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Effortless E-Commerce with PHP and MySQL 1st Edition

30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321656223
ISBN-10: 0321656229
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

This book has been on my mind for years, largely driven by reader interest in it (and thanks for that!). I'm glad that the book is done and am pleased with how it turned out.

My goal for the book was to present the broadest range of what it means to perform e-commerce today: a lofty goal, to be sure. To do so, I came up with two concrete and practical e-commerce sites. The first sells virtual goods (namely, access to content). The second sells physical goods. That distinction alone makes a big difference as to how a site is implemented. From there, I continued to distinguish the two examples:
  • One requires user registration and login (plus password management); the other doesn't
  • One uses PayPal as the payment system; the other integrates directly
  • One uses relatively simple PHP and MySQL; the other an MVC approach with MySQL stored procedures
  • Only the second site requires inventory management
There are numerous other differences between the two, but those are the key ones. Each feature, and related issue, is explained in terms of user interface, the customer experience, security, and is played out in usable real-world code. My thinking is that by presenting this range of what e-commerce looks like, and how it's developed, you can pick and choose the features you want to implement on your e-commerce project. From the feedback I've seen thus far, it seems that I succeeded (whew).

There was not room for some topics in the book (as a reviewer noted), so I've been writing separate articles and blog postings discussing those. You can find these, and other supplemental material, on my Web site (Amazon doesn't want me posting URLs here, but the Web site is just <my name>.com). As with all my books, I also answer support questions related to the material, or related things you're trying to do, in my support forums.

To be clear, one thing the book does not do is teach PHP or MySQL (or SQL, HTML, and CSS), but rather show how to apply them properly. Comfort with these technologies is assumed, although I would expect even seasoned Web developers will learn some new things. After much debate, I decided not to use object-oriented programming or frameworks in the book, although I do intend to write up supplemental material showing how some of the examples and code would be translated into an OOP or framework version.

Thanks for your interest in the book. It is appreciated. And if you purchase it, I hope you like it and find it to be useful and informative.

From the Back Cover


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (October 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321656229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321656223
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #787,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Despite having written many computer books, I have no formal computer training, save for one Pascal class way, way, way back in high school. So I like to say that I'm not a computer geek, although I can speak their language.

My formal education was in impractical knowledge: English literature, language, and writing; philosophy and religion (with a heavy emphasis on symbolic logic); and, Latin. As you can see, nothing really useful here. I guess what I did figure out is how to learn something new, how to synthesize all the information I come across, and how to communicate what I've learned in a clear and effective manner.

Since college I've worked at a national bookstore chain, at the main library at Georgetown University, and then for DMC Insights, Inc. I started as the head of the Digital Media Technologies department, where my main focus was on developing dynamic Web sites. I've since been promoted to President of the company, but that's not as impressive as it may sound! Most of my time is spent writing (books and articles), teaching (online and in small group settings), and actually using the technologies that I write about and teach.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gary Strawn on December 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am a Kona coffee farmer and I sell my coffee through my website. I used to be a professional programmer before becoming a Kona coffee farmer. Leveraging off that experience, and Larry's previous books, I wrote all the code for my website: HTML, CSS, PHP, mySQL, everything. Throughout the process I wished for a book exactly like this one.

When I heard that this book was being published my first thought was "too late to help me." When I received my copy, I realized that I was wrong. Even though I spent years as a professional network programmer, and my website was already written, I am still in the process of rewriting large parts of my website because of the excellent information in this book.

If you're a web developer, this book is for you. Even if you aren't going to write everything yourself, this book will still help you understand the important concepts such as security, PCI, user accounts and site administration.

