Build Your Own Database Driven Web Site Using PHP & mySQL

One of the best books that I have seen that covers both PHP and mySQL. While it still doesn't cover as much of either topic as separate books do, the information this book provides forms a sound basis for using these two technologies together effectively.

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As the author points out in the preface to this book both PHP and mySQL have changed significantly since the first edition of this book was published and significant rewrites of the material have been required in order to bring the book more up to date. The growing complexity of both languages has made this sort of book which tries to cover how to write what is effectively a content management system both much harder to write in a way that fits into an acceptable sized book and also much harder to actually learn for the reader.

The book does make a valiant attempt to provide enough information to allow someone to actually achieve beginner status and someone who works their way through the entire book will at least have an idea of how to go about building a database driven web site. They should also have at least an idea of all of the issues that they will need to deal with in creating such a site. What they will not have is any real depth of knowledge of any of the things they need to know mainly because it just isn't possible to cram that much information about such a wide range of topics all into the one book. There book does point you to other books and resources that go into more depth on each subject that it introduces so if someone does treat this book simply as an introduction and actually does follow up with the dozen or so books that it mentions then that person can be well on the way to becoming a lot more than just a beginner.

This book is very much a hands on practical introduction to the two languages and covers all of the different things that you need to know to get started. Of course with trying to cover two topics in a single book like this there are limits to the amount of detail that the book can provide compared to what you would get if you purchased a separate book on each topic. The biggest benefit that this book provides is of course that it shows you how to use the two languages together.

Perhaps the biggest hole in what this book covers is that there is no mention of using 'prepare' statements which is now considered to be the most effective way of calling mySQL in a way that avoids many of the security issues associated with building the types of calls that the book does cover. Presumably this will be covered in the next edition.

As an introduction for someone who has no prior knowledge of programming or databases this book provides an excellent starting off point but it doesn't go into sufficient depth on any of the subjects that it covers by itself to serve as anything more than an introduction but at least by the end of the book the person will know what they need to learn.

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Disclaimer: I am an "Advisor" in the Sitepoint forums. That recognition relates exclusively to the posts that I make in the forums and provides me with no benefits whatever apart from the "badge" displayed on my posts there.

 

This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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