Laying the Groundwork
Before we get started, let's look at the overall project, and what you need in order to build it.
The project is centered on the building of a simple calendar system in which users can choose a month to view, and then see all of the events for a single day or the information on a particular event. The information is stored in a database, and an administrator can use a web-based form to add and edit events.
In this article, we'll build the page that displays the calendar, in month form. In Part 2, we'll extract event information from the database and create the administration form to edit database information. In Part 3, we'll look at working with functions and converting the event information into objects.
To follow along, you'll need a web server with PHP installed. PHP works with open-source web servers such as Apache, but it also works with proprietary software such as Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS). Many web hosts provide PHP access, but in order to control which extensions are available you may find it easier to install PHP on a local machine. For example, my own web host doesn't provide access to the Calendar extension, which we'll be using to determine days of the week. You can download PHP from http://www.php.net; the installation is well documented and fairly straightforward. For these articles, you should download the manual version rather than the self-installing version because the manual version includes all the necessary components.
Starting in Part 2, you'll need access to a MySQL database. This database is also open source and freely available, and can be downloaded from http://www.mysql.com.
Once you've determined the server on which you're going to work and installed any necessary software, you're ready to start programming.