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on 19 December 2010
I was bought this as a joke "secret santa" present by my client. I am already a PHP and MySQL programmer and am interested to see how Janet Valade introduces beginners to database design and programming.

I was appauled to read the database schema on page 20. This is very bad database design indeed and certainly NOT what new programmers should be doing.

I can only conclude that Janet does not understand relational database design.

For example, Janet suggests a primary key on the PetType table named PetType which is a character field containing the Name of the pet category. This is very bad practise because:

1. Primary keys should NEVER be name of the data content because you may need to change the name in the future and you NEVER amend a primary key field.

2. Primary keys should be integer fields so that the database can automatically allocate the next number in sequence when a new record is added.

3. The database engine works more efficiently if the primary key is an integer.

4. It is more consistent to use the same field type and naming convention for all primary keys in your database. e.g. Integer primary key fields: petTypeID, petID and petColorID

Another bad example is the schema for the PetColor table:

1. There is a composite primary key on 2 character fields. Is is very bad practice to have composite primary keys (see 1,2,3 and 4 above!)

2. There should be a foreign key field on table Pet named petColorID that references the primary key petColorID on the PetColor table. There SHOULD NOT be a field petName on the PetColor table as this is a look-up table.

Further on in the book, Janet gives examples of PHP code that mixes business code with HTML which is bad programming practice. She should be demonstrating how you can keep your code maintainable and readable by separating the two.

In all, this is a very bad introduction to PHP and MySQL programming.
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on 16 January 2008
I know No HTML or PHP coding, and i mean the max i know is < b > etc etc.

I have started an online business and this book gave me the information I needed for creating dynamic pages, connecting to databases and so on and so forth. All the examples in the book can be downloaded from [...] which i found very useful, each file she creates you are allowed to use on your own without having to add any information apart from your database credentials.

The book starts with the very basics, telling you how print simple statements like "it is raining" using the echo" " functions. It then progresses with using if statements and conditionals, functions and other parts of the PHP code which are useful. The book then goes into in depth information on how to build a MYSQL database with PHP MYSQL queries, it tells you how to DROP, CREATE, UPDATE, DELETE etc which i personally found useful

The book then carries on and shows a live running example on what PHP applications can be used for, giving a useful example of a online catalogue and a Members only Area which is what i use. The code can be edited to your needs, for example i added a user level to the database and extra code to the top of every page that disallowed entry depending on the user entry (if you want that code, please email me at dominic.langmead@college-downloads.co.uk and i will send it to you).

The online catalgoue is also very useful, i added it to my site then removed it for the paypal alternative. Janet Explains what she is doing in her coding examples with #number which is explained on the pages after, very useful i must say.

With the help of this book i have been able to create a fully dynamic site within 3 weeks, okay, its not the best read of all, and not fantastic examples, but her pet shop model is easy to follow and edit, whether it be Dreamweaver, Notepad or Publisher that you may be using.

Overall i would recommend this book to anybody who is having some problems creating what you need, Janet also refers to some free PHP sites that help, although personally i prefer this book as the free sites are harder to follow and understand.

I hope my review helps you.

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on 11 August 2013
I chose this as I have not used PHP except for pre-made scripts, and wanted to learn how to incorporate PHP and MySQL myself for custom projects. Unfortunately, on the introduction Janet says she's assuming knowledge of PHP and writing scripts. For Dummies? FAIL.

The book uses 2 examples: a simple online shop for a Pet Store; and a Membership Site. These examples are followed through the book until almost the final chapter where instructions on how to use the PHP and MySQL in a website are shown - but at this, possibly most important step - she refers to the Membership Site as the Pet Store customers database. This new nomenclature made me stop and go back and re-read and stop, and go back and re-read again until I realised this was actually the same thing.

There are literally chapters devoted to how to use a database, how to execute various queries on an SQL database. The instructions on how to actually use the wretched things in a web building environment are one chapter and rushed through.
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on 12 February 2008
...Good for killing flies, propping tables or pressing flowers.

