PHP and MySQL Web Development

Product Description
PHP and MySQL are popular open-source technologies that are ideal for quickly developing database-driven Web applications. PHP is a powerful scripting language designed to enable developers to create highly featured Web applications quickly, and MySQL is a fast, reliable database that integrates well with PHP and is suited for dynamic Internet-based applications.   PHP and MySQL Web Development shows how to use these tools together to produce effective, interactive… More >>

PHP and MySQL Web Development


  1. This is such a good book that I wanted to take the time to write a review and give it 5 stars, which it richly deserves. The other glowing reviews helped me to choose this book over others, and they were right on the money.

    I’m an experienced C/C++ programmer on Windows, but I knew nothing about PHP and MySQL — and very little about Apache and Unix — prior to opening this book. I’ve now read about 80% of it and, in the process, I’ve built a commercial-grade Website with user registration and shopping cart facilities, which was my objective. Reading this book was a very efficient use of my time — it gave me exactly what I needed to build a practical Web application system with PHP and MySQL, and very little extraneous stuff.

    The main prerequisite for this book is a working knowledge of HTML, and just a little background in procedural programming. Some of the earliest examples use HTML tags for tables and forms, with PHP use thoroughly explained, but without many notes on the HTML. A beginning programmer can learn effectively from this book, but as an experienced programmer I felt that it also worked well to bring me up to speed quickly on a new language.

    Another value of this book not mentioned in other reviews are the many good recommendations for organizing your PHP code (applying basic software engineering principles) as your Web application gets larger and more complex. Many, many Websites have been built haphazardly and are now difficult to maintain because they haven’t followed the excellent advice in this book.

    I did notice the typos mentioned by other reviewers, but after reading 80% of this (867-page) book I feel they are very minor and really do not detract from the book significantly at all.

    All in all, this is one of those rare books that is probably worth ten times the amount that you pay for it, and much more if you use it effectively.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. I have just started learning some PHP & MySQL development using “PHP & MySQL Web Development” published by Sams and “Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL” from O’Reilly. Prospective readers might be wondering the difference between the two in deciding which one to buy, so I hope to shed some light on the issue.

    Sams: The Welling and Thomson book is more “hands-on” in that it takes the reader step-by-step in developing an e-commerce website. The chapters are organized in a goal-oriented manner: PHP, MySQL, the basics of e-commerce, security, and design of the site.

    O’Reilly: The Williams and Lane book is structured in a similar way by showing readers PHP and then MySQL. Examples to reinforce concepts are also provided. While the O’Reilly book also tries to take the reader in developing an e-commerce site, it is a bit more theoretical. Also, there are some differences in focus: the O’Reilly book has a section on using JavaScript while the Sams book has a final chapter on creating PDF files using PHP.

    If I had to choose just one book, I would go with the Sams book due to its more gentle learning curve. However, I believe that the O’Reilly book is no slouch, and I will probably come to appreciate it more once I gain more experience in PHP and MySQL development.

    One last word about my programming background: I knew a bit of Perl, Java, HTML, and JavaScript before tackling PHP and MySQL. I consider myself to be an “advanced beginner” (an oxymoron, of course). To get the most out of these two books, you should know HTML well enough to read it (you should at least recognize some tags) and it would definitely be helpful if you have some programming experience. You could very well make PHP your first programming language, but I would advise against it. Start with something like Perl (whose syntax is very similar to PHP’s).

    I highly recommend both books to prospective PHP and MySQL developers who are willing to spend some time and effort.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. Although it has a purple spine, this book contains everything a person would hope to know about php and mysql. From the basics of php 4.0 to mysql privleges, Welling and Thomson provide quick easy and painless reading.

    It provides it’s message to the windows crowd, which in itself is a beautiful concept; usually books about php and mysql are directed at unix users (rightfully so, I admit). I am a user of windows, and the php installation instructions for either the windows build of Apache or MS IIS were definately adequate.

    The php crash course chapter is an especially good reference. For example, other books I’ve purchased on php ignored some of the useful variations of the if-then control structure. The chapter on php session control was beautifully simple, although at first it came as a surprise, since other php books didn’t cover it (session control was first implemented in php 4.0).

    I did have some difficulty installing and using the gd image library, since most of the sites listed in the book didn’t exist. Windows users, just remember that the php.ini file needs to be edited (remove the semicolon before the gd dll) and the gd dll needs to be moved into the php working directory. Of course, maybe that’s intuitive and I’m just a moron.

    In conclusion, it’s a good book.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. You never know what your really going to get when you buy a book online but I am totally happy with this purchase. This book offers real world examples and full source code for many of the PHP/MySQL projects developers tackle on a day to day basis. Details can be found on: Image generation, cookies, user authentication, shopping carts, content management, mailing-lists, PDF document generation and a lot of detail on how to set up and install both PHP and MySQL on your server. The authors do not only show you the code but explain what’s happening so that you can customize the scripts for your own use and they do this very well. This book is aimed at intermediate web developers who are familiar with HTML, some type of programming (ASP, Perl), but you certainly do not have to be an expert programmer to understand what’s going on. All and all-the best web programming book I’ve bought, period.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. * Note: I refer here to both the first and second edition *

    This is the book I purchased to get started on server-side scripting; it probably says “user-level intermediate-advanced” to avoid lawsuits; I had no prior knowledge of server-side programming, and no trouble understanding.

    It is divided in four logical parts:
    (1) PHP tutorial
    (2) MySQL tutorial
    (3) General discussion on server-side scripting & e-commerce (very interesting)
    (4) Projects

    This book does an excellent job at explaining PHP & MySQL to the beginner, and goes much beyond the frustrating “intermediate” level where similar books often stop. It assumes a working knowledge of HTML, which everyone interested in this book already has in all likelihood.

    It is cleverly written, clear and concise. The authors share their extensive experience with the reader, notably in the third part where common pitfalls are discussed.

    The index is well done, which makes this book an excellent desktop reference in addition to being a good tutorial.

    The CD contains all the code for the examples, the complete book in searchable PDF, and other goodies like the Apache Server and PHP.

    My recommendation: go to and download PHPTriad to install & configure Apache/PHP/MySQL on your PC, or have someone knowledgeable do it manually for you to avoid headaches.

    The only reason I can’t give five stars to the first or second edition is the number of mistakes/typos in the code examples. The upload code doesn’t work, PDF generation uses obsolete functions even in the second edition, etc.

    Although most of the code supplied as example functions properly, it is annoying to know that a book written to teach you to program contains errors in the programming examples.

    The second edition adds a chapter about XML and removes outdated URLs. Otherwise, it is the same book (including code typos).

    Combined with the PHP & MySQL manuals available for download from their respective sites, allow a week or two of reading and you should have everything needed to start working.

    All things considered, I strongly recommend this book.

    PS: if your heart balances between ASP & PHP for server-side, consider that more servers are PHP-enabled, since it is cheaper (free).
    If you want to stay in known terrain and use JScript, than go for ASP.
    Rating: 4 / 5

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