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PHP and MySQL Web Development

PHP and MySQL Web Development

4.5 12
by Luke Welling, Laura Thomson

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PHP and MySQL are popular open-source technologies that are ideal for quickly developing database-driven Web applications. PHP is a powerful scripting language designed to enable developers to create highly featured Web applications quickly and MySQL is a fast, reliable database that integrates well with PHP and is suited for dynamic Internet-based applications.


PHP and MySQL are popular open-source technologies that are ideal for quickly developing database-driven Web applications. PHP is a powerful scripting language designed to enable developers to create highly featured Web applications quickly and MySQL is a fast, reliable database that integrates well with PHP and is suited for dynamic Internet-based applications.

PHP and MySQL Web Development shows how to use these tools together to produce effective, interactive Web applications. It clearly describes the basics of the PHP language, explains how to set up and work with a MySQL database, and then shows how to use PHP to interact with the database and the server.

This practical hands-on guide includes numerous examples that demonstrate common tasks such as authenticating users, constructing a shopping cart, generating PDF documents and images dynamically, sending and managing email, facilitating user discussions, managing content, and connecting to Web services using XML.

The third edition of PHP and MySQL Web Development has been thoroughly updated, revised, and expanded to include coverage of PHP 5 -- including its new object model, better exception handling, and SimpleXML -- as well as features introduced in MySQL 5, such as stored procedures.

About the Authors
Luke Welling and Laura Thomson are partners in Tangled Web Design, an award-winning Web development firm that specializes in developing dynamic Web sites using PHP. Welling is a senior Web developer for MySQL AB, and Thomson is a lecturer in Web programming, software engineering, and e-commerce at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Both are frequent speakers at leading open-source conferences around the world.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Thousands of web developers have found all the database help they need in PHP and MySQL Web Development. In their new Third Edition, Luke Welling and Laura Thomson update their classic to reflect new enhancements ranging from PHP5’s new object model to MySQL 5’s long-awaited stored procedures.

As before, you’ll find loads of practical sample code (all of it on the accompanying CD-ROM). The authors begin with a crash course on PHP itself: basic syntax, storing and retrieving data from flat file databases, using arrays; working with strings and regular expressions; functions; code reuse; and finally, object-oriented PHP.

One crucial PHP5 enhancement is exception handling: a unified, extensible, object-oriented solution for handling errors. Welling and Thompson cover PHP5 error handling in detail, from basic concepts and control structures through user-defined exceptions.

Next, you’ll master MySQL from the web developer’s point of view. Welling and Thompson introduce mysqli, PHP5’s new library for connecting with MySQL with either object-oriented or procedural syntax. Along the way, you’ll learn how to use MySQL's privilege system to secure your databases more effectively, and how to address the performance issues that arise in web database applications.

You'll find chapter-length coverage of networking, session control, interactions with filesystems and servers, managing dates and times, generating images, debugging, and more. The book’s highlight: seven start-to-finish projects, ranging from content management to email, generating on-the-fly PDFs to connecting with web services. Follow along with these case studies, and you should be ready to write just about anything. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2003 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

Shows how to combine the PHP scripting language with the MySQL database to produce interactive web sites. The guide provides examples that demonstrate tasks such as authenticating users, constructing a shopping cart, generating PDF documents and images dynamically, sending and managing email, facilitating user discussions, and managing content. Significant attention is paid to the importance of security. The CD-ROM contains PHP 4, MySQL, and Apache source code and binaries. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“This book by Welling & Thomson is the only one which I have found to be indispensable.The writing is clear and straightforward but never wastes my time.The book is extremely well laid out.The chapters are the right length and chapter titles quickly take you where you want to go.”
–Wright Sullivan, President,A&E
Engineering, Inc., Greer South Carolina

“There are several good introductory books on PHP, but Welling & Thomson is an excellent handbook for those who wish to build up complex and reliable systems. It’s obvious that the authors have a strong background in the development of professional applications and they teach not only the language itself, but also how to use it with good software engineering practices.”
–Javier Garcia, senior telecom engineer,
Telefonica R&D Labs, Madrid

