TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Book Review: PHP and MySQL Web Development

Volume Number: 19 (2003)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: Programming

Book Review: PHP and MySQL Web Development

by Ron Davis

It used to be you were an HTML "programmer" if you understood what <B> was. I've never really thought there was any such thing as a HTML "programmer." HTML is a mark-up language. It's data, not instructions. I'm not going to get into my personal feelings on scripting verses programming, but I've done a bit of one and a lot of the latter. The day came when my personal website needed to be able to generate content on the fly and I went looking for a language to make it do so.

At first what I wanted was C/C++ but that really isn't what you want to do web work in. Remember you are mostly manipulating text, which C/C++ isn't really all that good at. Also you are generally working with a machine you can't compile on. You can upload files though, and those files can be executed, so you need a scripting language.

Perl is the language everyone associates with UNIX, but after attempting to remove my cerebellum through my eye sockets during early Perl sessions I went looking for another language to write in. That's when I found PHP. Here was a C like scripting language made to generate web pages - one that integrated with databases, for even more interesting possibilities.

There are a lot of good online tutorials on the web for PHP. It is a very popular language. This is partially because it is free and partially because it doesn't induce suicidal tendencies when you try to code in it.

While there is no real link between PHP and MySQL they always seem to go together. This is mainly because they are both free and offered as part of Linux, the dominant platform for web hosting companies. So everyone with a web site gets PHP and MySQL for free.

When it comes time to get serious about learning to use these two technologies, you should pick up the book PHP and MySQL Web Development by Luke Welling and Laura Thomson. It is both a great introduction and reference for PHP.

Personally I like books that teach you by doing. I want examples that will provide real world use. Even when a book does an example a chapter, I will often change the example to something I need as I read. PHP and MySQL Web Development does this well. After the required introductory chapter, each chapter introduces a new concept with a relevant example. In the end you have a complete web site with lots of different functionality.

To use the book you are going to have install PHP and MySQL. If you are using a non-server version of MacOS X you will have to install MySQL. There is downloadable package to do this with instructions at Marc Liyanage's site:

http://www.entropy.ch/software/macosx/mysql/

If you want to run PHP code on your local machine using the built in Apache server, you will need to do some configuration. Apple provides some instructions on how to do this.

http://developer.apple.com/internet/macosx/php.html

Once this is done you should have no trouble doing any of the examples in the book. I found no platform-specific problems while using the book.

The first part of the book teaches you the basics of PHP, including how you put PHP code inside your HTML file. It goes on to discuss the various features of the language includeing manipulating strings with regular expressions, reading and writing files, and arrays. After you get a basic understanding of PHP, it switches to talking about MySQL.

This first section on MySQL deals only with designing and creating databases. You work on the command line with MySQL.

After you have learned to use MySQL, you'll learn how to talk to MySQL with PHP. There are two chapters in the MySQL section showing basic and advanced interaction. In reality talking to other databases is accomplished almost exactly the same way. I had a site I built on my local machine using MySQL and then moved to a server and used it with MSSQL by changing the prefix on the calling routines.

Part three of the book is the meat of learning to use these technologies. The authors step you through a complete e-comerce system built with PHP and MySQL. By the time you get to this point in the book you understand the language and MySQL enough you can just start pulling the sections of this program you need out and use them. If you skip around you will occasionally have to go back to a previous chapter to figure out how the database is set up or what some variables mean. But if you need a user system, refer to chapter 24 "Building User Authorization and Personalization." Shopping cart? Chapter 25. Content management system? Chapter 27.

Appendix A on installing PHP and MySQL is largely useless to the Mac user. The index is good, letting you use the book as a general PHP/SQL reference. When you want more depth you can check out the PHP manual online at:

http://www.php.net/docs.php

Appendix B also gives an extensive list of web resources.

This book sits on my bookshelf with little post it notes sticking out at relevant pages. The only real complaint I have about the book is its size with over 800 pages. But it does cover a lot of stuff. Also since it is example based, it is somewhat hard to find a specific PHP function. I have little bookmarks for the date command and the SQL Alter table command.

If you are looking for a good book to cover all of the things about PHP and MySQL you need to do most common web tasks, this book is it.


