Who Should Read this Series?
By the end of this series, you can expect to have a grasp of what’s involved in building a database driven web site. If you follow the examples, you’ll also learn the basics of PHP (a server-side scripting language that gives you easy access to a database, and a lot more) and Structured Query Language (SQL – the standard language for interacting with relational databases) as supported by MySQL, the most popular free database engine available today. Most importantly, you’ll come away with everything you need to start on your very own database driven site!
What’s in this Series?
This series comprises the following 4 chapters. Read them in order from beginning to end to gain a complete understanding of the subject, or skip around if you need a refresher on a particular topic.
Before you can start building your database driven web site, you must first ensure that you have the right tools for the job. In this first chapter, I’ll tell you where to obtain the two essential components you’ll need: the PHP scripting language and the MySQL database management system. I’ll step you through the setup procedures on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, and show you how to test that PHP is operational on your web server.
Although I’m sure you’ll be anxious to start building dynamic web pages, I’ll begin with an introduction to databases in general, and the MySQL relational database management system in particular. If you have never worked with a relational database before, this should definitely be an enlightening chapter that will whet your appetite for what’s to come! In the process, you’ll build up a simple database to be used in later chapters.
Here’s where the fun really starts. In this chapter, I’ll introduce you to the PHP scripting language, which you can use to build dynamic web pages that present up-to-the-moment information to your visitors. Readers with previous programming experience will probably only need a quick skim of this chapter, as I explain the essentials of the language from the ground up. This is a must-read chapter for beginners, however, as the rest of this book relies heavily on the basic concepts presented here.
In this chapter you’ll bring together PHP and MySQL, which you’ll have seen separately in the previous chapters, to create some of your first database driven web pages. You’ll explore the basic techniques of using PHP to retrieve information from a database and display it on the Web in real time. I’ll also show you how to use PHP to create web-based forms for adding new entries to, and modifying existing information in, a MySQL database on the fly.
The four chapters in this series are actually only the first part of this book. Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP & MySQL contains not only the four chapters above, but eight more chapters that cover advanced database concepts, the design of a complete content management system, MySQL server administration, and much, much more! The book also includes a complete set of appendices to make it the ideal desk reference for PHP and MySQL Web development. For more information, see the book page.
If you prefer to read the Adobe Acrobat PDF version of these first four chapters, you can Download the first Four Chapters FREE.
If you have a question about any of the information covered in this series, your best chance of a quick response is to post your query in the SitePoint.com Forums.
If you can’t find your answer through the forums, or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, the best place to write is here. We have a well-manned email support system set up to track your inquiries, and if our support staff is unable to answer your question, they send it straight to me. Suggestions for improvement as well as notices of any mistakes you may find are especially welcome.
And so, without further ado, let’s get started!
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