“This book rocks! I am an experienced programmer, so I didn’t need a lot of help with PHP syntax; after all, it’s very close to C/C++. I don’t know a thing about databases, though, so when I wanted to develop a book review engine (among other projects) I wanted a solid reference to using MySQL with PHP. I have O’Reilly’s mSQL and MySQL book, and it’s probably a better pure-SQL reference, but this book has earned a place on my reference shelf…Highly recommended.”
–Paul Robichaux

“The true PHP/MySQL bible, PHP and MySQL Web Development by Luke Welling and Laura Thomson, made me realize that programming and databases are now available to the commoners. Again, I know 1/10000th of what there is to know, and already I’m enthralled.”
–Tim Luoma,TnTLuoma.com

Product Details

Publication date:
Sams Professional Series
Product dimensions:
7.36(w) x 9.07(h) x 2.09(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 3: Using Arrays

This chapter shows you how to use an important programming construct—arrays. The variables that we looked at in the previous chapters are scalar variables, which store a single value. An array is a variable that stores a set or sequence of values. One array can have many elements. Each element can hold a single value, such as text or numbers, or another array. An array containing other arrays is known as a multidimensional array.

PHP supports both numerically indexed and associative arrays. You will probably be familiar with numerically indexed arrays if you've used a programming language, but unless you use PHP or Perl, you might not have seen associative arrays before. Associative arrays let you use more useful values as the index. Rather than each element having a numeric index, they can have words or other meaningful information.

We will continue developing the Bob's Auto parts example using arrays to work more easily with repetitive information such as customer orders. Likewise, we will write shorter, tidier code to do some of the things we did with files in the previous chapter.

Key topics covered in this chapter include

  • What is an array?

  • Numerically indexed arrays

  • Associative arrays

  • Multidimensional arrays

  • Sorting arrays

  • Further reading

What Is an Array?

We looked at scalar variables in Chapter 1, "PHP Crash Course." A scalar variable is a named location in which to store a value; similarly, an array is a named place to store a set of values, thereby allowing you to group common scalars.

Bob's product list will be the array for our example. In Figure 3.1, you can see a list of three products stored in an array format and one variable, called $products, which stores the three values. (We'll look at how to create a variable like this in a minute.)

Figure 3.1
Bob's products can be stored in an array.

After we have the information as an array, we can do a number of useful things with it. Using the looping constructs from Chapter 1, we can save work by performing the same actions on each value in the array. The whole set of information can be moved around as a single unit. This way, with a single line of code, all the values can be passed to a function. For example, we might want to sort the products alphabetically. To achieve this, we could pass the entire array to PHP's sort() function.

The values stored in an array are called the array elements. Each array element has an associated index (also called a key) that is used to access the element.

Arrays in most programming languages have numerical indexes that typically start from zero or one. PHP supports this type of array.

PHP also supports associative arrays, which will be familiar to Perl programmers. Associative arrays can have almost anything as the array indices, but typically use strings.

We will begin by looking at numerically indexed arrays.

Numerically Indexed Arrays

These arrays are supported in most programming languages. In PHP, the indices start at zero by default, although you can alter this.

Initializing Numerically Indexed Arrays

To create the array shown in Figure 3.1, use the following line of PHP code:

$products = array( "Tires", "Oil", "Spark Plugs" );

This will create an array called products containing the three values given—"Tires", "Oil", and "Spark Plugs". Note that, like echo, array() is actually a language construct rather than a function.

Depending on the contents you need in your array, you might not need to manually initialize them as in the preceding example.

If you have the data you need in another array, you can simply copy one array to another using the = operator.

If you want an ascending sequence of numbers stored in an array, you can use the range() function to automatically create the array for you. The following line of code will create an array called numbers with elements ranging from 1 to 10:

$numbers = range(1,10);

If you have the information stored in file on disk, you can load the array contents directly from the file. We'll look at this later in this chapter under the heading "Loading Arrays from Files."

If you have the data for your array stored in a database, you can load the array contents directly from the database. This is covered in Chapter 10, "Accessing Your MySQL Database from the Web with PHP."

You can also use various functions to extract part of an array or to reorder an array. We'll look at some of these functions later in this chapter, under the heading "Other Array Manipulations."

