Beginning PHP 4

by Joe Gillespie — Apr 1, 2004

After JavaScript, PHP is probably the next best step towards making your Web pages more dynamic and interactive. Unlike JavaScript which runs on the reader's machine (client side) and is very limited in what it can do, PHP is run on the server, is much more powerful and not all that more difficult to come to terms with.

The book explains how to set up PHP 4 to run on your own machine, well, it does for Windows and Linux. There is no mention of Mac OSX but you can get that information from Apple's Web site and I had it up in running in fifteen minutes or less.

Beginning PHP 4 assumes no programming knowledge whatsoever and starts at the very beginning with very simple examples that are easy to understand. It introduces the concepts of variables and keywords showing how a script is structured and flows. The code snippets are clear and unambiguous so you are not likely to get lost if you take your time.

Further in, it explains how data from Web forms can be managed and manipulated and provides well illustrated examples of many common tasks such as form validation and dynamic menus.

Once you get past the basics, you can start to see the huge potential that PHP has to offer – like integrating PHP with MySQL databases to generate dynamic content. You can even generate dynamic graphic content, draw shapes, set type and print watermarks over photos.

Examples include the creation of a User Registration database, logging user access to your pages and creating a complete User Manager script. It also tells how to connect PHP to mail systems to automatically generate and send mail to a group of subscribers.

The appendices to the book provide an invaluable language reference detailing all the PHP functions

There is no CD with the book but all the code examples can be downloaded from the publisher's Web site to save you typing them in.

With a working knowledge of PHP4 under your belt, you will find that many new avenues open up and you will become a more 'employable' Web designer. Beginning PHP4 will take you a long way on that path.

Beginning PHP 4
Author Wankyu Choi, et al
Publisher Wrox
ISBN 0764543644
Price $39.99 (Amazon $27.99)
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