Book Review + Giveaway Of PHP For Absolute Beginners (2 copies)


In today’s web development scenario, it is very necessary for a web developer to know how to code in PHP. PHP has become a major language in web development industry in last few years. From WordPress to FaceBook everything is coded in PHP language.

Recently we came to a book named PHP for Absolute Beginners which is a must read for beginners. Today we are going to review the book and guess what? We have 2 free copies of book to give you free of cost. I wish that it would have been there when I was learning PHP. Anyways After buying the book, I read it and the book was something more than awesome.

About the Author

The book is written by Jason Lengstorf who is a self taught PHP developer. He is an experienced voice in PHP and web development. If you are a regular reader of some famous blogs like Smashing Magazine and CSS-Tricks then you might came to tutorials written by him. He is also co-author of the famous CSS-Tricks series “Creating a web app from scratch”. You can read his extensive interview by me here.

Inside the Book

Jason starts the book with how to install PHP on your computer and then leads you throughout the way to building up your own blog system with user comments. Rather than wasting the first chapter on the history of programming and PHP, how it came and other theoretical stuff, he tells the readers how to install xampp on your local computer for better development. I have read about 5-6 books on PHP and it was my habit to skip the first chapter of book, first time I read the starting chapter of book.

Why we liked the book?

The book is an example of a phrase, less theory, more coding. Jason teaches PHP with a lot of sample tutorials and examples. You will not read chapters and chapters of theory but you will learn best practices to do in the coding, and many pro tips which should be kept in mind when coding in PHP.

The Giveaway

We have got two copies of PHP for absolute beginners for the giveaway. We are very thankful to Jason Lengstorf and the publishers of book APRESS Publishers for supporting this giveaway.

How to enter in the giveaway?

Pretty simple, you have to leave a comment on the post and tell us what you want to see on 1stwebdesigner, or how we can make the website better. We will use to pick the winners. The giveaway is open till 11:59pm GMT+5, February 18th 2010.

Grab the book right now

If you don’t like waiting for the result of giveaway, you can buy the book here through service. What we can assure you that this book is definitely worth your money.

Good Luck!

*Update by Dainis Graveris

Seeing all those amazing suggestions and comments changed my mind about randomized pick! We will choose winners with the most thoughtful, interesting and best answer! I just love to see how you drop down all the weak points of 1stwebdesigner site! I love you for that, and I am definitely thinking about new design, which will be very well researched and carefully put together to fix all problems, usability bugs we have here!

Give us more feedback! Completely inspired!


The Giveaway is closed now.

Winners are Terri Lockerridge and Mark Anderson.

Thanks for your feedback and suggestions.



  1. zac

    Hi, I would love to see more ideas and examples of applications that can be created with Ruby on Rails. Also, anything to do with mobile programming.

  2. Chery Gates

    jQuery is one of at least a dozen JavaScript frameworks that have exploded onto the scene during the last few years, and for good reason. The Web 2.0 era has called upon JavaScript in a big way, turning to it as the driving force behind all the gliz and glamour that defines any Web 2.0 site. This huge increase in workload for JavaScript has called out for JavaScript frameworks that do the heavy lifting of common Web 2.0 tasks for us, from common visual effects such as fading, DOM traversal/ manipulation, to of course, Ajax interaction.

  3. Saad, What a surprise, I won something! Thanks very much for the e-book! I’ll be reading away over the next little while. I have been wanting this book for a while.

    Thanks again!

  4. Thanks a lot Terri. Much appreciated. I hope that the book will help you in get started with PHP. Jason is also writing another book, Pro PHP and jQuery. We are sure that we will also have some copies of book to giveaway.

  5. Rjdsign

    Nice one, at the moment i try to learn more about PHP, this book is a must have for me to learn more.

    Thanks for this giveaway

  6. I’d love to see more in-depth tutorials for beginners, preferably with clear coding examples.

    And I’d love to get the book :).

  7. From the beginning itself i love 1stwebdesigner, u done a good job, keep up the good job,…

    And, pick my number :P

    i want that book :(

  8. Adeline

    How about short screencasts on coding or even designing tips (either jQuery, Photoshop or WordPress) that would be great.

  9. Two Socks

    I would say some Pod Casts would be interesting to listen to, I quiet like that format…but maybe it’s just me !

  10. I should clarify – despite the “flashing banner” etc, I do find the site trustworthy and very helpful. I was just pointing out the feel that it can convey.

