Customer Reviews: PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition)
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on April 20, 2007
This is one of the best overall software books I have ever read. It is the best PHP and MySQL book I have read so far. The structure of the book, the sequence of the material, and the technical explanations are excellent. It is not overly descriptive of details yet it defines the complex subject material very well. I maintain accounts on and all of the code examples from the book that I have tried so far worked with no problem after I changed file names to .php5. I was able to get the web forum application and the user authentication application up and running within 2 days of getting the book. I have experience in C, C++, and assembly programming but no real web development stuff. Also, I had bought (and returned!) three other books on PHP and MySQL before getting to this one. I am definitley keeping this book. 5 stars all the way!
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on November 11, 2010
I'm a development manager with a few other languages under his belt who is interested in getting back into some hobby coding. Specifically I'm looking to put together a FaceBook app hosted on Amazon Web Services and from my initial research PHP and MySQL appear to be the way to go.

I was disappointed with this book for three reasons. First, I got the Kindle edition and it lacks the critical source code for the examples. The publisher doesn't provide a way to download this on their site so I had to type in the examples by hand (the Kindle app doesn't allow cut and paste for obvious reasons) but I didn't have the images or the files that weren't listed out in the book.

Second, the book manages to both be too verbose and not go into enough technical depth. This may be fine for an absolute beginner but I'd guess most people have at least some programming background. It was tedious wading through chapters that didn't clearly call out the unique aspects of PHP compared to other languages. The examples were barely adequate and weren't well thought out to reinforce the critical concepts. The most disappointing was the lackluster authentication examples which fall far short of a secure, robust, and usable customer experience.

Finally, the table of contents implies that the book covers software development best practices for large scale PHP web applications. The spartan single chapter on the topic briefly mentions having coding conventions, using source control, limiting the size of your files, doing code reviews, and the importance of testing. Nothing in there is new or useful to anyone that's done any programming before. Now I'm looking around for a book that really covers this subject so I know how to properly set up my source files, do test driven development, employ continuous builds, and so on.

To be fair there are some highlights. The coverage of basic MySQL setup was nice, the chapter on AJAX was a good overview, and the appendices were comprehensive on the setup of PHP and MySQL.

In short, buy this book if you have little programming background. You should plan to read a follow up book to get the real information on how to build web applications of any use.
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on August 25, 2014
I can't remember the last time I've written a review, but I feel like I must for the Kindle Edition of this book - it is atrocious. The code samples are not wrapped and are absolutely useless. I have attached a screenshot. I'm going to look at Amazon's return policy for Kindle books and get my money back or the pdf version immediately.
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on November 20, 2009
PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition)

I am a self taught programmer and I always felt there was more to PHP than i was getting from other PHP books I had.So recently, I embarked on a month long search of a 'good' PHP book. I am glad to tell everyone else that I have finally found that book. This is right here, this book doesn't make assumptions about your programming skills level - It teaches you what is important whether you already know it or not.

I am so pleased with what is in this book that I feel every PHP programmer should go out there and get one for themselves. I give this book 5/5 - Perfect!
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on March 4, 2009
I have been a php programmer for 9 years. I was not familiar with some of the newer developments i.e. using XML with PHP, e-commerce ...ect. I found this book to be very valueable in preping for a php job. I was able to step thru the books code using my NuSphere phped php debugger and have learned alot in a short period. In regards to the negative reference that "you can find all this stuff on the net". Yes but its not organized and not friendly. Thats why we buy these books, to save time and make learning easier. Highly recommended.
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on April 27, 2012
At first, I thought I was given the wrong impression about this book. I was told it showed how to make large-scale PHP applications, as well as taught the basics. And, in fact, it does. The problem is that many of the "common" practices aren't "best" practices. I worked with PHP when I was in college and ran into a lot of issues involving how to package up reusable code, prevent users from directly requesting pure code files and writing testable code. It would appear that, after five years, none of these issues have been addressed. The book perfectly describes how to make a modern PHP application. However, it is just teaching another generation of developers the wrong way to build an application. Everything a developer needs to separate HTML generation, business logic and the data layer is available in PHP, but no one takes the time to teach how to do it. Newer platforms utilize routing middleware and claim to follow the MVC pattern; these platforms lead to much more scalable and maintainable applications. The book is confused about whether it wants to be yet another introduction to PHP and MySQL or an insider's guide to building realistic architectures. It is neither a beginner's guide, a reference or a best practices book; so what is it? It is a clutter of information. It does have many hands-on guides, which will help plenty of people, but I can't say that the code will teach anyone how to do things the right way.
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on September 16, 2010
I come from a programming background and am not a professional web designer. However, some years ago I brought up a website written in Javascript and JSP running against an Oracle DB for an organization I belong to. I then dropped the programming end of things and just made minor changes to the website until recently when I was forced to redo the website in PHP and MySql, both of which I knew nothing about. So I bought this book together with the PHP Cookbook published by O'reilly. My foremost question was: "how can I learn this stuff with minimal brain damage without going through 1000 pages?". This book did the trick to introduce me to PHP & MySql in a couple of days. The chapters on designing major applications such as building a shopping cart quickly showed me how to put the various code pieces together into a coherent whole. However, when the rubber hit the road I ran into several problems. The major obstacle was in divining the pros and cons of using the Procedural vs Object Oriented paradigms. In many of the book's examples, both paradigms are used which was very confusing and caused me headaches getting my code to work. Once I told myself to settle on just the OO approach and ignore the Procedural approach things got much better, since I stopped confusing the two sets of syntax. I downgraded my rating 1 star because of this most irritating and time consuming confusion. The sections on security I found most helpful. As a book to orient a person to PHP and MySql I give it 5 stars. As a future reference, I also give it 5 stars. As a book to learn the nits and grits, I give it 3 stars......hence my overall rating of 4 stars. If I knew then what I know now, I'd still buy the book. I'm also writing a review of the PHP Cookbook.
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on October 1, 2012
After searching for basic primers on PHP and MySQL, I settled on this book due to the many positive reviews. I'm glad that I did, as I now have a basic understanding of how to use these two technologies to build a web site.

