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PHP and MySQL the missing manual second edition

Second Edition
Brett McLaughlin
Beijing | Cambridge | Farnham | Köln | Sebastopol | Tokyo
The book that should have been in the box®
Downloa d f r o m W o w ! e B o o k < w w w.woweb o o k . c o m >
PHP & MySQL: The Missing Manual, Second Edition
by Brett McLaughlin
Copyright © 2013 Brett McLaughlin. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
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November 2011: First Edition.
November 2012: Second Edition.
Revision History for the Second Edition:
2012-11-5 First release
for release details.
The Missing Manual is a registered trademark of O’Reilly Media, Inc. The Missing
Manual logo, and “The book that should have been in the box” are trademarks of
O’Reilly Media, Inc. Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to
distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations
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While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher
assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the
use of the information contained in it.
ISBN: 978-1-449-32557-2
The Missing Credits vii
Part One: PHP and MySQL Basics
PHP: What, Why, and Where? 15
PHP Comes in Two Flavors: Local and Remote. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
PHP: Going Local 21
Write Your First Program 38
Run Your First Program 40
But Where’s That Web Server? 42
PHP Meets HTML 45
Script or HTML? 46
PHP Talks Back 51
Run PHP Scripts Remotely 54
PHP Syntax: Weird and Wonderful 61
Get Information from a Web Form 62

Working with Text in PHP 69
The $_REQUEST Variable Is an Array 83
What Do You Do with User Information? 90
MySQL and SQL: Database and Language 91
What Is a Database?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Installing MySQL 95
SQL Is a Language for Talking to Databases 104
Part Two: Dynamic Web Pages
Connecting PHP to MySQL 119
Writing a Simple PHP Connection Script 120
Cleaning Up Your Code with Multiple Files 132
Building a Basic SQL Query Runner 138
Regular Expressions 155
String Matching, Double-Time 156
Generating Dynamic Web Pages 173
Revisiting a User’s Information 174
Planning Your Database Tables 175
Saving a User’s Information 182
Show Me the User 190
Revisiting (and Redirecting) the Create User Script 208
Part Three: From Web Pages to Web Applications
When Things Go Wrong (and They Will) 221
Planning Your Error Pages 223
Finding a Middle Ground for Error Pages with PHP 229
Add Debugging to Your Application 237
Redirecting On Error 242
Handling Images and Complexity 253
Images Are Just Files 254
Images Are for Viewing 279
And Now for Something Completely Dierent 288
Binary Objects and Image Loading 289
Storing Dierent Objects in Dierent Tables 290
Inserting a Raw Image into a Table 292
Your Binary Data Isn’t Safe to Insert Yet 296
Connecting Users and Images 303
Show Me the Image! 313
Embedding an Image Is Just Viewing an Image. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .324
So, Which Approach Is Best? 330
Listing, Iterating, and Administrating 333
Thinking about What You Need as an Admin 334
Listing All Your Users 337
Deleting a User 345
Talking Back to Your Users 351
Standardizing on Messaging 362
Integrating Utilities, Views, and Messages 369
Part Four: Security and the Real World
Authentication and Authorization 385
Basic Authentication 386
Abstracting What’s the Same 395
Passwords Don’t Belong in PHP Scripts 399
Passwords Create Security, But Should Be Secure 413
Cookies, Sign-Ins, and Ditching Crummy Pop-Ups 419
Moving Beyond Basic Authentication 420
Logging In with Cookies 426
Adding Context-Specific Menus 443
Authorization and Sessions 455
Modeling Groups in Your Database 455
Checking for Group Membership 461
Group-Specific Menus 471
Entering Browser Sessions 475
Memory Lane: Remember That Phishing Problem? 486
Why Would You Ever Use Cookies? 489
Part Five: Appendixes
Installing PHP on Windows Without WAMP 493
Installing MySQL Without MAMP or WAMP 499