  11. My opinions on the site:
    I like the colours and the feel of the site, though I must say, i personally find sites with advertisements in the header etc to have a somewhat “distrustful” feel to them. I don’t feel like I can trust the site, cause it feels like they are out to make $$. Particularly if there are banner adds like the one I just saw on here (flashing huge text saying “bargain, only $1.40″ etc etc. Screams SCAM.

    Anyway, enough of that rant. I can see what you are trying to do with the footer, though I think there is a little too much info on there myself. I find it a little distracting. The different sized links all through that paragraph of tags on the left of the footer seems a bit disorganized to me (and the right column too) – as in it looks disorganized. I don’t read any of it cause it seems a bit too full on.

    Otherwise, I really like the site, and I really like your free giveaway too. I hope my comments have been of assistance to you.

  12. Zak Morris

    I’m an aspiring web designer and have been coding my sites from hand for three years. While I know a smidge of PHP ( the include function is a must ) I feel I’m at a point of understanding that I can take the next step. Many other guides / books seem to begin with an assumption that the reader is a ‘coder’ by nature, or further along than they actually are.

    I would LOVE to find a resource that can show me the cause and effect and real, practical uses of beginner PHP in modern day web environment.

  13. Ward Kennes


    thanks for this giveaway action, well what I should like is a bit more tutorials for CMS/blog systems like, WordPress, Textpattern.

    Thanks 1stewebdesigner

  14. I’ve been waiting to see very creative ‘window displays’ on your site.
    BTW, your site have been a great source of inspiration to designers.

  15. Would love a copy. As far as how to make 1stwebdesigner better? I think you guys are doing just fine as is! but if I had to say something, I would say more wordpress and jquery.

  16. Kelsey

    I’d like to learn more about php, just due to the fact that’s one of the main languages I didn’t learn in school and would like more information on it.


  17. carsten

    I really enjoy the site already, but i`d love to get inside-infos on Drupal and Concrete5 CMS maybe…
    But anyways thanks for the collected tuts and stuff! a very useful and nice resource….
    Cheers SNAPONE

  18. Lyudmil ivanov

    As js platforms as jquery, mootools etc. are gettin more popular i would love to read more about them as well as more illustrating tutorials for web design. cheers

  19. You want my opinion? Ok. I don’t like the footer, it’s too long and disorganized (just displaying “Tags” and “Authors” other space is empty). To display authors you could use buttons like in sidebar. Second thing that I personally don’t like is comluv plugin use, I think it adds more confusion to comments. Search field you could add on top navigation or on sidebar. Awesome giveaway, hope you’ll find my opinion useful and I win. Good luck!

  20. Actually a second comment, when I clicked on my name which had the link to my company’s website the link opened my site in your window. You might consider changing this link to show: target=”_blank” to that you don’t lose readers who click to other folks’ websites. Just another suggestion. TTFN.

  21. Well, in terms of your give away, I’m interested in getting one of your free copies of your book. In reading through the responses above, I see some similar things touched upon that were useful. Hopefully you’ll find my suggestions helpful as well. My suggestions touch on SEO.
    1. You have a fair amount of images on your site that don’t have alt tags. Get em in there.
    2. Most website owners don’t SEO their contact us page – you should do this – it is a missed opportunity for another page to be found etc.
    3. From what I have been taught, read, etc. you have a redundant phrase: “Graphic and Web Design Blog -Resources and Tutorials on many of your titles of your pages in the static part of your site which should be removed from all titles except one page. Most likely the front page is a good place to keep it.

    That’s probably enough suggestions for now. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute.

  22. estherliu

    I am a real beginner for wordpress and PHP. I could’ve used a theme and get done with my site, but the annoying thing is that that’s nothing that I wanted.

    So, if there is an clear tut for customizing wordpress by coding or creating my own theme, I will be much appreciated.


  23. Shyndoway

    First of all great website as a beginner in web design I love it.

    I think that more tutorials would make this website one of the most ruling websites. It already has great content that I get inspired by and to be able to learn to do what I see more would be great.

    Thanks for the giveaway hope I win

  24. Eric azares

    This is a very comprehensive website! I’d like to see more case studies for specific types of websites in different industries. This may go beyond just the ‘style’ and cover more regarding common functionalities that occur in typical ‘x’ sites. Would be great to see the workflow of designs from start to finish ! ;)

  25. Hi there I would like to see more about creating a custom wordpress themes. I know there are many tuts about how to create templates, but no one covers the background of creating templates. Every tut is specific and does not offer more user customization…

  26. Hello,

    Firstly I would like to congratulate you for your good job.
    Secondly, I think that you should add some extra tutorials for designing webpages.

    Good luck to everyone.


