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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Learning PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, CSS & HTML5 3rd Edition
Robin Nixon
O'Reilly Media (2014)
Ian Bruntlett
Appeared in:

Reviewed: May 2015

The 4th edition of this book has now been published. This is a big book – both in size (676 pages plus index) and content – 3 programming languages and 2 markup languages. It has taken me fairly intensive reading since June to finish this book. Whilst it is pretty much self contained, I found that I needed to already have systems administration and HTML experience. Which I had and augmented with some questions answered for me on accu-general. I feel that the book would have better served the reader if it had listed key reference websites for the systems covered by this book.

A lot of semi-colons are involved with the programming languages. I think Shakespeare had it nailed when he wrote: “Some are born with semi-colons, some achieve semi-colons and some have semi-colons thrust upon them”.

For those not familiar with LAMP (Internet) development, there is server stuff (Administration, Apache, MySQL) and client side stuff (JavaScript, HTML and CSS). Most of which is covered by this book.

I have found that my intention to read this book seven days a week was a bit misguided. I discovered that if you don’t take time off, your body will force you to take time off.

The initial chapters cover a bit about HTTP, setting up a development server using the Zend Server install files. I use Ubuntu these days so I much preferred to use its built-in package management system instead. I managed to get it to work with that.

The PHP section spans five chapters (Introduction. Expressions and Control Flow, Functions and Objects, Arrays, Practical things).

The next two chapters cover MySQL (Introduction, Mastering). My go-to facility for databases is no longer fopen, fseek, fread, fclose. There are a couple of appendices on MySQL as well (FULLTEXT stop words, a selection of MySQL functions) .Chapter 10 covers accessing MySQL using PHP. This is where this book earns its keep. Chapter 11 covers using MySQLi but the book’s website has an updated chapter 11 which tells you how to use the MySQLi PHP object oriented system in preference to the older system.

Most of the remaining chapters of this book cover client side stuff (HTML forms, Cookies, Sessions and Authentication, JavaScript (Exploring , Expressions and Control flow, Functions, Objects and Arrays). There is a chapter that brings JavaScript and PHP validation together, followed by an Ajax chapter, CSS chapters and a guide to new things in HTML5.

Finally, the book has a “Bringing it all together” chapter which implements a social networking site.

Conclusion. I have gone from a person who looks at websites and asked “How do they do this?” to “A-ha!, I know how to do that!”. Once I got going, I really enjoyed this book. Highly Recommended.