Learning PHP, MySQL,& JavaScript

A somewhat jumbled collection of beginner and more advanced information on three different subjects. This book doesn't contain enough information on any of the subjects to be useful to beginners and has too much beginner info in it to be as useful as it could be to more advanced users.

My Rating: yesyesnonono

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Review

This is a book that tries to be too many things to too many different people. The book attempts to introduce three completely different topics - PHP, mySQL, and JavaScript - to people who have no knowledge of any of them and also to show how these three languages can be used together to create fully interactive web sites. To properly cover that material would require a book about four to five times the size that the book actually has. With each of the three languages the information for beginners is extremely abbreviated compared to what you would find in a book that deals only with that one topic. As such a beginner to each topic will be struggling to properly understand each of the three subjects based on the material in this book. Unfortunately the inclusion of the beginners info means that there is very little space left in the book to cover how to use the three languages together - which is what you wouldn't find in separate books on each topic. The book is therefore a lot less useful to those who already know PHP, mySQL and JavaScript and who want to learn more about using them together effectively than it would have been had it concentrated on that aspect and left the teaching of the languages to beginners to other books.

Perhaps the biggest error in this book is one that I have seen quite a few books make recently. The author doesn't properly understand the differene between HTML and XHTML. In every book that I have seen where this applies you may as well throw away all mention of JavaScript from the book as there are huge differences between how JavaScript needs to be written to work with XHTML compared to how you can write it for HTML. In every book the supplied JavaScript will only work with HTML and will not work with XHTML even though the author references XHTML throughout the book (for example the document.write statements on page 313 are invalid to use with HTML because HTML doesn't have a slash in a br tag and invalid for XHTML because XHTML doesn''t allow you to use document.write). Another clue to the author having no proper understanding of XHTML and JavaScript is all the code that they include to cater for Internet Explorer which handled some things slightly differently to other browsers with regard to JavaScript interacting with HTML which are totally irrelevant to XHTML as Internet Explorer does not support XHTML at all.

For each of the individual languages a beginner will be far better off buying a separate book for each written by someone who properly understands that language. Someone who already knows each language will learn more about how to use them together from this book (once you cross out all the references to XHTML and replace them with HTML) but not as much as they might have been able to had the book assumed a certain level of knowledge of each language to start with rather than including abbreviated introductions that are too short for real beginners and too long for everyone else.

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