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Foundation PHP 5 for Flash
 
 

Foundation PHP 5 for Flash [Kindle Edition]

David Powers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Our original Foundation PHP for Flash title was rightly regarded as a must-have when it came to wanting to learn just how to make your Flash sites make use of backend technologies, that was published way back in the days of Flash 5 and PHP 4, and things move pretty fast in the world of web design!



This latest, completely rewritten, edition again brings together three of the web's hottest technologies—Flash, the server-side language PHP, and the MySQL database system. We’ve brought things back up to date, using ActionScript 2.0, PHP 5.0, and MySQL 4.1, the book has been designed to be version-neutral. In other words, you can be confident that you’re working with the latest standards, but that your applications won’t break if deployed on an older server. The book also provides a brief introduction to an alternative database system, SQLite, which is now automatically bundled with PHP 5 and requires no installation.



At each stage of the book you’ll be given an overview of a new area of PHP/MySQL, introducing you to the syntax while showing how it compares to ActionScript, and how it integrates with Flash to produce increasingly complicated applications. For example, earlier chapters cover things such as getting data from PHP to Flash and back again, variables, arrays, string manipulation, validating user input, and feedback forms. Later on, it moves on to more advanced subjects such as creating databases via the MySQL console and via phpMyAdmin, manipulating database data via a Flash interface, displaying data from an RSS feed in Flash, persisting data with sessions, and creating a full blown content management system.



In addition, to get you up and running, the book features a detailed guide to setting up your environment—PHP, MySQL, and the Apache web server—along with extensive troubleshooting information.



PHP is the language of choice on nearly 18 million domains, and MySQL has more than five million active users, including industry leaders like Google, the Associated Press, Sony, and NASA. They’re open-source and free; and with the help of this book, you’ll see that they’re easy and fun to learn.

From the Author

This book fills an important gap left by "Foundation PHP for Flash", now long out of print and very much out of date. By no stretch of the imagination, though, is it a rehash of the earlier book. It has been completely rewritten to bring it up to date with all the latest versions: PHP 5, MySQL 4.1, and ActionScript 2.0.

While writing the book, the typical reader I've had in mind is someone already comfortable in the Flash authoring environment, and probably with some experience of ActionScript, who wants to add the power of PHP and the MySQL database to Flash movies to create a richer, more interactive experience. Although the book is project-driven, I've deliberately designed each chapter so readers can come back later, find the information they need, and use it as a reference book. I've also incorporated a lot of troubleshooting advice, based not only on my own experience, but on feedback from users in online forums. Rather than just throwing huge chunks of code at you, I explain what the code does, and why I've chosen a particular technique. All the ActionScript is described, too, so the book should also appeal to PHP programmers wanting to improve their ActionScript skills.

I've been using PHP/MySQL for many years, and was delighted that Sham Bhangal agreed to act as my technical editor. Sham's an acknowledged expert on Flash and ActionScript (and the author of many best-selling books on the subject). Between us, I believe we've created a book that will not only take your skills to a higher level, but it's one you'll enjoy reading, too.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 12593 KB
  • Print Length: 721 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590594665
  • Publisher: friendsofED; 1 edition (1 Mar 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001G0OBDU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,459,949 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I specialize in writing about web design using Dreamweaver, PHP, and CSS. PHP is the most popular server-side language that brings life to websites by communicating with external data sources, such as databases, news feeds, and XML documents. Adobe has recognized my expertise in web development by appointing me an Adobe Community Professional (ACP) for Dreamweaver. You'll often find me giving help in the Dreamweaver forums and Dreamweaver Community Help.

Before turning my hand to writing about web design, I spent nearly 30 years as a BBC radio and TV journalist, working both in front of the microphone/camera and behind the scenes. That gave me a wealth of experience in explaining sometimes difficult concepts in straightforward, easy to understand language - experience which shows through in my books.