The book does assume a certain amount of experience with PHP and mySQL. That's the best part though, unlike any other author I've ever read, Larry Ullman has a website with useful forums and he answers nearly every question himself. Have a question about figure 7.2? With this book you can get an answer.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Morris on February 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have recently completed reading this book in its entirety and I must say: reading Effortless E-Commerce with PHP and mysql wasn't effortless for me. It took me a whole month to study the book. But after this month I walked away having learned so much that I cannot do otherwise than give this book 5 stars.
Here are some important things I've learned from this book:
- how to write highly readable code and prevent common vulnerabilities
- how to incorporate different payment gateways
- how to use and build mysql stored procedures
- how to use the .htaccess file to make a directory entirely unavailable
- how to improve the search engine rankings of a site creating the so-called "pretty" URLs
- how to write and use php prepared statements that use fewer resources and thus run faster.(If you ever asked yourself how to make multiple inserts or multiple updates using a single query... this is the way.)
Thank you Larry Ullman
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By DeveloperJerry on December 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been pleased with Larry Ullman's books up to this point, but this one takes the cake! I have spent countless hours researching online for the information documented in this book. This book outlines in detail two different e-commerce models that will make any developer more valuable. First example is a site that uses PayPal. It goes into detail on how to use the PayPal sandbox to test your site before it goes live. The second example shows the reader how to implement a payment gateway directly onto your site. The second example is far more complex, but knowing how to accept credit card payments directly onto your site is very valuable and is well worth a little pain in grasping all that goes into that.

He talks a lot about internet security, SSL, and server configuration ... all which are extremely important when it comes to e-commerce. If you are just starting to learn php or mysql, I would highly recommend one of his other books such as "Beginning PHP" or "PHP & MySQL" .. that is where I started 6 years ago.

Larry has taught me a lot and has helped me become a more valuable developer.
Thanks Larry

P.S. Hey Larry ... idea for next book: M-commerce (mobile e-commerce) using PHP/MySQL
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By webdevpro on March 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anything written by this author is going to be top notch. I'm just over half way through with this book and I'm learning a ton. What I like about this Effortless E-commerce is not just that's it's been recently published, but it walks you through the production of 2 large scale, professionally developed e-commerce applications. Other books offer just random scripts and pieces of code for use on individual projects. This book puts everything together into a cohesive project so that you can see how everything works together.

This is the third PHP book written by Larry Ullman that I've read in the last 6 months, PHP 6 and Mysql 5 for Dynamic Websites:Visual Quickstart and PHP 5 Advanced: Visual Quickpro being the other two.

As with the other two titles, the thing I like most about Effortless E-commerce is the online support. On Larry Ullman's website is a support forum where you can post questions or problems with the exercises in any one of his books. Within hours Larry himself will have the answers needed to get you unstuck, so that you don't spend hours blindly troubleshooting problems and getting distracted from the remainder of the book.

A must read for any beginner to intermediate programmer serious about learning PHP.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Class on June 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Typically, tech books fit into one of two categories: (a) thorough, packed with examples, but bereft in clarity department or (b) simply written and easy to understand, but of little practical use. Larry Ullman's books fit in a third category that takes the best of the two, and, as a result, represents a body of work that stands apart. That said, the material inside Effortless E-Commerce follows suit and provides developers with a great introduction to building a PHP/MySQL e-commerce solution.

Many reviewers tend to highlight the specific functionality presented in a volume, and while Effortless E-Commerce has all of the relevant functionality needed to build a working e-commerce site that accepts payments, manages orders, products and customers, what is best about this book is the modular fashion in which it is written. There is no perfect solution to any application development project; chances are no tech book will contain all the answers to the myriad requirements of a given project. Yet the way Effortless E-Commerce is structured, a developer with a little intuition can pick and choose from the functional pieces presented, and build out a site to suit his or her needs. Even better, many of these pieces of functionality are independent of e-commerce. For example, the registration and login system presented can be re-used across many different types of applications, while the Paypal or AuthNet integration examples can be used to make a simple payment page outside of a traditional shopping cart application.

Overall, Effortless E-Commerce is a book every PHP developer should own. Highly recommended.
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