Make no mistake, unless you have previous experience, this book is only a beginning. I can tell that it will take many more hours of work before I am able to implement these concepts. However, I can now look at existing code and understand what it is doing "behind the scenes." I also feel confident that I could modify existing code to meet my needs.

A few notes.

First, you CAN download the CD content. Just go to [...], set up a free account, register your book, and download the content.

Second, there are mistakes sprinkled throughout the text that have not been corrected in the errata. You will need to do some basic troubleshooting to get some of the scripts to work, but it's nothing drastic.

Finally, this book is written for PHP 5.2. If you have 5.3, there is one specific function the author uses that is deprecated. When you get to this section, it will be quite obvious, because you will get an error to that effect. It took an additional fifteen minutes of research for me to find and implement the updated function.

My only complaint is that, after the "PHP Crash Course" at the beginning, there are fewer coding examples throughout the book. I would rather type up many smaller scripts and test out each concept throughout the chapter rather than one or two longer scripts at the end.

I'm only 2/3 of the way through the book, but I believe this was a worthwhile purchase, and I will definitely look for titles by this author again.
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on July 6, 2010
Although i love the book itself and would give it a 5 star rating, i have to say that the Kindle edition is a blatant rip off. First, its the same price as the paperback with a CD-Rom included, second, they did not bother to make the sources of the CD-Rom available (via a Website) to those who bought it electronically ... . Searched in vain for a link to an online resource for the examples until i got confirmation that this is not included in the electronic delivery (even though its full price) ...
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on February 20, 2012
This was my textbook for an online "Web Scripting with PHP" college credited class I took. The book is broken up into logical sections, starting with a simple practical application: someone wants you to build a web app for them. The chapters continue building the users knowledge of php by introducing them to basic concepts using the simple customer web app, building on what was done previously. The topics are important and standard, (data types, variables, operators, loops, control structures, conditionals) and move into more advanced topics (file IO, MySQL database development, authentication, OOP development). At this point the user can look back and say, "Now I know how to do some pretty useful stuff". It doesn't stop there, however. The user is moved onto more advanced admin-like topics (building a shopping cart, php and mysql administration topics, PHP and AJAX, web app security, building a web forum, etc). By the time you go through this book, doing all of the projects, you can call yourself a php developer. What the book doesn't cover is any specific framework such as PEAR, or methodology such as AGILE or Design Patterns. I felt, However, that these omissions are a strength of the book rathar than a weakness since what it teaches is the core library, uses, and functionality of PHP/MySQL and didn't get side-tracked or distracted by anything else. I felt this was a great introduction (and well, WELL beyond) to PHP/MySQL web development and made learning this language very easy for me. The book is well laid out and follow a logical progression, the examples all work, the language is realistic, the projects are practical, and overall the book prepares the reader with the necessary knowledge to get hired and learn a specialization, use a design pattern, or work with a team of developers on a great project. I still use the book in my projects and will continue to do so for years to come, I would imagine. BTW, I got an A in the class!
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