Accessing Array Contents

To access the contents of a variable, use its name. If the variable is an array, access the contents using the variable name and a key or index. The key or index indicates which stored values we access. The index is placed in square brackets after the name.

Type $products[0], $products[1], and $products[2] to use the contents of the products array.

Element zero is the first element in the array. This is the same numbering scheme as used in C, C++, Java, and a number of other languages, but it might take some getting used to if you are not familiar with it.

As with other variables, array elements contents are changed by using the = operator. The following line will replace the first element in the array "Tires" with "Fuses".

$products[0] = "Fuses";

The following line could be used to add a new element—"Fuse"—to the end of the array, giving us a total of four elements:

$products[3] = "Fuses";

To display the contents, we could type

echo "$products[0] $products[1] $products[2] $products[3]";

Like other PHP variables, arrays do not need to be initialized or created in advance. They are automatically created the first time you use them.

The following code will create the same $products array:

$products[0] = "Tires";
$products[1] = "Oil";
$products[2] = "Spark Plugs";

If $products does not already exist, the first line will create a new array with just one element. The subsequent lines add values to the array.

Using Loops to Access the Array

Because the array is indexed by a sequence of numbers, we can use a for loop to more easily display the contents:

for ( $i = 0; $i<3; $i++ )
 echo "$products[$i] ";

This loop will give similar output to the preceding code, but will require less typing than manually writing code to work with each element in a large array. The ability to use a simple loop to access each element is a nice feature of numerically indexed arrays. Associative arrays are not quite so easy to loop through, but do allow indexes to be meaningful.

Associative Arrays

In the products array, we allowed PHP to give each item the default index. This meant that the first item we added became item 0, the second item 1, and so on. PHP also supports associative arrays. In an associative array, we can associate any key or index we want with each value.

Initializing an Associative Array

The following code creates an associative array with product names as keys and prices as values.

$prices = array( "Tires"=>100, "Oil"=>10, "Spark Plugs"=>4 );

Accessing the Array Elements

Again, we access the contents using the variable name and a key, so we can access the information we have stored in the prices array as $prices[ "Tires" ], $prices[ "Oil" ], and $prices[ "Spark Plugs" ].

Like numerically indexed arrays, associative arrays can be created and initialized one element at a time.

The following code will create the same $prices array. Rather than creating an array with three elements, this version creates an array with only one element, and then adds two more.

$prices = array( "Tires"=>100 );
$prices["Oil"] = 10;
$prices["Spark Plugs"] = 4;

Here is another slightly different, but equivalent piece of code. In this version, we do not explicitly create an array at all. The array is created for us when we add the first element to it.

$prices["Tires"] = 100;
$prices["Oil"] = 10;
$prices["Spark Plugs"] = 4;

Using Loops with each() and list()

Because the indices in this associative array are not numbers, we cannot use a simple counter in a for loop to work with the array. The following code lists the contents of our $prices array:

while( $element = each( $prices ) )
 echo $element[ "key" ];
 echo " - ";
 echo $element[ "value" ];
 echo "<br>";

The output of this script fragment is shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2
An each statement can be used to loop through arrays.

In Chapter 1, we looked at while loops and the echo statement. The preceding code uses the each() function, which we have not used before. This function returns the current element in an array and makes the next element the current one. Because we are calling each() within a while loop, it returns every element in the array in turn and stops when the end of the array is reached.

In this code, the variable $element is an array. When we call each(), it gives us an array with four values and the four indexes to the array locations. The locations key and 0 contain the key of the current element, and the locations value and 1 contain the value of the current element. Although it makes no difference which you choose, we have chosen to use the named locations, rather than the numbered ones.

There is a more elegant and more common way of doing the same thing. The function list() can be used to split an array into a number of values. We can separate two of the values that the each() function gives us like this...

Meet the Author

Laura Thomson is director of engineering at Mozilla Corporation. She was formerly a principal at both OmniTI and Tangled Web Design, and she has worked for RMIT University and the Boston Consulting Group. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Computer Science) degree and a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Systems Engineering) degree with honors.

