Paperback: 456 pages
Publisher: For Dummies; 4 edition (December 9, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #576,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #85 in Books > Computers & Technology > Databases & Big Data > MySQL #101 in Books > Computers & Technology > Programming > Web Programming > PHP #1054 in Books > Computers & Technology > Web Development & Design > Web Design
I just finished PHP and MySQL for Dummies last night. I took C++ about 7 years ago in highschool and I think that helped with following the PHP part. Here are the pros and cons I found.Cons1.Not enough info on PHP and Mysql setup. One of the reasons I picked up this book was for help in getting everything configured. I had tried numerous how-tos on the web that weren't working, this did not offer much help either, although you can email the author for additional support. Solution: save the headache and download WAMP5, everything is configured for u with php, mysql, and apache server.2. I found it annoying that the author would throw in lots of functions that were not included in the chapter into her example programs. Sure, they're there (some of them) in the last chapter, but they are not referenced so some of the examples are hard to proof unless you change them or read ahead.3. Read the chapter "PHP Gotchas" at the beginning of the php chapters intead of at the end. If you follow along in order you will already know everything in that chapter, with much frustration, by the time u get there.Pros:I now know how to design a fully functional web program and have already figured out in my head how to do 2 others, plus modifications to the sample programs.This is not the last PHP/MySQL book you will buy but it's good to get your feet wet.
I've read many Dummies books, and like the "Monkey read, Monkey see, Monkey do" approach. This monkey learns better when all the steps are clearly shown and executed in the text. Unfortunately, this book is more like "Monkey read, Monkey lost". For example, Chapter 4, "Building a Database". The author describes 2 sample databases then discusses the various operations (queries) that can be performed on the databases without detailed, step by step instructions along the way. With some trial and error, the steps can be deduced, but this can be very frustrating and may not always work.p.s.: Janet Valade has written several beginner books on PHP/MySQL. Maybe, eventually, she will get it right. She is so close...
I got this book to learn the basics of MySQL and get a background in PHP beyond what I happened to pick up on my own. This book is good, a little funny (as all For Dummies books should be), an easy read, and full of good information. It doesn't really go into much detail on what PHP can do except for in terms of MySQL. (I guess, get a book dedicated to just PHP if you want to learn what the language can really do.)The biggest problem I have with this book is the countless typos, particularly in the code (which is the worst place for typos). Pretty disappointing for a 4th edition. For example, on the very last page (438, the index), it lists, under 'Y', ysquli_num_fields($result) function, but it is actually "mysqli....." (with the m in front). It is sometimes inconsistant with variable functions (like $firstname vs $firstName) which can cause problems, it talks about the "xor" operator but refers to it once as "or" which causes confusion, most of the time the die() function is used, there is a space before the parenthesis (which I haven't tested myself to see if that is ok, but I would think a function needs the parenthesis right after the word with no space). Some other things that annoy me are more annoying than they are serious, like inconsistant spacing in code, or I saw once where the '$' mark before an in-text variable name that wasn't formatted with the same font as the variable name itself. Also, the author's use of HTML doesn't really jive with me (some minor coding problems) but it's not a huge deal either. Or, there are some places where quote marks in code are bottom-quote-marks (looks like double-commas) instead of normal quote marks as they should look. These are mainly annoyances and not serious problems if you know to keep your eyes open.
The basic concept of the web was that there would be a bunch of documents around, each document would have a unique name/address (called a Uniform Resourse Locator or URL) and when you wanted to read that document you would browse to that URL and get the document. There was no thought of connecting the documents to a database so that the information being presented to the visitor would vary depending on what he wanted.Then beginning a dozen or so years ago, it kind of instantly became obvious to everyone that database connectivity was needed. And we got several competing approaches. Some like Cold Fusion were commercial packages. Some like Microsoft's ASP were nominally free (if you used their operating system). And there were other approaches using Java, Perl, CGI, etc.Conclusion. If you are starting out to set up a web site using a database to supply the data being displayed, you would not go wrong to use PHP and MySQL. The packages are free, reliable, fast, and easy to use.This is a book to use when you are getting started. It gives you the basic concepts of web/database interconnectivity so you can understand just what's going on. After this, you'll want more specialized materials: the MySQL reference manual for instance so you can go much deeper into it's version of SQL; and something that goes deeper into PHP.But start with this one. Once you get a site doing some simple database connectivity you can go deeper into your own particular application.