IntroductionWho Should Read This Book?
This book is meant to be a quick introduction to the PHP programming language for Web developers with little or no programming experience. This book assumes you know your HTML; it does not dwell on HTML fundamentals. If you can handle coding a few pages of HTML in a run-of-the-mill text editor, and want to learn how to add server-side functionality to your site, then this book is for you.
If you want to learn how to make Web development tasks easier, then this book is for you. This book teaches you about templates that can greatly reduce your coding time for a Web site.
If you are sick and tired of thirty-line PERL programs just to send a simple email from a Web site, then this book is for you. This book shows how easy coding routine Web applications in PHP can be.
If you want to learn a great up-and-coming Web development language, then this book is for you. PHP is getting more popular by the minute, and now PHP4 works with most of the popular Web servers on the Internet.How This Book Is Laid Out
This book teaches you about PHP in bite-sized mouthfuls; be sure to swallow before proceeding to the next section. Each chapter builds upon principles learned from the preceding chapters, so it's probably smart to go through the book starting at the beginning.
Each chapter contains code examples, explanations, and mini-projects. Larger projects are spaced out in the book so that you can use your newfound knowledge to build some nice Web applications.
All of the examples in the book are located on the companion Web site at phptr/essential. You can download the scripts needed to follow along with the exercises, or you can type them in by hand.A Little Background on PHP
PHP was originally written by Rasmus Lerdorf to add some functionality that the Web server didn't offer to his personal Web page. Soon other people started asking him if they could use his program for their own Web sites. Soon after that, people started asking for more features, and to make a long story short, Rasmus, with the help of others, created a new programming language called PHP/FI.
PHP/FI, which stood for Personal Home Pages/Form Interpreter, was updated and rewritten by a team of programmers working around the globe and was released as PHP3. At some point during the development of PHP3, the team decided that Personal Home Pages wasn't such a good name for the language they were creating, so a vote was called and PHP was officially renamed PHP Hypertext Preprocessor, which is a recursive acronym like GNU (GNU's not UNIX).
PHP3 was also updated and worked on by the team of programmers, and PHP4 was created. PHP4 comes with a new engine called Zend. See zend for more information on Zend.
Both PHP3 and PHP4 are robust and versatile languages that, in my honest opinion, are easier to use, more powerful, and just cooler than most of the other offerings in the Web scripting language market.How PHP and HTML Work Together
PHP has advantages over other programming languages that are used for HTML processing in that it was designed specifically for one purpose, and that is to work with HTML. It comes to little surprise then that it works with HTML in such a simple, yet powerful, manner.
When a browser requests a PHP page from a Web server, the PHP module looks over the page (parses it) before sending it to the browser. The parts of the page that are written in normal HTML are sent to the browser just as they normally would be in a regular HTML document. The parts of it that are written in PHP are processed by the server's PHP module, which is the program that interprets the PHP code. The PHP module looks at the PHP code and executes the instructions it finds there. Those instructions tell the server to do things like send email, access a database, or crunch numbers.Notes About This Book and the Web SiteAll of the code examples from this book are available for download on the book's Web site at phptr/essential. You can download it from the Web site or type it all in yourself. It's recommended you try typing it in so you can get used to the syntax and become familiar with the examples.In addition to the code examples, the answers to the Advanced Projects from the end of each chapter are also included on the Web site. Play around with these to further develop your skills in coding PHP.Also have a look at the other books in the series on the site. All of the books are excellent guides to their respective subjects.There will also be updates posted on this site for any errata that may occur with the book. PHP is an evolving language and sometimes functions or code constructs change slightly as the language develops.In this Essential Web Professionals series, we have created two fictitious companies that we feel portray a large percentage of the types of companies that are getting involved with exposure on the Web.
Stitch Magazine: Stitch is an online fashion magazine that has chosen to publish parts of the magazine on the Web to complement its printed version. It's also using the Web to reach new readers.
Shelley Biotechnologies: This is a company that sells biotech products and wishes to enter the online world to advertise them.
Although every company is different in its own way, we have found that most really do fall into one of these two categories.What This Book Will and Won't Teach You
PHP is a rich and full-featured language. A book this size couldn't possibly cover each and every function that's in PHP. This book is meant to get you started using the PHP language. It takes some of the more widely used techniques for Web development using PHP and breaks them into their basic parts. You can then use these parts in your own development projects.
After you've read through this book, you should have a very solid understanding of PHP and how it can help you accomplish your Web development tasks. Hopefully, this book will be a stepping stone for further studies and experiments in PHP.
Get results with PHP4today! Learn from real-world examples available from a companion Web site Master every key technique! Discover database integration, forms/email processing, page templates, and much more Endorsed by WOW (The World Organization of Webmasters)
This compact, example-rich guide teaches Web developers exactly what they need to know to achieve great results with PHP4, the world's fastest growing Web scripting language. Endorsed by The World Organization of Webmasters, Essential PHP for Web Professionals offers no-nonsense, practical coverage built around real-world available from a companion Web site. From PHP installation through sophisticated site automation, this book delivers practical answers, usable code, and real solutionsfast!
You'll learn all this, and much more!
- Installing and configuring PHP4 support on Apachefor both Linux and Windows
- Delivering dynamic content on any Web or intranet site
- File reads/writes and data checking
- Forms processing and automated email responses
- Using PHP templates to automate page designand redesign
- Database integration
Look to Essential Books for ALL the Web Skills You Need! All these books share the same great format, and the same dynamic Web site... so once you've used one, learning from the others is a piece of cake!
- Essential CSS and DHTML for Web Professionals
- Essential Flash 4 for Web Professionals
- Essential PERL 5 for Web Professionals
- Essential Photoshop 5 for Web Professionals
- Essential ASP for Web Professionals
- And more to come!