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PHP Essentials (Prima Tech Linux Series) Paperback – March 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 008-6874527294 ISBN-10: 076152729X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Prima Tech Linux Series
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade; 1 edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076152729X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761527299
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,189,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

PHP is getting lots of attention as an open-source alternative to Microsoft Active Server Pages, not least because it runs on Linux and other Unix-like systems as well as on Windows. It is a server-side parsing engine that lets you put dynamic content such as online databases on your Web site. The beauty of server-side processing is that any browser can view the results, provided of course that you are careful with your Web-page authoring.

Few books on PHP are available, so PHP Essentials is particularly welcome. The author is a PHP enthusiast and also uses it professionally. Her aim is to provide a hands-on guide to installing and using PHP for those who have no previous knowledge of the product. The book's based on version 3 but covers new PHP 4 features too. Readers are expected to have a basic knowledge of HTML, though. Although databases such as SQL Server and Oracle are briefly discussed, there is a special focus on using PHP with MySQL, an excellent open-source database server. (This is a common partnership, so the focus is appropriate.)

After tackling installation and basic PHP scripts, the book gets straight to the business of linking with a database. The text includes a short introduction to SQL and a complete example of how to create and query a database table. Further chapters cover user authentication, session management with cookies, and Web-based database administration. Finally, a complete e-commerce example in included, with code both printed in the book and available from a supporting Web site. An appendix offers a PHP language reference.

This book teaches by example. It is manageable in size and has a friendly, real-world feel. It is not the last word on the subject, though, so it's best suited to PHP newcomers or those using rival technology who want an idea of what PHP can do. --Tim Anderson,


One of the best books that I have read and also enjoyed on this topic is PHP Essentials. -- Elizabeth Zinkann, Review Columnist for Sys Admin Magazine

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Customer Reviews

So, if you're new to PHP and new to programming in general, this is a good -- great -- introductory book.
Anthony Boyd
Either of Julie Meloni's PHP books (PHP Essentials and PHP Fast and Easy) are great books to begin with for those who want to learn about PHP and MySQL.
Vaughan Healy
Many of the examples in the book don't even run due to typos and missed ; and { } - This is not exactly reassuring to the learner.
P J Stormont

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Colette Brown on May 24, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I disagree with the reviews that say this book is only for beginners. I am a PHP newbie, but code ASP for my day job, so I understand the basic concept. But since I am a visual learner, I find step-by-step examples much more helpful than a big paragraph going over the theory behind something. PHP Essentials is great for me in that respect. Yes, some of the html stuff is pretty basic, but it doesn't take up the bulk of the book! Besides, you can just skim those parts. The only reason I don't give the book five stars is that I have yet to find the be-all, end-all tech book that warrants it. It's very rare to find books that are timely, comprehensive, and useful day-to-day. But PHP Essentials isn't supposed to be the grand bible of PHP either.
I've also read some of the Wrox Professional books, but find them less useful because of the reason I stated before. Lots of text, few examples, so that I have to look elsewhere anyway just to find something specific. For me, it's usually a waste of [money].
The nice thing about PHP is that it's very well documented, which is to everyone's advantage. For [this purchase price] and a few hundred pages, PHP Essentials shows you just enough to get your feet wet. Most books, including some Wrox books, are one-thousand-page doorstops with information that becomes obsolete rather quickly.
If you're new to PHP but not new to the web, and you learn by example, PHP Essentials can be a very helpful intro. But if you prefer more text in your tech book, then by all means drop your money elsewhere. I think it's nice to have the choice.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By PHP Convert on April 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
I recently bought this book as a quick primer for an office project and i must say it was a refreshing read. Having spent the last 8 months learning javascript from various confusing and muddled sources, the intro to PHP here made me feel as if I'd bumped my head and web development suddenly crytallized! The instructions were clear, concise and nearly too well meaning. The code examples helped me to quickly apply my c knowledge and reinvigorate the otherwise dead office project for which I had purchased the book. The helpful appendix of essential functions was pretty much a bonus "pocket"-type reference. Also, the book opened my eyes to the power of MySQl and the ease with which PHP connects to it. I just finished a 8-week MCSD prep course, yet I didnt feel comfortable with SQL. This book went a long way toward making me feel at ease creating and manipulating with SQL. Looks like I wont be bothering to spend (waste) any more time trying to get my SQL Server 7.0 to operate reliably on a daily basis!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have every possible book on PHP and MySQL in my library. I bought them as a newbie trying to learn PHP programming with no experience in programming other than HTML. They will ALL be sitting on the shelf for a while now that I found Php Essentials. It is clear and easy to understand. The author explains the why's as well as the how's so that a beginner can understand everything without trying to guess what is meant by ambiguous statements... which has been my biggest complaint about the rest of the books on this topic. I'll be pulling out Professional Php Programming from time to time and I'll be checking in with MySQL (OTHER NEW RIDERS) as I proceed but PHP Essentials is laying a good foundation to build on.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Luc Levesque on September 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
PHP essentials is a very good book. It is well written and easy to understand. However, if you do not have any programming experience, such as Perl, this is not the best one to get started. If you do have some experience in programming and understands how the web actually works, this book is excellent to develop your programming skills.
I have a Perl background and use flat text file as a database. I wanted to transfer my entire site on PHP as a language and MySQL as a database system. Therefore, I purchased this book and a MySQL book and now, I am home free. Julie Meloni uses simple examples to help you learn PHP and you can actually build and manage your database, simply by reading this book. I strongly recommend this book and buying a MySQL book to go along with it.
Finally, although this book has a favorite database system covered, MySQL, it does support other database systems such as SQL, Oracle, etc... If you want to use PHP with a database system, this is the book to get.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Boyd on July 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read the reviews of the Professional PHP Programming book, and noted a lot of people said there were typos in that book, even though it was very good otherwise. As a PHP novice, I cannot afford to muddle through a typo-ridden book. So I looked at Web Applications With PHP 4, and that book was so advanced that the *first* chapter is titled "Advanced PHP" -- no install guide or anything else.
This book, PHP Essentials, is geared toward not only PHP newbies, but also people who have never programmed anything in any language. That's a little bit basic even for me, as I do at least know Perl and JavaScript. But it looked better that the first two books I tried, so I bought it.
I don't regret buying it. It is written in such a simple, friendly manner, that I was able to breeze through the first half in about an hour. If you're good at HTML, and you're looking to get into programming, this may be just what you need. This book will teach you, in basic terms, how to create if-else statements, what the proper syntax is for PHP code, how it integrates into the HTML page, what variables are, how to capture form data and write it to a file or database, how to send email from a Web page, how to send HTTP headers (so you can set cookies and do redirects), and it will step you through building a shopping cart system.
Now, if that were it, this book would be a five star book. However, being that I do have some programming background, and did have some idea of what PHP could do, let me tell you why I gave it four stars instead of five. First, there are some technical inaccuracies, such as the statement that Netscape 3+ supports style sheets (Netscape 3 has zero support, it's only Netscape 4+). But that's not bad.
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