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

Shadow Blade: Reload guide - How to hack...
Shadow Blade: Reload is the kind of action-platformer that would have happily sucked up hours of your time on a console a few years back.Now, you can take it with you wherever you go, and its mobile conversion is not too shabby at all. To help you... | Read more »
Tomb of the Mask guide - How to increase...
Tomb of the Mask is a great endless arcade game from Happymagenta in which quick reflexes and a persistent attitude can go a long way toward earning a top score. Check out these tips to see if you can give yourself an edge on the leaderboards. [... | Read more »
Smooth Operator! (Games)
Smooth Operator! 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Smooth Operator is a weird, weird two-player kissing game. Squeeze in for 2 player fun on a single iPad, creating awkward... | Read more »
Sinless: Remastered (Games)
Sinless: Remastered 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
_PRISM Guide - How to solve those puzzle...
_PRISM is a rather delightful puzzle game that’s been tailor made for touch screens. While part of the fun is figuring things out as you go along, we thought we’d offer you a helping hand at getting in the right mindset. Don’t worry about messing... | Read more »
Fractal Space (Games)
Fractal Space 1.3.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.3.1 (iTunes) Description: Live the memorable experience of Fractal Space, a unique first person adventure & puzzle game by Haze Games! Will you... | Read more »
Set off on an adventure through the Cand...
Like match three puzzlers? If so, Jelly Blast, the innovative iOS and Android game which launched last year, is worth a look. Jelly Blast sees you head off on an epic adventure through the Candy Kingdom with your friends Lily, Mr. Hare, and Mr.... | Read more »
Ellipsis - Touch. Explore. Survive. (...
Ellipsis - Touch. Explore. Survive. 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Abzorb (Games)
Abzorb 1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1 (iTunes) Description: Abzorb is a tilt game about consuming orbs by getting as close as you can to them without touching. By tilting your mobile device, collect... | Read more »
A Short Tale (Games)
A Short Tale 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It’s been years since I lost Ben, so long yet it doesn’t seem long enough. I never thought I’d return here, to where everything... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

cb Hardcase – Handmade and Premium Protective...
Baden-Baden, Germany based company cb innovations has introduced the new cb Hardcase for iPhone. Featuring fine Italian Premium leather that makes for a unique look and feel, the cb Hardcase... Read more
Sale! B&H Photo offers 12-inch Retina Mac...
B&H Photo has 12″ Retina MacBooks on sale for $300 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $999 $300 off MSRP - 12″ 1.... Read more
App Annie Reveals Future of the App Economy:...
App Annie, a San Francisco based mobile app data and insights platform, has launched its first comprehensive app economy forecast. This new offering will provide brands, agencies, investors and app... Read more
Apple restocks Certified Refurbished Mac mini...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $... Read more
What iPad Pro Still Needs To Make It Truly Pr...
I love my iPad Air 2. So much that I’m grudgingly willing to put up with its compromises and limitations as a production tool in order to take advantage of its virtues. However, since a computer for... Read more
21-inch 3.1GHz 4K on sale for $1399, $100 off...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 3.1GHz 4K iMac on sale $1399 for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP: - 21″ 3.1GHz 4K iMac (MK452LL/A): $... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
Save up to $240 with Apple Certified Refurbis...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished 12″ Retina MacBooks for up to $240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $270 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available for...
Apple has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for $120 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $179, $120 off - 3TB... Read more

Jobs Board

Lead Engineer *Apple* OSX & Hardware -...
Lead Engineer Apple OSX & Hardware **Job ID:** 3125919 **Full/Part\-Time:** Full\-time **Regular/Temporary:** Regular **Listed:** 2016\-02\-10 **Location:** Cary, Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
Job Title Apple Mobile Master **Brand** Best Buy **Job Description** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** At Best Buy, our mission is to leverage the Read more
Infrastructure Engineer - *Apple* /Mac - Rem...
…part of a team Requires proven problem solving skills Preferred Additional: Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) Read more
Lead Engineer - *Apple* OSX & Hardware...
Lead Engineer - Apple OSX & Hardware **Job ID:** 3125919 **Full/Part\-Time:** Full\-time **Regular/Temporary:** Regular **Listed:** 2016\-02\-10 **Location:** Cary, Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.