DGMD E-2 Web Programming for Beginners with PHP

Web Programming for Beginners with PHP

DGMD E-2   Instructor: Susan Buck (susanbuck@fas.harvard.edu)

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The next offering of this course is Fall 2021.

For general course details/logistics, continue reading the information below and then browse the topics in the menu on this page.


This course introduces students to the fundamentals of programming via the lens of web development using PHP.

We’ll start by learning about basic programming paradigms such as data types, variables, conditionals, loops, functions, classes, and more. Next, we’ll apply these concepts to build simple web applications that involve form processing and basic database interaction.

In addition to coding, students will also be introduced to universal programming tools such as command line, Git version control, and server management. Emphasis will also be placed on troubleshooting strategies and technical communication.

While we’ll primarily work with PHP, we’ll address how the concepts we’re working with apply to other web-capable programming languages such as Python, JavaScript, Ruby, Java, etc.

Additionally, we’ll take a broad look at numerous tools/frameworks used on the web (WordPress, Drupal, Node.js, Laravel, Angular, React, Vue.js, etc.) and learn about when/how each tool would be most appropriate. By looking at the field as a whole, students will leave this course with a "big picture" understanding of the many technologies used on the web, so that they can make informed decisions on what courses to take next and/or what tools to use in their next project.

Note: This course is a logical precursor to CSCI E-15 Web Server Frameworks with Laravel/PHP.


This course is available online and delivered asynchronously.

Every Thursday by 8pm Eastern, materials for that week will be posted via a link on the schedule and will include the following content:

This course does not have sections; supplemental help is available via the course forum and optional one-on-one Zoom meetings with the instructor.


Go here to read about this course’s prerequisites...

Other courses by Susan Buck

I teach three courses at the Extension School:

In the following “mini-class” I explain what each of these courses cover and how they relate to one another: