Friday, October 08, 2010

PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition)

I come from a programming background and am not a professional web designer. However, some years ago I brought up a website written in Javascript and JSP running against an Oracle DB for an organization I worked at. I then dropped the programming end of things and just made minor changes to the website until recently when I was forced to redo the website in PHP and MySql, both of which I knew nothing about.

So I bought this book together with the PHP Cookbook published by O'reilly. My foremost question was: "how can I learn this stuff with minimal brain damage without going through 1000 pages?". This book did the trick to introduce me to PHP & MySql in a couple of days. The chapters on designing major applications such as building a shopping cart quickly showed me how to put the various code pieces together into a coherent whole.

However, when the rubber hit the road I ran into several problems. The major obstacle was in divining the pros and cons of using the Procedural vs Object Oriented paradigms. In many of the book's examples, both paradigms are used which was very confusing and caused me headaches getting my code to work. Once I told myself to settle on just the OO approach and ignore the Procedural approach things got much better, since I stopped confusing the two sets of syntax.

I initially downgraded my rating 1 star because of this most irritating and time consuming confusion. The sections on security I found most helpful. As a book to orient a person to PHP and MySql I give it 5 stars. As a future reference, I also give it five (5) stars. As a book to learn the nits and grits, I give it 3 stars......hence my overall rating of 4 stars. If I knew then what I know now, I'd still buy the book. I'm also writing a review of the PHP Cookbook.

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