Learning PHP with ChatGPT

A Voyage from Concept to Code

With a foundation in the .NET ecosystem as a Microsoft ASP.NET Solutions Architect, venturing into the PHP territory marked a new chapter in my lifelong learning journey. Utilizing ChatGPT for this expedition not only opened doors to a new language but also exemplified the seamless blend of theoretical exploration and practical coding experience. This endeavor resonated with the essence of continuous learning, offering a fresh perspective in the digital realm. Through ChatGPT, the journey of mastering PHP became an interactive exploration, demonstrating that with the right tools, stepping outside one's comfort zone unveils endless learning horizons.

Learning a New Programming Language with ChatGPT

Embarking on the journey of learning a new programming language can initially seem daunting, yet with tools like ChatGPT, the expedition becomes markedly more manageable and engaging. Here are steps to leverage ChatGPT in mastering a new programming language:

Understanding Basics:
Ask ChatGPT about the fundamental concepts, syntax, and best practices of the language you are keen to learn. Get a grasp of variables, data types, operators, control structures, and basic input/output operations.
Code Snippets and Examples:
Request code snippets or examples to understand how certain concepts are applied. Analyzing and modifying real code is a powerful way to learn.
Debugging Assistance:
Encounter an error? Share your code with ChatGPT and seek guidance on debugging. Understanding errors is crucial in learning a new language.
Project Ideas:
Seek suggestions for beginner to intermediate projects. Working on real projects can significantly boost your understanding and confidence.
Resource Recommendations:
Ask for recommendations on books, online tutorials, and community forums where you can learn more and interact with other learners.
Regular Practice:
Engage with ChatGPT daily, asking questions and solving problems to reinforce your learning and keep the momentum going.

The interactive nature of ChatGPT acts as a catalyst in the learning process, providing immediate feedback, explanations, and a plethora of examples. It's like having a knowledgeable companion by your side, ready to assist whenever you hit a snag or when curiosity sparks. Whether you are delving into PHP, exploring Python, or any other language, ChatGPT is a valuable ally in your quest for programming proficiency.

Functionality for PHP Website
Saving Conversations as Markdown
Throughout this project, I saved each interaction with ChatGPT as markdown files using a Chrome extension. This documentation was crucial in keeping track of the development process and served as a valuable resource for future reference. These became the source files for my markdown library.
Setting the Stage: Building a Basic CMS
My journey began by asking ChatGPT to help me create a basic web content management system (CMS) using PHP. This would be the foundation upon which I would build the rest of my project. With ChatGPT's guidance, I started creating the core structure of the CMS, making sure it could handle various types of content.
Dynamic Page Creation for Markdown Files
Next, I turned to ChatGPT to assist in creating a feature that would allow my CMS to generate pages for displaying Markdown files. The challenge was to organize these files, provide smooth navigation, and parse Markdown into HTML for proper rendering. ChatGPT's insights were invaluable in achieving this functionality.
Empowering Search Functionality
To enhance user experience, I requested ChatGPT to develop a search function that could find Markdown documents based on keywords. This feature added a new dimension to my website, making it easier for users to discover relevant content swiftly.
Handling CSV Files with Ease
Expanding the capabilities of my PHP website, I tasked ChatGPT with creating a page to list CSV files from a folder. The challenge here was not only to list the files but also to display their contents along with metadata about the fields in the selected CSV files. ChatGPT's assistance made this complex task surprisingly manageable.
Showcasing Projects with JSON
The final piece of the puzzle involved ChatGPT's help in generating a page that would create a table from a JSON file listing my projects. This table needed to include thumbnails and links to the respective project pages. The result was a visually appealing showcase of my work.

Finished Product

In the end, I successfully built a PHP website that not only showcased my newfound PHP skills but also demonstrated how ChatGPT could elevate my capabilities as a developer. This project was a testament to the power of AI in assisting developers in exploring new horizons and pushing the boundaries of their expertise.

I was able to create a fully functional website with a CMS, search functionality, and dynamic page creation for Markdown files, all with the help of ChatGPT. I published this website on an Azure App Service and used Azure DevOps to automate the deployment process.

References provided by ChatGPT during the project.