book reviews

PHP Solutions by David Powers

This is a great book for web designers who want to add more functionality to their websites, but worry about the amount of code they need to learn. In his book, PHP Solutions, author David Powers helps you navigate the sometimes scary and confusing world of PHP and MySQL.

Powers helps you learn PHP and MySQL, and (what's even better) provides you with practical exercises that you can apply in the real world. Many of the books in today's market provide readers with a lot of information, theory and exercises. In fact, that's the problem. These books provide too much information for most readers. Unless you are already advanced or an expert, these books can give you information overload.

This book gives beginning programmers or web designers instantly applicable examples. The best thing about this book is that since Powers provide easy to understand concepts, readers can take the exercises from the book and apply them to real life web design and development challenges.

In the first three chapters, Powers helps you learn about PHP and it's benefits. You will also learn what you need to get started. Powers leads you through the requirements for running PHP, and how to install it on a server, Windows PC and on Mac OS. In chapter three, you learn about the syntax of PHP and how to properly write code using accepted conventions.

In chapters 6 through 9, Powers guides you through exploring the file system by learning to manage files, reading/writing, handling file uploads and dynamically manipulating images. These are all very important skills to master. In chapter 9, you learn how to limit users' access through PHP sessions to web pages by creating simple login pages.

Later in this book, Powers discusses the benefits using of MySQL as your database backend. Just as with PHP, Powers describes the requirements of MySQL and how to install it on the various operating systems. If you don't have experience with a database, fear not! You will learn database basics including database structures in no time.

The remaining chapters in the book are dedicated to using PHP and MySQL, such as writing statements in PHP that will access the data in the MySQL database. For example, in one application you will learn how to store graphic images in a database. This skill alone can be applied to many projects in the real world.

Near the end of the book, readers will learn how to troubleshoot the most common problems when working with PHP and MySQL. Powers discusses the potential problems and how to avoid or correct them.

In the final chapter, Powers discusses security issues associated with using PHP and MySQL. He also describes how to protect you PHP and databases against attack by hackers by encrypting user information in the database and providing for authentication.

I would highly recommend this book for web designers (would-be developers) or the “front-end” web designer. Powers demonstrates that readers can enter the scary world of coding and development and come out with useful applications to real life.

Reviewed By: Loren Elks
Friends of Ed (Apress)