This is the second edition of David Power's highly-respected PHP Solutions: Dynamic Web Design Made Easy. This new edition has been updated by David to incorporate changes to PHP since the first edition and to offer the latest techniques--a classic guide modernized for 21st century PHP techniques, innovations, and best practices.
You want to make your websites more dynamic by adding a feedback form, creating a private area where members can upload images that are automatically resized, or perhaps storing all your content in a database. The problem is, you're not a programmer and the thought of writing code sends a chill up your spine. Or maybe you've dabbled a bit in PHP and MySQL, but you can't get past baby steps. If this describes you, then you've just found the right book. PHP and the MySQL database are deservedly the most popular combination for creating dynamic websites. They're free, easy to use, and provided by many web hosting companies in their standard packages.
Unfortunately, most PHP books either expect you to be an expert already or force you to go through endless exercises of little practical value. In contrast, this book gives you real value right away through a series of practical examples that you can incorporate directly into your sites, optimizing performance and adding functionality such as file uploading, email feedback forms, image galleries, content management systems, and much more. Each solution is created with not only functionality in mind, but also visual design.
But this book doesn't just provide a collection of ready-made scripts: each PHP Solution builds on what's gone before, teaching you the basics of PHP and database design quickly and painlessly. By the end of the book, you'll have the confidence to start writing your own scripts or--if you prefer to leave that task to others--to adapt existing scripts to your own requirements. Right from the start, you're shown how easy it is to protect your sites by adopting secure coding practices.
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What made the first edition of "PHP Solutions" my most popular book was that I wrote it with PHP 5 in mind at a time when most websites were still hosted on PHP 4 servers. So, when friends of ED asked me to prepare a second edition, I thought it would be a simple task -- just remove the PHP 4 material, and add some new techniques. How wrong I was!
The decision to drop support for PHP 4 was liberating. I realized that some tasks, such as uploading files and creating thumbnails, could be much better handled by custom classes. I hadn't been able to do that in the first edition because classes in PHP 4 and PHP 5 are mutually incompatible. The classes break complex tasks into simple, easy-to-understand operations. Better still, all the code is project-neutral, so you can reuse the classes in other websites by writing no more than a dozen lines of code -- sometimes less.
Although the book retains the original structure of the first edition, all the code has been completely rewritten, making it cleaner and more efficient. Other new features include displaying the results of a news feed using SimpleXML and the Standard PHP Library (SPL). There's also detailed coverage of the date and time classes introduced in PHP 5.2 and 5.3. The chapter on working with multiple database tables has been expanded to explain how to implement foreign key constraints in InnoDB, the default storage engine in MySQL 5.5.
This new edition requires PHP 5.2 and MySQL 4.1 or later. The code won't work in earlier versions.
Please note that the example files for the book are now located on the main Apress website. The friends of ED address on page xvii is no longer valid.
What you'll learn
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