The Missing Credits
Brett McLaughlin is a senior-level technologist and strategist,
active especially in web programming and data-driven, custom
er-facing systems. Rarely focused on only one component of a
system, he architects, designs, manages, and implements large-
scale applications from start to finish with mission-critical imple
mentations and deadlines.
Of course, that’s all fancy-talk for saying that Brett’s a geek,
spending most of his day in front of a computer with his hands
flying across a keyboard. Currently, he spends most of his time
working on NASA projects, which sounds much cooler than it actually is. But hey,
maybe that satellite overhead really is controlled by PHP and MySQL
Nan Barber (editor) has been working on the Missing Manual series since its incep-
tion. She lives in Boston with her husband and various electronic devices. Email:
Holly Bauer (production editor) lives in Ye Olde Cambridge, Massachusetts, where
she is an avid home cook, prolific DIYer, and mid-century modern furniture design
enthusiast. Email:
Bob Russell (copyeditor) is a documentation specialist and President of Octal Pub
lishing, Inc., in Salem, New Hampshire (
). Email:
Bob Pfahler (indexer) is a freelance indexer. For the past five years, he has indexed
many computer books as well as biographies, history, and business books. When
he is not working, he likes to take bike rides in the foothills outside of Denver. He in
dexed this book as an associate for Potomac Indexing (
Roger House (technical reviewer) is a freelance software developer living in northern
California. He has written code in many languages for various kinds of applications.
He enjoys algorithm design, use of data structures, and applications of mathematics.
. Email:
Steve Suehring (technical reviewer) is a technical architect with an extensive back
ground finding simple solutions to complex problems. Steve plays several musical
instruments (not at the same time) and can be reached through his website
. braingia.org
Acknowledgments are nearly impossible to do well. Before you can thank anyone
of substance, the music swells and they’re shuing you o stage. Seriously, apart
from the writing, there’s my wife, Leigh, and my kids, Dean, Robbie, and Addie.
Any energy or joy or relaxation that happens during the long writing process filters
through those four, and there are never enough royalties to cover the time lost with
them. I suppose it’s a reflection of their love and support for me that they’re OK
with me writing anyway.
There’s certainly the writing. Brian Sawyer was the first guy to call me when I became
available to write, and he called when I was really in need of just what he gave me:
excitement about me writing and encouragement that I could write for the Missing
Manual series. I won’t forget that call anytime soon. And, there’s Nan Barber, who
IM’ed and emailed me throughout the entire process. She showed a really unhealthy
level of trust that wasn’t earned, and I’m quite thankful especially in the dark days of
early August, when I had hundreds of pages left to write, in just a few short weeks.
Roger House and Steve Suehring, my technical reviewers, were both picky and
gentle. That’s about all you can ask. And Steve filled out my PHP holes. He caught
one particularly nasty issue that I think vastly improved the book. You don’t realize
this, but you owe him a real debt of thanks if this book helps you.

Brett McLaughlin
Missing Manuals are witty, superbly written guides to computer products that don’t
come with printed manuals (which is just about all of them). Each book features a
handcrafted index and cross-references to specific pages (not just chapters).
Recent and upcoming titles include:
Access 2010: The Missing Manual
by Matthew MacDonald
Adobe Edge Animate: The Missing Manual
by Chris Grover
Buying a Home: The Missing Manual
by Nancy Conner
CSS3: The Missing Manual, Third Edition,
by David Sawyer McFarland
Creating a Website: The Missing Manual, Third Edition,
by Matthew MacDonald
David Pogue’s Digital Photography: The Missing Manual
by David Pogue
Dreamweaver CS5.5: The Missing Manual
by David Sawyer McFarland
Droid 2: The Missing Manual
by Preston Gralla
Droid X2: The Missing Manual
by Preston Gralla
Excel 2010: The Missing Manual
by Matthew MacDonald
Facebook: The Missing Manual, Third Edition
by E.A. Vander Veer
FileMaker Pro 12: The Missing Manual
by Susan Prosser and Stuart Gripman
Flash CS5.5: The Missing Manual
by Chris Grover
Galaxy S II: The Missing Manual
by Preston Gralla
Galaxy Tab: The Missing Manual
by Preston Gralla
Google Apps: The Missing Manual
by Nancy Conner
Google SketchUp: The Missing Manual
by Chris Grover
HTML5: The Missing Manual
by Matthew MacDonald
iMovie ’11 & iDVD: The Missing Manual
by David Pogue and Aaron Miller
iPad: The Missing Manual,

