Learn PHP and MySQL SitePoint Book

Anyone who’s wanting to learn PHP and MySQL should be considering SitePoint’s Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP & MySQL by Kevin Yank. I’ve just finished reading this book and have to admit, I wish I had this book to learn from when I first learnt PHP a few years back.

You may be wondering why I’ve been reading a book that’s clearly for beginners. Couple of reasons. I learnt PHP when version 4 had just been released. The book I learnt from was out of date within weeks simply because of the major changes that happened, default settings etc. Whilst it was a great book to learn from there were parts that I’d either skipped (Object Oriented Programming for a start!) or just parts I’d never really grasped. Knowing how well SitePoint books are written, I decided to buy this book to give me a chance to refresh my knowledge, pick up on any changes for PHP 5 and also have an up-to-date PHP book on my shelf.

So what will this book teach you? It will teach you the basics of PHP and using MySQL. It explains how to use PHP to create dynamic webpages, how to store the content of a site in a database and retrieve that information and display it on the site. How to allow people to add to and update that content. It goes into regular expressions, the basics of PHP’s file access methods, good structure using includes and more.

I recently had a chat about this book with someone who wanted to learn the basics a bit better but had looked at the free chapters of this book and got completely confused by its complexity. If anyone else has been or finds themselves in the same situation then I know where you’re at. Ignore the first 2 chapters initially! The first chapter goes into how to set up PHP and MySQL on your computer. Whilst I used to do this myself now I recommend using Xampp. It’s easy to install, comes with everything you need and can also be run off an external drive or USB pen drive, so you don’t even need to put it on your computer! Then the second chapter of the book goes into MySQL. Again, not something you need to concern yourself with at first. So skip to chapter 3 and things shouldn’t be as complex and scary!

So if you want to learn PHP then I highly recommend this book for the basics. You can get 4 free chapters from the SitePoint page or you can buy the book cheaper with free delivery from Amazon UK.

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2 Responses

  1. Jalaj says:

    I find chapter 6 on “Content Management System” out of context… it could have formed another book “Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using CMS”

  2. Sarah says:

    I wouldn’t say it was out of context as such. The book is about learning PHP and MySQL and building a database driven website with the two. Chapter 6 covered that pretty well.

    You could easily write a whole book on creating a CMS, I think the chapter covered the basics enough to let people use a bit of logic to work out how they could expand on it themselves if they wanted to.

    It gives a good grounding for the basics. If people can think logically then they can usually advance a lot further after reading the book. Of course the security aspect should come in next which is when I would recommend the Php|architect’s Guide to PHP Security.