Ron Davis is a long time Macintosh Software Engineer, having worked for companies like Apple and Metrowerks on a variety of products from development tools to anti-virus software. His day job is working for Alsoft, and his evening job is R.A.D. Productions, makers of Suck It Down and FinderEye.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OmniOutliner Pro 4.2 - Pro version of th...
OmniOutliner Pro is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
VLC Media Player 2.2.1 - Popular multime...
VLC Media Player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MP3, OGG, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It... Read more
Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.1 - Multilingual wo...
Nisus Writer Pro is a powerful multilingual word processor, similar to its entry level products, but brings new features such as table of contents, indexing, bookmarks, widow and orphan control,... Read more
Tinderbox 6.2.0 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
OmniOutliner 4.2 - Organize your ideas,...
OmniOutliner is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
Things 2.5.4 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more
NeoOffice 2014.10 - Mac-tailored, OpenOf...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
iPhoto Library Manager 4.2 - Manage mult...
iPhoto Library Manager allows you to organize your photos among multiple iPhoto libraries, rather than having to store all of your photos in one giant library. You can browse the photos in all your... Read more
Web Snapper 3.3.8 - Capture entire Web p...
Web Snapper lets you capture Web pages exactly as they appear in your browser. You can send them to a file as images or vector-based, multi-page PDFs. It captures the whole Web page - eliminating the... Read more
TeamViewer 10.0.41404 - Establish remote...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds, or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for... Read more

Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has...
It's time to put the Darkness back in its place now that Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has officially made it to iOS. | Read more »
A World of Ice and Fire Lets You Stalk 2...
George R. R. Martin’s A World of Ice and Fire, by Random House, is a mobile guide to the epic series. The new update gives you the Journeys map feture that will let you track the movements of 25 different characters. But don't worry, you can protect... | Read more »
Gameloft Announces Battle Odyssey, a New...
Battle Odyssey, Gameloft's newest puzzle RPG, is coming to the App Store next week. Set in the world of Pondera, you will need to control the power of the elements to defend the world from evil. You'll be able to entlist over 500 allies to aid you... | Read more »
Fusion - HDR Camera (Photography)
Fusion - HDR Camera 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Fusion creates HDR (high dynamic range) photos by capturing different exposures and then combining them into one... | Read more »
Sago Mini Toolbox (Education)
Sago Mini Toolbox 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Come build with the Sago Mini friends! Use a wrench, try a saw, or hammer some nails. From sewing hand puppets to... | Read more »
You Should Probably Grab Hitman GO While...
Hitman GO is a surprisingly cool (yet also incredibly drastic) departure from the Hitman series. It's well worth playing for any puzzle game fans out there, and at the moment you can get your hands - or garrotte if you will - on it for a mere $0.99... | Read more »
IFTTT is Bringing Do Button and Do Note...
IFTTT has announced Do Button and Do Note for the Apple Watch. Do Button lets you make your own personalized button that can connect to things like your Google Drive, control the temperature in your home with Nest Thermostat, or turn the lights on... | Read more »
How Many Days, Hours, and Minutes Are Le...
Countdown, by Yves Tscherry, is now available on the App Store. The app keeps track of countdowns to your favorite things such as someones birthday or days till the New Year. You can display the time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months,... | Read more »
The All-New Misfit 2.0 App is Available...
Misfit has just given their app a complete overhaul. Misfit 2.0 now has a brand new interface with a sleek design and is easier to navigate. You'll be able to sync your Misfit device and look up health and fitness information faster than ever before... | Read more »
Halo: Spartan Strike (Games)
Halo: Spartan Strike 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Delve into 30 challenging missions through cities and jungles using a devastating arsenal of weapons, abilities and... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

TigerText Introduces First Secure Enterprise...
TigerText, a provider of secure, real-time messaging for the enterprise, has announced the launch of TigerText for the Apple Watch. TigerText for the Apple Watch enables users to securely send and... Read more
The Conservation Fund Partners with Apple To...
The Conservation Fund has announced that it will partner with Apple to help protect working forests in the United States. The Apple initiative will conserve more than 36,000 acres of working... Read more
Clearance 13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro a...
B&H Photo has clearance 2014 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1099, or $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP, NY tax...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1019 $80 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1189 $110 off - 21″ 2.9GHz... Read more
Sale! 16GB iPhone 5S for $1 with service
Best Buy is offering 16GB iPhone 5Ss for $1.00 with 2-year activation at a participating cellular provider. Choose free home shipping and activation, or buy online and activate during in-store pickup... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available starting at $679. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free. These are currently the... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2349, sav...
 Adorama has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2349 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $150 off MSRP. For a limited time, Adorama will... Read more
Save up to $380 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $2119 $... Read more
iFixIt Teardown Awards 12-IInch Retina MacBoo...
iFixIt has posted its illustrated teardown of the new 12-inch MacBook Retina. They note that this new MacBook is less than half the thickness of the last Apple notebook called just “MacBook” back in... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Watch SW Application Project Manager...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch software team is looking for an Application Engineering Project Manager to work on new projects for Apple . The successful candidate Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Technical Project Manager - *Apple* Pay - A...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced technical PM to…manage the on boarding of new merchants for the Apple Pay platform in the US Within this role you Read more
Senior Identity Architect - *Apple* Pay - A...
**Job Summary** Apple , Inc. is looking for a highly motivated, innovative and hands-on senior identity architect to join the Apple Pay Engineering team. You will Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.