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Thursday, 15 February 2007 18:11

Lesson 03 - Variable/array/function definitions

This lesson I thought I would get a little technical (without getting TOO technical) with definitions of a few words you'll coming across regularly in these lessons.

What is a variable?
A variable is something that can hold a dynamic value.  You can think of a variable as a box and its contents as the variables value.  The stuff inside the box can be changed; stuff taken out and replaced by other stuff.  This is exactly how you should think of a variable, as something which can always change to your needs.  A variable has two parts, a name and a value.

What is an array?
An array is something that can hold several dynamic values.  Very much like a variable, think of an array as a BIG box which can hold several similar objects.  The stuff inside this big box can be changed; stuff taken out and replaced with other stuff or more stuff can be added to this big box.  If that's a little hard to picture, think of an array as simply a list of values where more values can be added or existing values can be modified or removed.  An array has two parts, a name and a value.

What is a function?
A function is exactly what its dictionary definition says: The action for which a person or thing is particularly fitted or employed.  A function is a set of code which does a particular task.  A function has three parts, a name, information you give it, and information it returns.

Those of you who are very eager to explore the PHP language should get yourselves familiar with the PHP documentation and API located at http://www.php.net/manual/en/.  This is the website where you can find all of PHP's built-in functions and features.  The site will also help you with basic syntax.  The great thing about using the online documentation at PHP's website is that there is a wealth of user comments for everything to help clear up misunderstandings you might have.

A few things you might want to read up on for the next lesson would be the following two sites:



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