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PHP 101 (part 7): The Bear Necessities
Dodge Bears. Learn OOP.

| Alphabet Soup |

So now you know how to create your own functions in PHP, and you've spent the last few days busily inspecting your applications and turning repeated code fragments into functions. But functions are just the tip of the software abstraction iceberg. Lurking underneath is a three-letter acronym that strikes fear into the hearts of most newbie programmers.


If you've been programming for a while, you've probably heard the term OOP before - it stands for Object Oriented Programming, and refers to a technique whereby you create program "objects" and then use these objects to build the functionality you need into your program. PHP 5.x is very big on OOP - it comes with a brand-spanking-new object model which finally brings PHP objects into conformance with standard OOP principles and offers OO programmers a whole bunch of new goodies to play with.

Wondering how you can get in on this? Well, wonder no more. Your prayers have been answered.

Over the course of this tutorial, I'm going to take a brief look at PHP's OO capabilities (both PHP 4.x and PHP 5.x), together with examples and explanations to demonstrate just how powerful it really is. I'll be covering most of the basics - classes, objects, attributes and methods - and a couple of more advanced concepts - constructors, destructors, private methods and properties, and inheritance. And if you're new to object-oriented programming, or just apprehensive about what lies ahead, don't worry - I promise this will be a lot less painful than you think. And unlike dentists, I don't lie.

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