April 18, 2002
PHP and MySQL: The Building Blocks of Successful Web Database Applications
Sebastopol, CA--When we think of database applications today, we are
likely to think of some of the more popular sites on the Web such as
eBay, Amazon, or CNN.com. Database applications have been around for
more than thirty years, many having been deployed using network
technology long before the Web existed. Hugh E. Williams and David
Lane, authors of Web
Database Applications with PHP & MySQL
(O'Reilly, US $44.95) recall the first point-of-service systems used by
bank tellers. Terminals were installed in bank branches and access to
the bank's central database application was provided through a wide
area network. These early applications were limited to organizations
that could afford the specialized terminal equipment and, in some
cases, to build and own the network infrastructure.
Today the Web provides cheap, ubiquitous networking and access to
thousands of web database applications for anyone armed with browser
software and an ordinary computer. And every e-commerce web site is
built upon a well-designed database and a suite of applications that
allow a web front end to interact with it. "Web Database Applications
with PHP & MySQL" shows developers how to combine two of the most
important building blocks of such sites to create compelling web sites
of their own. Both open source technologies, MySQL is a database query
language and PHP a server-side, cross-platform, HTML-embedded scripting
language used to create dynamic web content.
"This is the only book in the marketplace that has extensive coverage
of issues in writing data to web databases, the fundamental problems of
integrating stateful applications with the Web, and how to use PHP
sessions to develop a web database application" says coauthor Lane. "It
is also up-to-date and covers PHP 4 for the Web. No other popular book
in the marketplace does that."
Williams adds, "Almost all books in this area are shallow in that they
touch on how to solve small problems and not on why the problems exist.
We saw a market for a book that not only covered the practice of
developing web database applications, but also the principles. We also
observed that it was hard to write medium-size applications using
small-scale examples, and so we decided there was a market for a book
that was oriented around a complete case study of a real world
To provide developers with a hands-on example of a web database
application, the book introduces Hugh and Dave's Online Wines, a
complete but fictional online retail site that allows users to browse,
search a database, add items to a shopping cart, manage their
membership, and purchase wines. Using this site as an example,
developers learn how to implement searching and browsing, store user
data, validate user input, manage transactions, and maintain security.
"Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL" provides readers with both
theoretical and practical information on creating web database
applications. The authors include many chapter-length tutorials on the
PHP and MySQL languages, as well as background material on Internet and
web protocols, modeling and designing relational databases, session
management, and installing open source server and database software.
The book focuses on understanding and developing application logic that
brings databases and the Web together. "Most web developers know that a
web site and a web application are different, and our book explains why
a web database application and a traditional database application are
different," says Lane. "This allows the reader to think critically
about the architecture of a web database application."
If you are a web developer wanting to build a small- to medium-scale
web database application that will run on modest hardware and process
more than a million hits a day, "Web Applications with PHP and MySQL"
is a complete guide that will show you how.
Applications with PHP & MySQL
By Hugh E. Williams and David Lane
ISBN 0-596-00041-3, 563 pages, $44.95 (US), $69.95 (CAN)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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