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3 Reasons Designers Should Learn to Code: PHP

Posted by Alex Kastanas on Oct 16, 2015, 4:13:06 PM
Alex Kastanas

1. Becoming a True Unicorn

php-3First, you took your design skills and brought them to the code world through HTML & CSS. Then, you took your skills in designing for the web and learned how to create on page functionality through JavaScript, the most widely used programming language for the web. Now, you’re wanting to take your front end skills to the back end of development with PHP to become a true unicorn.

What is a unicorn? In the design and development world, a unicorn is (simply said) someone who can design for the web and build for it as well.

Although unicorns are few and far between still, the industry is calling for more designers to have at least the basic skills in HTML & CSS along side of their Adobe suite skills, especially when it comes to UX (User Experience) design and development.

2. Take Your Beautifully Coded Ideas and Create Off Page Functionality and Simplify Your Development

When building a website in purely HTML without PHP header and footer files, the output will look the same. However, every time you have to make an edit to your header or footer in HTML, you have to do it to every single file that uses a header or footer across your entire web site.

php-1With PHP you would create reusable assets, includes and elements that you do not have to recode or copy paste to a new location. For example, we would create a single header file that is reused on every page across the entire site, save it in a folder called elements, include it at the top of every page with this snippet of code: <?php include(“elements/header.php”) ; ?>, and paste our HTML code for our header into the header.php file.

Another common instance for using simple PHP functions is to format an annual date so your copyright (for anyone wondering, HTML for the copyright symbol is &copy;) will never be out of date with a simple echo (echo is PHP speak for print) function, written out as: <?php echo date(“Y”); ?>. Here is a functioning example between the quotes you can copy and paste to your own site, “&copy; 2008 - <?php echo date(“Y”); ?>”. Put this in your footer and it will print © 2008 - 2015 (or whatever the current year is) and automatically update each year without you having to remember to update it.

These are just a couple examples of simple and effective PHP uses, but there are many other uses of PHP. For instance, some of the other common uses for PHP are functioning forms, programmed tools that pull from a database to display info (images, tags, content, etc.), on page editing capabilities through a well built CMS (Content Management System) and many other functions.

3. Integrate your HTML & CSS & Web Design into a Functioning CMS (Content Management System)

Once you have made development easier for you through PHP, it’s now time to make it easier for the end user to edit what you have built. Integrating your code into a CMS will not only make it easier for you to edit your web content, but it will make it easy for almost anyone (like your clients) to edit your site so long as you have given them access.

php-2Having your web project on a CMS takes your development and design skills into real life applications. Everything that is prominent on the web today is built on some type of system where marketers, designers and writers can go to the site to make edits and changes to continue updating the site without having to ask a developer to do it for them.

The most commonly used CMS platform that is already built is WordPress, but personally I like Concrete5. But, both allow for your clients and users to be given access to be able to make easy edits without you having to step in as the all knowing developer.

Let’s face it, designers and developers don’t want to talk to people, they want to draw pictures and crank out apps. If that doesn’t get you to go learn some PHP and build a CMS, then nothing will. And if you’ve read to this point you are already too committed to turn back now. Go learn PHP. And now we’ve talked too much about PHP. Don’t read this sentence. Now you’re just wasting time. Stop it. I like you, you rebel.

Get your Content Management System into Shape with Synchronicity!

Need a PHP expert to knock out a brand new Concrete5 CMS, salvage an older one or migrate your site to a different one? Sync’s team of experienced developers can manage any web project you throw at them. With the latest in code knowledge and tools used, Synchronicity’s development team is a perfect fit for your web project.

Get more information on Sync’s design and development services by calling 866-397-7962 to speak to an account representative or visit Sync Web Designs’ website to get started!

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Tags: Web Design, Web Development