You only get so far making awesome iOS apps before some sort of server side component is necessary. As somebody who didn't even really understand what a server was, this posed a bit of a problem. A natural decision to make was the one that resulted in my purchasing of a book called 'Beginning PHP and MySQL: From Novice to Professional'.
Having spent a few weeks with the book I've certainly had fun playing with some of the cool aspects of PHP, and have often been impressed with how much power and potential this language has, especially considering it's origins as something created to allow a dude to put a visitor count on his website.
I'm up to Chapter 17 now, and whilst I've felt confident following the majority of the book so far, I do have a few complaints. In fact, all of my complaints can really be sourced back to the same problem - the book expects too much knowledge.
No, I do not know how SMTP works. Nope, I have no idea what LDAP is. Wait, an MTA? I suppose I better Wikipedia that as well. For all of the searching I can possibly do, there is no way I'm going to get a great feel for how a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol works, or what SMTP is in relation to POP3 as opposed to all of the other mail protocols I don't particularly understand. The whole point of this book was to ease me into this stuff, but I'll be happily making my way through a chapter and then suddenly W. Jason Gilmore will throw this stuff out there as if it's just another word like 'variable'.
Complaints and frustrations aside, I will most definitely be completing the book even if it means that I must skip the LDAP chapter and ignore some of the other obscurities. It has taught me a great deal, and most of this stuff seems deep enough to require experience to know, rather than just the reading of a book.
I've been doing other things such as the completion of a Udacity Web Development course to get a grasp on servers and the fundamentals of what goes on there. I also have just started doing the W3Schools lessons on PHP, and I was already competent enough with HTML and CSS, but I'm doing the Codecademy lessons just to keep myself refreshed.
Having just finished my first small app involving a server side component I honestly did feel the additional awesomeness of what this stuff can provide, and even if I do hit a few brick walls here and there I'll be making sure to find some way round them to carry on along this journey, because the end goal is looking mighty fine, even from here.