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98 Reviews
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for absolute beginners, but very good
This is a very good resource for learning these topics. It is not for absolute beginners. You need to have a working knowledge of html and how websites work. I suggest that you should have coded a website, and reached a point where you want to do something specific, but cannot figure out how.

I have been checking out every book I can find from my library that...
Published on September 28, 2012 by Newspeak

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The coverage is spread too thin
This isn't a bad book. It's readable at a level that I could handle when I was just getting started, and it teaches you something about each topic. But I can't help but think that anyone would be better off reading two books, one dedicated to PHP, one dedicated to JavaScript, and then a tutorial dedicated to MySQL.

If you don't know anything about programming,...
Published on December 11, 2012 by Justin Blank


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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for absolute beginners, but very good, September 28, 2012
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This is a very good resource for learning these topics. It is not for absolute beginners. You need to have a working knowledge of html and how websites work. I suggest that you should have coded a website, and reached a point where you want to do something specific, but cannot figure out how.

I have been checking out every book I can find from my library that covers PHP/MySQL, JavaScript, and HTML/CSS. My wife balked at how many books I had. It was a stack of thick dull texts LITERALLY 5 feet tall. They were all dense, boring, and assumed that I knew things that only a web developer would know. I would read a chapter or two in each before I could go no further.

Out of all of those books, this is the one book I bought.

Now, this is still a thick, dense book. The author tries his best to make the book enjoyable to read. He gives good examples, and immediately explains why he does things this way, how things might be different, what mistakes you might make, and how you would implement this new knowledge. It is this explanation that makes this book worth buying. Every other book will tell you something and move on. I assume that other authors take for granted that they know the why's and how's and such, that they do not want to waste time on details that seem tedious to them. This author really works hard to make the content as easy to understand as possible.

This means that there are parts I am familiar with and skip over. That is fine. For the parts I struggle with, I am very grateful to have all of the expounded information available.

I cannot speak about updates from the 1st edition, since I did not read it. I will most likely buy the next edition, if the changes/additions are substantial. I would like to see more on forms and cookies. There really is no good book about forms and cookies, and the two chapters here are very good. and I would like the "putting it all together" chapter at the end to be substantially longer. That ending chapter was my favorite part. I don't know what else he can add to this book other than a section on html 5.

All in all, this is a great book. Buy it.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough but accessible introductory book, December 9, 2012
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I bought this book because I have been building static websites with HTML/CSS for a while and wanted to see if I could take this skill to the next level. I think this book brought me a long way towards that aim. I would recommend it to anyone who knows AT LEAST basic HTML and preferably has some programming experience as well. You don't have to be a wiz, but it helps if you know the concepts of loops and objects in other languages.

When introducing a new language, the author tends to tell you A LOT about the syntax of the language before going into any detail about what you can do with it. The best way to read the book is to have a project in mind as you go through these chapters, and try to incorporate new concepts as they come up. Of course, this will probably make your project a mess by the time it's done, but in the end it's a learning exercise. The book is full of code snippets to demonstrate functionality, but a bit lacking in what I would call real-world examples (until the last chapter).

The place where this really became a problem, for me at least, was the section on JavaScript. We first spend two chapters going through the JS syntax: loops, variables, arrays, objects, if/else, on and on and on, including things you won't necessarily need for a while like object prototypes (JS and PHP share some common ancestry and so a lot of this feels repeated). The author throws out the concept of the Document Object Model but we don't come back to it for quite a while.

By the time we get a real-world example of where JavaScript is used in actual webpages, it's in the context of form validation. In spite of the lengthly introduction to the language, the code presented is at first incomprehensible. A further detour through Regex is required before it starts to make sense. I thought a more basic example of things people actually use JS for, like manipulating the DOM, would have been a better place to start (and yes, I know a lot of this is done with jQuery and you don't need to know raw JS to do it these days, but you probably should anyway).

In conclusion, I may not buy another book on PHP and MySQL for a long time. This one is thorough enough that I can find my way around and find anything else I need with online reference guides. But I think, conceptually, the JS section falls down a bit. Still, after I pick up a more basic JS guide, I'll likely keep this one around because of level of detail it goes into.

