PHP 6 and MYSQL 5

Will be much more useful once PHP 6 is actually released although a lot of the code also applies to PHP 5. You can easily make the book even better yourself by tearing out the pages that cover JavaScript.

My Rating: yesyesyesnono

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Twenty second century PHP, twenty first century mySQL, twentieth century HTML and tenth century JavaScript - in web terms that about sums up what this book presents you with for each of these technologies. For the most part the PHP and mySQL content (which after all is what the book is all about) is excellent.

The sections on PHP that cover what you can do with PHP 6 that isn't supported in PHP 5 will not be relevant until PHP 6 is actually released and assumes that when it is released that it will work the way the book suggests. The mySQL section's only flaw that I could find is in failing to distinguish between logical normalisation of a database and those things that are then altered for a physical implementation of the database. While mySQL may work more efficiently with integers for primary keys the presented database certainly doesn't require those fields be added in order to normalise the data as there are perfectly adequate text fields that could be used as the keys during normalisation.

The books main failings are in the peripheral material. The author uses a transitional XHTML doctype throughout the book where a transitional doctype is not really the right choice for new web pages but is intended primarily for updating existing web pages without needing to rewrite them completely. Also there is no reason presented as to why an XHTML eather than an HTML doctype was chosen and for most readers an HTML strict doctype would be the most appropriate choice. The actual HTML is fairly peripheral to the main content of the book though so that someone who properly understands HTML can easily substitute the correct doctype in order to use the book.

The other peripheral material that is fatally flawed are the pages on JavaScript. The code presented there is so antiquated that the book would be greatly improved by the complete removal of those pages. Anyone who follows the instructions there will end up with web pages that are ideally suited to Netscape 3 and IE3 but which are not really suited to more recent browsers. If an author is going to include sections dealing with other languages in their book then they should make sure that the information that they are presenting for that section is consistent with what they are presenting for the rest of the book. The appropriate level of PHP for the book to cover to match the JavaScript would be PHP 2 - not 6.

Provided that the person purchasing this book understands enough HTML and JavaScript to disregard the errors in those sections then this book is the obvious choice for someone looking for a book that covers how to use PHP and mySQL together.

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This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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