I spent a large part of my broadcasting career in Japan, first on loan from the BBC to NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, and later as BBC correspondent. I have traveled all over Japan, and love taking photos, many of which end up being used in my books. Over the years, I have worked closely with the Shiki Theatrical Company, Japan's leading producer of musicals; and have translated several of their plays into English.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take your Flash/PHP skills to another level 13 Jun 2005
By Z. Syed
Format:Paperback
Bought this book recently and have literally torn through it. Its an amazing book. The author David Powers doesnt leave any stone unturned in teaching you not only PHP but how to use PHP with Flash and MySql/PHPAdmin. It's a very carefully thought out book and goes into great detail and on how to integrate Flash with PHP. After this book you will have a strong foundation in PHP/Flash/Mysql/PHPADMin and how they all connect together... But the best thing is David Powers is an active member of the friendsofed.com forums, and whenever i had a problem, he would answer within 24 hours :) ..you cant beat that!! Cheers David
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but room for improvement 21 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
I have a strong actionscript background.
In the book code is broken down and explained in little chunks, this is good for people who need their hand held all the way through, but listing the full script at the beginning of each exercise would have been much better for reference purposes.

I was also shocked to find there is approximately 35 typos, updates, corrections that are listed on the publishers site. There are also many occasions in the book which cross reference to other friends-of-ed Titles. These are just annoying little adverts that sidetrack from the clarity of the tutorials and are peppered throughout the book.

It ain't perfect but there are some good insights and there aren't many other books to choose from that bridge PHP and Flash. The way in which the chapters read are not good for quick reference, Overall I am a little disappointed but generally satisfied
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading. 29 Mar 2005
By M. Bhangal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The dot.com bubble is long gone from the general public's perception, but one thing is for certain - experienced Flash web designers are one of the most overworked set of people at the moment. Since the last two quarters of 2004, my Flash design consulting work has gone through the roof (and this all the more noticeable because 2003 was *very* quiet for Flash web design).

From talking to other web designers, it is apparent that their phones are also red hot at the moment (summer 2005).

There is a problem though. These new clients don't just want a clever user interface, or some multimedia content. They invariably want Flash to be the front end of a web application. In such projects, Flash is the cool and friendly front end of a server driven system rather than a standalone web interface

Theres a lot of demand out there for flash developers that know about XML, PHP and mySQL, because these are the three technologies most commonly used. Knowing these technologies *and* Flash is also a sure way to double your customer base (and usually also increase your hourly rate...).

The good news is that unlike all competing proprietary systems, XML, PHP and mySQL are all free. They are open source systems.

All you have to do is get them installed on your computer, set up a local and web host, and you have everything you need to start developing or learning.

Um... that's the first of three problems though...

PHP and mySQL are created for the open source community, and that means they don't come in a nice box with a hologram, read-me and an installer that only needs to know which directory you want to install to.

You also need something like Apache installed and running, and theres one or two other apps that make life easier (such as phpMyAdmin). Many designers have been put off by this... you need to install several pieces of software in exactly the right order, and all of them have to work *at the same time* for you to get anywhere.

The first problem solved by this book is that it assumes only knowledge of Flash and basic web design skills, so it leads you by the hand in getting a fully integrated dev system installed and running. I can't tell you how useful this is - open source software is free, but the downside is that it assumes that you know what you are doing!

The second problem is that there's just so much information to take in. Previously, I went out and got several books on PHP, SQL and Apache (plus a few other technologies that I later found were not even needed or were rarely used options), and just didn't know where to start on getting it all up and running with Flash. It took me a good few months to get anywhere. What was missing for me was a book that took Flash as the starting point rather than expect me to figure out where Flash fits in with all these confusing new technologies.

This book goes through the required technologies with a Flash-facing sensibility - `you know Flash already, so I'll start from there and introduce you slowly to the other stuff'. There's only one other book that tackles this route efficiently - and its (a) out of print and (b) sells for extortionate amounts in the second hand market - so foundation PHP5 for flash is currently your best bet in extending Flash skills to server applications.

Finally, there is the problem of knowing what the technology can and cannot do, and how it tends to be set up in practical terms. Even if you know about the link between Flash >> PHP >> back end database, its not clear how the common building blocks (communications, security, etc) are built.