The chapter on CSS3 was also a great way to get up to speed on the latest additions to that whole thing.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious improvement from the first edition, October 4, 2012
I read the first edition of this book and at that time I didn't like it much. Then a week ago I decided to give the second edition a try and I was pleasantly surprised to find the book much better written and much useful.
The explanations are quick and to the point and the author uses an informal tone which I like.

As a first book on all of the topics included the book will seem too short on explanations and therefore it's not for absolute beginners in web programming. As a refresher or complimentary reading the book is great.

If you are an absolute beginner I'd suggest Larry Ullman's books because the tempo and the learning curve are lower in his introductory books.

One last important thing - the last chapter of the book is devoted to the practical application of all the topics covered and a full working example of dynamic website creation is given.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The coverage is spread too thin, December 11, 2012
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This isn't a bad book. It's readable at a level that I could handle when I was just getting started, and it teaches you something about each topic. But I can't help but think that anyone would be better off reading two books, one dedicated to PHP, one dedicated to JavaScript, and then a tutorial dedicated to MySQL.

If you don't know anything about programming, the introduction to PHP is too short to teach you enough to create anything interesting. If you have previously programmed in another language, you'll find the introduction to PHP absurdly short--grab a dedicated book. As for the JavaScript, it's even more cursory. For what this book teaches, go read a tutorial on the language and then read about jQuery--it's what someone who doesn't have a deep knowledge of JavaScript wants to use anyway.

The only section that worked for me was the section on MySQL. It was similarly cursory, but I didn't find that I needed more until much later.

I suppose that if you just want a website that only needs the most basic input and output, this book would suit you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good starting point., September 28, 2013
Great starting point for learning web development.

My only gripe is that it seems like the 2012 update only chapters on CSS.
This book still uses PHP's (I believe) deprecated procedural mysql_connect() instead of teaching the object oriented MySQL improved mysqli or or the PDO ORM.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to Web Development, December 8, 2012
I agree with some other reviewers that this isn't a perfect intro for beginners, however this has got to be one of the best intro for beginners books I've ever read. So, if you read the title of this book and said to yourself "Hey I'd like to learn PHP, MySQL and Javascript" then buy this book you won't be disappointed. It's got everything you need to become very familiar with the concepts needed to use these technologies and move on to more advanced topics on your own later. Great book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indepth and informative, February 7, 2013
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I have been a midrange programmer for 31 years. I have been involved writing systems in VB and have several web sites in HTML, CSS, JQuery, etc. This book has brought me up to speed on PHP, MySql, Javascript and taught me new techniques for advanced CSS. It is written in a very understandable, less technical tone than some others. It is a good by if you want to learn these skills.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of web technologies used in concert., May 18, 2013
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After getting comfortable with HTML, I would recommend this is as a good introduction to creating dynamic web content. The major topics are presented in a logical order: PHP, MySQL, accessing MySQL from PHP, JavaScript, client- and server-side validation using PHP and JavaScript, Ajax, CSS, accessing CSS from JavaScript. A basic social networking application is included as the last chapter, and adds tremendously to the book's value.

I will admit that I have complete separate reference manuals for PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, and CSS, but this relatively lightweight volume is the one I typically keep at my desk because it is easy to use to look up most of the basic concepts when I'm struggling with a bit of syntax.

Four stars for a well-written worthwhile read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid book, January 17, 2013
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I'm not new to PHP etc, and I suspect this book wouldn't be perfect for an absolute beginner. However, it's a good overview on the basics of the fundamental languages of web development.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, not sufficient, January 26, 2013
This should probably be entitled "An Incomplete INTRODUCTION to PHP, MySQL, and Javascript". Bottom line: after reading it a couple of times cover to cover, I still couldn't code PHP or Javascript without trying to find "missing" information (about code syntax, a complete list of PHP and Javascript "built in" functions, classes, objects, methods, etc.) on the web. The code examples in the book are helpful, but somewhat trivial - how many times do you really do an "alert"? Show me a hundred examples of how to modify CSS or HTML. It would also be very helpful to better understand the flow between client's web browser, and the web host, exactly what processing is taking place at each location, and what content/data is moving between the two, and when. The author makes many assumptions about what the reader already knows.
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