Luke Welling is a software engineer and regularly speaks on open source and web development topics at conferences such as OSCON, ZendCon, MySQLUC, PHPCon, OSDC, and LinuxTag. He has worked for OmniTI, for the web analytics company Hitwise.com, at the database vendor MySQL AB, and as an independent consultant at Tangled Web Design. He has taught computer science at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Computer Science) degree.

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PHP and MySQL Web Development 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In open source usage, the book describes a powerful and popular combination of PHP and MySQL to build websites. Each program has several texts devoted solely to it. But it is in the interaction between the two that often developers need assistance on. The book does start with chapters exclusively on explaining PHP, and other chapters on MySQL. In themselves, you might find these to be concise and useful explanations. But the meat of the book is given in several chapters, where each chapter is devoted to making one common application. Like constructing a shopping cart. Or a Web-based email service. These are things that you have surely experienced as a user. Now you get to see how to code them in PHP and MySQL. Which explains some of the book's size. There are 10 chapters in this section. Enough to give you plenty of examples to draw ideas from.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the first programming books I have read cover to cover that didn't leave gaping holes in code and provided end to end examples of how to write good PHP. The only thing this book lacked was the inane amount redundancy that comes with may programming manuals, thanks. You can be just starting out or looking for advances techniques and they are all there. Great read and great desk reference.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent, down to the bone with examples, and explainations. I would recommend to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It adequately covers PHP, MySQL, and web programming. Many of the chapters are straight forward and brief. Before jumping into this book, it wouldn't hurt to have a basic understanding of relational database systems, html, and a C or Java-like programming language. If you are already familiar with many of these things, you'll find everything you need for working with PHP and MySQL. The book lacks a section on cascading style sheets. Style sheets were used in one or two examples, but I don't think they were explained. Over all it's a pretty decent book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because it's focused on real applications and includes lots of code. I like that it comes with a working shopping cart app. Unfortunately, it doesn't explain some fundamental concepts used in the code, which left me frustrated searching the internet for answers. Not something I should have to do after spending $40 on a book. Also, the index is pathetic. There are some basic functions not listed. Do yourself a favor - spend the extra 10 bucks and get a programming bible you'll be able to refer to later.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely perfect. I am new to databases and E-commerce. I was almost afraid to pay the price for this book, thinking that it would be written in Greek like all of the other books I've purchased on the subject. It was easy to read and VERY EASY to understand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book to aide in a college project that I was working on. I was assigned to handle the PHP aspects of the project and make it interface with a MySQL database (I had never worked with PHP or MySQL before). This book proved to be the most informative, easiest to follow, and had the best examples of any other computer related book I have ever purchased. The text is VERY easy to follow!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with other reviews that bemoan the needlessly careless editing of this book. Despite this, the book is an excellent overview of PHP and MySQL with great examples of using these tools in practice. Hopefully, the second edition will have the errors and omissions corrected. (Hey, maybe Sams should give all of us that bought the sloppy first edition a free upgrade!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book. You have to weed through alot of books (wrox) to get to quality.

this book has a lot of great information on how to do things not things the author wants to do. It's great book for someone who is starting out in both PHP and mySQL but has more advanced things too.

Most books are written like the author assumes you know everything and is sketchy on things. when you are learning it helps to have some guidance. it comes with a cdrom of the book and apache,mysql and php binaries.You can't go wrong with this book. Hopefully more books like this one will be produced.

thanks to the authors, they gave it some thought before putting out the same old stuff.

Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿ve come to expect this from SAMS published works, but I¿ll say it anyway. The editing is absolutely atrocious, even in the first few chapters. (I usually find that errors creep in more frequently toward the middle and end of a book.) Nonetheless, it¿s made a great tutorial and the practicality of the examples is refreshing. Another pleasing aspect of PHP and MySQL Web Development is that it doesn't JUST give you real world applications--it explains them, how to modify them, and how to draft those concepts covered into your own projects. This is an excellent and exhaustive coverage of PHP and MySQL that is accessible to anyone with web development or programming experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To be more percise however, this book not only taught me how to program in perl quickly but it simultanously taught me how to access and manipulate MySQL with examples that were so easy to translate into programs that solved my own personal needs. This book is a must have provided your server administrator will allow PHP on the server!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book