While most programming books print source code as is, this one distinguishes itself with a keen visual presentation with graphics used to highlight sections of both Flash ActionScript and basic PHP. It also helps that Webster is a notably lively writer. A few guiding principles govern this text. First, all the interfaces are created in Flash and ActionScript, and the book walks you through the steps required to build these designs.
After a basic tutorial of the PHP language, the author uses PHP to add additional functionality to Flash-powered Web applications, from managing user registration to searching news articles using regular expressions. This text provides one of the best (and most truly accessible) tutorials for understanding and using regular expressions. While most writers pass the buck to difficult online resources for regular expressions, the author takes the time to explain and demonstrate how regular expressions really work, with clear examples and a nicely patient presentation style.
Later, the book zeros in on using the MySQL database package for storing and retrieving data from Flash applications. To this end, there's a quick introduction to programming with SQL and how to query and update data using PHP combined with MySQL. Later chapters present case studies of larger Flash applications that make use of techniques demonstrated earlier, like a customizable user poll, a simple event scheduler, plus a threaded discussion forum. With a winning writing style and a concise presentation that makes smart use of graphics, PHP for Flash will put simple PHP programming within reach of anyone who has a little previous familiarity with Flash. --Richard Dragan
Topics covered: Overview of PHP 4 and scripting essentials, loading external data in Flash (a registration script), PHP language fundamentals (including variables, data types, arrays), using functions (calling conventions), string handling in PHP, in-depth tutorial on PHP regular expressions, using cookies, file I/O tutorial, introduction to the MySQL database platform, basic SQL syntax tutorial, using PHP and MySQL together (a simple content management system), case study for a user poll (including administration modules), event planner scheduler application, case study for a threaded discussion Web application, reference for installing PHP and MySQL, object-oriented programming essentials in PHP, and resources for PHP.
Overall an excellent introduction to putting dynamic content into your Flash movies and well worth the money. -- www.pixelsurgeon.com