Fifth Edition
by J.D. Biersdorfer
iPhone: The Missing Manual, Sixth Edition
by David Pogue
iPhone App Development: The Missing Manual
by Craig Hockenberry
iPhoto ’11: The Missing Manual
by David Pogue and Lesa Snider
iPod: The Missing Manual, Eleventh Edition
by J.D. Biersdorfer and David Pogue
JavaScript & jQuery: The Missing Manual
by David Sawyer McFarland
Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual, Second Edition
by Peter Meyers
Living Green: The Missing Manual
by Nancy Conner
Mac OS X Snow Leopard: The Missing Manual
by David Pogue
Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual
by David Pogue
Microsoft Project 2010: The Missing Manual
by Bonnie Biafore
Motorola Xoom: The Missing Manual
by Preston Gralla
Netbooks: The Missing Manual
by J.D. Biersdorfer
NOOK Tablet: The Missing Manual
by Preston Gralla
Oce 2010: The Missing Manual
by Nancy Connor, Chris Grover, and Matthew
Oce 2011 for Macintosh: The Missing Manual by Chris Grover
Palm Pre: The Missing Manual by Ed Baig
Personal Investing: The Missing Manual
by Bonnie Biafore
Photoshop CS6: The Missing Manual
by Lesa Snider
Photoshop Elements 11: The Missing Manual
by Barbara Brundage
PowerPoint 2007: The Missing Manual
by E.A. Vander Veer
Premiere Elements 8: The Missing Manual
by Chris Grover
Downloa d f r o m W o w ! e B o o k < w w w.woweb o o k . c o m >
QuickBase: The Missing Manual
by Nancy Conner
QuickBooks 2013: The Missing Manual
by Bonnie Biafore
Quicken 2009: The Missing Manual
by Bonnie Biafore
Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Snow Leopard Edition
by David Pogue
Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Lion Edition
by David Pogue
Wikipedia: The Missing Manual
by John Broughton
Windows Vista: The Missing Manual
by David Pogue
Windows 7: The Missing Manual
by David Pogue
Windows 8: The Missing Manual
by David Pogue
Word 2007: The Missing Manual
by Chris Grover
WordPress: The Missing Manual
by Matthew MacDonald
Your Body: The Missing Manual
by Matthew MacDonald
Your Brain: The Missing Manual
by Matthew MacDonald
Your Money: The Missing Manual
by J.D. Roth
iven that you’re reading this book, the chances are good that you’ve built a
web page in HTML. You’ve styled it by using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
and maybe written a little JavaScript to validate your custom-built web
forms. If that wasn’t enough, you’ve learned a lot more JavaScript, threw in some
jQuery, and constructed a whole lot of web pages. Maybe you’ve even moved your
JavaScript into external files, shared your CSS across your entire site, and validated
your HTML with the latest standards.
But now you want more.
Perhaps you’ve become frustrated with your website’s inability to store user informa
tion in anything beyond cookies. Maybe you want a full-blown online store, complete
with PayPal integration and details about what items are in stock. Or maybe you’ve
simply caught the programming bug and want to go beyond what HTML, CSS, and
JavaScript can easily give you.
If any of these are the case—and you may find that
of these are the case—learn-
ing PHP and MySQL is a great way to take a giant programming step forward. Even
if you’ve never heard of PHP, you’ll find it’s the best way to go from building web
pages to creating full-fledged web applications that store all sorts of information in
databases. This book shows you how to do just that.
What PHP and MySQL Can Do
PHP can handle payment processing on its own, and it can connect with services
like PayPal and Google Checkout. PHP can store and load images from a database
or a file system and give you the ability to log users in and out as well as control
what they see throughout your application.
Add in MySQL, and you can store your users’ names, addresses, billing data, and even
their preferences regarding the color of their own personal landing page. MySQL
can store just a few bits of data, a few thousand lines of data, or every page access
by every user who ever logs into your application.
And, of course, PHP can easily connect to MySQL. PHP can do everything from
