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on June 28, 2014
As I see it, Robin Nixon’s Learning PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, CSS, & HTML5 is the web programming equivalent of a well-stocked toolbox. It’s not going to have what you need for all possible situations as a web programmer, but it packs a lot of utility into a compact space.

The core of the book is Nixon’s concise coverage of the basics of PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript. The book then delves into each of these topics in a further chapter or two– giving some further ways to use PHP, or tips on working with MySQL databases. Along the way, Nixon covers many of the most common ways readers are likely to want to use these tools: working with forms, cookies, sessions, and authentication, for example. For such a comprehensive book, it does an admirable job of thoroughly explaining topics (such as AJAX) that other books often skim over with a few code snippets. The coverage of topics as substantial as these in a single book enforces brevity, and might suggest that topics get less coverage than they merit. It is to Nixon’s great credit, I think, that there are far fewer gaps than one might expect. The only really egregious one, to my mind, is that jQuery only merits a brief mention (on p. 420).

The second major part of the book moves from the web programming side of things to consider CSS and HTML5. Aspiring web designers should be aware that– despite the book’s occasional claims to be for those who want to learn how to “style and lay out” web pages (p. xxii)– this is not the book from which to learn the nuances of web design with CSS and HTML5. The book does not cover the new semantic elements in HTML5 (though an explanation for this is given on p. 601), nor does it cover all of web design’s intricacies (divs, spans, floats). The book’s chapters on CSS could serve as a helpful primer or refresher for the web programmer who needs to do some light web design work, though. The coverage of CSS3 and HTML5 is good; Nixon discusses many of the ways that HTML5 and CSS3 are changing (and often simplifying) the way to do things on the web, from streamlining layout and display to displaying audio and video, while still explaining how to support older browsers.

This may not be the final word on web programming– given how much things are in transition at the moment, it is hard to know how any single book could be– but as an introduction and a practical set of tools, this book is recommended.

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from O'Reilly as a part of their Reader Review program.)
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on June 20, 2014
I bought this book recently to supplement a very outdated textbook that I was using for a class. It helped me to complete my projects. The textbook (PHP Programming with MySQL by Don Gosselin) used examples that were deprecated, and this book is way more up to date than that one, so I definitely got my money's worth. I have mainly focused on the PHP and mysql sections of the book. The book seems to be aimed at people with little or no programming experience. That is no necessarily a negative, but I personally would have liked it to have gone into a little more depth or shown at least a few advanced techniques (I understand that it is a very long book and they couldn't include everything). I look forward to learning more about Javascript and HTML5. This book also covers Ajax a bit. The book is very clearly written and easy to understand. I would definitely recommend it for beginners. I am not sure how the code examples are since I have not had to use them yet.

Regardless of what book you choose, PHP is a wonderful language to learn. Web programming used to bore me because HTML didn't "do" anything. Learning PHP allows you to actually make a useful and dynamic website, and HTML5 has some pretty awesome new features as well. It is an exciting time to be a programmer or a web designer.
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on June 12, 2014
When I obtained this book yesterday I literally devoured it over the course of the rest of the day. Now, I will tell you I am not that familiar with creating dynamic websites with PHP, MySql, and CSS but this was exactly what I needed. My experience is mostly with .Net and Microsoft technologies so I have that as a background. However, this was not a hinderance for me as all of the concepts and code was clearly explained and easy to follow. Since I already had XAMPP installed on my machine I could easily just plug in the code, as the book has plenty of example code and understand the concepts.

