey toward becoming a PHP developer, you’ll need to set up several things:

  • Gain sufficient base knowledge
  • Create a PHP coding environment
  • Master the basics
  • Learn PHP loops and functions

Getting these basics covered will allow you to learn PHP without JavaScript or extensive knowledge in any other additional language. Let’s break down each point in more detail.

Basic Knowledge

We used a small trick in the previous paragraph: It was stated that you wouldn’t need extensive knowledge of other languages. While that’s true, we didn’t mention that you’ll need some understanding of one particular tool – HTML.

It’s an acronym for Hypertext Markup Language and a long-standing standard in web development. However, the full title might be a bit confusing.

HTML isn’t a programming language – it’s a markup language. This means it handles document elements by arranging and formatting them via tags. Unlike a genuine language, HTML isn’t capable of dynamic functionality.

Understanding the basics of HTML shouldn’t take too long. You can find plenty of online resources to help you along the way. But once you get the gist of this markup language, you’ll be able to use it interchangeably with PHP in your documents.

Creating the Environment

PHP is an interpreted language, which means it will rely on an interpreter to run. Online, the role of the PHP interpreter falls to the web server, which can understand and execute the code before sending it to the browser.

For learning purposes, you’ll need to provide the interpreter yourself. More precisely, you’ll need an LDE.

LDE stands for Local Development Environment, a suite of handy software containing all necessary PHP development tools. The essential components of an LDE are:

  • PHP interpreter
  • Web server
  • An SQL database

Your LDE might have additional utilities, but the three listed here will be crucial.

Once the LDE is set up (many free options are available online), you’ll need a code editor to start working on your PHP files. This is essentially a text editor specifically built for coding. Notepad++ is one of the more popular code editors with a familiar, classic notepad look.

PHP Programming Basics

When you have all the tools, you can start learning the basic PHP skills. This includes:

  • Beginning and ending codes
  • Leaving non-executable comments
  • Using echo, print, conditional, and nested statements
  • Setting variables
  • Using an array
  • Using operators and operands

Learning these skills shouldn’t take too much time and will serve as a foundation moving forward.

Learning PHP Loops and Functions

Loops are code pieces that evaluate designated statements as false or true. In the case of true statements, the loop executes a specific code, alters the statement, and re-evaluates it. This repeats until the statement changes to false.

Functions are somewhat less complex than loops in that they perform a single task in repetition. Once you write a function, it will work in the background without the need for additional coding.

Loops and functions are the proverbial bread and butter of competent PHP coding. Once you understand how they work, PHP will become your playground.

Get Started With PHP

While PHP isn’t as popular today as it used to be, the language is still a powerful tool you can master relatively quickly. If you need a definitive answer to “can I learn PHP without JavaScript?” the answer is yes. You can learn PHP without JavaScript or other languages. The road to programming mastery will depend only on your willingness to practice and learn.

And with the advice from this article, you’ll have an excellent starting point.

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