grabbing a user name based on a user ID to storing the details about financial
transactions to actually creating tables and updating their structures, and MySQL
can back-end all that work and store that data. Ultimately, this is the stu of web
applications; it’s what a web application
Obviously, web applications like this aren’t simple. They have a lot of complexity, and
that complexity has to be managed and ultimately tamed into a usable, sensible web
application that you can maintain and your users can enjoy. That’s what this book is
about: building web applications, and doing it with an understanding of what you’re
doing, and why you’re doing it.
What Is PHP?
PHP started out as a set of tools for doing simple web-related tasks. It appeared
on the Web scene way back in 1994. Initially, PHP did nothing more than just track
visits to a particular web page (the online resume of Rasmus Lerdorf—the inventor
of PHP). It was then expanded to interact with databases, as well as provide a tool
set for online guest books and HTML form processing. The next thing you know, it
was hugely popular as an alternative to less web-friendly languages like C.
New versions of PHP started coming out, and an increasing number of web pro
grammers adopted it as their scripting language of choice for web tasks. PHP 3, 4,
and now 5 are now mainstays on the Web. PHP has become fast while remaining
lightweight. And, of course, its ability to easily interact with databases such as MySQL
remains one of its most attractive features.
What Is PHP Like?
PHP is a programming language. It’s like JavaScript in that you spend most of your
time dealing with values and making decisions about which path through your
code should be followed at any given time. But it’s like HTML in that you deal with
output—tags that your users view through the lens of their web browsers. In fact,
PHP in the context of web programming is a bit of a mutt; it does lots of things
pretty well, rather than just doing one single thing. (And, if you’ve ever wondered
it’s called PHP, see the box on the following page.)
Personal Home Page, Indeed
What does PHP stand for?
PHP is an acronym. Originally, it stood for
Personal Home Page
Construction Kit
, because lots of programmers used it to build
their websites, going much further than what was possible with
HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But in the last few years, “personal
home page” tends to sound more like something that happens
on one of those really cheap hosting sites, rather than a high-
powered programming language.
So now, PHP stands for
PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor
. If that
sounds geeky, it is. In fact, it’s a bit of a programmer joke: PHP
stands for something that actually contains PHP within itself.
That makes it a
acronym, meaning that it references
itself. You don’t have to know what a recursive acronym is;
that won’t be on the quiz. Just be warned that PHP’s recursive
acronym won’t be the last weird and slightly funny thing you’ll
run across in the PHP language.
PHP Is All About the Web
If you came here for web programming, you’re in the right place. Although you can
write PHP programs that run from a command line (check out Figure I-1 for an ex
ample), that’s not really where it excels. The PHP programs you write run within your
website, part and parcel with your HTML forms, web sessions, and browser cookies.
For example, PHP is great at integrating with your website’s existing authentication
system, or letting you create one of your own.
Sure, you can run PHP programs from a Terminal
window or a command shell in Windows. But most
of the time, you won’t. PHP is perfectly suited to the
Web, and that’s where you’ll spend most of your time.
You’ll spend a lot of time not just handing o control to an HTML page, but actually
writing the HTML you’re already familiar with right into your PHP scripts. Lots of
times, you’ll actually write some PHP and then write some HTML, all in the same
PHP file, as in the following example:
require ' / /scripts/database_connection.php';
// Get the user ID of the user to show
$user_id = $_REQUEST['user_id'];

