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Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL, 2nd Edition

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 4.26

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Excellent Tutorial style intro for Intermediate programmers.
Comment: As the title indicates, this book is all about building websites powered by database applications. The book uses PHP and MySQL for a scripting language and a database technology respectively. Familiarity with programming and computers is assumed but other than that, not much else is assumed. The authors do an excellent job of explaining some of the fundamental concepts underlying database driven websites. All this is done in simple terms without too much jargon. To top it all off, a tutorial style approach is taken to illustrate how all these concepts come together. The tutorial is on building an online retail site that sells wines. The sample code used in the book can be downloaded from the publisher's website.

PHP is a powerful language that is open source and that can be used in lieu of Java and .NET technologies for many web applications that aren't too complex. For most small business owners, this should suffice. I am not too sure about using it in large corporations. This is one of the most popular open source technology along with Linux and MySQL.

MySQL is an open source database that can be used instead of SQL Server, Access, or Oracle. Once again, when the database application gets complex, I am not confident of its ability to handle the complexity. This is also excellent for small businesses but not large corporations.

There are about 13 chapters and 5 appendices spanning 550 pages starting with an introduction to database applications and the web, continuing with an intro to PHP and MySQL, covering the main concepts behind web technologies and ending with the sample wine store application. The main concepts discussed are querying databases, writing to databases, validations on the server and client, session management, user authentication and security. The appendices handle installation, modeling and designing relational databases, managing sessions in the database tier, etc.

Overall, the selection of topics is perfect for Intermediate programmers and the explanations are very detailed yet simple. This is probably one of the reasons this book is so popular. I have thoroughly enjoyed using this book and I am not surprised to see such a high quality book from this publisher. I am not familiar with the authors but I am going to keep an eye open in the future for other books by them.

I felt it was a bit pricey for a book of this nature but this is the only one I could find that covered these specific topics so I am not going to complain. Enjoy creating your own database driven website!

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Very useful and practical guide
Comment: Web Database Applications by H.E. Williams and D. Lane is a truly wonderful book if you are looking to learn how to get an online database application up and running fast. The book eases you into PHP with a decent length chapter on the basic syntax of the language, followed by an introduction of MySQL.
After that, each chapter will teach you new techniques which are instantly applicable to a real-world online database system. Among others this book will teach you how to: write scripts that interact with MySQL, deal with security issues, handle sessions, handle shopping carts and lots lots more.
The book was written before the introduction of PHP 4.2, so certain 4.2 (and up) specific issues are not covered. However, most of the examples in the book have been re-written for use with 4.2 and can be downloaded freely. On top of this the authors supply a level of support that is all but unheard of. Every question that I asked was answered within 1 day if not within the same day.
All in all this book is at the top of it's league, I can highly recommend it!

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Comprehensive review and examples
Comment: Serving up dynamic content with scripting applications is all the rage now in the website development world. These scripting applications can provide customized information pages, shopping carts and content-management systems, and user-influenced web experiences. While "old-fashioned" static sites and pages still have their place, dynamic content sites are becoming more and more prevalent, primarily due to their obvious advantages, but also to their modest costs. The reason for these low costs is because the software applications are generally free, thanks to the open-source movement.

Apache is an open-source web server application widely used. The most prevalent and preferred scripting application is PHP; MySQL is the predominant database management program. These three drive the great increase in dynamic content web development. While essentially free, their installation, configuration, and use requires some technical and programming skills and knowledge, but small and medium-size database-driven web sites can be managed by those not expert in programming or database management.

While there is a lot of material available on the Internet about this software and database-driven sites, and a number of books available on these topics, none is as thorough and complete as "Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL", by Hugh E. Williams and David Lane. This volume is in its 2nd edition and is a 2004 publication of O'Reilly Media Inc. The book presents an overview of dynamic web sites using open-source software and relates the principles behind generating dynamic content with database applications. The focus is on PHP, the scripting language, and MySQL, the database management software.

As befits a couple of university-associated authors, the book reads much like a college textbook. The twenty chapters include an introduction to PHP, SQL (Structured Query Language), and my SQL, covering PHP v.5, the very latest version and MySQL 4.1. The PHP chapters describe the components of the language and its syntax, variables, conditions, loops, arrays, functions, types, and more. The SQL and mySQL chapters cover database basics, tables, queries, and functions. All this material is presented systemically and thoroughly.

The thrust of the earlier chapters is to prepare for the comprehensive web example of "Hugh and Dave's Online Wines" site. That site is constructed from the component materials covered individually in the prior chapters - how to manage customers, creating a shopping cart, dealing with orders and shipping, searching the inventory, and authentication of buyers. There is a lot to developing a medium-sized site like this, but everything one needs to know is described and explained as the book progresses.

Extra materials are included as well, including information on PEAR, which is the repository of PHP extensions - script additions which are additional functionings to PHP, or are pre-made containers of code to be used modularly with your existing code; an introduction to object-oriented programming in PHP 5; a chapter on error handling and reporting , including customized reporting; a chapter on the mixed usage of Javascript and PHP; and an important chapter on security of scripts and databases.

All this includes access to the code snips at a website maintained at O'Reilly for downloading.

For intermediate level developers, this is a worthwhile resource.