PHP and MySQL go hand in hand; the former has been carefully adapted, through the efforts of the open-source community, to the latter. For situations that require dynamic content but don't merit the complexity and development time of Java or .NET enterprise applications, the PHP language and the MySQL database server fit the bill perfectly. That's the point Hugh Williams and David Lane make in Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL, which combines language tutorials with application design advice to yield a comprehensive picture of its subjects at a reasonable price. Williams and Lane--both Australian academics who use an online wine store in many of their examples--deserve tremendous kudos for their way of presenting recommended coding strategies. Though the code listings themselves aren't remarkably well commented, the authors do a commendable job of explaining in prose what the code is up to.
Case in point: The ever-essential task of using PHP to open a connection to a MySQL database, submit a query to that database, receive a response, and format the returned rows, if any. The book addresses this problem with a straight code listing, followed by text that explains what's happening in five numbered steps. Similar care goes to the other popular applications of the PHP/MySQL duo: session management, shopping carts, and authentication of users. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to use the PHP server-side scripting language and the MySQL database engine to underlie dynamic Web sites (those that rely on database queries) and full-on Web applications, such as those that require session management and maintenance of user rosters. Tutorials in both subjects begin with the basics and proceed through moderately complicated stuff, though there's no absolutely comprehensive reference here.
"As symbolized by the duck-billed platypus on the cover it is a book that will help you to survive in a rapidly changing world. Submerge yourself in proven technology and emerge unscathed once the dots have fallen out by the wayside. Recommended for its excellent examples which will save you thousands in case you need to develop a similar application." Information Security Bulletin, July 2002 "The book manages to deliver on two levels at once - the concepts, planning and design process as well as implementation. It's also surprisingly well written, and manages not to be too smug or patronizing." - Nick Veitch, LinuxFormat, October 2002