While this has some genuinely good points (which aren't worth buying the book for alone), there are too many things here to throw off newcomers to PHP & MySQL.

The example applications are poor and mostly unrealistic. While it can be a difficult subject for a newbie to take on, the book tends to patronise rather than educate. If you need the softly, softly approach then this might be a book for you. If you're looking to hit the ground running (as is the way with most web designers/developers), I'd personally suggest looking at the Sam's range or any of the New Riders publications.

After thumbing through a friends copy of this book, I was amazed to see that some of the example code wouldn't run on a number of PHP-enabled machines (needing many code modifications to work).
This might be good if you're a fast-learner as you can fix these issues.

Having said that, a number of people have used the sections from this book to look further into aspects. One thing a reader might gleam from this book is an idea of the terminology and the uses that PHP has for everyday applications.

Worth getting if it's on a special offer, gift voucher or present - I'd think twice about spending your own money though as I doubt it'll offer the value that many people look for from training guides.
That is to say, don't expect to be writing the next Amazon, Ebay or Play after reading this book.
Maybe the worlds most basic pet shop site though!
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on 27 April 2008
This book was very interesting to read. At the time I read this book I had only knowledge of HTML and was interested in learning PHP. This book was a total disaster in some respect, it baffled on to very complex terms right at the start for someone who has never learnt a scripting language before, not the way to go. I obviously learnt a few things out of it, including variables and loops, and the likes - but after that Janet went onto explaining very complex code. But, for me, I want a book that gets right into the code and let me actually code something instead of just showing me the code without a clue of, a) how to use it and b) where to put it.

Lastly, the MySQL chapters weren't descriptive enough to understand but despite the fact it was explained in early chapters of the book, I'd rather learn the basics of PHP before being taught SQL queries and the MySQL facility.

The way I learnt PHP in the end is doing so over the Web, and learning it by producing something with what I understood already, which is the best practice for most people learning scripting languages alike of PHP. PHP is very easy and logical, and obviously this book author makes it seem too easy in her description of what PHP is, before actually being disappointed with this book.

I'd stay completely away from the 'for Dummies' books, absolutely a waste of money, although very affordable prices.
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on 1 July 2011
This book is pretty poorly written, lowering the bar for the usually good 'For Dummies' series.

The information is presented terribly, in such a way that makes it extremely hard to follow. For example, a 10 step guide skips back and fourth without proper order, thus confusing and bewildering anyone who does not already know about MySQL and PHP.

Other information is factually inaccurate, which is an absolute sin for a book to do with coding. Again, if you don't already know what you are doing you could easily go wrong if following the authors exact directions, and have absolutely no clue how to troubleshoot it.

All in all, it is not worth buying.
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on 11 July 2007
This book provides a decent introduction to PHP and MySQL, however it is nowhere near as comprehensive as I hoped, and completely insufficient for intermediates and above.

If you're looking to learn PHP, the best place is the PHP.net website. It has some good tutorials in its online manual. The MySQL website, however is a little more cryptic and harder to use as a reference, which is why I bought this book.

This book did give me the basics I needed to start integrating PHP and MySQL. However, it really doesn't delve deeply enough into the huge potential that these two languages provide.

Furthermore, its front-page, trademarked claim to be "A Reference for the Rest of Us" is way off the mark. I'm now at a relatively advanced stage in PHP & MySQL programming, I need a book where I can quickly look up a function or technique for a reminder on its usage. This book is not an easy to use reference of that manner, nor does it have a particularly useful index. A lot of MySQL functions, for example, are not listed. A big improvement would have been to have had a function reference as an appendix.

My advice is if both PHP and MySQL are new to you, and you need something easy to follow to start, then this book should help. Otherwise, it's not really worth it.
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on 24 January 2018
Good Condition
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on 29 April 2014
This is a good book to learn from,i found this book easy to understand .The book was sent out very fast,and I am very happy with my order .
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on 17 February 2016
Great book
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