This step-by-step tutorial explains what is needed to become PHP developer.
To be able to program and test PHP script, you need a computer system running PHP-enabled web server.
PHP is an open-source project available for free download at http://www.php.net. PHP is available for many operating systems such Linux, Windows or FreeBSD. You also need a web server to run PHP. Apache is a great web server for PHP. Apache is available for many operating systems and it is free. You can also use IIS which is only available in Windows Server operating systems. However, IIS web server is not free and it is quite expensive for new developers.
Though you may not need to install a MySQL database server, it is recommended that you get one copy of MySQL database server installed on your system. MySQL is free.
You also have the option to purchase a professional web hosting service. Today, web hosting services are quite cheap and full with many features. Web hosting providers maintain their own servers so you do not need to own one. You may need a web hosting service to get your website online.
To develop a PHP script, you basically only need a text editor such as Windows's Notepad or contact other plain text editors. Beware if you use a document editor such as OpenOffice or Microsoft Office. You must ensure that the output is saved into a text only document. However, I encourage you to use a text only editor such as Windows Notepad.
You also need a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox to view the output of your PHP scripts.
The development process is basically editing PHP scripts in NotePad, copying the script into a web server document root and use the web browser to view the scripts as it is interpreted by PHP interpreter. If things not quite right, you repeat the previous steps again.
If you have extra money, you can invest it in professional PHP integrated development environment (IDE) software such as IDE from Zend. This tools is very valuable to speed up development time. They contains an editor with many features to aid the development process such as syntax highlighting or a function browser. It also contains integrated debugger, so you can test PHP script output without the need to switch between a text editor and a web browser.
It is obvious that you need to understand how PHP language syntax works. There is tons of information on the Internet about how to write PHP scripts. PHP website is the best place to start. They contain PHP documentation and tips from many PHP developers around the globe.