As a PHP developer, I'll point at PHP. It has a lot of tutorials and libraries floating about, and it's a good place to learn the ropes as you get used to things. Once you learn the concepts behind server-side development, transitioning to other languages isn't very difficult. You'll spend the bulk of your time learning about security, how HTTP works, how to program for efficiency, how to store data, how to validate data, etc. Those are mostly portable between languages.
I personally run on the Flourish
(models and utility), Moor
(routing/controllers), and Twig
(views/templating) libraries. They're not super-well-known, but they're pretty effective and I like them. Other favorites are CakePHP, or just building everything around Wordpress.
I will, as always, recommend the Coding Horror
blog. It's great reading for web developers - even articles 8 years old. They give insight into simple matters that most people learn from experience but never document (this is, actually, the great thing about blogs in general). My routine dose of knowledge comes from Smashing Magazine
Also, take look at LESS CSS
, probably the most popular CSS sublanguage available. It lets you avoid repeating bits of CSS, which saves a lot of sanity. And of course, jQuery
. Catch up to HTML 5 goodness at Dive Into HTML 5
, though I think you've come across most of that already. Also worth noting are Node JS
, which, to me, is a peek at the future, and the Twitter Bootstrap UI library
, great for fast prototyping.
I apologize if I'm tossing too many links - these are just the pieces that make up my current workflow, and I really wish someone gave me all this when I started.
There are a lot of tiny tidbits that made me go "OOOOH so THAT'S
how they did it" back then, but I can't remember most of them. The only one off the top of my head is that you can use (for apache) htaccess files for pretty URLs, like home/foo/bar/, instead of home-foo-bar.html. Also, look up "CSS media query" to learn how to adapt your site for mobile devices. I'll post more if I can think of them.
Also, a note about the religious wars you'll inevitably run into: Don't worry about what you use, be it PHP, ASP.NET, RoR, Node or whatever. As long as you continuously learn your craft and surround yourself with allies and knowledge, you'll be perfectly fine. Programmers fighting about why X language is ugly are just bored or trying too hard. In fact, those articles are typically the most biased places to learn about why a language is bad. When in doubt, ask. xkcd is a great place for this.
(That last bit is in response to the link gametaku posted. Really, don't worry about this stuff. There are people everywhere trying to convince everyone that their language is horrible. PHP is
very quirkly - something you'll notice early on. It's old and rusty. Yes. If you want something clean and organized, but more difficulty to find support for, there are many options. Like everything else in programming, there are quirks and oddities you'll struggle and pay for. Some more than others. But don't let this make you hesitate in making a decision. If you want to experiment and want widespread support, you probably want PHP for now
. In the future, when you have your own server, you can pick up something else. Practically all web hosting services support PHP. I think that matters a lot.)