// Build the SELECT statement
$select_query = "SELECT * FROM users WHERE user_id = " . $user_id;
// Run the query
$result = mysql_query($select_query);

// Assign values to variables

<link href=" /css/phpMM.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<div id="header"><h1>PHP & MySQL: The Missing Manual</h1></div>
<div id="example">User Profile</div>
<div id="content">
<div class="user_profile">
<h1><?php echo "{$first_name} {$last_name}"; ?></h1>
<p><img src="show_image.php?image_id=<?php echo $image_id; ?>"
class="user_pic" />
<?php echo $bio; ?></p>
<p class="contact_info">Get in touch with <?php echo $first_name; ?>:</
<! And so on lots more HTML here. >
This script references another script,
and then extracts
a user’s ID from the request parameters sent by a web browser. The script uses that
ID to search a database for the rest of the user’s information. Then, it builds the data
into a web page that’s created on the fly.
The result? Pages that are both full of HTML and have dynamic content, like Figure I-2.
This page is as much PHP as HTML. It looks up your visitor’s
name in the database and displays it dynamically. The menu
creates a Show Profile option specific to this user. But there’s
still lots and lots of HTML. This is PHP at its best: combining
the HTML (and even JavaScript) that you know with the PHP
you’re about to learn.
JavaScript Is Loose, PHP Is…Less So
If you’ve written some JavaScript—and if you’re checking out this book, that’s prob-
ably the case—you know that JavaScript lets you get away with just about anything.
You can occasionally leave out semicolons; you can use brackets, or not; you can use
keyword, or not. That sort of looseness is great for getting things working
quickly, but at the same time, it’s frustrating. It makes finding bugs tricky at times,
and working across browsers can be a nightmare.
PHP is not quite as loose as JavaScript, so it makes you learn a little more structure
and tighten up your understanding of what’s going on as your program is constructed
and then run. That’s a good thing, because it will end up making you tighten up your
JavaScript skills, too. And, perhaps best of all, PHP’s stodgy consistency makes it
easier to learn. It gives you firm rules to hang on to, rather than lots of “You can do
this…or this…or this…”
So get ready. There is a lot to learn, but everything you learn gives you something
on which to build. And PHP, lets you know right away when there’s a problem. You
won’t need to pop open an error console or keep an eye out for the tiny yellow
warning triangle in Internet Explorer as you do with JavaScript. More often, you’ll
get a nasty error that stops you in your tracks and screams, “Fix me!” And, over
the next couple of hundred pages, you’ll be able to do just that: fix the problems
you’ll run across in typical PHP programs, whether you’ve written those programs
or someone else has.
PHP Is Interpreted
PHP code comes in the form of
, which are plain-text files that you create and
fill with code. Whereas HTML uses lots of angle brackets and keywords like html,
head, and ul, PHP uses lots of dollar signs ($) and keywords like mysql_query and
echo. So, HTML and PHP don’t look at all alike. But where they are alike is in the
basic underlying format: they’re both just text. You can open up an HTML document
not just in a web browser, but in Notepad or an integrated development environ
ment (IDE) like Eclipse or even a command-line editor like vi or emacs. The same
is true for PHP: it’s just text. So, get ready; throughout this book, you’ll be typing
words—albeit strange ones, with lots of underscores—and saving those words into
text files called scripts.
Once you’ve got a script, you let a PHP program interpret that script. The PHP
is a piece of software on your web server that reads your script and makes
sense of it, giving the web server output and directions about where to go next or
how to handle a user’s form field entries. Your script—remember, just a text file—is
interpreted, one line at a time, every time it is accessed.
This is a bit dierent from languages like Java or C++, which are
. In those
languages, you also write your code in text files, but then run a command that turns
those text files into something else: class files, binary files, pieces of unreadable
code that your computer uses.
The beauty of an interpreted language like PHP—and JavaScript, for that matter—is
that you write your code and go. You don’t need a bunch of tools or subsequent
steps. You write PHP, test it out in the browser, and then write some more. It’s fast,
and that usually means it’s pretty fun.
PHP Doesn’t Run in the Browser
There’s one other big dierence between PHP and what you may be used to with
HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It’s a big dierence, too; in fact, this dierence is such
a big deal that it’s going to aect everything you do when it comes to writing PHP
scripts, getting those PHP scripts to run, and checking them out in a web browser.
So what’s the dierence? It’s this: PHP, unlike HTML or CSS or JavaScript, doesn’t
run entirely in a browser.
What does that mean? Chapter 1 begins to get into the details, but for now, you
just need to know that HTML, JavaScript, and CSS are entirely handled by your web
browser software. Whether you use Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, Google Chrome,
Mozilla Firefox, or Opera, once you have a browser, you have everything you need.
That’s why you can write an HTML document, save it with an extension like .html,
double-click that file, and voilà: your browser opens (assuming you’ve got things set
up on your computer the right way) and you’re looking at HTML. You can reference
CSS in that HTML file as well as JavaScript, and the same thing happens. Write code,
