Build your own Database Driven Website using PHP and MySQL, 2nd ed.

July 20, 2004 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

I bought this book by Kevin Yank from sitepoint.com. It arrived last Tuesday and I’ve already read the bulk of it… (I skimmed the basic PHP parts.) This book assumes only that you know a bit about HTML, so it is very good for someone with very little PHP programming or MySQL database background. People already intimately involved in using PHP and MySQL would probably be thoroughly bored, but then they shouldn’t be buying this book.

In my case, I’ve been using PHP extensively for about 6 months now at my day job. I don’t have an incredible database background… In fact, I’m using MS-SQL (not MySQL) with PHP in the bulk of my projects, and I’m not doing much in the way of relationships between various tables. With that in mind, you might think that I wouldn’t have bothered with this book. The big difference between me and the average PHP developer is that the last 6 months that I’ve really been using PHP, almost 100% of that has been command-line PHP, not web-based.

The portions of the book dealing with basic PHP were not required reading for me, but what I did read (of those sections) was well written and easy to follow…

Chapter 5, “Relational Database Design” is simply wonderful. In it, Kevin tells the reader in easy terms the general rules to follow in designing your database. He talks about the differences between “one-to-one”, “one-to-many”, and “many-to-many” relationships while using examples along the way to really drive the point across. I had some lightbulb moments where I realized how I’d be able to do some of the things that I want to do with my CMS project.

In Chapter 6, he goes on to detail a CMS for his fictional joke website. Most of the basics that I’m going to need as I write my own CMS in the upcoming weeks are here.

Chapter 9 gets into some of the more Advanced SQL query types that you can perform. LEFT JOINs, GROUP BY, and Aliases are covered here, among several other advanced topics.

Kevin rounds out the numbered chapters with more advanced topics. He tackles file uploads, semi-dynamic pages (which I will definately want to use), how to store, retrieve, and display binary data with MySQL and PHP, and finally a simple shopping cart application.

There is a section about using cookies and sessions for authentication purposes, but I found that Kevin’s sitepoint article to be much more informative than the information in the book. Perhaps there just wasn’t enough room in the book for this article too, but it was exactly what I was looking for.

In conclusion, if you are interested in making a dynamic site with PHP and MySQL, this book will be of significant assitance. It is the largest collection of clear and concise information on this topic that I’ve located.

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Entry filed under: PHP.

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