What is really needed is a practical, example based set of tutorials that take you through common problems, rather than the exhaustive reference docs that open source tends to come with. If you look on the web today, theres lots of Flash tutorials on components and ActionScript, but nothing on the important subject of integrating Flash to back end technologies (or it there is, its pretty fragmented). This book is very long, and most of that length is taken up with examples, so it gives you just what you need - practical experience - and lots of it. Even better, the book also provides you with a common library of scripts that (amongst other things) iron out all the really big gotchas and version dependent problems, so you can just get on and design.

So, to conclude...

1. If you are a Flash designer, you need to know back end technologies because that is what the market is currently asking for. You need this book because its contents are fast becoming a necessary skill for the industry you are in.

2. Rather than a single technology, web applications rely on several technologies and applications. Simply getting a development system up and working before you can actually start learning is itself a daunting task. This book tells you exactly what you need and don't need. It is especially good because it concentrates only on the most commonly used (and therefore commercially important) technologies: Apache and PHP/SQL

3. For Flash developers wanting to get into web applications, there is the difficulty in finding *any* material that faces the issue from a Flash centric position that is suitable for designers as opposed to open source gurus. This book takes a Flash centric and totally practical route (as opposed to the more usual theory/reference route that many other books take - something that doesn't often work for designers).

Essential reading.

Disclaimer - I was reviewer on this book. However, it must be said that I *requested* to be reviewer on this book because I strongly believe that it is one of the most important new Flash books to come out in a long time.

Sham Bhangal
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for Flash and PHP/mySQL 23 May 2005
By SLY - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Unlike many overpriced computer tutorial books, this book delivers on it's promises.

Yes this book shows you how to put your Flash front-end on a PHP/mySQL, database-driven backend in a simple and direct fashion, but more importantly it clarifies lots of the details that are left out in many online and book-based tutorials.

This book took me out of the hazy fog of uncertainty regarding the integration between Flash and PHP and right into the realm of coding my own PHP back-ends. Powers takes a unique and interesting approach by delineating the similarities between Flash's own scripting language, Actionscript, and PHP. PHP and Actionscript, it turns out, are very similar in syntax and have many common functions. This allows anyone with some knowledge of Actionscript to immediately get a grip on PHP.

MySQL is similarly illuminated in this book. Powers, in his section titled "The four essential SQL commands", does in four pages what other books take chapters to do: he outlines just the mySQL you need to get the job done in a direct and clear manner. This part of the book alone is worth the cost of the whole volume.

The tutorials and code samples in this book are all useful and, again unlike other computer code books, require no visits to an errata page to figure out how to make them work--they all work as shown. And don't be fooled by the title--this book works just fine for PHP 4, the predominant version deployed by web hosting companies today.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book! 22 Sep 2006
By JM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Foundation PHP 5 for Flash" by David Powers is a great book, as I've come to expect from both David Powers and his publisher, Friends of ED.

The word "Foundation" in the title may lead you to think this is a beginner's book; it decidedly is not. As stated on the back cover, the book is aimed at the "reasonably experienced Flash user who has mastered the basics." I'd even say that it takes a mastery of more than just the basics to get the most out of this book. Without a very good knowledge of ActionScript, much of the material would be difficult to follow.

That being said, this book is not about ActionScript. It's not even really about Flash. It's a book about PHP -- and a very, very good book about PHP at that. It's also a book about MySQL. Prior to the most advanced chapters, the tie-in with Flash (and ActionScript) is said in one word: LoadVars. Once you get past that, you can pretty much forget about ActionScript for much of the book and focus on learning PHP and MySQL. Although the book does show by example how to get variables between your Flash user and LoadVars in ActionScript, you really do need to be comfortable with the ins and outs of Flash in general and ActionScript in particular in order to make full use of those examples, and this is not the book for learning that part of it. In the more advanced chapters, more ActionScript comes into play, and it can get confusing if you're not already comfortable with it. (I'd liken diving into this book without knowing ActionScript or PHP to learning to speak Spanish and Italian at the same time: at some point, you're going to say "dónde" when you mean to say "dove.")