save, and open. Pretty easy stu.
With PHP, you’ll need a bit more than that. The PHP interpreter interacts with your
browser but doesn’t run in the browser automatically. In other words, you cannot
simply double-click a PHP script and expect a browser to pop up and handle things.
HTML forms that submit to a PHP script won’t “just work” the way that HTML and
JavaScript do.
Right now, then, you just need to know two things:
• It’s going to take a little more work to get your PHP programs working. You
can’t just write and save a script and then open it the way you can HTML.
Don’t worry; you’ll learn exactly how to get PHP working both locally—on your
computer—and remotely—on a web hosting company’s servers. But it’s going
to take a little more eort.
• It’s not trivial to set up everything you need to run PHP programs on your own
computer—especially once you involve MySQL, too (more on this in just a mo
ment). That’s why Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and web hosting companies
exist! They take care of that sort of thing. So, although it’s possible to do all
your PHP coding on your own machine, it’s a lot more common to write your
scripts and then send them to a remote web server. Sound scary? It’s not…but
it’s important. You’ll spend a good bit of time in this book writing code and
uploading it to a server.
PHP is dierent from JavaScript and HTML in some important ways. You’ll get used
to those dierences, but you’ll be a lot less frustrated and confused if you go in
knowing that you’ll have to do some things dierently when it comes to PHP.
What Is MySQL?
MySQL is a database. It stores your information, your users’ information, and anything
else you want to stu into it. But, beyond its ability to store information, MySQL is
popular. In fact, it’s the most popular open-source database system in the world. It
has literally millions of users working with it, finding and reporting problems, and
testing its limits. And, it has thousands of developers that at some point have helped
improved its code base.
MySQL is essentially a warehouse in which you can store things to be looked up
later. Not only that, MySQL provides you with a really fast mechanism to find all that
stu you stuck in the warehouse whenever it’s needed. By the time you’re through
this book, you’ll love MySQL. It will do work that you could never do on your own,
and it will do that work tirelessly and quickly.
It’s also the perfect companion to PHP. It’s easy to install on any system; it doesn’t
take up huge resources like larger commercial oerings such as Oracle’s or IBM’s
products; and its easy to connect to. In fact, you’ll find that PHP and MySQL are
perfectly matched, with a ton of easy-to-use functions that let PHP scripts to do
just about anything you can imagine with a MySQL database.
There’s actually a lot more nuance to MySQL—and SQL, the language in which you’ll interact with
MySQL—but it’s better to save that for Chapter 4, when you’ve got a little PHP under your belt.
About This Book
PHP is a web-based language, not a program that comes in a box. Tens of thousands
(maybe even hundreds of thousands) of websites have bits of PHP tutorial or instruc
tion on them. That’s great, right? Well, not so much. Those websites aren’t all current.
Some are full of bugs. Some have more information in the comment trails—scattered
amongst gripes, complaints, and lambasting from other programmers—as they do
in the main page. It’s no easy matter to find what you’re looking for.
The purpose of this book, therefore, is to serve as the manual that should have been
included when you download PHP. It’s the missing PDF, if you will (or maybe the
missing eBook, if you’re a Kindle or Nook or iPad person). In this book’s pages, you’ll
find step-by-step instructions for getting PHP running, writing your first program…
and your second program…and eventually building a web application from scratch.
In addition, you’ll find clear evaluations of the absolutely critical parts of PHP that
you’ll use every day, whether you’re building a personal blog or a corporate intranet.
This book periodically recommends
books, covering topics that are too specialized or tangential
for a manual about PHP and MySQL. Careful readers may notice that not every one of these titles is published
by Missing Manual parent company O’Reilly Media. If there’s a great book out there that doesn’t happen to be
published by O’Reilly, this book will still let you know about it.
PHP & MySQL: The Missing Manual
is designed to accommodate readers at every
technical level. The primary discussions are written for advanced-beginner or inter
mediate web authors and programmers. Hopefully, you’re comfortable with HTML
and CSS, and maybe even know a bit of JavaScript. But, if you’re new to all this
Web stu, take heart: special boxes called “Up to Speed” provide the introductory
information you need to understand the topic at hand. If you’re an advanced user,
on the other hand, keep your eye out for similar boxes called “Power Users’ Clinic.”
They oer more technical tips, tricks, and shortcuts for the experienced computer fan.
Macintosh and Windows
PHP and MySQL work almost precisely the same in their Macintosh and Windows
versions. Even more important, you’ll do most of your work by uploading your
scripts and running your database code against a web server. That means that your
hosting provider has to deal with operating system issues; you get to focus on your
code and information.
In the first few chapters, you get your system set up to write code and deal with
PHP scripts. Thereafter, you will soon forget about whether you’re on a Macintosh
or using a Windows-based computer. You’ll just be writing code, the same way you
write HTML and CSS. And remember, you’ll soon be uploading your scripts to remote
