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.

 
AAPL
$112.65
Apple Inc.
+3.24
MSFT
$47.52
Microsoft Corpora
+1.78
GOOG
$511.10
Google Inc.
+6.21

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Mellel 3.3.7 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
ScreenFlow 5.0.1 - Create screen recordi...
Save 10% with the exclusive MacUpdate coupon code: AFMacUpdate10 Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your... Read more
Simon 4.0 - Monitor changes and crashes...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.2.1 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Adobe After Effects CC 2014 13.2 - Creat...
After Effects CC 2014 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous After Effects customer). After Effects CS6 is still available... Read more
Command-C 1.1.7 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Tidy Up 4.0.2 - Find duplicate files and...
Tidy Up is a complete duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. With Tidy Up you can search for duplicate files and packages by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, time... Read more
Typinator 6.3 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
GraphicConverter 9.5 - Graphics editor w...
GraphicConverter is an all-purpose image-editing program that can import 200 different graphic-based formats, edit the image, and export it to any of 80 available file formats. The high-end editing... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Shift - Photo Filters Designed By You (...
Shift - Photo Filters Designed By You 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Elastic Drums (Music)
Elastic Drums 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Music Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: *** Introduction price 3,99$ instead of 7,99$ *** Elastic Drums is a music app with 6 channels of synthesized drum sounds, a step... | Read more »
Fireworks Simulator (Games)
Fireworks Simulator 1.0.8 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0.8 (iTunes) Description: *** 50% discount – For a short time only *** You can play Fireworks Simulator on these devices: - iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6,... | Read more »
Nicky's Gift (Games)
Nicky's Gift 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Everybody! Merry Christmas! There's 48 levels in the game. Let's go! Nicky's Gift | Read more »
The Hit List — Simply Powerful Tasks, To...
The Hit List — Simply Powerful Tasks, To-Dos, Projects, & Reminders 2.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $9.99, Version: 2.0 (iTunes) Description: >> LAUNCH SPECIAL: The Hit List 2 for iPhone is ONLY $9.99... | Read more »
Mahjong Journey Review
Mahjong Journey Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STEADY MATCHINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Aimed at the more laid back gamer, Mahjong Journey isn’t for everyone, but those looking for some... | Read more »
Emoji Type - custom keyboard with predic...
Emoji Type - custom keyboard with predictive emojis 0.4.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $.99, Version: 0.4.0 (iTunes) Description: Emoji Type is custom keyboard for iOS 8 that auto suggests emojis as you type. ABOUT... | Read more »
Game of the Year 2014 – 148Apps Staff Pi...
The end of 2014 is almost here, which can only mean one thing. Okay it can mean a lot of things, but in this specific context it means Game of the Year lists! Which is why the 148Apps staff have all picked their favorites from the past year. And why... | Read more »
UponPixels Review
UponPixels Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CREATIVE TYPOGRAPHYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Add cool typography and objects to your photos with the easy to use UponPixels.   | Read more »
The Vikings are Coming! CastleStorm’s Ne...
The Vikings are Coming! CastleStorm’s New Update Adds a Survival Mode Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $400 on MacBooks with Apple Certif...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Save up to $300 on Macs, $30 on iPads with Ap...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
iOS and Android OS Targeted by Man-in-the-Mid...
Cloud services security provider Akamai Technologies, Inc. has released, through the company’s Prolexic Security Engineering & Research Team (PLXsert), a new cybersecurity threat advisory. The... Read more
KMI MIDI K-Board Great Gift for Amateur &...
The K-Board is a MIDI Nano keyboard for music creation for iPad, Android, And computers; the easiest way to make music with iPads & Android tablets, and Mac, Windows, or Linux computers. Ultra-... Read more
Amazon offers 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook P...
 Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP. Stock is limited, so act now if you’re interested. Read more
Holiday sales continue: MacBook Pros for up t...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more
Holiday sale: Mac minis available for up to $...
 B&H Photo has new 2014 Mac minis on sale for up to $80 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $459 $40 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $629 $70 off... Read more
Google Search App For iOS Gets A Major Makeov...
Google has given iOS users an early Christmas present with a substantial update of it’s not-very-often-upgraded Google Search app. Google Search has been my go-to tool for Web searches since it was... Read more
ShopKeep Apple Pay And Chip Card Reader Avail...
ShopKeep, a cloud-based technology provider to more than 10,000 small business owners to manage retail shops and restaurants with iPads, has released its new Apple Pay and chip card reader. This... Read more
Holiday sale! 27-inch 5K iMac for $2299, save...
 B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more

Jobs Board

Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and 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
*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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, 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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.