  27. mirinel

    Hello Saad Bassi! I would like to see more WordPress related articles on 1stwebdesigner (hackes, themes, tutorials etc). Hope that brings me a win.

  28. Terri Lockerridge

    Thank you for the invitation to leave a suggestion for something I would like to see more of here and everywhere else that is mainly a tutorial type learning site.

    I notice that most of the time the sites that offer the how to’s on some really awesome web site “how to” tutorials. But none of you use that type of thing yourselves. This page is pretty plain you will have to agree. There are lots and lots of ads all over it. But they are not very colorful, nor do they even have the interactive hover or cursor chase to get our attentions.

    I am just curious as to why? The content is top notch, the language gets a bit computerlish every once in a while .. with the photo shop tutorials.. but mostly I. and many other amateurs, who are just on the net for the fun of it all, can understand and put the information to use hands on, ourselves.

    That is the most important aspect I suppose, but … what is up with the white backgrounds and the Windows blue plain headers with a single row of buttons that work.. and work very well, but are not an example of what your showing us how to accomplish ourselves.

    What holds you back? Just really curious why you stick with plain when you shout out fancy stuff to the crowd?

    Thanks for the contest and hopefully I might become lucky enough to have a chance at this one.. I am nothing if not random.


    • Congrats on winning Terri. We are already thinking of redesigning 1stWebDesigner. We will try to roll put the interactive, jQuery enhanced design this time.:)

  29. Gonzo the Great

    Hi Saad,

    good and nice give-away!

    How could you get this blog even better …? For me personally that means more about SEO (you’re last post about SEO in WP was great), less about buttons in CSS3 or jQuery-posts (we’ve seen those enough!).

    More about blogging, not how to code or what theme you should get, no, a bit more personal stories behind the scenes (advertizing, social media, boosting traffic, etc.). More about social networking and email marketing, etc.

    Hope I could have been of some assistance? You could too, .. I want this book, hihi, LOL!

  30. Hello Dear Saad,

    I’d like to thank you for this opportunity.

    Well, what I’d like to see (or to see more), is the Java, jQuery, AJAX and so related topics, hints and tricks.!!

    Hope, my luck drives me to a winner here :D


  31. Great! Apress is an excellent publishing company and Jason is an excellent developer, so I’d love to have his book!

    As far as improvements, I’d love to see more concrete, real-life development tuts like the one you published on Setting Up WordPress for SEO (that was good).

    Thanks for having this giveaway!

  32. Yamil Gonzales

    I would like to read more about programming logic, I mean it’s cool to follow tutorials and “step-by-step” articles but in real life you encounter some out of line situations.

    Thanks, I really hope I can get a copy of the book; I need it.

  33. Dominic

    I’d like to see more articles with collections to free design resources such as CSS templates, icons and frameworks. Although you do a good job of providing these now, there’s always room for more.

    Keep up the good work

  34. Etienne Richard

    Still working in ASP, it’s been a long time since I want to learn the PHP language. I would say that your site is going well. Maybe you could add some subdivised categories at the bottom of the pages. I’m now following the blog, good continuation !

  35. Abdelhadi Touil

    Thanks for this very important giveaway. I’d like to to see tutorials about CSS3, HTML5, CSS tips, WordPress and jQuery tips.
    Thank you very much.

  36. Max

    today I went through the rss posts and I managed to open almost every post from 1stwebdesigner. Actually it is a well developed site with tons of usefull info.

  37. Chris

    It would be nice to see a section for SEO.
    Overall I think this site is well developed.
    I have learned many things here.

  38. John

    I’m more of a beginner, so I really like how-to articles and code snippets (jQuery, for example) that allow me to toy around and figure things out. Great site! Keep up the good work!

  39. ycz87

    How to make 1stWebDesigner better?
    In my opinion, there should be more sample of present design of web, more collections of trendy web design interfaces from, more useful and pretty jquery plugins, issues of CSS in different browses, and some CSS framework.
    You should also introduce some PHP & Zend Framework, But not too much, because this is a website for designer.
    Thank you!

  40. Patrick

    Just started reading yesterday, loved the post and added you to my reader… I’d love a free book for My 2 days of loyalty…. you would have me for at least 2 weeks them… maybe my whole life…. unless this book is horrible… than maybe not.

  41. Pi

    I’ve been following this site for a month or so, and I absolutely love it.

    I would like to see an overview of must-read blogs and more topics about fonts and typography (although you are doing great at the moment in that field).