If you wish to learn how to go beyond just static HTML websites and create websites that are more interactive then this is one of the best books to start with. I obtained this book to learn some background before I dived deep into Wordpress development and i think I made the right decision. You would not make a mistake by buying this book, it is worth it.
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on August 15, 2014
It was quite a long review experience in my life! No wonder, the book is 700 pages long, but boy oh boy it is not boring at all. I confess I skipped a few pages here and there, but it was rewarding, I was even able to produce my own small, fully functional website in my company’s Intranet that receives requests for database backup restores and logs their processing history; MySQL, JavaScript and Ajax driven (yes, the book covers that, too). I must admit I did not use CSS as much as I should, but I am planning on returning to this book to apply a few more advance techniques to my website (Ch 20 on CSS3) to make it more of an eye candy.
Let me state that this is a timely update release for Learning PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, CSS & HTML5 which happens to be a 3rd edition of this book this time around exactly when HTML5 adoption is gaining so much traction.
More on the book itself, it is worth your money to an extend it worth your every penny: each chapter is verged so it takes you right from a printed book page to real-life example implementations. The book is very well structured, it has many (26), but succinct chapters that end with questions that help you memorize what you learned (this is my preferred way of studying), the book has the answers in the appendix. If you want to hear me whining, then may be I should say that the book author sticks to using the Zend Framework, no others covered, thus even though it is a very popular and mature development platform and has all the bells and whistles you may need to run a commercial grade website you may need to figure out yourself how you would develop and deploy using other Frameworks your company uses. Also the book does not cover Unit Testing.
What I liked: the Ajax section and HTML5 are my favourites. Also tasteful graphics, website examples, the part on doing the validation was both very useful and explanatory. The chapter on ‘Practical PHP’ is of much help.
Advice: HTML5 is a little hard, and at times a tad unusual, also not functionality of HTML5 is implemented by every browser in full (notably the IE family of browsers), so plan your features coding in advance.
In the terms of closing I would like to tell that the web development after reading this book does not look so intimidating any more. A big thank you to Robin!
My verdict – 5 out of 5 without doubt.
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book as part of the O’Reilly Blogger Reviewer Program in exchange for a review publication.
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on December 3, 2014
There are a ton of books out there on this stuff, and a lot of information online. Some of it is wrong, a lot of it is only for beginners, and a lot is only for those who have already been using these technologies for years. This book strikes a much better balance than others I have seen of not assuming too much and not stopping at too elementary a level. That said, I do wish it went on past an early intermediate level. Again and again I found myself starting with this book and then leaving it behind to go figure things out on my own because it was clear it was only going to go so far. In summary -- a better range than most, but not as complete as one might like. If you are struggling to find a good book on these topics, this is a good one, but not a great one.
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on May 3, 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As of December 2014, there is a 4th edition of this book (with a slightly different name). Get that instead.

But I'll go ahead and review what I have: This is a good overview of a wide range of technologies used for creating dynamic websites.

Caveats:
1. As with many books that try to cover a range of technologies in a single volume, the coverage of each is less than one might like
2. To my mind, this book is confused about its intended audience. There's some "learning how to program" explanations, such as what an array is, but I don't think this is the right place to start learning programming. Everything is explained far too quickly for a beginner to have a reasonable chance to catch on. (The preface to the book says that the intended audience includes "graphic designers who are already creating static websites", but I recommend that you get some programming experience before you launch into this book.)
3. Like any web technologies book, the underlying technologies continue to shift. This intersects with the caveat about being a total beginner, because some of the examples will need tweaking to work, and that's hard to work with when you're a beginner.

Bonus:
1. There is a website where you can download supplemental material -- example code and errata. (lpmj dot net)

I think the best audience for this book is someone who is comfortable programming, but new to the technologies (or some of the technologies) described in the book. If you already know what things like operators and loops and functions are, then you can use this book to see how they're used in PHP or JavaScript. Or you can start to learn MySQL or HTML5.

I think this is a really good book for people who know some stuff already to learn more stuff. It's nicely structured and walks you through examples and gotchas. But again, I don't think it will work well for (most) people who are not comfortable programming already.

Four stars for the book itself, which is a good overview for the right people, but downgraded to three stars because you should not buy this edition.
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on September 16, 2014
I purchased the book expecting more hands on examples. However, I am finding myself not moving as quickly as I had hoped due to limited examples which grow in complexity while including previous learnings. Overall, this has great content and it is a must have for anybody looking to learn the skills discussed.
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on April 13, 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Robin Nixon has put together a great introduction/primer for the central tools of the new Web: HTML-5, PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, and CSS.

Those are some pretty broad areas, and it is not possible that the book could cover them in any great detail.

What Nixon does do is demonstrate how the pieces work together through a series of practical exercises from chapter to chapter. The author introduces enough complexity for the reader to see the power of the tool and how they work together better together than they would separately (synergism).

Also, after reading this book, you know enough to understand more detailed books on each of the five components.

If you are just staring your Web 2.0 authoring adventure, this should be the first book you read.
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on July 22, 2014
This book does a great job of explaining each individual technology, but other than a single example at the end of the book, it fails to teach how these technologies work together to make a web-based application.
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on September 26, 2014
Just wanted a reference to learn the basics on these three topics. It gave me all that I needed to get my website up and running. The examples helped a lot. I ended up getting the book from the company library as well as using the Kindle version. It was tough finding the section that I needed on the Kindle which has nothing to do with the book itself.
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