book reviews

PHP and MqSQL Books

If you've always used HTML and CSS to create web pages, you may be shocked to learn that this style is now considered passé. Many new websites are completely “dynamic”, which means the HTML is generated as needed by PHP scripts, and all the content is stored in an SQL database. This has the advantage that you no longer have to modify hundreds of pages when you want to make a change. It also makes your website more interactive by allowing blogging and online shopping without the need for CGI scripts or <hold up crucifix and sprinkle holy water> Javascript.

It also has certain obvious disadvantages, one of which is the necessity of learning yet another computer language. You thought you were done with new computer languages after learning XHTML, Perl, and CSS? Welcome to the nightmarish world of the computer programmer!

PHP Solutions
Dynamic Web Design Made Easy
by David Powers
Friendsof, 2006, 468 pages


P HP is fairly easy as far as computer languages go, and Powers excels in keeping it that way. C and C++ programmers in particular will find this book an especially easy way to pick up PHP; novice programmers may need a certain amount of effort. Powers ramps you up to speed with PHP fast: a thorough grasp of XHTML and CSS is essential to avoid becoming totally lost. The goal of the first half is to integrate PHP into static pages. On page 262, MySQL is introduced, and Powers walks the reader through the creation of an online database of images. Examples are given for all three ways of communicating with the database: MySQL, MySQLI, and PDO. Windows-oriented but clear and well written, and with a good emphasis of security.

PHP and MySQL Web Development
Developer's Library, 4th ed
by Luke Welling and Laura Thomson
Addison-Wesley, 2009, 967 pages + CD

N ot finished

Wordpress 2.8 Theme Design
by Tessa Blakeley Silver
Packt, 2009, 277 pages


T his is a light and breezy introduction to web design, written from the viewpoint of a graphic designer. Even though Silver includes a bunch of code, there's little explanation of it, so this book is no good for anyone unfamiliar with Wordpress Themes or CSS. Although I don't share the author's enthusiasm for pasting bits of PHP without understanding what they do, many people do it and get nice results. The writing has a fair number of grammatical mistakes.