What this book does cover extremely well is everything that happens on the back end, outside of Flash. The chapters that introduce PHP do much more than just introduce it: they are an excellent tutorial in the language that would even be a great resource for people who just want to learn PHP without having anything to do with Flash. Concepts are explained clearly and completely, and the examples are extremely useful and illustrative. The same can be said for the MySQL chapters: You really do learn MySQL, and not just by breezing through one or two superficial examples as in most PHP books.

The nuts-and-bolts chapters are particularly brilliant. David Powers's walk-throughs on installing Apache, PHP and MySQL are legendary. You simply couldn't ask for a better guide! The appendices -- including 20 whole pages on various things that might go wrong and what to do about it -- are indispensable.

My only criticism is of the often convoluted examples. The author's style is to build up the examples iteratively, retracing and revising the code, step by step, over many pages as you learn new techniques. He will often walk you through the "obvious-but-wrong" way of doing something, then make changes little by little, introducing new concepts along the way. While this is perhaps a good way of learning, it sometimes feels like you're reaching over your head with your right hand to scratch your left ear.

As usual, the Friends of ED name on the cover means you're buying quality. Everything from the paper to the layout to the typography is top-of-the-line. While black-and-white printing usually doesn't work well for Flash books, it's perfectly fine for this book (remember, I told you that this isn't really a book about Flash). The author is very active in the Friends of ED readers' forum, so you can be certain that any questions you have about the examples (or about pretty much anything else for that matter) will be answered by the author himself in great detail if you address them on the forum.

So if you know ActionScript and want to learn how to put a database behind it, or if you're a skilled PHP programmer looking for another way to apply your knowledge, or even if you have no real interest in Flash but want to gain a deep understanding of PHP/MySQL, this is a great book for you. Be prepared to spend lots of time with it -- it's nearly 700 pages and it has zero fluff -- but it is time very well spent indeed.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the Power of PHP and MySQL to Flash 9 July 2005
By John Lindquist - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Foundation PHP5 for Flash is the most useful tutorial book I have ever laid my hands on.

I'm an Actionscripter by nature and I had never written a single php script on my own before touching this book. I really wasn't too sure where to start other than firing up Dreamweaver and hoping it would take care of everything for me. This book took my hand in the first couple of chapters and led me through a custom installation of php5 and apache on my own computer for development purposes. David Powers walks you through the installation with ease and shows you the necessary screenshots so that you'll never get lost. I'll definitely keep this book with me to whenever I install php and apache on other computers.

I found php to be fairly easy to learn considering its similarities with Actionscript. Powers covers passing variables between php and flash in detail (it should be second nature to you if you ever used the loadVars() function for loading XML or text files). The real breakthrough for me was when he started explaining MySQL.

I never knew that working with MySQL was so easy, I guess that's all thanks to phpMyAdmin which he covers in the book. The second I pulled a database entry from MySQL using php then passing it into flash, I knew I had unlocked the most important skill I can have as a web developer. That's exactly why you need this book.

In conclusion, Powers gives you just enough information that you'll be able to take off an experiment with the things that you have learned throughout the book. "Foundation" is the perfect word to describe what you walk away with when you put this book down.

If you're looking to pull sorted information from databases and store information into databases using Flash and php then you need this book.

(...)

-John Lindquist
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real PHP from a Flash point of view 3 April 2005
By diamondtearz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book does what it promises. I'm learning a ton of PHP stuff but ,unlike the other books sitting half read in a stack, I don't feel as if I'm straying way off from my goal. This book teaches the PHP foundation but ties it in with Flash like I need it to.

I was hoping for more coverage of amfphp and more talk of PHP playing well with the V2 components but- I learned more PHP in this book because it kept my interest by being Flash relevant- and I think the foundation I've picked up as well as those great database classes have me well on my way approaching other PHP books and picking out the stuff I need knowing I have a the basics down.
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