web servers, so your own computer is only part of the solution.
FTP: It’s Critical
One piece of software that’s absolutely critical is a good FTP client. No matter how
awesome your scripting skills become—and they’re gonna be formidable!—you have
to actually get your scripts to your web hosting server. That’s where FTP comes in:
it’s the means by which a file on your computer gets placed in just the right location
on a remote server.
From the author: Typing in a command-line editor is actually exactly how I work. But then, I’m a
dinosaur, a throwback to days when you had to watch commercials to see primetime TV, and you’d miss emails
because your pocket didn’t buzz every time your boss whisked you a command through the ether.
Today, for most of you, a good text editor and a good graphical FTP client are much better choices. Seriously, my
addiction owns me, and I so badly want to
Chapter 1 points you to several great editors, and the fancier ones will have FTP
built right in. If you don’t opt for an integrated solution, a dedicated FTP program
like Cyberduck (
) is great, too. You can write a script, throw it
online, and test it all with a few mouse clicks. So, go ahead and get that FTP program
downloaded, configured for your web hosting service (which might also be called
your ISP), and fired up. You’re gonna need it.
About the Outline
PHP & MySQL: The Missing Manual
is divided into five parts, each containing several
• Part 1: PHP and MySQL Basics. In the first four chapters, you install PHP, get
it running on your computer, write your first few PHP programs, and learn to
do a few basic things like collect user information via a web form and work
with text. You also install MySQL and become thoroughly acquainted with the
structure of a database.
• Part 2: Dynamic Web Pages. These are the chapters in which you start to build
the basics of a solid web application. You add a table in which you can store
users and their information, and get a grasp of how easily you can manipulate
text. From URLs and emails to Twitter handles, you use regular expressions and
string handling to bend letters, numbers, and slashes to your will.
• Part 3: From Web Pages to Web Applications. With a solid foundation, you’re
ready to connect your web pages into a more cohesive unit. You add custom
error handling so that your users won’t become confused when things go
wrong. You also add your own debugging to help you find problems. You also
learn how to store references to users’ images of themselves, store the images
themselves in a database, and learn which approach is best in which situations.
• Part 4: Security and the Real World. In even the simplest of applications, log
ging in and logging out is critical. In this section, you build an authentication
ystem and then deal with passwords (which are important, but a bit of a pain).
You then work with cookies and sessions, and use both to create a group-based
authorization system for your web application.
• Part 5: Appendixes. Although the first several chapters show you how to get
PHP and MySQL onto your own Macintosh or Windows-based computer the
easy way, using the WampServer software package or the Mac’s built-in instal
lation, the two appendixes in this section show you how to install the software
anually for full control of all the details.
At the Missing Manual website (
you can find every single code example, from every chapter, in the state it is shown
for that chapter.
About the Online Resources
As the owner of a Missing Manual, you’ve got more than just a book to read. Online,
you can find example files so that you can get some hands-on experience, as well
as tips, articles, and maybe even a video or two. You can also communicate with
the Missing Manual team and tell us what you love (or hate) about the book. Head
over to
www .missingmanuals.com
, or go directly to one of the following sections.
Downloa d f r o m W o w ! e B o o k < w w w.woweb o o k . c o m >
Missing CD
This book doesn’t have a CD pasted inside the back cover, but you’re not missing
out on anything. Go to
to download
code samples, code samples, and also, some code samples. Yup, there are a lot of
them. Every chapter has a section of code for that chapter. And, you don’t just get
completed versions of the book’s scripts: You get a version that matches up with
each chapter, so you’ll never get too confused about exactly how your version of a
script or web page should look.
And so you don’t wear down your fingers typing long web addresses, the Missing
CD page also oers a list of links that you can click to bring you to the websites
mentioned in this book.
If you register this book at Oreilly.com (
), you’ll be eligible for spe-
cial oers—like discounts on future editions of
PHP & MySQL: The Missing Manual
Registering takes only a few clicks. To get started, type

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Got questions? Need more information? Fancy yourself a book reviewer? On the
Feedback page, you can get expert answers to questions that come to you while
reading, share your thoughts on this Missing Manual, and find groups for folks who
share your interest in PHP, MySQL, and web applications in general. To have your
say, go to
In an eort to keep this book as up-to-date and accurate as possible, each time we
print more copies, we’ll make any confirmed corrections you’ve suggested. We also
note such changes on the book’s website, so you can mark important corrections
into your own copy of the book, if you like. Go to

to report an error and view existing corrections.
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PHP and MySQL Basics

PHP: What, Why, and Where?


PHP Syntax: Weird and Wonderful

MySQL and SQL: Database and Language

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