    • Pi

      Excuse me for the double post (I can’t edit my comments?), but I forget one important thing. It kind of annoys me that I can only click part of the logo to get back to your homepage. So maybe there is some room for improvement there..

  42. I think one direction you may think of going is to discuss the best ways to build a complicated site (such as dealing with slicing of images, image sizes, layout of information, margin issues, specialized menus, etc.) Thanks for all the hard work!

  43. I really hope I can win this because I have been trying to learn PHP so I can create useful web applications and WordPress (I can learn that from a different book though). I have had a hard time because there are few to no tutorials about web applications and the ones about them are not very detailed for beginners.

  44. Kyle

    I would like to see more CSS3 and html5 since they are on the up and coming! WordPress is huge too so articles on that is much appreciated


  45. I’d like to know a little more about web programming, move towards development from my actual porfession as a designer, anything that can help during the transition would be appreciated.

  46. Adam

    I would like to see information (tools, techniques, etc.) on helping basic web designers get to the next level. Also, some time management info for us folks who do web design on the side. Thanks!

  47. I would like to see more and more CSS3 and HTML5 articles and preferably some articles for beginners on CSS3 who has a knowledge on CSS 2.1 and earlier versions.

  48. Chris

    Having had to learn the little PHP I know the hard way (self-taught), this book will be a good send.

    Always looking for tutorials, esp. customizing WordPress and other open-source packages (ie. Webcalendar, Zen Cart, etc).

  49. Davide

    Hi! I’d like to see more jquery-css example and easy-programming tutorials. The site is still really good anyway ;)

  50. Richard Martin

    Im a novice that knows nothing about web design and wants to know something.

    Like what is the difference between all these different ways to build a website like html, xml, php, css, etc. What should a person that knows nothing learn.

  51. Just found the site, I’m always looking for good design sites and joomla sites. Adding more information on Joomla and designing for a dynamic site would be nice.

  52. I would love to see a series of articles that go over current web trends and future web trends. A series that shows how specific attributes of the web, contact forms for example, have evolved through the years.

  53. First time visitor and I think your site is well laid out with some great content in my few minutes of browsing around. I would love to see the search box a little bit bigger or more apparent to a new visitor.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  54. Dodie

    I never knew about your site until now :O (I just so happen to find a link to your blog at Web Design Ledger) The name was attractive (cuz out of the many blogs they listed there I only clicked yours LOL), but that sorta means that maybe you can improve the site’s… uhh… hmm… I lost the word… uhh… ah! Wait. It’s you’re uhm… *I think aloud* Your popularity or something like that. Anyways, I am subscribing to it because really, I see great content here.

  55. maanjo

    If it’s free, it’s for me! The only thing I would add to this site would be more giveaways or freebies. Otherwise, this site is a great resource. Keep up the good work!

  56. jared

    I love all the WordPress articles you have. I guess I’d like to see more of that, but you guys are doing a great job.

    I’m a self-taught PHP developer that got started years ago by reading a book similar to this. I have people ask me all the time how to get started and I’d love to be able to loan out this book to get them started.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  57. Anna

    Hello! Your website is informative as well as very entertaining. I don’t have a blog on WordPress. I would like to see more templets and tips for Blogger, since that’s what I use. Thanks for all your hard work!

    • Hey, Anna!

      We tried already Blogger related well as Drupal related theme post, but it didn’t give us a whole lot attention comparing to WordPress for example. We’ll try our luck in future as well, but I cannot promise we will grow supporting Blogger in this website.! Thank you for reading us!

  58. Matthias

    I’ve recently found 1stWebDesigner and have been immersed in the articles since. The thing I haven’t come across is a section dedicated to advice and tools on marketing a website. Also some web host reviews are always appreciated.

    • Matthias thank you for great idea and since I am considering that my strongest side is internet marketing and social media, I will focus more on such related articles! Agreed about web hosts as well, we have upcoming article about it already! :)

      • Matthias

        Definitely give us some marketing tips then :)

        Another idea is a user submitted website registry that allows your users to recommend a helpful site on a certain subject (i.e. php or SEO). Then other users that found it helpful could vote yay or nay and rank them accordingly. I know many times I’ve found a great article buried in the depths of the Internet and I have no way of sharing the immense excitement to fellow developers.

  59. entis

    How to make 1stWebDesigner better? Hm… that’s a hard question. You cover a very wide variety of topics. Maybe you could write one kind of articles that I don’t remember seeing on 1stWD – case studies. If well written, they can be very educational :)

    • Hey, Entis!

      You mean like going step by step to some problems we got, designing process, searching advertisers, creating contests -showing a little bit what’s happening behind the scenes?